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Archive for the ‘2009 garden journal flashbacks’ Category

After a late summer and fall of immense change, we took comfort in the rituals of holidays on the Peninsula.  (Speaking of rituals, it took me until late autumn to realize to my dismay that I had completely forgotten to go on September’s Cannon Beach Cottage Tour.  Argh, what a shame that was.)

But in early December up went the crab pot tree….

world’s largest crab pot tree in Ilwaco

and on a starry night, came the lighting ceremony and crab-centric Christmas carols.

by the boatyard at night

lighting of the crab pot tree

lighted boats at the port

the crab pot tree

At the port on tree-lighting night, shops stayed open and lighted boats sailed out to the bar and back.

Don Nisbett Gallery, always with hot chocolate on lighted boat night….

At The Planter Box, Christmas trees arrived.

trees at the Planter Box

The Hungry Harbor Grille owners assembled their expansive Christmas Village in the back dining room of the restaurant.

Hungry Harbor Christmas Village

I imagined that I lived in a two story apartment of the top floor of the building, lower right.  For some reason it appealed to me more than any Victorian village house, and it did have a roof garden and close proximity to a greenhouse.

We made the last rounds of our gardening jobs.  Mary and Denny of Klipsan Beach Cottages always did the best garden holiday decorating of any of our clients.

at Klipsan Beach Cottages

December at KBC

Olde Towne Trading Post Café and Antiques

Mid December found Allan and I at last on our staycation.  I went most days to Olde Towne Café and, realizing it was the perfect dream of a coffee shop, created a Facebook page for them.

Olde Towne holidays

How very much we needed our winter of peace, puttering, reading and rest.  Much as I have done in 2012 by writing these flashback journals, in the winter of ’09-’10 I scanned photos of the past and relived thirty years of memories.

 

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On the night of November 21st a wind whipped the Peninsula, nothing as fierce as the big blow of 2007 but enough to create considerable havoc.  We went out the next morning to check out our jobs.

The fences at Jo’s garden had fared rather badly. The top of an arbour had blown off and decorative pieces had blown to the ground.

Jo’s fences and tree

Chen’s Chinese Restaurant’s big and seemingly sturdy sign made a difficult clean up task.

Chen’s sign down

Most shocking to us, a road closed sign ominously blocked our access to check on my mother’s house, sitting empty and for sale.  Trees in the road and a downed power line prevented our safe access but we came in from the north, determined to see what had happened.

trees down by my mother’s house

Inside the garden, the root mass of trees had pulled up flower beds and path on the east side.  Shortly before mom’s heart attack, Allan and I had had an enjoyable day blazing a walking path for her among the trees of her little patch of woods.  She had thought it would add more interest to have a defined path along the back of the south garden next time she had a garden open day.  The entry to the woodsy trail had been upended.

huge rootballs

Where once had been the fairy chair, the calla lilies, ferns, and hellebores had become a confusing mishmass of sand, landscape fabric and bark from the path, and dislodged plants.  We rescued what plants we could to take to mom’s new garden at Golden Sands and were mighty glad we’d taken the fairy chair back to our own garden.

From this….

July 2009

to this…

November 2009

From this:

July 2009

to this:

November 2009

My mother had mentally and emotionally moved on from her garden.  She’d had to or she’d not have been able to enjoy her new and much more social life in assisted living.  In a way she had begun to let go a couple of years before when she could no longer do her own gardening and had held on, with our help, till her garden had seen its summer of glory earlier in 2009.  Now we knew that whoever bought the home and garden would truly be beginning anew and that at least part of the garden would be so changed that very little remained of what it had been.

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I’m both a “cat person” AND a “dog person” and want to be sure to give cats equal time...

First in my heart was my own good cat Dumbles, a shy boy who loved only me.  His sibling, Miss Marble, had died a couple of years before, which had bonded him even more strongly to me.  He feared all other humans (although he had accepted my former partner, Robert, but had never sat on his lap).

Dumbles, 1999-2011

Our other cat Maddy, two years older, had never forgiven us for bringing Dumbles and Marble home.  (I had mistakenly thought she was lonely and would enjoy the company.)  She still growled at the very sight of them and had moved outside in a huff for a few years, but as she got older she relented and came back in.  She despises all cats and likes every human she meets, although she will lure a person into scritching her belly and then give a bite as a reward..

Maddy the grumpy

At The Planter Box garden centre we were always greeted warmly by the gregarious Cassius, who liked all people but would chase a dog right out of the shop.  He had originally lived at Sea Garden but there he had bullied a shy and timid resident cat.  Being a shop cat with important jobs to do (greeter, mouser) was ideal for Mr. Cassius.

Cassius, King of the Planter Box

Meanwhile, a friend  had begun to foster kittens from our local South Pacific County Humane Society, so one precious litter after another made its way through her guest room.

The first litter came complete with momma kitty and all of them, including the mother, were adopted.

first litter and mother cat

litter number one, growing up

The second litter was motherless and had to be bottle fed, which we helped with occasionally.

bottle feeding kittens

kittens from the second fostered litter

They grew up scrappy and brave.  One got adopted, but our friend found she could not part with the other three.  That’s the danger of being the kitten mom with a bottle.

confident kittens

three of the bottle fed crew

Bottle fed kittens also must be washed by their human with a warm washcloth to mimic the licking of the mother cat.

weaned

2 bottle-fed kittens grown up

the pinky white pair

The next pair of bottle fed kittens was a pinky-white pair.  Our friend’s mom helped out with the frequent feeding.  All the cats got along well, usually.

second and third litter

pinky white kits

Finally came the last fostered litter of 2009, this time with their mother.  We called them the hat cats because each kitten and the mom had hats on their heads.

hat cats

Again, all were adopted.  Our local shelter is no-kill and is aided immeasurably by a revolving and caring bunch of kitten and puppy foster homes.  You can interact with the shelter via their Facebook page.  If you have time and the space to do so, consider fostering.

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At the darling Seaview cottage called Crank’s Roost, we managed to work one day in September at the project of creating paths through the south woodsy lot.  The established gardens inside the front gate and to the east of the house always filled our eyes with pleasant details as we sorted out picks, rakes, prybars and shovels for the job.

Crank’s birdhouse

at Crank’s Roost, 4 Sept

before and after, 9-4

The paths told me where they wanted to go as imagined where I would want to walk if the garden were mine.

accessing the back corner, 9-4

We need to place a chair or bench at the south-west back corner in order to make it a destination, because it can be nothing but a dead end due to the steep little slope along the south side fence.

a network of paths, 9-4

After one September work day and a check up on all of our regular jobs, we had to get ready for the Rod Run to the End of the World, one of the year’s biggest tourist weekend when the town gardens in Long Beach and Ilwaco need to be perfect.  Then we dove with all our energy into sorting my mother’s stuff for her moving sale and getting her home cleaned and ready to go on the market.  Finally, in October, we returned to Crank’s Roost to find that the wasp’s nest in the back of the wildnerness had been vacated, and we were able to clear that area.

the south side reclaimed, 10-12

Always the goal on the south side is to hide the north wall of the hulking grey house next door.  Its greyness blends with the sky, and it has no high nosily overlooking windows, but until trees grow up to hide it the sense of Crank’s Roost privacy will be incomplete.

On November 22nd after the first big seasonal rains, we pondered the look of the south side garden and decided that 2010s project would be some raised gravel paths to improve drainage and make the garden walkable in all weather.

rainy season, 11-22

The marsh grass could stay in a couple of swales, perhaps even deepened to give a place for the water.  Some bog plants like Darmera peltata and perhaps some skunk cabbage (known poetically in the UK as swamp lanterns) could be added.

The storm had been not just lots of rain but some fierce wind, creating an even bigger project that needed to be addressed.  The trees planted by Lisa and Buzz in boggy ground had gone all cattywampus and we could see that their now-exposed rootballs were rotting away in the damp.

a sad situation, 12-4

The trees a bit more to the back were still upright.  The tilted trees were indeed tall, as Allan demonstrated by standing next to one.

The trees had been rather large when planted.  My theory, inspired by other people’s research, is that if one plants a smaller tree it WILL catch up in a very few years to a bigger tree, and will be able to root in and establish itself better because it will suffer less transplant shock. “A six-foot tree will make an immediate impact, but a smaller tree will establish more quickly and soon catch up on a larger one.”  (words of wisdom from the Cheltonham Tree Group)

On this last 2009 workday at Crank’s Roost, not all was gloomy trees atilt and boggy puddles.  The sun came out and cast beautiful backlighting onto the garden.

Crank’s Roost lantern, 12-4

late autumn, 12-4

our friend Sophie came to work with us and basked in the sun.

Postscript:  In late February of 2010 we dealt with the tree problem.  When digging them out we heard an earthy squelching sound and found brackish water in the root holes.  Wondering if they would even survive, we moved them to the back slightly higher slope where they could work on hiding the grey house.

late February 2010: Look at that tiny root mass!

In 2010 we did make gravel paths and raised some of the planting beds and added some charming smaller trees.  In summer at least the willow hides most of the grey house, and as for the trees, we wait.  The transplanted ones have, to our amazement, survived.

summer 2011 at Crank’s Roost

Writing this reminds me that I never did plant Darmera peltata there.  This would be a great time to transplant some from a vigorous patch in a Long Beach park!

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Helianthus and Cape Fuchsia

The beauty continued, post-garden tour, in Laurie’s garden on the bay.

How I love Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ in the fall:  The pale yellow little sunflowers, and the dramatic height….which of course in Laurie’s Jurassic Garden grew even a little taller than anywhere else (thanks to a sprinkler system and manure from her five horses).

Tasteful pale yellow and green makes an excellent backdrop for any other plant.  ‘Lemon Queen’ blooms for at least two weeks if not longer.  Not long enough….but worth the wait, and lingering in memory.

Phormium, Barberry ‘Rosy Glow’, Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Hebe backed with Phormium, Barberry, Helianthus

I had great luck with Hebes in Laurie’s garden.  They came through every winter and bloomed profusely from summer on into the winter.  All Laurie’s Hebes came in small pots from Joy Creek Nursery and burgeoned into dramatic structural plants with powderpuff pink or white flowers.

Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed)

Never have I seen Joe Pye Weed get as huge as at Laurie’s.  It spoiled me; I always expect it to get this big in other gardens and it never, ever does because the magic isn’t there.  They say “the best fertilizer is the gardener’s own shadow” and I know that Laurie loved and talked to her plants.  The only problem was that eventually Joe Pye would fall right over, and he was far too monstrous to be staked.

Joe Pye taking a bow

The latest of lilies bloomed into the end of September.  Our lily source was mostly the Van Engelen catalog with a few from B&D Lilies.

towering lily, 23 September

If one ever tired of gazing upon the garden (or in winter when only tawny foliage structure and ornamental grasses remained), the view of the bay was always just beyond..


and nearby there were always horses…

Moony and Dewey

We had this job for one more summer after 2009, until Laurie and Mike moved away.  Usually when a job ends I am glad to let it go, even when I think I won’t be, because we are always overbooked.  But Laurie’s garden is the one that I will always miss, and it would not be Laurie’s garden without Laurie and Mike….and the equine cast of Dewey, Mooney, Pinta, Elé, Katchina…

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We continued to plant, groom, and bucket water the Ilwaco planters, as well as two at the library that we took on as a small volunteer project.

2 planters, 21 April

library planters, 9 June

Eagle Street planters, 9 July

(plants: Cosmos ‘Sonata’, Salvia viridis (painted sage), Diascia, Golden Marjoram, Violas)

Main Street, Lake Street, 9 July

But wait, what is THIS?  Some yobbo (walking between the port and the local tavern?) pulled a Cosmos right out and left it to die.  Why?  Not even theft, this is wanton vandalism.

finger blight, 9 July

Thankfully this cosmos was caught in time to be saved by emergency resusciation….Dunk completely into water bucket, fill planting hole with water, replant, water again.

Onward we went with our water buckets (and one watering can), fuming, no doubt.

on First between Lake and Spruce, 9 July

On the east side of First at the stoplight intersection, our planter was joined by the containers cared for by the Café and Antique Store that was there at the time.  That reminds me of a late afternoon when we were watering and an irate and officious man bustled out of the store and accused us of parking in a handicapped zone.  I was hefting a five gallon bucket of water at the time (that’s over 40 pounds of water) and I said to him “I’ll NEED to park in a handicapped zone ALL the time if I have to carry these buckets any further.”  We faced off.  He retreated.  I knew darn well we were NOT in a handicapped zone…confirmed by the store owner when I asked her later.

lots of planters, 9 July 2009

On the 26th of July, a Sunday morning, while on our way to do something else (work, probably),  I saw that the planter nearest the tavern looked very strange…all wilted.  A closer look revealed that someone had ripped all the plants out and thrown them around about a ten foot circle around the planter.  (Evidence: soil on the sidewalk and street.)  Then someone else (or the same person, repentant?) had piled them back into the planter, but just on top of the soil (below left).  We got water, soaked the plants that might be salvageable, replanted them, put the others in a trash bucket, and were left with a planter looking pitiful (below right).

26 July, a finger blight mystery

Why, we wondered, did someone put the plants back on top of the planter.  Did s/he think that would save them?  We’ll never know.  In high dudgeon I took pictures of a couple of planters just up the block to show how they SHOULD look in comparison to the one we had tried to fix that was, really, unfixable.  By the end of July, no more Cosmos ‘Sonata’ was available for sale so I could not acquire healthy plants to match the ones in other planters.

planters as they should be, 26 July

By the 29th of July, I was completely fed up with the finger blight…nay, outright theft…that plagued one particular planter down by the boatyard.  Every time I planted it, the center plant was stolen, leaving a hole.   After the fourth time, I put this sign in (inspired by a sign I had seen at Seattle’s Tilth garden]…and after that the new plant was left alone.

hands off, 29 July

[2012 note:  I learned over the winter that a woman who lived in an RV Park at the east end of the port was the consistent thief of plants from shops as well as the street planters.  When she died, coffee cans each with a dead plant were found in her trailer.  And no, I did not rejoice at her death, but it may explain why thievery has dropped off…nor was any planter completely trashed in 2010 or 2011 so perhaps the worst vandal has also left town, one way or another.]

We also cared for the streetside garden and the garden boat at Time Enough Books, starting with narcissi and tall yellow tulips (“Big Smile”).

garden boat, 5 May

By 2009 the old garden boat had gotten so decrepit that bookstore owner Karla thought it might have to be consigned to the dump.  We repaired the boat with some stakes to make it last for another year or two.  After the tulips, we planted Cosmos, but I seem to have not photographed the summer boat at all.  So I’m cheating and putting it the photo, below, from 2007.  The astute viewer might realize that the Phormium in the bow is smaller and that the stakes holding the boat together were not yet necessary.

2007 garden boat, August

At the beginning of October I decided to broach to the post mistress an idea that had been brewing in my mind for some time: making a volunteer flower garden at the post office.  She gave us the all clear so on a very hot day, when the only thought in my mind came to be “Who’s stupid idea was this, anyway?!”, we dug out the sod.  Fortunately the postmistress, who lived right next door, had some areas in her yard that needed filling in so we did not have to haul it far.

before, after, 4 October

The scrubby lawn was a bugger to dig up and to my horror the subsoil turned out to be heavy clay like my garden over behind the boatyard.  I had imagined easy peasy sand….

Happily for us, a wonderful new espresso place and antique store called Olde Towne Trading Post had opened two doors down so we went down there for a refreshing break. [Foreshadowing: this would become one of my favourite places of all time.]

Olde Towne Coffee Café, autumn 2009

The postmistress’s cat and dogs and her downstairs neighbour’s handsome Rottweiller watched us dig*.

cat and dogs next door

Thank goodness for amusing cat and dog antics during a miserable hot digging session.  Finally, at almost sunset, we got to cooler temperatures and the adding of soil amendments.

next morning, 5 October

The English Nursery in Seaview donated some plants, and we provided a few, and later planted many the bulb.   The garden turned out well….

Post Office Garden, April, May, and August 2010

*[Sad 2012 note:  In 2011, the sweet Rottie who helped us endure that hot digging day died with his beloved human in a small plane crash.  I mention this because Ilwacoans will have probably felt a sad pang at the photo of such a nice dog….and remembered his nice and well-regarded owner, Kevin Dooney.]

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We’ve been helping with garden care at Klipsan Beach Cottages for many years and it’s still our favourite job for a number of reasons:  Owner Mary loves and collects cool plants; her spouse Denny is droll and amusing;  the budget includes soil amendments and some new plants each year; part of the garden is fenced away from deer, and we don’t have to worry about the watering because it’s well taken care of by the garden owners.  A view of the beach from the old-fashioned row of cottages, a nice dog (Riley) and two charming cats (Timmy and Sarah), and sometimes a cup of tea with cookies are also factors in KBC’s rating top of the jobs.  In 2010, I created a Facebook page for KBC and during gardening season I update it every week to ten days with new photos.

While I am sorely tempted to do a slide show, I fear that format could be repetitive so I’ll save it for the Long Beach planters.  Here’s a photo essay on the KBC gardens in 2009.  (My favourite part of a three year high school photography class was when teacher Denise Mannery’s assigned photo essays…which involved pasting photos onto paper, with captions, to tell a story.  How she would have loved being able to do the sort of photo essays we can now do online!)

4 April, basket of Fritillaria meleagris

In April, one of the cats observed our work closely.

feline audience, 4 April

On the fourth of April after work, I looked up from where we park near Denny’s burn pile and saw the most amazing colour of blue sky.

so blue, 4 April

18 April, cottage windowboxes

Each of the eight cottages at KBC has two windowboxes, as does the A Frame rental.  We insert plastic windowboxes inside wooden frames, first with a selection of early blooming small bulbs (narcissi, species tulips, snowdrops, crocus, fritillaria meleagris), then with summer annual combinations chosen and planted by Mary.

By the entry to the basement laundry room blooms yearly one of my favourite species tulips, Tulipa sylvestris.  I order this one from Colorblends.  It’s combined with the precisely checked Fritillaria meleagris, AKA Checkered Lily, AKA Guinea Hen Flower.

Tulip sylvestris

On the 3rd of July, we made our weekly visit to get the gardens quite perfect for 4th of July weekend.  The guests surely share this motto from outside one of the cottage doors:

Mary’s windowboxes, planted in mid-May, flourished and trailed by the cottage windows.

windowboxes, 3 July

On the very bright and sunny 9th of July, climbing rose ‘New Dawn’ put on a pretty show with its petals scattered on the lawn.  Unfortunately. ‘New Dawn’ gets such blackspot that we often resolve to get rid of it, but when it does this, we relent:

9 July, New Dawn

Inside one of the five gates to the blissfully deer-proof garden (blissful for the gardeners), Allium schubertii (lower right) was the star of the show.

Deer proof garden

By the A Frame and well outside of the deer fence, a large white rugosa rose bloomed…apparently not very tasty, or perhaps the hair-like thorns are more prickly than the larger thorns of other roses.

rugosa rose

Mary’s window boxes by the office looked even prettier than the ones on the cottages, maybe because they get more sun (a south rather than an east wall).

office windowbox, 9 July

(Below) By the big lawn is a surprise flowerbed we made for Mary one October afternoon when she and Denny were at the state fair.

Mary’s birthday flowerbed

You can see beyond the garden to the cottages on the ridge.  Just as the sun began to set we went into one and I was charmed by the table decoration as well as the great view.

cottage table

On the 24 of July the garden had reached its full summer exuberance.

24 July, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ in the fenced garden

24 July, Astrantia major and golden hardy Fuchsia

24 July, Eryngium

24 July, the lady fountain in Mary’s birthday border

After wandering the flowerbeds looking at hot summer colours one could gaze upon the lady fountain or the waterfalls in the pond.

pond waterfall, 24 July

On July 30th, the elephant garlic were just losing their little paper caps inside the deer fence…

Elephant garlic

Mary’s birthday flowerbed on July 3oth:

Shasta daisies, 30 July

Denny’s contribution to the birthday border had been to run plumbing and wiring for the lady fountain.

Within the deer fence, in a big pot in the very center, bloomed one of my favourite tender perennials, Salvia patens:

Salvia patens

It looks to me like we had chosen the paler, and harder to find, ‘Cambridge Blue’ cultivar.

The cottage windowbox trailing plants cascaded down into the hydrangeas.

cottage windowbox, 30 July

On August 6th, the following plants especially caught my camera’s attention:

beautiful mophead hydrangeas by one of the cottages, 6 August

Allium schubertii and Catananche (Cupid’s Dart)

Agapanthus backed with Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, 6 August

Elephant Garlic, 6 August

Agapanthus (gold), 6 August

blueberries, blue globe thistle, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, 6 August

Rose ‘Polka’, 6 August

Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’, 6 August

Elephant garlic with its cap on, 6 August

lily, 6 August

Sanguisorba, 6 August

On the 20th of August, both kitties joined us outside.

Timmy…or Sarah?

I find it hard to tell them apart, although Sarah is said to have a more worried looking face than Timmy does.

Sarah…or Timmy?

A new flowerbed along the A Frame deck planted with (of course) Cosmos and Painted Sage:

A Frame garden and deck

In the fenced garden, a delectable lily bloomed, one of a growing collection:

Lily, 20 August

We are so thankful for gardens with fenced areas where we can grow what we please without sharing with the deer.

deer fence gate detail

The three rebar gates were made by my former partner, Robert Sullivan.  I take credit for the idea of putting glass fishing floats in some of his artistically welded creations.

On October 2nd, I must have been feeling especially fascinated with the individual plants.

Melianthus major ‘Antenow’s Blue’, 2 October

Dahlia and “Golden Delicious’ pineapple sage

Meliathus major (South African honeybush) has big toothy leaves that smell just like peanut butter.  Some say old socks, but I repectfully disagree.  We like fragrant foliage….whether it be peanut butter, or the clearly pineapple fragrance of pineapple sage, or the irresistable chocolate of chocolate cosmos, or the fizz of “seven-up plant’, or the tart lemon of Santonlina, and even the harsh bitterness of Artemesia.

Verbascum, 2 October

Billardia longiflora berries, 2 October

By one of the deer fence gates, Billardia longiflora (once more rare of a find than it is now) dangled its purple or cobalt blue (depending on the light).

I don’t even remember growing a passionflower there in 2009, but here’s irrefutable evidence from my iPhoto library:

Passiflora caerulea, 2 October

Recently, on Garden Rant, I read an essay about how much more wonderful old roses, even with blackspot, are than the new Knock Out series.  Let me assure you the KBC gardens have their share of lovely old-style roses.  Mary’s favourite is ‘Jude the Obscure’.  But she has purchased a few different colours in the  Knock Out series, as in this one (and I think I see one…black…spot on a leaf):

a Knock Out rose

I like Geum ‘Mango Lassi’ because I love Indian food and mango lassi….and the apricot colour of the flower:

Geum ‘Mango Lassi’, 2 October

The special hydrangea ‘Izu No Hana’ from the old Heronswood Nursery was a gift from one of Mary’s brothers, who lives near Heronswood and mourns that it is not as it once was.  This lacecap hydrangea has the starriest flowers of cobalt and a lighter blue:

Hydrangea ‘Izu No Hana’

An Eryngium seedhead displays a fiercer, harder star:

Eryngium, 2 October

Although we would continue to visit the garden (every other week now that tourist season had ended) into the first week in December, the last photo of it that I took in 2009 said that autumn had arrived:

Autumn crocus, 2 October

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