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Archive for the ‘our garden’ Category

25 December 2018

The Christmas present exchange between me and Our Kathleen had a touch of O’Henry about it.

from Kathleen (Cream Earl Grey is delicious)

To Kathleen (from NIVA green gift shop)

I would love to have sent the same Liquid Wisdom teapot to Montana Mary but have a long and sad history of fragile things getting broken by the time they reach her.

We had already celebrated Christmas on Christmas eve, so I spent the afternoon potting up plants for my Memorial Day plant sale.

rain gauge

In hazy winter light, the lawn sparkled but I could not catch that in a photo.

new greenhouse lean to already full

Skooter helped with digging and dividing.

A terrible disappointment: The Eryngium, grown from seed from a reputable big name seed company, that was supposed to be Miss Willmott’s Ghost, have all turned out to be just an ordinary eryngium (and this one is blooming in winter).

I am sad.  I still desperately want Miss Willmott’s Ghost.  If anyone can bring me a real one, I will take that person out to dinner at the Shelburne Pub!

I have had a potting soil situation.  I bought the same brand from two different local stores.  One shipment is normal looking and dark.  One is extremely red and barky.

This kind, spray painted to mark the barky batch.

So I bought some from each source and mixed them, two parts good to one bad (at least, I think it is bad).

I think the red and barky soil is not as good (left).

Look at the difference, same brand!

The barky bags also had a lot of this.

What do you think about that, fellow gardeners?

26 December 2018

rain gauge and Frosty getting ready to help

Along with potting up starts, I did a little project.  The patio I made in January of 2011 had pavers at the edge, with the water boxes that were later installed.  I suddenly realized those pavers no longer served any purpose and took them out.

I crammed in some sod so that it can be string trimmed right to the edge of the boxes and will no longer be a weedy mess.

From the free wood pile by Jessie’s Fish Co, Allan brought home an armload of plastic venetian blinds.  He had asked me months ago if I wanted them for plant tags.  At that time, I was tired from work, had no intention of having a plant sale, and said no.  I had been regretting that no and was thrilled the slats were still there.

now chopped into plant tag length, four per slat

The potting continued with hellebore seedlings and divisions of golden oregano.

I am keeping track of the time I spend on this project, and the soil, and will divide that by any profit I make to see if this is a worthwhile thing to do after we retire.  (I have dreams of a plant stand at the Saturday market.)

Allan got round to photographing a gnome (made by Wendi Peterson at a Basket Case Greenhouse winter workshop) in a downtown window.

27 December 2018

I continued on a doomed mission to remove as much Ficaria verna (lesser celandine) as possible from areas of the garden where it is taking over.  It no doubt came from plants I brought from my mother’s garden.  It goes dormant in summer, so during the time when I was taking plants while we had her house for sale, its tiny corms hitched a ride.

little round leaves on the run

I am unlikely to win this battle.  I do love the bright yellow spring flowers.

I debated cutting down more dead perennial growth with The Toy, but what is left still looks beautiful to me.

Chelone (pink turtlehead)

We had made a trip to The Planter Box to get some pots back; I have been donating all my extras back to them before I decided on having a plant sale.

potted up some hens and chicks in these cute tiny pots

The only hen that has made no chicks is my favourite one that I bought for about $8 last spring:

Sempervivum ‘Gold Nugget’ is, so far, ungenerous.

After dark, I took a break from daily reading to watch just one episode of Gardeners’ World.  I know if I go down that rabbit hole, my reading plans will end for the winter so I must resist.  But…just one…

I trusted my memory so can not tell you the location of a garden right by the sea…

with a wonderful greenhouse…

…where the gardeners mulched with seaweed.

They said it helped to repel slugs and snails.

I wept with the tenderness of the visit between Carol Klein and Beth Chatto, one of my all time favourite inspirational gardeners.

30 December 2018

We’d had more rain. and now I had a semi-squally winter afternoon for more potting up of plants.

This time, I worked partly in the greenhouse making cuttings.  Wish me luck; it would be wonderful if these take. I was advised in a workshop of yore and by my friend Ann to use perlite.  I had one small bag of the stuff, but found it hard to stuck the cuttings in so I made a mix of half perlite and half seed starting mix.

I used santolina (green and silver), escallonia, rosemary, hardy fuchsia, red and gold twig dogwood, and a few other plants.

Maybe the ones in the lower right should have fewer leaves (olearia, just an experiment).

Skooter chose to not help out in the iffy weather.

sound asleep by the bathroom sink, the warmest room in the house

31 December 2018

We had ice!  Definitely a reading day.

My sarracenia did not mind the ice.

My plant sale stash is growing, but no more will be added till the weather warms up again. We did not dip down into the 20s so I did not have to cover these.

I learned this month that while planting in the ground is not a task I enjoy, I love potting up starts and making cuttings.  I found myself wishing that I had kept my previous home, which was zoned commercial, so that I could have had a weekend nursery.

Wishing you a belated happy new year as I finally got around to writing this on January 17th!

Next: some of the reading of late December.

 

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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:

…..

and….

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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Sunday, 18 November 2018

Last night I was so sore from gardening for 13 (?) days in a row that I could barely walk by bath time.  I said to Allan that I simply must rest and read on Sunday no matter how beautiful the weather.

Today the weather was again beautiful and again I simply had to garden even though I awoke with aching arms and legs.

The old apple tree was aswarm with crows.  I managed to photograph just the remnants after they saw me and flapped away, complaining loudly.

Frosty shared some thoughts about my having chosen to garden rather than read.

I collected enough oyster baskets of leaves from the Norwood driveway to fill my new leaf container.  While I was in their driveway, I contemplated what I would do with the Nora House back yard if it were mine.

It has a great view of the port buildings.

From Norwoods:The Nora House yard is narrower than ours.

In our garden: leaf container almost full

Allan’s photo

I decided to add more old Geranium ‘Rozanne’ foliage to the compost bins.

before

after

My compost bounty overfloweth.

Rudder visited from next door (east) and got a treat of cheese.

Frosty was so excited to have a dog’s visit that he walked up and butted under Rudder’s chin with the top of his head.  Rudder, age 16, was not especially interested in a new friend.

Frosty is 13.  I sometimes contemplate getting him a nice dog for his dotage…He must be lonely with his mother and brother and his friend Calvin gone.

Allan chipped up the escallonia from Mike’s garden…

before

after, the messy work area (Allan’s photos)

I have the idea of having a long narrow shed where the debris dump/potato patch has been.  It would fit Allan’s boat.  With the required property setback, it would have to be long and narrow and would hide the unattractive work area from anyone next door.

possible space for long narrow shed, with a pole marking the setback line

Below, my beautiful wall of compost, the spring bulb window boxes waiting to be installed, a rain gauge from last week’s rain storm, and some optimistic cuttings of Mike’s Escallonia iveyi.

I am pretty sure that Mike’s white escallonia came from me to begin with.  I used to get cuttings from the escallonia at the Anchorage Cottages, which was the white E. iveyi planted by Heronswood’s Dan Hinkley back when his sister owned the Anchorage (before my time here).  A gardening business called The Elves Did It sometimes worked with me then, and got cuttings, too, and later installed Mike’s garden.

I spent the rest of the afternoon back in the bogsy woods, snapping off dead salmonberry in the salmonberry tunnel.  I enjoy the sound it makes. With a windless, clear afternoon, I wanted kindling for a campfire.

gunnera with alder leaves

fuchsia and mahonia

Behind the gear shed next door, the last stack of crab pots was moved out by forklift at dusk.

campfire with rising moon

A moonlit campfire dinner was had.

As the leaves fall from the willow grove, we can see more of the lights along the port.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Again, despite being tired, I simply had to garden because of perfect weather about to to end.  I set myself upon a project of widening a path enough so that Allan could bring his boat back, via our property rather than the Nora House driveway, to a potential new shed.  We could also use the wider path to take our wheelie bin out to the street.  I am trying to think ahead to a time when we might no longer be able to swan about the Nora House yard as if it is our own!

before

The garden bed between our house and the neighbouring driveway came about mainly because of a big old forsythia that I was unable to dig out.  Nora liked the long driveway bordering garden very much.

four hours later (the maple turning colour in the background is across the street)

comfortably wide now

The garden bed along the angled fence will have to be made narrower if a shed must be accommodated.  It is a perniciously weedy spot anyway.  I dug out a quantity of Egyptian Walking Onions to put elsewhere.

bed to be made narrow, left. Bed to be made into a shed, right.

The design of the garden, with the angled fence which used to just have deer mesh between the center posts, was so that Nora could see into our garden from her back porch.  She once told a friend that she saw Jesus walking there.

With my project done, I went back to the salmonberry tunnel again for forty five minutes of satisfying dead stem snapping for another campfire.  Again, the evening had no wind at all.

Skooter on the plant table backed with thinned out salmonberry

on the way back to the house to get campfire dinner fixings

I was pleased that I got the fire all started up by myself.  Usually former boy scout Allan does the fire making, but he was off getting a haircut.

We only had this much cut firewood left from last winter’s windfalls:

Behind our fence is what remains of the blue wall of tarp that, covering stacked crab pots, made the backdrop for our rear garden all summer.

I like to burn up all last year’s firewood by late autumn in order to start a brand new windfall pile.  One small half-wheelbarrow load of that wood was too wet or big to burn this evening.  The next afternoon, I would wheel it to the back of the garage and put it under cover to dry so that maybe we can have a winter solstice or very early spring campfire with it later.

Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’, still in bloom, does not provide any scent on chilly evenings.

Allan returned to a pleasantly roaring fire and a campfire dinner.

the moon almost full

Rain was due by 4 PM the next day.  Although I longed for reading time, we had volunteer plans for tomorrow.

 

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Saturday, 17 November 2018

first day of staycation

I woke much too early with the memory that we had a big shrub from Klipsan Beach Cottages to plant.

This rain gauge must have recorded the rain we had on the dark day last week, perhaps in the night; we did our 12 days in a row of fall clean up with nary a sprinkle during work time.

Yesterday during our final clean up at KBC, Mary had given us a large callistemon that had been in a big pot all this time.  Her plant collector brother had given it to her some years ago. Denny doesn’t like weird plants much; this one has greenery-yallery  flowers.

the callistemon at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Callistemon, now ours

quite a prize! might be ‘Shamrock’

I dug a Big Hole and Allan brought the trailer right next to the destination and helped me plant.

callistemon in the ground

I may eventually have to move the two ornamental grasses on either side of it.

In the course of making room, I dug up some Geranium macrorrhizum and took some starts over to the Norwood garden, two doors down.  I appreciate being able to cut through the Nora House back garden and its connecting gate.  The Norwood garden also got a couple of starts of Dierama from KBC, perhaps not well rooted enough to “take”.

Geranium went into the corner of this north bed.

I thought I was going to have to rearrange the hydrangeas for spacing, but they look ok to me now.

Very young hydrangeas…The one on the far right got cut off from the photo….

I snagged myself an oyster basket of fallen leaves from the driveway.

Because I was so tired from work, I set myself a simple mission, to clear out compost bin three in preparation for adding the huge pile that waited outside the west gate.

before

before: bin three looks promising

I sifted just this much compost out of it by the time it was completely emptied.

I could not resist starting on the hauling of debris.

the pile, before

It was a relief when the tarp appeared from under the huge pile that consisted of Fifth Street Park debris and all of Diane’s garden.

Meanwhile, Allan was using the Pencil Sharpener to chip two piles of woody debris from work.

Frosty found it amusing to have us out by the driveway, where he enjoys sunbathing.

Somehow I found the energy to wheelbarrow the whole big pile from the driveway “garden” (potatoes and weeds and debris dumped from work) and got it clipped and layered in into the compost bins, filling bin three and heaping up on top of the other three bins.  I must admit the last couple of loads just got stuffed on top with no chopping.

after

As I worked, I fantasized about us driving to the free wood pile at the port and finding five more pallets and making two more bins on the other side of the aisle.  I reminded myself that if we semi-retire in a couple of years, we will no longer be bringing home such large amounts of compostable material.  It is tempting, though, to expand…  I will have to wait for these piles to settle before I can start sifting again.

A new addition today is a leaf bin, made from a round of wire and a couple of rebar stakes.  Marion Cran had written eloquently of leaf mold in her books, and with my two plastic bins now full of leaves and chippings, I needed more space.  Allan set it up.

the wire clipped together

newspapers at the bottom to keep weedy grass out (Allan’s photos)

I wanted more leaves from the Norwood driveway but simply did not have the strength to hobble over there again.

the garden at dusk

When I received Allan’s photos of the day, I learned that he had also done a little project I had forgotten about: freeing the welcome frog from the jail that had happened with last minute Halloween decorating.

before

after; a gift from Mary of KBC

Allan noticed the Joseph’s Coat rose is still blooming.

My compost accomplishment called for the last bag of Builders Tea, because this garden was not built on chamomile.

Indoors, Skooter spent the evening, typically, in his favourite spot, where he gets petted every time someone walks by this intersection of hallway and kitchen.

He is still not much of a lap cat.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Just before showtime, Jodie and Doug from the J’s house across the street came so we could see their costumes.

a flapper and Burt Reynolds of Smoky and the Bandit (Allan’s photo)

And a hummingbird got a last sip from the fuchsia display.  I was hoping that humans would notice the many hardy fuchsia flowers I had added to the entryway and grotto.  The hummingbirds had been all over them since yesterday.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tony arrives (Allan’s photo)

and Scott (Allan’s photo)

Scott bearing treats (Allan’s photo); Wendi came to say she would have to miss the trick or treating but she brought me the prettiest little china cat and a bag of candy for the kids.

 

tiki torches in the front fenced garden

the tuteur ghost

Scott, Tony, and the driveway spooky corridor

In the house, I had blocked off the entry to my private lair with a last minute brilliant idea.

physocarpus and fuchsia branches in the hallway and a strategically placed bookshelf

book: Beyond This Point Are Monsters by the brilliant psychological suspense writer Margaret Millar

Scott had made Halloween cookies.  The spider bodies are halved malted milk balls.

so clever

Tony made an assortment of exquisitely flavorful and varied roll ups, and later J9 arrived with hummus and chips, and Heather of Niva green brought good ham, cheese, and crackers, so we were able to keep our strength up for the onslaught.

Allan’s photo

Before more guests arrived, Skooter was snoozing on his favourite cupboard at the entrance to the kitchen.

He loves this space where he barely fits.

He stayed there all evening, getting pets and smooches from every cat lover in attendance.  Frosty had been in my room, and was still there at the end; I wondered later if he had been trapped behind the hallway shrubbery.  (He could still have gone out the south cat door.)

Rootin’ Tootin’ Rudy was also in attendance.

(Next time, I must find something to hide the milk crates; they are bringing down the tone, although I doubt anyone noticed but me.)

Allan and Rudy and Scott (Tony’s photo)

Someone thought Allan’s costume was that of a wizard.  No, a garden gnome.

Hallow-evening began with the first trick or treaters, not very many, arriving before five o clock.

the first to arrive (Tony’s photo)

A handler backing out the cow (Allan’s photo)

I realized later that the costumes this year were often so huge that they would not have fit down the usual route, the narrow front sidewalk entry.

A steady flow of trick or treaters arrived soon after the cow.

I went on a walkabout before dark, and Allan took a long walkabout, much further than mine, after dark.  (That will be our next post, shared from our Ilwaco blog.)

Todd and Karen Brownlee had arrived while I was gone and toured the garden.  I was sorry to have missed this tour.

Allan’s photo

When I returned, I was so sore from four days of plant-iferous decorating that I was happy to take a chair and just watch.  The new garage set up worked well.  At least twelve chairs, lined up on each side, were filled with grown ups who had a good view of the costumes.

Unicorn Teresa of The Planter Box arrives.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tony’s photo

Tony, Scott, Del, Wendy (Tony’s photo)

Heather of NIVA green and our Tony (Tony’s photo)

Tony’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tony’s photo

Tony took videos, as well.  Here is one taken just as he and Scott arrived. Later, three videos show how crowded the trick or treat scene gets, here, here, and here.

 

Joe Chasse and friend arrive (Allan’s photo)

Cathy and Captain Bob come to check our our decor before they returned to greet the Long Beach trick or treaters (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Seaview Sara and Matt arrive (Allan’s photo)

 

Amy (left) from the Port Office (Tony’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Planter Box Teresa appears as a unicorn (Allan’s photo)

Tony’s photo

Allan’s photo

Lorilyn and her fella arrive; she had a box of sand dollars to hand out as extra treats (Tony’s photo)

Judy and Larry from Ocean Park came; sadly, Donna and Jan and Michele and Devery were missing, and missed, because of bad colds and a family obligation.

Erin of Cranguyma Farms came with her eleven year old son Diego, who passed out the treats for the rest of the evening.

Erin as La Catrina (Erin’s photo)

After this large dinosaur left, we got Diego to sit in the very first chair because having a dinosaur all the way into the mid-grotto made it too crowded. (Tony’s photo)

This critter barely fit under the garage door and would never have fit through our front entry arches and gate. (Tony’s photo)

Tony’s photo

Kelli, a local teacher and avid reader, came with her very good dog Gromit, here shown with Diego.

As darkness fell, it was kinda magical.

Jessika, Jared, and Willa from right next door

Our guests loved the feeling of being enclosed in a sparkling and slightly haunted woodland.  (They also liked our ready-to-go protest signs.)

I loved my two treasure chests complete with spooky books, and got rather bossy when the grownups moved forward and blocked them from view; I insisted everyone stay back so the kids could see the treasures on either side of the entrance.  Many of the small children stopped and looked very carefully at each object along the way.

Scott and Tony had carved five elaborate jack o lanterns.

Tony’s photo

a momentary lull

Ocean Park Sarah and Seaview Sara & Matt, with one of Sarah’s little dogs

When we first began handing out treats in 2010, we were surprised that people of all ages come around.  There is not much else to do in our small town on Halloween for anyone underage, and we welcome all.  The older ones have some of the best costumes.

I wish Allan had been back from his walkabout when Napoleon Dynamite showed up.

I said, “Oh, that’s my husband’s favourite movie!” and Napoleon said, “Finally, someone who gets it!”

When Allan returned, I learned he had had his photo taken with another garden gnome.

He had also allegedly had his photo taken with a lovely mermaid at Queen La De Da’s; I haven’t seen the evidence yet.

We loved having dogs at the party!

Scott, Sarah, and pups (Mabel now has Rudy’s hat.)

Here is a costume I would wear if I could find a basket big enough:

an inspired planter outfit

Our friend the unicorn (Teresa of The Planter Box), left, was keeping the tally for most of the evening.

We all told Wonder Woman that we are counting on her to save the world.

a steampunk gentleman

Dorothy and a fairy

Cute dog alert!

Thandi of the Sou’wester, little Celestine, and an intellectual friend

Tony’s photo

Cella and the tally sheet

Tony’s photo

Tony’s photo

close observation of details

checking everything out—I love this kid!

I like to think that children of memory-forming age will have memories of our Halloween display, maybe for a lifetime.

Allan’s photo

Diego (Allan’s photo)

Jules and Felix from Salt Hotel

Tony’s photo

Here they come to save the day.

Our Tweetybird

One young man sorrowfully said to us, “I have some bad news for you—your bird has died.”

treasure chest

Finally, there were no more trick or treaters and no laughter and screams in the distance to let us know more might come.  All but one of our guests left. J9 and I finally had time for a visit.

More!

tiki torches still aglow as Allan took down the cats and bats orange window film (Allan’s photo)

J9 stayed behind for a considerable time to help us bring in garden ornaments from the driveway, de-cobwebbify the entryway (cobwebs look so tawdry the next morning) and remove the treasure chests and enough decorative branches to be able to get the garage door shut.  (She has a party help business called Have Tux, Will Travel, and knows just how to efficiently and carefully dismantle decorations.)

Skooter had had a very good evening with everyone who came into the kitchen giving him love.

The tally was a little messy, especially the part where I was trying to keep count.  It added up to 601.  The Beards Hollow Pirates house, one block east, counted 589 so I think about 600 is a safe bet.

Things to remember for next year:

Hang the Halloween wreath on the garage doorway frame so it shows better. Don’t forget to remove the hook before the end of evening garage door closing.

Get some fabric with leaves (flat bed sheets with patterns?) for the back wall and other areas.  Or even just grey or green.Ross Dress for Less across the river has sheets at a reasonable price. Maybe camouflage the inside of the garage door where it forms the ceiling.  Maybe not because of some of the very tall costumes could get caught up in any fabric or cobwebs.  

If one of our guests brings a cardboard box of treats in, make them put their stuff in a basket so there is not a boring cardboard box in the photo later. (I am bossy.)  It is all in the details.

Cover the milk crates!   I also did not like that the outdoor buckets were not covered, but they did not show after dark.

Get a couple of pieces of cool driftwood to put on either side of the garage entrance once the door is opened on Halloween day.  Or some kind of faux wood curved entrance that doesn’t take up too much room.  More driftwood or branches entry effect could be added right outside the garage door, stuck through or tied to the arbor.  Not too big for giant costumes to enter through.

This is an event we look forward to all year.  Just 12 months till the next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the effort to catch up in book reports, I will begin with the book I recently finished.  (This means I have skipped over the two Morville books by Katherine Swift; I hope to catch up on book reporting later this autumn.)

The Prickotty Bush by Montague Don

Those who have read Monty and Sarah Don’s The Jewel Garden know that they loved and lost a garden due to financial woes, long before Monty was the famous garden show presenter that he now is.

I read The Prickotty Bush, the story of that garden, slowly over a few weeks of this exhauting, rain-free summer, just a few pages before bedtime.

Its somber cover goes along with the somber subject of a garden under siege by the bank and an obsessed man trying to make a garden as quickly as possible.

Here are some of my favourite bits:

On the imposition of order by pruning:

Also known as Something Shiny Syndrome:

The bullying wind:

On doing it all oneself:

Interestingly, in one of the next books I read, Marion Cran wrote about the same thing.

Below, I identify with Montagu’s urgency.  I felt, at age 55, when I started the Lake Street garden, that I had to get it laid out the first winter during a two month staycation, no matter what the weather.

30 December 2010, gardening in ice-crusted soil

On time in the garden (shared because I love what he says about human aging):

On how to look at your garden:

On garden design:

On plant names:

Friday, 14 September 2018

Frosty rejoiced that I had the day at home.

He was vocal about it.

Rain gauges from last night:

Even the slowest filling rain barrel was almost full:

I think I might need to remove a hebe.  I set it in the spot below, in a wooden planter, and it has rooted into the ground, broken the planter apart, and is about to block our path.  It pulls debris out of the wheelbarrow when I pass by. And yet it is so grand.

From my window I had seen an exciting glow:

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’

I had tried in late winter to divide it and transplant some to the center bed.  So far, this is all the transplants have done after many months:

puny

My goal today was to deal with the basket plantings brought home from Long Beach.

In bin two, I had a pile of all green debris on top of brown.  I wanted to layer them, green and brown, into bin four.

Four hours later:

I got just this much compost from bin 2, which had not had much time to decompose since the last time I turned it.

Because I feel anxious about the financial aspect of retirement, I rejoice in any compost that I can make instead of buying mulch.  It’s good practice for more frugal years. Compost turning and sifting is an activity that relaxes and pleases me ever so much.

After a couple of rains, the rest of the basket root balls will be easier to break apart.

I wish I had a before photo of where Allan helped me dig out a big orangey grass that had seeded into the front of the east bed.  I needed some room for other plants, and have many others of this grass that I originally got from Pam Fleming’s former nursery.

left, some of the many that are left; right, a new empty space (not for long)

Salvia africana-lutea and an matching spider

Saturday, 15 September 2018

At last, I had a glorious rainy reading day, all Marion Cran.

First, I went through my book marks in her first book, which I finished two nights ago,  to photograph my favourite bits to share in a later post.

When I first opened my used English edition of The Garden of Ignorance, I found these inside:

All the way from Old Blighty, perhaps; there is nothing on the back of the picture.

Today I read all of The Garden of Experience and more than half of the third book of her autobiographical series, The Story of My Ruin.  She will get more than one of a series of blog posts when I have time to write more about the summer’s reading.

Here is just one excerpt that echoes Monty Don’s words about having to make one’s garden all by oneself.  In Cran’s world of the 1920s, that meant with the help of a gardener, but the garden owner also knew where every plant was and did much of the work herself.

I hope to offer you many more shared thoughts about Marion later this year.  Meanwhile, I enjoyed the endpiece to The Garden of Ignorance:

 

 

 

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Sunday, 26 August 2018

Due to a light rain overnight that was enough to fill all the rain barrels, I was suddenly inspired to plant a few ladies in waiting.  I tried to talk myself out of it, as surely I should wait for autumn and more regular rain.  Later, I read that some of my northwest gardening Facebook friends had succumbed to the same urge.

this much rain in the yellow rain gauge.

The cats were pleased to have me home.

It’s a darn shame I can’t dredge up a before photo of the area below, showing how a Leptospermum ‘Squiggly’ was all jammed in sideways next to the Cistus ‘Mickie’, reaching for the light.  I risked killing Squiggly by moving it.  It had to be done.

during

I pruned it to try to regain its upright habit.

new spot in the east bed, before…

and after pruning. Good luck, little one.

I planted a clematis from Windcliff, whose tag must be kicking around on the ladies in waiting table, and a Baeckia in a newly cleared area. (I saw a baeckia while garden touring near Seattle and was smitten.)

I decided that the West Willows Loop path was unnecessarily wide at the beginning.

before

after

Why do we edge with rocks and logs?  Well….if I had more soil to build up behind the rocks, there would be a good reason.

I took a break during the middle of the above project because Allan decided to cut a branch I had asked him to cut.  He went to the one branch on the purple ornamental rather ugly plum tree that I had mentioned two or three weeks ago, that hangs over parked cars on the front sidewalk.

before

after (Allan’s photos)

The branch was down before I told him I had changed my mind about that one, and that what I meant was the alder branch I had showed him last weekend.  (It would require some low climbing which is why I had not done it myself.)  I went back to the alder grove to find him in a completely different alder cutting a big dead branch.

That inspired me to think about how a few more branches gone from that tree would better reveal my garbage can phormium and my eucalyptus.

before

after

I helped chop and pile all the debris.

Finally, Allan cut the branch that I really wanted cut today.

before, that twisty one

With it gone, the fuchsias underneath will get more light. Take my word for it, because I forgot an after photo.

Oh wait, is this one? Well…sort of:

At the end of the day:

a beautiful rose.

This winter, I hope to find my rose receipts so that I can identify that one.

Saponaria ‘Flore Pleno’ redeeming itself for being such a runner.

looking southeast

Allan had also mowed the green back portion of the lawn, as well as pruning.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Because of some more drizzly rain, I decided we would dare to take Monday off from work watering.  The real reason was that I could not bear the thought of going to work.  I had not had enough time at home.

The rain barrels were full.

The weather was perfect, not windy, not too hot, with a crisp autumnal feeling in the air. I got the big yellow pick for a big project—finally.  Into the yellow rain gauge it went (with a new collection of rain; the yellow rain gauge got used and dumped yesterday).

I was at last inspired to make my bogsy wood stepping stone path.  It has been lingering for almost a year on the work board list of home garden projects, even after all of the weeding list got erased over the summer.

before: I had been piling some extra stepping stones there since last winter.

The reddish stones had come from former client Rita Nicely, back when we used to do her garden.  I had to quit that and two other private gardens when Allan and I lost a part time helper and decided to go it alone. Rita’s garden is now in the capable hands of Shelly and Terran of Flowering Hedge Design.

looking north from inside the area I was clearing, with Skooter by the fire circle.

Skooter got off the fire circle bench and came to help me.

“I halp.”

I could not pick all of the salmonberry out because of the alder roots, so some of it I clipped and will continue to clip.

before

I did wield the pick mightily where the path will go.

before

Skooter returned to the bench.

I disturbed a large frog while weeding (fortunately not while picking).

It hopped over and found a new home behind some pieces of metal that I had leaned against a trunk.

impromptu frog house

my helper again

Allan had asked earlier why I was making a path through this natural area.  Skooter understood and approved.  He sat on many of the rocks right after they were laid down.

I scavenged the front garden for a two more piles of the paver rocks I had been saving and commandeered Allan from his desk, where he was working on his self published boating book all day, to help fish some out rocks from the back of a raised bed on the north side of the house.

The rocks were wasted back there.

nice and mossy

Frosty felt no need to help.

I got the whole length of path done as I had hoped.  The problem in the future will be that the darned meianthemum (false lily of the valley) is thick in here and will obscure the stones if I don’t manage to weed or string trim it.  But for now, I am quite pleased.

At the inner end, the rocks will make it possible to walk in the swale when it is damp.  Otherwise, the hard packed mud is treacherously slick and slippery.

bogsy swale looking east

Then the path goes north between the two hillock shade beds.

As for the area below, it still has salmonberry roots and needs some soil added (which I do not have) in order to plant a few more things on the side of the hillock.  Let’s revisit that before:

before

and after:

Another revisited before:

before

after

before

after

Looking across the fire circle border, I can see the rocks (now, at least) and I feel well chuffed.  I will probably find a few more matching rocks to widen the path during winter garden clean up.

looking south

Now I need to find a way to make the area where salmonberry must be clipped, where the alder roots are too thick to plant, and where the shade is deep, more interesting, to make it worthwhile to take a walk on the path.

Skooter agreed it was a day’s work well done.

Allan’s only photo for Monday is of half of an overgrown cucumber and one of our many apples that garnished tonight’s dinner.

 

 

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