Archive for the ‘fall clean up’ Category

Monday, 12 November 2019

Skooter wakes up.

After our days of skiving off work for Halloween (but not resting), we buckled down to the fall clean up tasks.

Here is a mystery cat, a photo taken by Allan…somewhere along the way to work.  Unfortunately for me, I missed seeing it.

The Depot Restaurant

It was high time to clip the hops off of the dining deck lattice.  In fact, sous chef Jamie told us that they had just taken in the outdoor seating and had wondered when the hops would be removed.  I do like to stay one step ahead so that no one has to ask us to do things, thus we were just in time.

I trimmed from the outside, while Allan trimmed from the inside.


north side of dining deck


I like to leave some perennials standing.

Allan’s photos:

We cleaned up along the east wall of the restaurant and put some river rock in a low spot where the edging logs got shifted..

Now we wait for a hard frost to take down the window box annuals, and we try to remember to put some water on the window boxes once a week.

north side

still blooming, planted by Roxanne from Basket Case Greenhouse

Long Beach

I started a clean up of the NW quadrant garden, putting in about an hour of work.


Because birds are still enjoying the seeds, I left some tall perennials in place even though I think some passersby will find it messy.

seeds on Solidago ‘Fireworks” and sanguisorba



an hour later



The pale pink hesperantha, either Mrs. Hegarty or Viscountess Byng, is such a runner that we pulled much of it last spring.  A large amount that evaded us has been blooming beautifully in the autumn.  I find that if we pull a massive amount, then about the perfect quantity of blooms remain.

Meanwhile, Allan string trimmed an impossible-to-weed bed (dank, wet, rooty) in the SE quadrant across the street.


There is talk of removing this bed, trees and all.  The trees themselves are not healthy because of the wet soil.

With all that work done, I took this photo, below, and then ate my lunch whilst Allan ran the blower on the pavement.

We drove to Ilwaco and checked on the south garden by the Port of Ilwaco office—still with the cosmos that will not die.

just before sunset

It was not till we got home that Allan realized, while unloading debris, that the string trimmer and rake had been left behind on the bench in Fifth Street Park.  He hared back there.  Before he had arrived, I got a message from Cathy of Captain Bob’s chowder that a Long Beach local had noticed the tools and had alerted Cathy, who was holding them for us in the restaurant.  Whew.  We know other public gardeners who lost some power equipment by leaving it behind and having it gone by the time they returned and looked for it. The next time we saw our rescuer, Allan gave him a tip for saving us some stress and money.

Being home by five meant I had a nice relaxed evening for writing up the Halloween blogs at last.


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Sunday, 3 November 2019

at home

Skooter still sleeping after our breakfast time

We had had just a wee bit of unexpected rain.

I had quite a list of garden projects for today.

First, drag and chop the soft material from the Corridor of Spooky Plants from this pile into the compost bins.

Second, retrieve and crumble up for the compost bins some wood from the old stump next door.

Third, weed and mulch (with some of the root balls from Long Beach hanging baskets) the front driveway bed.

My results:

The soft pile is pretty much dealt with.

The stump is somewhat chopped away.

The bigger chunks went into a pile for little critters.

driveway bed is improved

I have one little stunner of a fall crocus in that bed, with no memory of where I acquired it.

Bob Nold tells me it is the saffron crocus, C. sativus, and adds, “Ever smelled fresh saffron? Give the styles a gentle tug, they’ll come off.”   I will, if they are still there tomorrow (because I am writing this five days later).

Meanwhile, Allan’s project was to run all the woody debris through the Mighty Mac.

the woody pile from the Corridor of Spooky Plants

The Mighty Mac (Allan’s photo0

After awhile, I smelled and saw a cloud of smoke.  Silence reigned as Allan turned the Mighty Mac off and poked about underneath.

Another lesson in how to run the thing: you should clear out underneath now and then.  A belt had broken.  The pile of willow in the background won’t get chopped today.

Allan’s photo

Allan turned to the electric Pencil Sharpener which takes one slim branch at a time.

Allan’s photo

This much of the woody Halloween pile still remained.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I took all the woody lily and helianthus stalks from his pile and hand chopped them into the compost bins.

There is Halloween in two bins:

The shreddings and chippings…

…went back to the bogsy wood as mulch.  The Pencil Sharpener makes finer debris but takes longer.

The Halloween woody debris pile is gone.

At the very end of tidying up, I had an unfortunate encounter with my Mermaid rose….

…adding one more owie to my right hand. I had on a glove, but only a thin exam glove. (Looks worse than it is,  but it sure did hurt.)

Now Allan’s task of sorting and storing the light strings is all that is left of Halloween.

Tomorrow we must seriously apply ourselves to a week of work, so that task will wait.

Standard time has come upon us with the end of Daylight Saving Time.  It felt glorious to close the curtains at 5 PM and look forward to long, dark evenings with more time to read.

After dark, Allan helped Jenna move one last thing, a heavy tool cabinet, to her Mermaid Sandcastle….

with the help of Don and Jim.

…and then ran all her extra cardboard boxes to the recycling bins at the port.

Tomorrow: back to work with another week of clear weather in the forecast.



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Friday, 1 November 2019

I’d had a bad night’s sleep because, while removing the tawdry cobwebs along the front fence at ten o clock last night, I had managed to jab a thorn or sliver under my middle right hand fingernail.  Why would I be so foolish as to not wear gloves while gardening by streetlight? I ask you. I usually wear thin exam gloves that would not have protected me, anyway.  Even though neither Allan nor I could see any sliver, the throbbing kept me awake till I finally wrapped my finger in a cold washcloth.  I thought about friends who have lain awake with the bone pain of chemotherapy or the post-surgery pain of knee replacements and felt rather foolish to be so felled by pain in one finger.

Friday was the first clean up day of the driveway and the garage woodland grotto.  Allan had gone off to flog his book at a holiday bazaar.

photo by bazaar organizer Karen Brownlee

Judy and Larry again drove down from Ocean Park to help out, and again the weather was like a perfect, not too warm summer day.

Before, 11:30 AM:

Last night, we had just managed to get enough shoved into the garage to shut the door, and then I had puttered on my own for a couple of hours retrieving my scary-cover book displays and packing up the small Halloween figurines that Allan inherited from his mother.

Allan agrees with me that painting the inside of the garage door a dark colour (could be green instead of black) will help with the grotto effect for next year.

Larry removed the lower level of Halloween lights and took all my watering cans (part of the spooky plant display) to the back patio.

Larry figuring out what he can take down without a ladder

Judy raked leaves from the sides of the display and dismantled the tomato cage ghosts…

…while I hauled debris into two piles behind the garage, one for the compost bins and one for chipping.

Judy helping to sort things out

Two hours later, I had over half of the plant debris hauled and the sphagnum moss collected into a barrow to be dumped in a pile somewhere in the bogsy wood.

Judy and Larry departed.  What champion friends they were to help set up AND take down Halloween.

the garage at 2 PM

Our Kathleen stopped by to get her ticket from us for tomorrow night’s 6×6 art auction.  She kindly waited while I took apart the Halloween bouquets and put them back together into a bouquet for the auction, then drove me and it down to the museum.

outside Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum

At 3 o’ clock, I got back to work, dragging the last of the debris to piles behind the garage.

Meanwhile, in Long Beach, after the bazaar day ended at 4 PM, Allan had checked on Fifth Street Park and found the gunnera heavily frosted.

gunnera, Allan’s photos

gunnera tucked in for the winter with leaves to protect the crown from frost.

Lilies got cut down.


cosmos in Fifth Street Park

The reward for this work is that we could have Sunday off instead of driving up to Long Beach to check on plants.

By the time Allan arrived home, I had already seen a photo of his work, sent to me by Cathy of Captain Bob’s Chowder from her restaurant doorway.

When he arrived, I had just started chopping leaves on the driveway with the mower.  Such dust it raised!

Allan’s photo, 5 PM

Allan dismantled the pumpkin head ghost and hand-carted the two heavy benches into the back garden. In the dusk, I used the potting soil from the big pots that had held spooky plants to pot up 23 gallon pots of Allium christophii. That’s the epilogue to Bulb Time!

By evening, the driveway looked like this.

I collapsed into my comfy chair, delighted to find that Autumnwatch had appeared on BritBox TV.

How I adore “the watches”.  Along with nature observation in the Scottish Cairngorms, we visited a garden show with a garden designed to attract wildlife.

It is in three parts….

and is a glorious inspiration.

The key is to not be too tidy.

Together, we watched The Biggest Little Farm, a delightful documentary that Allan had happened upon at the library.  You will be glad of it if you can see it.

The week of social events continues tomorrow with more holiday bazaar for Allan and the 6×6 art auction at 5 PM.

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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

I was mighty glad we had some days off, because we had much to do.

Next door, Sue, “That Lady with a Tractor”, worked on clearing blackberries from the back yard.  Allan took some photos.

The blackberries did not win the battle.

I have never seen the back of the garage before!

A huge stump from a tree that was cut down years ago, and then had a rock-edged flower bed built around it, had become a haven for blackberries and bindweed. It proved daunting to the tractor…although the rock edge got mostly dismantled, after the willow branches hanging over it were trimmed.

I have my eye on the disintegrating wood for compost and mulch and on the rocks for garden bed edging.  (I have permission to scavenge them.)

By one o clock, I was able to start cutting material from the garden for the Corridor of Spooky Plants.

lily stalks and Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' will be part of it. Lily stalks and Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ will be part of it.

Tomorrow, I will be turning the garage into a woodland grotto, using long branches from the dark-leaved physocarpus.

Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ (beautyberry) will not get cut.

Skooter supervised.

after cutting the lily stalks after cutting the lily stalks

As I scrounged around for plant decor, I found some big branches down from last week’s wind.

That’s why we avoid the bogsy wood on windy days.

In the driveway, the taller stalks and branches got tied to the iron fence and the rebar posts, and the shorter ones got stuffed into pots full of soil.  It took many trips from back yard to front yard.

Jazmin enjoyed the bits of debris.

Skooter observed from next door….

…and later, worn out, napped in the laundry room sink.

In the late afternoon, the Girl Scouts came around from house to house on the Ilwaco flatlands, bringing candy from the Ilwaco candy drive to make sure that we all had enough for the hordes.

Allan’s photos

down the street at Missy’s house
and another house on the next block

I took our candy drive bags to our new neighbors down the block, giving me an opportunity to meet them. I learned that Peggy is an artist.  You can see her beautiful paintings on her blog, here. I am looking foward to a rainy day of perusing all of it, and I look forward to seeing what she paints in Ilwaco.

Peggy and Robert were glad of the extra candy.  Kevin, whose house they are renting, later told us that during his first year in Ilwaco, he had thought the candy drive was cute, because he expected just a few kids.  (We had not met him then to warn him!)  He had run to the little local store three times during that evening to replenish.  The same thing happened to us during our first Halloween in Ilwaco in 2010 (before the candy drive was initiated).  Allan made at least one emergency candy run to the little store. (No one had warned us, either!)

At 5:40 PM, we had gotten as far as we could today with the outdoor decorations.

Last year, I had the pots pulled forward to make a narrower and spookier entryway.  This year, I will let it be wider because we noticed that the costumes are getting bigger every year.

Allan went out at dusk to help Jenna move a load to her Long Beach Mermaid Sandcastle event centre. I turned to setting up the garage with buckets all down the sides, partly filled with water and ready to receive branches and stalks tomorrow.

home after dark (Allan’s photo)

Tomorrow, we have as much if not more to do.  The Corridor of Spooky plants started because we moved to Lake Street in mid-October 2010 and had to pull together some quick Halloween decor. It was a big hit with the trick or treaters of all ages (although some little ones found it almost too spooky.) Last year, because of bad weather, we moved it to the garage driveway instead of the narrow front door entry and learned that we had been missing some of the larger costumes all along. So the garage woodland grotto is now a part of the yearly preparations, because a spooky plant corridor leading to a normal, boring garage simply will not do.



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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

I noticed a flower bud that had snuck up on me.

I am amazed I had not broken it off while opening and closing the curtains.

Skooter (Allan’s photos)

Before work, we watched someone else work for awhile as the big meadow, formerly lawn and now gone to long grass, got mowed next door.  Now that it is short again, Allan will add it to his mowing roster. Some of the grass was too tough for the mower to go through.

While I am sad to see the meadow go away and to think of what a shock the deer will have, I was all for this project because the bindweed was getting a strong foothold in among the grasses.

The Planter Box

 First, we ran an errand up to The Planter Box to get five bags of potting soil and some bagged mulch and to admire their impressive pumpkin display.

and ornamental cabbages

We encountered a gardening couple who invited us to come see the autumn display at their garden soon.  I am determined to fit this in before Bulb Time.

I had been relieved this morning to get an email saying that bulbs will arrive next Wednesday, October 23rd.  Last year they arrived on October 12th, making life  much easier, with plenty of time to sort and plant before Halloween.  Mustn’t grumble; some years (before I started writing a plaintive note with my order) they did not arrive till mid November.

On our way across Cranberry Road, we saw flooded, post-harvest cranberry bogs, where the berries had been floated to the surface for gathering.


Diane’s garden 

Our mulch destination was Diane’s septic vault garden.  I was sorry to see that it has critters, probably voles.

Allan’s photo

When Diane and Holly arrived, I braced myself for Holly’s onslaught.

She knows I have biscuits for her.

While Allan spread four bags of Harvest Supreme, I pulled some more battered and tired cosmos from the roadside garden.

It still had autumn beauty to offer to passersby.

Sanguisorba is the tallest flower, tied up to the fence.

The septic vault garden, which had be cleared of annuals after a frost last week, looks better mulched.

Allan’s photo

Long Beach

Trying to get as much done as we could before a predicted storm, we pulled some more Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, this time from one of the popouts on Ocean Beach Boulevard.


after (Allan’s photos)

I noticed that, up the road toward the beach, a young man was picking up trash from a big pile that had been dumped there.  I’d have thought it was dragged by a bear if any houses had been nearby.  My first thought was how very nice of him.  Before long, I could see just how big the pile was and so, while Allan string trimmed the pop out, I took some of our bags and went to help him.

The garbage was nasty and, he told me, had had some uncapped needles.  Between us, we collected it all, two big bags worth.  He was well pleased that we were able to take it  to the big dumpster at City Works.

after work

At home, Allan and I had time to empty the five bags of potting soil into assorted big pots, now unattractively stashed on both sides of our short driveway. These will become the base for the Halloween Corridor of Spooky Plants, which must be installed at the last minute. Later, the potting soil will go into the potting soil bins by the greenhouse.

Allan’s photos

Theresa of the Planter Box had given me a Heronswood hardy begonia and a sign, perfect for our Halloween gate.

I just barely had time to finish weeding the back driveway garden (by the Nora House driveway.




Then we were off with seconds to spare to a Friends of the Library board meeting at the Ilwaco branch.  An urgent plea for more volunteers had been put out.  Three of the board members are in their 80s.  We found out all about how we can help to sort donated books for the twice a year book sale, which funds many library extras.  I thought maybe, because we can’t help with the spring book sale that falls on what is now our plant sale weekend, we would not be of enough use. We were pleased to hear that they would be glad of the sorting and schlepping help at other times of the year. I cannot imagine an easier volunteer opportunity than sitting in a room sorting books.

The rain storm had begun as we entered the library and is predicted to continue for the next six days.





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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

With some colder weather in store, Allan had tried adding some plastic to the sides of the greenhouse lean to:

Allan’s photo

We found out this morning that it was so flappy and noisy in the wind that I worried it would keep our neighbours to the east awake.  Adding weights to the bottom did not help, so down it came.  The lean-to is useful enough without doors as it should keep frost off of tender plants.  Allan may add something stronger, but removable, for the coldest nights, once it gets figured out…

I began a project of cutting back honeysuckle and hops, all tangled with a lot of dead in it, on the arbors to the east of the compost bins.


I was quite enjoying the task when I happened to look at my pineapple sage and realized that the cold had surely damaged plants in the less sheltered Long Beach gardens.

pineapple sage

and Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’

So halfway into the afternoon, we had to switch gears and go to work.

We pulled the last of the Ilwaco cosmos…

….at the boatyard garden…

….and the Ilwaco pavilion garden.

We checked on the window boxes and barrels at the Depot Restaurant in Seaview and found that the annuals were still not ready to pull, even though I wish they were.

Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ still has some yellow daisies….

and the window boxes still have some flowers.

In Long Beach, we cut down chrysanthemums and Salvia leucantha in several planters.  The city crew has had to dig in one of them, probably for electrical Christmas lights reasons.

Oh, dear.

I visited NIVA green for a bit of Christmas shopping.

beautiful new velvet bags, too soft for my lifestyle

There is one photo I cannot show because a Christmas present is front and center.

I was able to tell Heather in person that I was going to remove myself as co-administrator of the NIVA green Facebook page, because her assistant, Wes, is now doing such a great job with it.  It is much better for someone who is on the spot to do it, and my grandmother told me many times that too many cooks spoil the broth.  I have another place to share my photos: the “favourite shops” album on my own Our Long Beach Peninsula page.  For all its flaws, Facebook is a strong connector in our beach communities.

We finished Long Beach by clipping back some frost-limp perennials in Fifth Street Park, where the very last cosmos got pulled.  Allan had covered the gunnera with leaves during an errand run the day before.

Our last work stop was brief.  I finally cut the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen that was STILL blooming in front of the Shelburne.  I no longer wanted to wonder every day if it looked good or was frost blackened.

This one lonely stem had emerged unplanned.

the fig tree

pineapple sage looking better than mine

We rewarded ourselves for our staycation work day with dinner at the pub.

Our drinks:

I had never heard of a Salty Dog drink.  Delicious because I love salt and I love grapefruit juice.  Amazingly, Allan had never before had a hot buttered rum.

view from our favourite table

chopped salad with chicken and a pub burger

and our favourite desserts

My BOOK had arrived at the post office today, per an email notice, but it was closed so I would have to wait till tomorrow.  I read a short book instead, which turned out to be a moderately well written and quite interesting experience of the Hillary Clinton campaign, 2016.

As with Hillary’s memoir, What Happened, I felt by the end that Hillary would be a good and kind person to know (and a much finer president than what we have now).





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It is December 11th.  I had no intention of blogging, until suddenly needing to boot up my computer to add the new manager of Klipsan Beach Cottages to the KBC Facebook page….and de administrate myself. It felt odd and poignant to let go of a page I created and have administered and for which I have done all the photos since…2009.  I gardened there for over 20 years.  Soon we will be visiting former managers Mary and Denny in their new home.

Since I booted up, I might as write and schedule a few blog posts before I retreat back into my blogging break.  We began December with a streak of almost summer-like weather.

December 2nd is an already forgotten day…weeding? reading? weather? I have no idea…with no photos other than this one of Skooter in the very late morning:

Monday, 3 December 2018

We had had some rain.  Perhaps this photo tells us that Sunday was a reading day. My Sony camera sometimes does not open all the way, annoying if I don’t see that I need to push it open manually.  (The Lumix thoroughly plotzed with a “system error zoom”, after less than a year, as usual.)

yellow rain gauge, halfway full

The water boxes are full again.

summer-planted extra sweet pea seeds, grew into lots of foliage and an occasional soggy flower.

Helichrysum and bacopa still lush and happy

I spent most of the afternoon digging Ficaria verna (Ranunculus ficaria) from the east fire circle bed.  It runs like crazy through the garden.

Ficaria verna today

It tries to leave as many little brown root nodules behind as possible, which is why this is a battle where the human will not prevail.

At least I can slow it down.

The plain old creeping buttercup, also shown above, is much easier to remove.

In other garden news, I am working on widening the East Willow Loop path, which has become so narrow in summer that is had ceased to be part of the garden tour here.

opened up

At the end, to the left, was the encroaching ficaria patch.

center bed and Rozanne Loop path

I covered my gunnera with its own leaves to protect it from frost….

…and put a few leaves in the van to go to the gunnera in Long Beach.

Fortunately, the short daylight hours give plenty of time for reading in the late afternoon and evening.  I cannot remember who recommended that I read Radio Free Vermont.  Thank you, I loved it.

This is also how we feel on the Long Beach Peninsula:

For comparison, Ilwaco has under 1000 residents.  It might be growing, but it is growing slowly.


This is so true when moving to a small town:



I have read of town meetings elsewhere, possibly in Maine, in the memoirs of Doris Grumbach (whose books I highly recommend).

Radio Free Vermont is not all talk; it has adventure, suspense, and a ski chase, so give it a try.





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