Archive for the ‘fall clean up’ Category

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Good weather and fall clean up continued.  The days have been like the best of summer, sunny but not too warm.

Long Beach

My goal was to complete a few fall clean up areas and erase them from the work board.

We began with clipping catmint and pulling crocosmia and planting the Basket Case donation of sea thrift in the Sid Snyder Drive planters.



The ocean was bright blue and calm today.

the westernmost planter

gazania still blooming

The World Kite Museum garden, on the south side of Sid Snyder, got its fall clean up.

The museum dwarfs our pots and pocket garden.



The garden needs a lavender to match the one on the right side.

I like to leave a lot of seed heads standing, for birds, so did not cut back the oregano or lavender here.

We checked up on the Bolstad beach approach planters.  I did not mention last week that we planted some sea thrift out there.  I did not want to tempt the fate that has for the last several years made plants disappear by the day after I planted them.  It was worth testing it out with free plants from the Basket Case—and the plants are still there.  I am hoping that the thief has moved away.  Or reformed.  I am not hoping the person died, although I suppose that is a possibility.  I am also hoping said person does not read this blog.

Something strange happened.  I stood at the west end of the beach approach after pulling just a few weeds there and suddenly, I fervently wished it was February or March and that we were about to embark upon the ten to thirteen day annual first weeding of the beach approach garden.  I shocked myself with a feeling of joy at the prospect.  Peculiar.

looking east down many blocks of weeding

Apparently I still like this job.  That made me wonder how I am going to make the decision to retire from Long Beach!

We turned our attention to the fall clean up at City Hall (and the big popout nearby, where I clipped back some straying rugosa roses).

City Hall garden, north side

some late Welsh poppies

We next went to Coulter Park, where Allan pulled a vast number of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ in a bed that became inaccessible after a ramp was built, unless you crawl through or climb over the railing.


after (Allan’s photo)

The ramp goes to the old train depot building which will house Shoeboxes of Joy between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Shoeboxes of Joy in the old train depot, 2013

We don’t have time to make a shoebox (for local seniors) so we just give a monetary donation by popping in with some cash on a day when the volunteers are working, after Thanksgiving day.

Cotoneaster berries in Coulter Park

While Allan yanked Crocosmia, I did the fall clean up on two blocks of planters.  The planters will need a go-round again after the first hard frost.

I found a rock.

The cosmos are coming out of all the planters now.

They have little left to offer.

a planter that still has much to offer

As I took photos, my Lumix—a refurbished one less than a year old—insisted several times that it be turned off and on again, and then came the dreaded message:

Looks like another Lumix bites the dust.  (The several new Lumixes I have bought have all done the same thing after a year or less.)  I am disappointed because I like its capabilities.

I switched to my phone camera.

Escallonia ‘Pink Princess’, before…

and after, again thwarted from being eight feet tall and wide.

Chrysanthemum and Geranium ‘Rozanne’

another chrysanth just now starting to bloom—how I love them!

I have read several blog articles on Garden Rant frothing over with chrysanthemum loathing.  Fie on that!  They are quite wonderful here, bloom for ages, and return reliably in the planters.  And I adore the scent of the foliage.

When I bought my grandmother’s house in 1980, I spent some time trying to find chrysanths that were like the ones she grew when I was a child, the tall ones, almost as tall as me.  Then I realized my memory was measuring them based on my height as a little girl.

The dusky pink one just north of NIVA green is slowly fading.

Across from Dennis Company, has been blooming for weeks.

I am not going to do any fiddly deadheading at this stage.  When the frost comes, or when we go to shop at Dennis hardware for some reason, I will take that whole plant down to the base at once.  Later.

My last individual task was to pull and clip the BadAster which has been moderately welcome to grow under a street tree.

The seeds blew down the block….

Allan and I reunited by pulling some cosmos at the front of Coulter Park.  A hebe had suddenly decided to hide the memorial.


After we dumped debris, we bought four bales of Gardner and Bloome Soil Building Compost at Dennis Company.  The first three went to…

The Depot Restaurant

…where I had felt that mulch was needed after yesterday’s fall clean up.



The fourth bag went to…

The Shelburne Hotel

….to fluff up the area where we had dug out loads of Crocosmia corms to make a new fuchsia bed.  I am sure the soil had been thoroughly worn out by the vigor of crocosmia.

No wonder Allan is tired by end of the day.

That bale would be un-liftable had it been outside for awhile.  Dennis sells it from inside of a building, so it is dry.

very nice for the Hawkshead fuchsia I planted there yesterday…

While I did more tidying of the path and put river rock at the back of the fuchsia bed, Allan cleaned up a neglected area on the north side of the building.


after (Allan’s photos)

I noticed the canna is blooming in the full shade mini bog garden by the fine dining entrance:

The big dining room is open with its own menu on Friday and Saturday nights.

We did some more garden trimming until dusk….

Shelburne at sunset

the garden by lamplight )Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

…and then we were lured into the pub by the warm lights through the stained glass windows.

guests by the living room fireplace

I tried a Cranberry Shrub, delicious!

I told Brooke, the young bartender, that we were celebrating the end of Mulch Week.  She replied in her delightful manner, “I don’t know what that is, but yay!”…a reminder that not everyone knows our gardening terminology.

Caesar salad, delectable black garlic fried rice, fish and chips

my favourite dessert, the cream cheese blackberry tart

But oh, the dessert Allan had is new and so delicious, a rocky road semifreddo, like a frozen mousse.  It could almost divert me from the tart…This will be a difficult choice next time.

Allan’s photo

I reflected during dinner on how I feel that the Shelburne itself wants me to be its gardener, and how it missed me during the ten years when I left the garden (because of reasons).  I feel a connection with the place that I cannot explain.

At home, I was able to erase Coulter crocosmias, beach approaches, city hall, and kite museum from the work board.

I won’t say where, but today I saw the hidden stash of a homeless person hidden in a barberry patch…

I can only imagine the misery of making a camp in a grove of barberries because of the terrible thorns:

Tiny mean thorns all over the barberry grove.





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Saturday, 10 November 2018

Skooter still abed as we readied ourselves for work

We began working our way through the fall clean up list in amazingly nice weather.

Before leaving for work, I noted what a kind microclimate our garden has.  Our location has a disadvantage of being windy but an advantage of not getting an early plant-damaging frost.  This might be because we are two blocks from the water, or it might be from the shelter provided by the bogsy wood.

We still have….

Salvia ‘Amistad’

pineapple sage

Salvia leucantha

…whereas these same plants in other local gardens were turned limp by frost.

An update on the compost bins, where decomposition has the piles slowly sinking:

Skooter crossed the street and sat on the porch of the cottage belonging to a big house whose orange cat come over here and battles with him.  Skooter’s invasion of orange cat’s porch could explain some of their bad personal dynamic:

Skooter at the front door

However, Orange Cat had gotten along fine with all our other cats, as has black Onyx from next door.  It is Skooter who gets into scraps.

The Depot Restaurant

Our fall clean up mission included clipping and untwining the hops from lattice on the north side of the dining deck.  Because these hops had a touch of sooty mold, they had to be bagged up for the wheelie bin.

the dining deck, before (Allan’s photo)

before (Allan’s photo)

A small catastrophe occurred: Allan cut a wire going to the deck lighting.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 6.57.12 PM.png

cable and vines

Fortunately, it was not plugged in.

We were mortified. He made the second cut to get a sample for replacement. (Allan’s photo)

Chef Michael said not to worry, but I do worry.  We will give a credit back on the cost of today’s work.

after (Allan’s photo)

after (Allan’s photo)

Meanwhile, I had been clipping hops and perennials on the north side of the lattice.



giant miscanthus in raised bed on the south side of the deck

I was determined to plant the last of the bulbs in the barrel.  The pink gaura came out and got transplanted into the garden to make room.

before: Geranium ‘Rozanne;, pink gaura, Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ still blooming.

Shelburne Hotel

I was on a small mission to take away a red flowered Fuchsia magellanica, for reasons which will become clear.  The helianthus distracted me and I suddenly had both Allan and I chopping it down with timing that did not make sense.  That should have happened at the end so we could take it home to the compost bins.  I got over-excited.

The long-lasting sweet peas also got pulled, having reached an undeniably tatty stage.

before (Allan’s photo)

after (Allan’s photo)



The one stem of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ that placed itself against the stained glass east wall is still in full bloom.

front path, looking south from the north end. To the right, I snagged out one of several red fuchsias.

a good perennial chrysanthemum still blooming (Allan’s photo)

Long Beach

We clipped some tall perennials in Fifth Street Park (Helianthus, Solidago ‘Fireworks’) and pulled some but not all the cosmos.  I had forgotten that on Saturdays, a self-styled preacher man plays loud music on speakers in the park, so loud the sound was distorted.  I did not mind so much when the songs were “We Are Family” and “Celebration”, disco anthems of the gay clubs where I used to go dancing in Seattle.  The ballads I could have done without.  Allan and I could not hear each other over the music so communication re what to do next was even more difficult than usual.

music man (Allan’s photo)

before (Allan’s photo)


Those rugosa roses against the wooden fence have run there without permission.  Will try to deal with them in the spring; they have infiltrated the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’.

Even after our clipping session, the park still has flowers.

Verbena bonariensis, cosmos…

…and sweet peas.

We dumped our debris and completed our fuchsia mission.  In an obscure corner of an obscure park hidden by an azalea was a Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’ which I had planted, for free, from a cutting maybe fifteen years ago.  No one sees it in the quiet corner where I dug it out today, replacing it with a red one which will match another red one in the same shrubby border.

Shelburne Hotel again 

On the way home, near twilight, I planted the white and green tipped fuchsia at the Shelburne and hoped that it would withstand the shock of moving.

a favourite of mine: Fuchsia ‘Hawkhead’, in another location a few years back

Ironically, I no longer have one of this fuchsia.  I hope to remedy that with some cuttings from the one at the Depot.

While I planted, Allan tackled the bad aster in the north corner garden, one that we don’t pay a lot of attention to other than weeding it.


after (Allan’s photos)

I hope to make that corner better next year.  It has just been a repository for extra plants and has both the badaster and the annoying orange montbretia.


We offloaded compostable debris next to our driveway in the dusk.

Through the Nora house back yard, we can see the hills of Cape Disappointment.

On the work board, the Depot moved from the fall clean up list over to the post-frost check up list.  (The annuals in the Depot window boxes will be removed when the weather becomes cold enough to kill them.)

The last of the bulb bags are ready to be flattened and stored in the shed.

With the delight of early darkness, I was able to sit in my comfy chair and catch up on six weeks of daily posts of my favourite blog by Mr. Tootlepedal.

The advantage to reading it belatedly is that I can enjoy his droll replies to the comments from his many faithful readers.

Frosty and I read Mr. T.





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Friday, 9 November 2018

the very last of the eight yards of mulch

Allan filling buckets while I went to unload yesterday’s Shelburne garden debris from the trailer

mulch all gone!

We were able to fill almost the full array of buckets with the last of the mulch pile and spent the day doing the first complete end of season clean up at

Diane’s garden.

parked in the Red Barn pasture next door….with this many buckets. (Allan’s photo)

Holly got so excited she dragged the chair a little bit after getting petted.

Allan’s photo

Our first mission was the roadside garden, where I cleared while Allan brought mulch from the trailer in the pasture next door—a long haul that required using the wheelbarrow to transport the buckets.  There is not enough room by the road to maneuver dumping a wheelbarrow full of loose mulch.

Just as I started, my friend Terran of BeeKissed Gardening pulled up in her distinctive honey-yellow truck (during a lull in traffic).  I was pleased to see one of my three favourite chefs was spending the day with her, Chef Jason.  And, of course, I was even more thrilled to see two of her dogs.

Allan’s photo

Terran is my top recommendation for gardening jobs.

I will apprise you when Chef Jason opens his new food truck in Astoria.  That will get me across the bridge for sure.

roadside garden before (Allan’s photo)

I hated to cut down that sanguisorba, but I did, because it would have been silly and floppy on its own.

starting to pull the cosmos

Even though I had told Diane last week that we’d be at her garden early this week, I was glad we had waited till Friday.  A frost had damaged the cosmos last night and so we were able to clear them all out instead of getting sentimental about them still looking ok.

The bad foliage of one of the leftover plants of the Agastache catastrophe was revealed.

It never had gotten better.

More Agastache thoughts: I was pressured, by the person who had sourced these plants, to see if they would just grow out of their disease.  I left one here in the roadside bed, being an isolated garden, just to see.  No, it did not grow out of it.  I was also chastised at the time when I discarded all the other diseased plants that throwing them out was like “having a cat put down without knowing what was wrong with it”.  The plant-sourcing person knew I had had to do that with my poor darling suffering best beloved Smoky, so that remark did not go over well with me.  In fact, looking back now….. [Redacted…This is one of many times in the Agastache Castastrophe and later that I wrote about my full feelings about what happened and decided to delete it!]

I never did get the plants tested.  During the peak of gardening season, I simply could not allow such ugly looking foliage to stay on view in public gardens.  (Some of it was even worse, with black patches on each leaf.)  Expert nursery friends assessed the plants as being bad and dangerous enough to other plants to require wheelie bin disposal.  (“And then throw out your gloves”, said one, and “remove every fallen leaf!” said another, and a third said, after viewing the leaves, “Don’t get that plant anywhere near me!”.) Another gardener had the best advice, to just move on and not spend any more time than necessary fixing the painful problem, which was a personal as well as a monetary loss.

Yet agastache remains one of my favourite perennials, so I will try again next year.  I have read that the Kudos series is highly resistant to disease, and all of those that I used this year have done beautifully.  The catastrophic ones were Acapulco Salmon and Pink, Cotton Candy, Estella Indigo, Golden Jubilee, and Sangria….some of my very favourites, unfortunately.  Only one batch of the above cultivars was bad; the ones I had gotten earlier in the year were pristine.

Today ended the bad episode, with the very last of the bad agastaches going into the wheelie bin.  The bigger showy ones often behave as annuals around here anyway, not coming through the winter.  I am glad to be at the other end of the saddest plant experience of my life!

starting to apply soil after clearing and clipping

A little bed by the front porch deck is one we have neglected.  I am hoping we can finally improve it next year.  It is full of valerian, which is just fine, but also has an awful lot of creeping buttercup and terrible soil.  We ran out of mulch for it.  Allan got the plants cut back.


after, ready for some bagged mulch later on

The equipment shown in the photo is part of the septic system and includes the septic alarm box that sounds if something goes wrong.

We turned our attention to the raised box garden in the back yard.





after mulching (Allan’s photos)

The center had been mostly cosmos, and three of the Agastache ‘Salmon and Pink’ that I do not trust, whose leaves still looked suspect, so we treated them as annuals also and discarded them (no composting for them!).

We finished up the mulching of the roadside garden with four bags of a product that Diane had bought for it during the summer.

I am glad it was brown and not red bark!

not a big fan of bark, me…

Allan found a frog living behind the bark bags, along with a worm and a slug.

With the bark spread, it did look sort of reddish…

Allan’s photo

Most people see this garden at 20 miles per hour.


Almost all of Diane’s summer garden got loaded into our trailer to go home to our compost bins:

One more wheelbarrow load was added after this.

Diane’s garden now gets erased from the fall clean up list, and added to a new list on the workboard called “Post frost check-up”, which will be the final clean up of annuals either after a hard frost or in mid December, whichever comes first.

Helichrysum ‘Limelight’ climbing into a barberry, according to plan.

The Red Barn

We had an hour before dark to weed the narrow bed at the Red Barn.  It is not quite ready yet to erase from the fall clean up list.

Lots of sorrel weed appeared after we pulled the old California poppy foliage.

not quite done….but running out of daylight.

I don’t like using horse manure; it is too weedy.  However, I’ve decided we will add some to this gravelly garden bed when we return to finish the clean up job.  It needs something, and the Red Barn has a great big pile of horse manure always at the ready.

sunset over the Red Barn

At home, we unloaded the compressed trailer load of debris onto a tarp till I have time to enter it into the compost bin three.  Mulch week is over, with eight yards of soil moved in about 20 hours of very hard work.  The last two days, I was running on Doans Back Pills.  Yesterday, I frequently had to stand with my back against a wall to just straighten up.  The wall at the post office was especially good because it was warm from the sun.  I heard some pained noises from Allan, too, as the week wore on.

I hope to revive by staycation time and order eight yards of mulch for my own garden.

We now are entering serious fall clean up mode and hope to plug on through it without a day off until it is done or until rain comes, whichever is first.  Then: staycation preview till the first hard frost.


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Thursday, 8 November 2018

First, a postscript to Halloween and the 6×6 art auction.  Wendy Murry is the artist on whose 6×6 piece I always bid.  Some of her work from the past, that I am so glad to own:

and my favourite:

my favourite Wendy art of all

She told me that she would not be in the art auction this year because of being so busy but that she had made me a piece of art anyway.  On Halloween, she brought it to me, and this morning I remembered to photograph it for you.  It is a depiction of Dead Man’s Cove at Cape Disappointment.

Here is a real life view.

I am pleased and touched and grateful.

Ilwaco mulching

Today we began by loading all the buckets of mulch and applying more buckets-full to our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Fire Department.

before, with mulching to the right hand side that was done last night.

The velvety verbascum that had placed itself right on the edge had to go.


and the long, narrow west side, too.

I think there might be a narrow bed on the east side that is just nothing; I should have a look and maybe put more Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, of which I have an endless supply, into it.

Next, we mulched our volunteer garden at the Post Office, where we used up the rest of the load of 25 five gallon buckets and 17 four gallon buckets.  That’s 193 gallons; 201 and a bit equals one cubic yard, according to my calculations.

I removed some under-performing Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ to make room for a bulb of my Lily Conca D’Or.  Look how big it is after several years in the ground!

It went in the back corner.

I have mixed feelings about all that grass in the front.  I asked the opinion of a passerby, who said she liked it.

clearing out plants while mulching

post office garden after mulching

back home, this much left (Allan’s photo)

Mike’s garden

Back at home, we reloaded all the buckets and applied them at Mike’s garden, a few blocks to the east.

ready for Mike’s garden (Allan’s photo)

autumn leaves

Mike’s front garden

mulching thickly at Mike’s, where the soil is clay and fill.

Someone else is going to remove this tatty old lilac:

And we will return soon to prune the Escallonia iveyi behind it.

Back home…

Now this much is left. (Allan’s photo)

I was in suspense whether filling all the buckets for the Shelburne would use the mulch up, or whether we would have enough left for Diane’s garden.  I was so happy that some was left over.

The Shelburne Hotel

We delivered another full complement of buckets to the Shelburne.

ready to mulch (Allan’s photo)

We usually leave the right-in-front parking spots for guests.  Not today, when we had such heavy work to do.

We not only mulched but also moved some hardy fuchsias and a hydrangea to more eye-catching locations.  I planted two of my Lily Conca D’Or, some violas, and some starts of a white veronicastrum.  Three big clumps of white astilbe that had appeared in full sun got moved to happier shady spots.

I removed a lot of badasters. and must remember to put some divisions of good asters in for autumnal beauty in 2019.

nice thick layer of Soil Energy

In case you are wondering what Soil Energy consists of: “Soil Energy combines composted wood products, aged screened sawdust, screened sand, composted chicken manure, lime, fertilizer and iron. (pH 6.2, brown tan in color, 38.9% organic matter).”

We finished after sunset.

brushing footprints out of the mulch

sweeping the path

The windows of the pub (left, below) glowed so enticingly that we went in for a work reward.

Jambalaya (ordered with no oysters, please!) with a side salad, fried chicken sandwich and small chopped salad

At home, the work board reflects that Diane’s is the only mulching job left.



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Saturday, 3 November 2018

at home

I did not in the least intend to garden today.  With Allan at a holiday bazaar peddling his book, I was planning on a quiet day to blog about Halloween.  But from my desk window, I could see an area of the garden where the BadAster lurks.  I simply had to go dig and pull it.

alluring view



Aster roots are pinkish and easy to differentiate from others.

I managed to plant one lady in waiting…

Skooter helped.

This is not comfortable because of claws.

Banished from helping:

Around the garden:

planted this a few weeks ago

in the lawn

looking north

very young Acer griseum (paperbark maple)

lots of assorted fuchsias still blooming

This volunteer willow is crunching the fence. (But I love its privacy factor.)

Eupatorium ‘Elegant Feather’

at last, beautyberry success

west bed

Hyemenocallis; I love its angular form and white-grey berries.

Rain saved me from gardening and gave me three hours to blog before our evening event.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum 6×6 Art Auction


The theme this year for the annual fundraiser was the Wild North West.  The art pieces are almost all just 6×6 inches in size.

One of four silent auction tables

one of two cases of the live auction art

Before the auction, we feasted.

sausage made of…bear

I learned that evening that a black bear had killed two beloved pet goats in the outskirts of Ilwaco, breaking through a plywood-boarded barn door to get the second one.  I still did not eat bear sausage.

loved the woodsy decor

a sell out crowd; most tickets were sold before the doors opened.

We got a good table up front, reserved for Discover Ilwaco, and shared it with Our Kathleen and with Steve and John of the Bayside Garden.

Karla of Time Enough Books ready to take call in bids, by telegraph or telephone.

Security by Richard Schroeder

Bruce Peterson, auctioneer, with assistant Betsy Millard, museum director

the excitement mounts

a call in bid

On the screen is one of the extra offerings, a dinner for 6 prepared in your home by private chef Maddy Moore (of Pink Poppy Bakery).  This special occasion went for $750.00

a telegram bid

and telephone

Then came the pièce de résistance, the annual sock monkey art by Leslie Hall.

The pony express monkey had to be steadied by Betsy because of all the excitement.

This year’s sock monkey art, a photo bomb called Wild Outdoor Monkey:

In the usual bidding war between Karla and her sister, the monkey raised (as I recall) $800 for the museum.

monkey business

Karla hiding in the back to spring the winning bid (Allan’s photo)

Some pieces we especially liked:

I did love these crows, titled “HOA Committee” (homeowner’s association, a neighborhood body full of strict rules)

Oysterville Regatta by Tucker Wachsmuth

a lovely painting of my garden nemesis, salal

I was way outbid on this pretty little thing.  Running Wild in the Hood by Shelley Curtis Weaver (that would be Oregon’s Mount Hood)

But I did get this one, Washed Ashore by Wally Cox!

A few more favourites, photos provided by the museum:

6×6 is one of my favourite Ilwaco events of the year.  It is always in early November; come join the fun next year!









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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Despite the daunting sight of wind whipping our alder grove around, we decided to try to work.  Rain was predicted at 2 PM.

Long Beach

We headed straight for city works and got 19 buckets of mulch from our pile.  That was every five gallon bucket with a handle that I could find.  We could use more if you have any to give us!

at city works

We mulched at city hall first (which also involved some weeding and some escallonia pruning).

city hall north side (Allan’s photo)

west side; I was pruning the escallonias so they would not touch the building.

Back we went to get another load.  This time, we gave the Bolstad planters their autumn top up.

I had been carrying with us some cereal that had dropped on the kitchen floor, waiting for the right birds.  Today was the day to distribute it.

Allan’s photo

We had only enough treats for a few, leaving many disappointed. (Allan’s photo)

While we were working on the beach approach, we encountered a couple of tourists (probably) who had parked at the west end of Bolstad before we arrived. A guy on a black bike smashed the window of their car and stole their belongings while they had walked down to get ice cream at Scoopers. The driver of the car saw the theft happening as they returned and ran back and chased the thief down the gravel that goes through the pines to the city from the Bolstad restroom parking lot. But the thief got away.  It was a sad encounter to see tourists’ have a ruined day. The police came, and one hopes a search was made of the beach pine woods because that’s where the culprit disappeared to, we think.

This happened to a friend’s car once when I was with her at the Oregon coast (the door jimmied rather than the window smashed).  Among my items stolen were two precious rolls of undeveloped film of our visit in Eugene, Oregon, and my leather looseleaf pocket notebook in which I had kept for years a list of books to read. Many books were unread by me because of that theft.

Back to work; I hoped the nineteen buckets would be enough for the eleven planters.  The soil in those planters sinks quickly into the netherworld, or what lies beneath.

Allan’s photo, the light layer won’t prevent beach strawberry or sedums from survival

Nineteen buckets was not quite enough so back we went for load three.  The wind was getting worse and a slight drizzle had begun.

We finished topping up the last three Bolstad planters and the west side of city hall, by which time the rain had fully arrived.

work conditions at city all

Long Beach City Hall west side

I was longing to get another load for Veterans Field, and then another load for Fifth Street Park.  The rain might stop in half an hour, said our weather apps, so we repaired to Taqueria el Jalapeño for lunch.  Yes, finally, many months since it opened, we had a rainy break to try out the new restaurant behind Lewis and Clark Square.

Vet Field

ready for a walk through the rain to the café

Inside, the decor was cheerful and delightful and the food was excellent.

I noted that the pop bottles were prettier than the Mexican coca cola bottles we had used for bouquets for an immigrant fundraiser, so we saved two and will keep saving them.  You do, too, if you dine there, please.

The rain did not cease and a 20 plus mph wind was kicking when we emerged. We gave up on getting more mulch.  We did accomplish planting two Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and four Oregano ‘Hopley’s Purple’ in the newly redone planter by the Long Beach frying pan.

Shelburne Hotel

And at the Shelburne, we removed three or four echeverias from two back deck planters to take home and winter in my greenhouse, replacing them with some hardy hens and chicks and sedums for the winter.

echeverias about to go home for the winter (Allan’s photo)

one of the pots, after

and the other (Allan’s photos)

front, looking north

Bulb Time day 11: the spreadsheets

I got the bulb lists all typed up and added.  When the last bulbs come for the welcome sign (which will be day 12), we will have planted slightly over 5332 bulbs.  (The overage is from some buckets of port bulbs from the defunct office garden that were waiting to go back in.)

The typing is not something Allan can help with because I use increasingly scrawled abbreviations for bulb names as the sorting goes on.

Only I can deal with these lists.

Fortunately, I very much enjoy sitting down to do a spreadsheet.  In another life, I might have quite liked an office job.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

(I am trying to get the blog caught up so we won’t be a week behind at Halloween.)

The Colorblends bulbs for the welcome sign arrived a day early!  The weather was dry and not windy, perfect for planting them.  We took a few more bulbs with us for a little job at

The Depot Restaurant

but could not plant them because the barrel for which they are destined is still so flowery and full.

Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’

the “after” photo we did not take after cutting back perennials in order to plant bulbs last week.

Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’

Long Beach

Bulb Time day 12

Into the welcome sign bed went about 300 tulips, red and yellow for the front and a soft pastel mix for the back.

Also single early tulip ‘Flair’ and some Orange Emperor along the front (Allan’s photo)

Now bulb time is done except for a couple of postscripts: the 15 or so tulips for the Depot barrel and the transplanting of some Lily ‘Conca D’Or’ from my garden to the Shelburne and the Post office.

We filled up 21 buckets of mulch at city works and mulched the corner garden in Veterans Field, not as deeply as I wished, because I realized the pile of mulch was not as big as I had thought.  The tarp was on a bit of a mound and the pile looked deeper than it was.

Then with ten buckets left of that load, Allan mulched five of the most beaten down street tree pocket gardens.  The rest will have to wait till next spring.

Allan’s photo

Meanwhile, I cut back one Geranium Rozanne:

And admired the flowers in another planter:

Zauschneria californica

Must have more Zauschneria californica next year.

It is much smaller across the street where it gets a bit less afternoon sun.

While Allan mulched the last two trees, I tackled a big patch of the BadAster that we have not had time to control.  He helped me finish up.

We returned to city works and gathered all the rest of the Soil Energy Mulch, 22 buckets this time and a bit more just piled in the trailer.  It all went to Fifth Street Park.

badaster bed, mulched. It’s the northeast corner of the four Fifth Street park quadrants. (Allan’s photo)

Salvia leucantha in a planter

Most of the mulch went to the northwest quadrant.

after, with mulch added (not as much as I would like)

One of Allan’s projects, before and after

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

The park still has sweet peas.

On the work board, almost all bulbs are planted, and mulch LB is erased by virtue of running out of mulch.

At home: Alycia has returned to the Nora house for a few days and so we are about to repair next door for a spaghetti dinner with “warm cookies and ice cream” for dessert.  With rain predicted, I think we will now have time off for paperwork (necessary) and Halloween decorating…oh, and cleaning the house after Bulb Time chaos and exhaustion.

Friday, 26 October 2018

After a rainy Thursday of paperwork (no time for fun reading), we took advantage of good weather to get a jump on the fall clean up.

the rain gauge (Allan’s photo)

Long Beach

before and after, Coulter Park

before and after, Lewis and Clark Square; I would have pulled the hesperantha, also.

While Allan did those, I clipped and tidied several planters.

by the pharmacy

clipped santolina, cosmos too pretty to pull

lots of snails revealed when I pulled a trailing California poppy…they are living at the city works yard now.

L&C Square planter before and after BadAster removal

hydrangeas in Third Street Park


We did a quick check up before their pre-Halloween ghostly event.

looking south

still sweet peas for Halloween

al fresco dining area


No time for a meal there; I wanted to work on a four part blog post in memory of my Smoky, starting tomorrow.  (Anyone who finds cats boring or irksome will want to skip those days and return to us on Nov 2.) And Halloween preparation begins full force on a series of days off; that’s what we’ll be doing (and then processing photos about it) while our most faithful readers try to load posts with a kajillion photos of my Smoky.




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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Long Beach

At last we had time to do a project that had been weighing on my mind: dig out the wire vine, Muehlenbeckia axillaris, from the planter in front of Stormin’ Norman’s.

I planted it years ago, thinking it was a cute little trailing house plant that would not make it through the winter.  After a very few years, it had done this:

before: a great splodge of Muehlenbeckia axillaris (wire vine)

It had been cute and then had gone suddenly berserk.

We dug it out, but did not take all the soil out because we thought we could control any wire vine that popped out from pieces of root. (And oh, how we had tried to sift through and get all those pieces.)



The wire vine has returned throughout the planter despite semi-diligent attempts at control.

We were incredibly lucky during the digging out stage to get a parking spot right next to the planter.

Allan moves the trailer closer in.

such a lucky spot!


Allan’s photo

cleaning the perennials

After all the plants were out, as Allan removed the soil in the wire vine planter, I pulled the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ from the next planter.



Most merchants don’t like tall plants in front of their shops. The Wind World Kites guy loves the crocosmia and jokes that he now has nowhere to hide.

After much digging and removing all the soil and the tattered years-old landscape fabric that separates soil from gravel, we found roots down IN the gravel.  This is ominous.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

We hauled the heavy debris to city works and dumped it in an inhospitable spot and returned with buckets of the last of the mulch pile and some landscape fabric from the works shop.  It was utterly exhausting, heavy work, especially because this time we had to park half a block away and haul everything

My back was panging, so I answered some garden questions while standing straight against a wall.  Part of the job is to be friendly to tourists.

The woman in blue was from England and had lived there till 1958.  I asked her if she had heard of garden writer Marion Cran.  She had not.

with new fabric to keep the soil from migrating into the rock

I had had rather a stroke of genius; we also brought the last two hanging basket innards and used that soil to extend what we had.

Allan’s photos

putting plants back in

Allan deadheaded a block worth of planters while I re planted.

Allan’s photo

Upon his return, the planter was done.  Many bulbs were also replanted.

Last week:

Stormin’ Norman’s

Today, after:

I was able to salvage all the perennials by carefully inspecting their roots.  I will be watching closely for any sign of wire vine emerging from them; if it does, out they will come.

Across the street is a planter I quite like (even though the matching santolina was stolen).

I have enjoyed Cosmos ‘Xanthos’.

pink gaura

I used the pink gaura to replace the bad agastaches in the Agastache Catastrophe (a batch with diseased leaves).  The gaura has been good and has bloomed longer, with no deadheading, than the agastache does.  I will use it again next year, along with perhaps the shorter white one, ‘So White’.

colourful Long Beach

After our project, we deadheaded and tidied a few more planters.


a rogue white flower stem

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and yellow chrysanths

pink chrysanthemums starting to fade

I love the chrysanthemums that have perennialized in some of the planters.  They take up too much room to have them in every one.

The Shelburne Hotel

We had time to tidy up the back garden at the Shelburne.  Chef Casey had found akebia fruits on the south fence.  I sought them out under cover of the vine.

the akebia vine that I planted years ago

akebia fruits…I saved one to try out but I have forgotten to do so.

(I did try it a couple of days later.  The insides have a sweet pulp that is so full of seeds that there is little food to offer.)

Asian pears on the west fence

Someone had filled the bird bath with bean seeds. (Allan’s photo)

The beans in pots are well past their prime.

I picked off some moldy old beans….

…and then realized I remembered the hotel’s Halloween event and realized I should leave them till after Halloween.   I then decided to leave the old Joe Pye Weed and some other plants to add a spookier ambiance to the front garden.

spooky Joe Pye weed

“Get ready to sit, sip, and talk to the spirits at the Shelburne Hotel. Will be having Chariot reading Tarot cards by appointment (starting at 6pm on 10/26), Adrift Distillers Amaro release (10/27 from 5pm-7pm), seasonal cuisine, and cocktails that represents the spirits at the hotel.

Will be playing the Shining in the Inglenook both nights as well.


So join us for our haunted gathering at the Shelburne. Dine and drink with the ghost…maybe even say hello?”

The Shelburne’s sister hotel, Adrift, suggests something about a ghost in the garden!

Hmmm.  I’m not saying whether or not I have ever seen Annie May in the garden.

front garden, looking north

and south

Halloween is a good reason to leave the long, draping wisteria till November before a preliminary pruning.

We rewarded ourselves for an exhausting day with a tasty meal and drink in the Shelburne pub.

As diners arrived at the pub, Brian O’ Connor began to sing, as he does every Thursday.  You can sit in the living room to listen and dine, or sit in the pub with the music as ambiance.

His deep and distinctive voice has an emotional quality that draws a regular audience on Thursday nights.

We heard part of the performance during our relaxing meal.

chop salad with fried chicken, fish and chips, cranberry cosmo

The bartender and I agreed that even though we are not usually fans of fried chicken, the version offered at the pub is delectable.  (I get it as a side on the salad.)

so good

fish and chips (Allan’s photo)

My favourite dessert on the peninsula these days is the pub’s cheesecake tart with blackberry topping.

On the way home, we checked out some Halloween decorations in Ilwaco.

Lake Street

Spruce Street

Lake Street (Pirate Lucy Dagger’s house)

We have accomplished all our little work board projects other than mulching.

accomplishments still don’t include the indoor at home projects left over from last winter

I enjoyed the partial emptiness for a moment before adding Bulb Time.

That list is even missing two small job.

Tomorrow, the bulbs come and the sorting begins, a rather dreaded task that hurts my brain.






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