Archive for the ‘fall clean up’ Category

Monday, 25 November 2019

I had to go to the medical clinic for an urgent care appointment this morning (and was lucky to get one).  More on this at the end of this post. I forgot to ask the doctor if I should take it easy.  He hadn’t said I shouldn’t work, so……to take my mind off of my hypochondriacal worrying, Allan and I went to do a small gardening job at the port.  Icy cold  is predicted for later this week.  I do not want to have to pull the cosmos in that sort of weather.

Allan took the photos at the garden on the south side of the port office.

I picked a bouquet from the pulled plants and presented it to the port office staff.

Twice during the job, we had to take refuge from heavy rain squalls.

In the middle of the cosmos project, we had driven to Long Beach to get two bags of Harvest Supreme mulch to finish off the port office garden.

The yellow chrysanthemums by the World’s End Pub still look too good to pull!

I want to be done with them but will leave them because they are in a prime location.  The hardy fuchsias in that planter are also in full bloom.

The Lost Roo restaurant

We decided to treat Jenna (Queen La De Da) to an early dinner at The Lost Roo restaurant in Long Beach.  She deserved a treat for working so hard at getting Ilwaco all ready for the holidays, all as a volunteer and president of the Ilwaco Merchants Association.

We lucked into my favourite booth, one that does not have a view of big screen televisions.  (The Roo is a sports bar.)

a toast and tater tots

I am partial the Roo’s ahi tuna tower.

Jenna and Allan had the stroganoff special.

and now…tales for hypochondriacs!

 Since November 12, I’d been mentally vacillating about whether I was getting another ear infection or perhaps just being a hypochondriac.  On November 21st, I would have told you that it was nothing but hypochondria.  On Friday November 22nd, of course just three hours before the hospital clinic was closing, I had felt some small stabby ear pains down inside while gardening. (We have no urgent care walk-in clinic here other than the emergency room, where my last bill was $900 for a ten minute visit.)

Saturday afternoon was the same.  Sunday morning, my ear felt full (although not painful) and I knew that I would have to call for an appointment today.

I apologize now, to my friends who have battled with cancer, lupus, MS, and worst of all the unconquerable ALS, for my complaint: that I just want one peaceful staycation without doctor visits.  Friends who go on real vacations often seem to manage long trips with no crises. So…Oh, for just one more fully peaceful staycation of solitude, reading and gardening projects in my lifetime!  The older I get, the less likely it is that I will have two months without doctor visits, and so I was really hoping that this would be the year, after the last two frustraing staycations with shingles (January 2018) and an ear infection (December 2018).  But no. And staycation has not even officially begun.

The doctor pulled something out of my ear that made me wonder later if I had a bit of a leaf in there, blown in on a windy day!  His response to my oh so casual question about whether or not the infection could spread to my brain was “Never say never.”  Because his prescription for ear drops did not include antibiotics, surely I should not worry…..

Because I will have to have a follow up appointment at our local clinic during stayacation, my best hope now is that I won’t have to go see the specialist a two hour drive away….in winter weather.

Later in the day, I should have avoided Dr. Google’s tales of brain abscesses.  Allan says that there is a medical term for people who look at Dr. Google too much, and I found out about a term for people who visit the emergency room with hypochrondria: Gomers (“Get out of my emergency room!”)






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Sunday, 24 November 2019

We’d had this much rain overnight.

The weather forecast was wrong.  The day, while a bit chilly, stayed dry.

Out my front window, my view of gloomy blackened sanguisorba leaves could be improved. The front bed stays mostly in full shade at this time of year.

I soon found myself out there gardening.

later, a view improved

Not only did I cut back the sad looking sanguisorbas and a few other perennials, but I also trimmed back some of the hellebores whose leaves are already sad and needed removal.

Old diseased leaves on hellebores should be removed and NOT composted.

I was pleased to see that the tall mahonia in Allan’s garden, which for years has only had one flower way up high…

…now has more flowers lower down.

The Jasminum nudiflorum is in bloom already.

(My camera has plotzed so all I have is my old iPhone for photos at the moment.)


Meanwhile, Allan had worked at the Ilwaco Community Building, mostly blowing leaves that were smothering the heathers.

He checked on The Cosmos that Will Not Die at the port office for me.

Even the night blooming stock there will not die.

The plants must be thriving from being against the south wall of the building.

a crab pot snowperson at the port

Home again, Allan cleaned the gutters of our house and the Nora House and got some interesting views from up there.

Our rolled roof is not a thing of beauty.

This evening, I had a look at Michael Pollan’s book, How to Change Your Mind.  Unable to muster up an interest in his experiences with LSD, I put it in the return pile and instead started a book called The Bad Food Bible.

It gave me many takeaways from the author’s research about dairy, gluten, sugar, carbs, MSG, coffee, alcohol, and more.  These are my favourites bits.

I may have gone overboard when I decided to cut back on salt this year!


Also, I want to try these.

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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Frosty greeted me when I awoke (after not enough sleep, again).

I am appreciating my time with him after coming home one evening last week and finding him all wobbly and confused again.  I had googled how much honey to give him and learned from reputable vet sites that it should be a tablespoon, not just the touch of honey I had given him the first time.  Getting a tablespoon of honey into a cat’s mouth was not easy.  He ended up with honey dripping from his whiskers and sticky honey on his ears and plenty of honey on my shirt sleeves.

Dr Google for cats informed me that he could die from one of these spells and that if he were to be found in a coma, we must try to administer honey or corn syrup.  I was glad that soon we will be home more.  I hope to have at least one more reading winter with him.  He is 15, maybe even 15 going on 16.

On the way to work, we pulled the last cosmos from the post office garden.  The light is so low now that even at midmorning, the River City Playhouse across the street casts a big shadow on the garden.

Port of Ilwaco

We began with a continuation of yesterday’s fall clean up along Howerton Avenue, from RiversZen Yoga to Salt Hotel.

the Time Enough Books garden boat

Long Beach

I tidied up Fifth Street Park’s west side some more while Allan worked on the east side and a street tree garden.  I’d got a last small shipment of bulbs and added some more narcissi (a cyclamineous mix and a miniature mix), hoping for a better spring show in 2020.

A handsome horse and carriage passed by going south….

Allan’s photo

…then west…

…and then to the north.

I had thought someone was calling out “Jeeves! Jeeves!” but it had been “Gee! Gee!”

The pineapple sage in the west garden continues to bloom.

Although it is the only one for blocks around, a hummingbird had found it and worked at every flower.

This particular pineapple sage has come back for several years in a row.  I must plant more in 2020.

The final street tree bed (of eighteen in all), before and after:

Allan’s photos

It will be chock-a-block with narcissi come springtime.

We then pulled the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ foliage out of all three parking lot berms on the east side of downtown.

after (Allan’s photos)
south berm
middle berm

I have always wanted to do something better on the middle berm than the few clumps of crocosmia and rugosa roses.  We have never found the time.  (And they do get walked upon by owners of parked cars.)  In the spring, the quaking grass takes over and is attractive.

blackberries on the north berm (Allan’s photo)

After we dumped a trailer load of debris at City Works, a beautiful cat appeared and inspected our work.

Allan’s photos

I did not have time to make friends.  We were racing sunset.

We cleaned up the welcome sign, pulling the agyranthemum, bottoming out the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and trimming the Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ so that the lights will shine on the sign without deep shadows (I hope).

I had to stand back a quarter of a block to not have my long shadow in the photo…and still had my head in the frame.

It was a warm day with no jackets needed!
after (I left some still blooming bidens along the edge.)
north side, before
and after (Allan’s photos)

The grape hyacinth foliage is already up, which is perfectly normal.

Port of Ilwaco

With less than an hour till sunset, we returned to the Howerton Avenue gardens, planted some narcissi in the east and the At the Helm Hotel curbside beds.

east bed (Allan’s photo)

Allan sheared down the pearly everlasting by the hotel.

after, with red twig dogwood looking grand

I did not have time to gather the precious leaves!  We had just time to get home, offload debris, catch our breath, and go back out to a meeting.  Additionally, there was the anxiety of Frosty having one of his bad spells.  We managed to get him to take a half tablespoon of corn syrup (a tablespoon being the goal), which proved to be sticky, but not half as sticky as tablespoon of honey.

Ilwaco Community Building

I was surprised how few people showed up other than the mayor, Jenna (president of the merchants association) and the members of the commission.  The seven? citizens who attended, including us and Marlene, enjoyed an excellent presentation.  That is Mayor Gary Forner speaking, in blue, below.

We now have a five day break before next Tuesday’s volunteer crab pot tree decorating session, after which I hope the weather allows us to do one last brief weeding of the Howerton Avenue gardens before Thanksgiving weekend’s tourists arrive.  If it doesn’t get done, that will be sort of ok, as they are not terribly weedy.

What is left on the work board looks much more daunting than it actually is.  (I was so mad that I had not written down “LB berms”, because I robbed myself of the joy of erasing it.)

Most of those locations on the “final check” list will take no more than an hour of work, and in some cases less than an hour.  I estimate that less than eight hours of work, some of it dependent on having a hard frost, stands between us and full staycation and a hiatus (not quite yet) from daily blog posts.


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Friday 15 November 2019

Mike’s garden

We started our workday nearby by applying two bags of Gardner and Bloome Acid Planting Mix around Mike’s shore pine, to try to make it happier.

The garden will get another visit after all the cherry leaves fall.

Today we were in a rush to get up to Long Beach and finish the planters.

During a quick stop at home to offload compostable debris, Frosty expressed his wish that we would stay home.

My potted trailing rosemary is blooming now.

I would have enjoyed staying home.

Long Beach

I started with some tidying of the big Lewis and Clark Square planter…

…and got to pet the very good dog, Gracie.

Allan worked on some nearby tree gardens.


after, outside Castaway’s Bar and Grille

We finished trimming the planters we did not get to yesterday.

In a planter by the World’s End Pub, the yellow chrysanthemums and the fuchsia are still thriving.

Those chrysanths might be the last thing to cut back in Long Beach.  Not today.

North of the light, another yellow one got spared…

…but purple and pink ones had mostly gone brown and got mostly cut to the base.

This pink one got a reprieve for now (Allan’s photo)

We saw our friend Heather of NIVA green.

While buying two bags of Harvest Supreme mulch for tomorrow (Dennis Co had 6 bags left!), I noticed that the Hebe ‘Boughton’s Dome’ across from Dennis Company is getting a funny looking hairdo on the top and the left side.

I should have taken a cutting off the side piece to propagate but was too tired.

We tidied up the last of the west side of city hall…

although no one took an after photo to prove it.

But wait!  Allan took one several days later when we went to pick up our cheque.

A large dandelion had snuck in….

…among the phygelius.

At home, I considered the fall clean up column on the work board to be so close to done that I shifted everything to a final check up list.

It looks more daunting than it is, as some of the final checks will take half an hour or less…if we get cold weather before 2020.

The weather forecast says that tomorrow and perhaps through Monday will be reading weather. Even so, I hope to get one job done tomorrow.


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Thursday, 14 November 2019

We had an appointment with Shelly at NW Insurance and Financial to get me signed up for Medicare (which must be done months in advance).  There are all sorts of medical things I might address more thoroughly when that time comes (but in case certain people get all excited to read that, a knee replacement is not on the agenda until we are semi retired—or it goes completely wonky, whichever comes first).

Despite drizzle and a cold wind, we then got to work on the Long Beach planters and street tree gardens, clipping and shearing and tidying shabby plants.  I am tired of waiting for frost.  It must be done now, before the city crew puts the holiday lights on the lamp posts.

Allan’s first project, the tree outside Shelly’s office:

I clipped the dreaded rugosa rose tree garden across the street.  It gets so full of weed grass over the summer that it slowed down our start considerably.

another tree, before

and after

trimming Geranium ‘Rozanne’

blue felicia daisy still blooming—it got a pass.


after, with lavenders and escallonia (that wants to be huge) trimmed

still-blooming orange bidens got a pass

Allan at work

We kept going till we could no longer clearly see our work.

With nine planters and several tree gardens left to do, we had to stop.

That sort of exhausting push-push-push at work deserves a reward.

The Depot Restaurant

We arrived just as the restaurant opened and got our favourite little table at the end of the bar.

We had a most delicious and revitalizing dinner.

wilted spinach salad and clam chowder

Allan’s photo

Steak Killian with green scallion sauce and potato gratin

I could not resist a blackberry trifle, so we split one.

I think that will give us enough energy to get through the rest of the week.

We simply parked our trailer load of debris to deal with tomorrow morning.  It was rather heavy, so some of Allan’s new energy got sapped straightaway.

After watching Rachel Maddow, an episode of The Great British BakeOff was another reward for our hard work.



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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

I wanted to capture how sparkly the azolla looked on our small pond after a night of rain.

I failed to show the sparkle.  Azolla is a water “fern” that came in to my ponds on some plant or other.  If we have a hard freeze, it might go away.  I like it.  I just scoop it out with a net and throw it on the garden bed nearby.  A most interesting article in Scientific American, “Can the Fern that Cooled the Planet Do it Again?”, tells about its prehistoric history and how it might be useful against climate change.  The article also states that is is edible (and tastes “like a blade of grass”). It’s a must read.  Perhaps azolla should be taken off the noxious weed list, eh?

midday back garden; the hips are from Rosa moyesii

Norwood garden

We finally got two doors down to the Norwood garden to trim up the small garden beds.

Allan thought the entrance needed a bit of a trim…

…so he fixed it.

trimming lavender

before, east side (forgot the after)

west side lavender before


The lavenders are probably a decade old and still bloom profusely.

I fretted over the privet I cut back hard last time, to make it more shapely next year.  I scraped at a stem with a fingernail and it is green underneath, so it should be fine.

Allan weeded the north bed.

We then stopped at the Depot Restaurant just to water the window boxes.

still blooming (Allan’s photo)

Long Beach

We went to Dennis Co in a quest for mulch, the quickest place to buy some bags for a south end job.  They did not have what I wanted (Soil Building Compost and potting soil).  How can potting soil be missing from the stock in winter?  Surely people repot their house plants, at the very least.  (There was one stack of potting soil bags of the fanciest and most expensive sort that is out of my league.)

However, the stop did reveal to us how terribly messy the two northernmost planters were.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ gone all shabby


As I turned my attention to the planters across the street, Lezlie and I sighted each other.


Just this morning, I had sent her the link to this delightful blog post with this hilarious bit about going to town: “Today we had a day trip to the big city, well a city anyway.  We wore our best smocks held neatly in place with baler twine and caught the horse and trap into town.” Lezlie and I had a good laugh about it because “getting out the old mule and buckboard” is how we describe the effort it takes for her to come all the way south (about a fifteen minute drive) or for us to go all the way north to visit her in the Klipsan Beach area.

We got to pet this beautiful dog who was watching me work.

Allan’s photo

As for the second planter, if a santolina still looks good, I like to leave it till spring before trimming.  But if it looks like this…

….I do this.


Meanwhile, Allan had sheared back a street tree garden where the BadAster has firmly insinuated itself.

While I would have liked to collect all those leaves, we did not have time.

The Planter Box

We drove on to The Planter Box for our mulch and potting soil.

autumn display

As we were leaving, Teresa asked if we could identify a plant from a customer’s phone photo.  We could not.  But in the course of the conversation with the customer, Heidi, we learned that her uncle was Frank Herbert (author of the Dune series, which i loved in high school).  When I learned she is not on Facebook, we talked about the book I have been reading called Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy. She recommended a book called The Soul of Silence.  It was a fortuitous introduction.  (I wish she and I could be Facebook friends.)

The Red Barn

We did a thorough weeding of the narrow garden bed and mulched it with Gardner and Bloome Soil Conditioner.  I had hoped one bale would be enough, as I had other plans for the second bale. The garden bed took both.

The main weed here is the annoying creeping sorrel.

Allan’s photos:


our good friend, barn cat Cosmo

in our van


I admired the way someone had decorated one of the planters.

pineapple sage and fall decor

Diane’s garden

Next door to the barn we did more fall cutting back at Diane’s garden.  We were rather anxiously racing sunset. I had been unable to remember if I had clipped back the tall sanguisorbas.  My own blog’s photos of last time had showed me we had not.

The roadside garden at dusk, after clipping the sanguisorba and some other plants:

I think I can consider the roadside garden as put to bed for the winter.  There will be just one more visit to Diane’s to tidy her back garden containers if we have a hard frost.

in Diane’s back garden

Allan trimmed the bed next to the house.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’s dried flowers will look fine through the winter.

The work board tonight:










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Monday, 11 November 2019

The autumnal view from my breakfast spot:

The paper strips across the window (seen at top of photo) are at just the height to block the blazing white security lights directly across the street.

Cardoon in the front garden:


We finished the Ilwaco planters, cutting back the plants hard and removing ones that had not worked, like the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’  that had been so prone to mildew….

…and the aggressive golden oregano.

With the annuals also removed, the planters are now a blank slate for a new gardener.  Many spring bulb flowers will appear in early 2020, and then something new is going to have to happen, I hope.  I have many mixed feelings about giving the planters up.  I remind myself repeatedly how exhausting it was for Allan to have to do all the heavy bucket watering (or slow and still strenuous water trailer watering).  I looked back (and so can you) on how glorious they looked in the past.

We took the clumps of golden oregano to the fire station.

This tree was ablaze there.
fire station parking lot

The oregano got planted by Allan in the narrow and contained east side garden.

Allan’s photo
calendula still blooming (Allan’s photo)
Allan’s photo of plants set where I wanted them planted
Allan’s photo

 I made a new area for some more oregano.

I will get around to weeding the rest of that little bed later. I did some cutting back of the main garden bed.  Some of the plants I will leave standing tall for awhile longer.

We then turned our attention to the Ilwaco boatyard garden and, rather to my surprise, got it done before dark.  The work consisted of clipping back some plants and a lot of weeding.  It will take one more check up after a frost (or in late November, whichever comes first).  The cosmos are still blooming!

A nice boat fellow told us how much he appreciates the garden and that it makes the boatyard unique among boatyards.

Solidago ‘Fireworks’ left up for the birds, and because I like the way it looks.
Allan’s photo of future compost.

looking north at the Ilwaco street trees (columnar ornamental pears)

Far left, above, the crab pot Christmas tree awaits volunteer decorating next Tuesday.

red penstemon still blooming
Allan’s photo
Meanwhile, overhead (Allan’s photos)

At home, we had a leaf mowing frenzy till dark of all the leaves from the community building and some from the Norwood driveway.

Allan’s photo

The work board tonight:



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