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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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Friday, 24 August 2018

reader photo: 

Lorna (formerly of Andersen’s RV Park) recently returned from a trip to Norway, where she found these planters and sit spots in Oslo.  “As usual, I’ve kept an eye out for street flowers in which you might be interested. Nothing….until tonight walking along the 5 mike long!! harbor front promenade. Don’t know about watering needs but certainly no deadheading.”

At home…

last night’s night blooming cereus flower was done…

..and I enjoyed the first of three days off with a few accomplishments in the garden.

Frosty was especially glad to have me home for the day.

I dipped out every rainwater barrel with our five gallon green jugs (wonderfully useful reusable kitty litter jugs with lids).  And filled every watering can.  The rainwater is all saved now and the barrels and bins are ready to fill up again if the forecast of rain comes true.  This should help with conserving water in September, one of the four months per year on which our water bill is based. (Three days later, I was relieved to find out that the autumn months of water averaging are October and November, not September.)

Continuing the theme of heavy lifting, I divided the fifty pound bag of grit, purchased from the Planter Box on Wednesday, into two buckets.  This is what I bought.  I hope it is the sort of grit that Monty Don speaks of so often on Gardeners’ World.  Is it?

I greatly enjoyed turning compost bin four into compost bin two, skipping empty bin three altogether.  This now gives me TWO empty bins into which I will start combining green clippings with the older brown stems of compost material.

The cats hung out together next to the compost bins, in the shade.

before

sifting

putting larger stuff back onto the pile

This dry and not at all rich partial wheelbarrow is all bin four had to give me…

…along with potato bugs and a very large spider.

six hours later, a huge mountain of compost in bins one and two, with bins three and four empty

It probably only took a couple of hours to sift through bin four.  I did other garden puttering during breaks from compost sifting.

Cosmos ‘Cupcake’ appreciation.

and Cosmos ‘Psyche’, probably

hips of Rosa moyesii

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ clambering into Rosa glauca (rubrifolia)

Allan weeded and beautifully mulched his own garden, and took no photos of befores and afters.  Here is a photo from two days later, when we did indeed have a fine spell of rain.

mulched with Gardner and Bloome Soil Conditioner

I continue to read The Prickotty Bush by Montagu Don, just a little bit every evening.

Every evening, I try to figure out what the cover photo is supposed to be.

It’s a poignant tale of creating a garden whilst knowing it might be lost for financial reasons.

Friends who have Seasonal Affective Disorder might find this article about Monty Don’s experiences with depression interesting and comforting.  I appreciate his honesty about his condition because I also suffer from depression on and off, although it tends to be situational rather than season; winter (Reading Time!) is my favourite season.  Perhaps when I can retire or partially retire, summer will be my favourite.

Tomorrow begins a series of several posts about our wonderful Saturday with friends, touring gardens public and private on the north Oregon coast.

 

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Friday, 10 August 2018

My goal today, other than getting enough sleep in the morning, was to sift the compost from bin one, thus having one empty bin to start layering green and brown in, as clean clippings are now frequently created by deadheading and tidying. (I do not put weeds in my compost.)

The day started lovely and cool.


Agapanthus ‘Xera’s Cobalt’

Echinops (blue globe thistle)

Skooter wanted to help.

Bin one looked promising.

Skooter watching a bug.

first barrow of sifted compost

an excellent bin

Now Frosty wanted some attention.

Two and a quarter hours later, I had sifted and dumped five good wheelbarrows of luscious compost.  And then, ominously, the sky brightened.

And out came the sun.

With this much left to go, I went into the house, planning to finish in the evening:

The temperature read 77 degrees, much too hot for me.

I spent the afternoon and into the early evening catching up completely on writing this blog, an unusual occurrence as I tend to run days behind.  That took so long that I almost did not make it back outside in time.  We had been planning a campfire dinner, but almost as soon as Allan got some corn wrapped in foil, a light rain began.  I finished the compost project anyway.

Allan’s photos in the evening:

I realized from the heavy fragrance that my brugmansia had its first flower.

rainwater for the barrels

the final wheelbarrow

Frosty escaping the rain

a new layer of newspaper for the bottom of the bin

Mission accomplished!

 

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Sunday, 5 August 2018

Steve and John of the Bayside Garden had invited a group of working gardeners for lunch and an afternoon in the garden.

John and a bouquet that we brought (Allan’s photo)

some flowers from my garden

and sweet peas from Todd’s garden

We had Todd Wiegardt of Willapa Gardening, Pam Fleming of Nature’s Helper in Seaside, Dave Van Domelon representing Sea Star Gardening, and Ed Strange, who has just this past week retired and passed on his business, Strange Landscaping, into new hands. (I wonder if the new owner will change the name?)

We started with mimosas. Pam, Todd, Dave (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Todd had brought carrots, beets, zucchini and lettuce from his amazing family veg garden (Allan’s photo)

As always at Steve and John’s, the food was delectable.

Allan’s photo

Dave, Pam, Steve, me

Ed, Todd, and John (Allan’s photo)

After a good long lunch and chat, Ed departed because he had much to do.  He has started a new business doing estate sales, at which he will excel.  The rest of us went on a tour throughout the garden, starting with the Willapa Bay (east) side.

the view from inside looking east

and the view to the north

There are about 80 clipped evergreen huckleberries in this bayside dell.

Hydrangeas ‘Bombshell’ and ‘Endless Summer’ at the north edge of the bayside garden; low tide on the bay.

We walked around the house to the driveway garden on the south side.

Here is Corokia x virgata ‘Sunsplash’…

which I know because John had his database notebook with him.

…which is something I keep meaning to do for my garden.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

west side of the house

looking west down the south side of the driveway

As we continued our walk, I resolved this time to try to photograph the views of the garden as a whole rather than focusing so much on individual plants.  (It also takes less brain power, which is waning in August.)  The bright sunlight was not entirely conducive

looking across to the north side of the driveway

north side

north side

north side: Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’

Ulmus ‘Jacqueline Hillier’ demands a close look.

looking west down the driveway

We proceeded through the newest planting areas under the limbed up trees on the south side of the driveway.

the joy of plants (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

further along the south side, in a newly planted area (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

A merged trunk to puzzle over (Allan’s photo)

A ruffly ligularia (farfugium) reminds me that I used to have this plant…(pretty sure)

a rhododendron with a mind of its own

my special silver leaved pet

Rhododendron degronianum ssp yakushimanum x R. pachysanthum

Rhododendron ‘Cherries and Merlot’, another one I especially like.

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’

right: Rhododendron sinogrande

Allan’s photo

all beautifully mulched

a young Itea illicifolia (Allan’s photo)

cryptomeria grove

Dave, Todd, John

Pam wanted to get into the sun (I liked the cool shade) and she and Steve went to the other side of the irrigation pond to the sunny borders.

a look back at the blissful shady cryptomeria grove

looking east toward the house

a frog in the irrigation pond (Allan’s photo)

Allan saw “hundreds and thousands” of tadpoles in the pond.

the north side of the pond

Monarda and Todd (Allan’s photo)

rudbeckia by the pond (Allan’s photo)

a young Camperdown elm

Pam, John, Steve, Todd, and a Berberis ‘Orange Rocket’ that was supposed to be columnar

Allan’s photo

a sit spot as we walk east toward the house

a sunny border

(The wooden boxes above are on the next door property.)

another sit spot

enviable hostas as we near the house

a gorgeous old hydrangea

a prostrate golden yew wending its way among rhododendrons

kitchen garden by the pump house

We had completed our tour, and the party dispersed because Pam needed to be in Astoria soon.

more garden talk before departing (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo: Steve, John, Pam, Todd, Dave, me

I wouldn’t have minded staying for cocktail hour! But we did want to show Pam our own garden, since she only makes it up here a couple of times a year.

postscript at our garden

On the way south, Pam stopped for a 20 minute tour at our place.

Allan’s photo

That was a good day out and inspired me to make some further plans for the shady bogsy wood at home.

 

 

 

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28 July 2018

In this post, I describe touring our garden as if it were someone else’s…sort of.  I don’t say critical things about other people’s gardens.  It is hard to be as complimentary about our own, especially when it is not tour-ready.  It has weeds and doesn’t have all the extra special touches that I would add on a tour day, by which I mean things like plant tags and garden quotations and before and after photos. I do not mean fancy snacks or live entertainment. My favourite kind of garden tour is “just a garden tour”. We would have some cookies, red licorice (Allan’s favourite) and cold lemon water on offer.  I also do my best on a tour day to have the garden perfectly deadheaded and dead-leafed and weeded, with many seating options.  Usually I have to take a week off work, at considerable lost income, to get ready.  Fortunately, we now just have casual lily time tours with friends.

 

approaching

over the fence

from the sidewalk

in through the driveway gate

To the left: something happened here; I know this gardener does not like big areas of soil to show. (The Melianthus major has been stubbornly slow to grow back after a late spring pruning.)

walking east on the front path

right: Scrophularia variegata

right: Tetrapanax ‘Steroidal Giant’

Here’s the other way in by the front gate.

white veronicastrum and lilies to the right

and to the left

Perhaps a non leaky rainwater barrel should be purchased. Plastic bag insert looks tacky. Garden by the front porch, featuring Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’

to the left

Allan’s garden; he likes ferns and has a garden map to show you.

Allan’s garden is partly hidden by the tables of ladies in waiting.

to the left

porch, to the right, with Lamprocapnos scandens vine

to the right, a tatty old dogwood that was here when we moved in.

The quotation on this water barrel reads, “People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy to have such things about us.” (Iris Murdoch)

Left, Allan’s lair

Frosty welcomes you to the corridor between the house and shed, with its rather small wall of china

right: succulents from Spike’s garden

poem fragment by Wallace Stevens from The Pleasures of Merely Circulating:

The garden flew round with the angel,
The angel flew round with the clouds,
And the clouds flew round and the clouds flew round
And the clouds flew round with the clouds.

Yet that things go round and again go round
Has rather a classical sound.

to our right: As I gaze upon the garden, my heart grows peaceful, still; from its color comes my being, from its spirit comes my will. (Ryan Gainey)

 

to our left

Now we pass through the rebar arbor…

and come to the moment when people realize the garden is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.

patio to the right with tall, long rose arbor in the background

greenhouse to the left

the back garden ahead

the internationally renowned compost bins (in use)

pipe planters

patio

cat ramp

trough and bog garden in a patio corner

The good ship Ann Lovejoy

looking southeast

the west bed, with West Willows Loop path to the far right

center bed with Geranium ‘Rozanne’, circled by the Rozanne Loop path

looking southwest

east bed

Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’

left: lilies, and sprinkler idea from Pink Poppy Farm

to our right

to our left as we proceed south

We emerge onto the campfire clearing, with a wheelbarrow full of weeding in progress.

Willows Loop east goes off to our left.

We turn back because the path is grown over.

looking back: Frosty is following us down Rozanne Loop

ahead: a bed in progress at the edge of the Bogsy Wood

Bogsy Wood Loop East to our left and the elegant blue wall of the crab pot stack next door

to our right, Danger Tree garden

Danger Tree (now a snag)

into the Bogsy Wood

to the right, the Salmonberry Tunnel

and a plant table

I forgot to notice the three fairy doors! Here are two of them from awhile back:

fairy door

fairy door with market basket

 

left: Bogsy Wood Loop east (under development)

bridge to the Willow Grove (outside the fence, where the property continues to the Meander Line)

This used to be river front; to the south of us, the port was built out on fill.

looking back north

We walk back to the Campfire Clearing and turn left.

Danger Tree garden: some hoops waiting for a project

to our left is the west Bogsy Wood loop

on the west fence; you can peek through the little doors into the meadow next door

looking north (that’s the lens spot, not a ghost)

Willows Loop west

To our left, a problem area being shown off by Skooter.

to our right

emerging to the garden boat and would be scree garden (I’m trying but the strawberries keep taking over)

in the boat, the sad agave someone gave me

This tour skips the old debris pile/poppy garden on the west side, outside the rose arbor, and the clematis on the west garage wall and the dry garden next to it (only hand watered).  I realize I take for granted, so did not show, many of the small details that would catch my eye on a tour of someone else’s garden, nor did I show the old doors as gates in the deer fence.

Still, I hope this walk through has made the garden layout make more sense to readers who have never been here.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

at home

I had let some friends know that our garden was at its peak lily time.  While Allan went grocery shopping over the river, I stayed home, gardened, and had some visitors (11, if you count the dogs).

front garden lilies, middle

front garden lilies, east side

back garden with Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’

pale yellow Lily ‘Conca D’Or’

center bed, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ river, full of bees

east bed

Clematis ‘Rooguchi’

Lily ‘Salmon Star’ (pretty sure)

Frosty and Skooter

I had decided to not worry about the garden being weedy (mostly the little scrimmy horsetail and the dwarf fireweed).

The lilies’ first visitors were Amy, April, and Tricia from the port office on their all too short half hour lunch break.  Like many visitors, they were surprised that the garden is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.

Everyone likes the passion flowers.

They loved the honeysuckle mixed with hops and roses.

After they left, I had little energy for actual garden work.  I did set myself a small goal of sifting the fourth compost bin.  Over the course of the day, it provided several wheelbarrows of good compost.

Tony and Scott arrived with Rudy and Bailey and did a thorough tour of the garden.

Scott, Rudy, Bailey

Before they left, I wanted a photo of them all by the copper (painted) heart.  They were such a cute bunch that I forgot to get the heart properly showing.

I went back to my compost sifting, ever so slowly.

found a compost resident

finally got the bottom of the bin

I shifted the next bin over.  It had no good stuff to sift out.

In the late afternoon, Mark and Joe, two local gardeners, came by with Joe’s daughter Bella.  (I have visited Mark’s garden twice and blogged about it here.)  Bella, 9 years old, was a treat to observe in the garden.  She noticed everything and would say “I’m going to try to get lost now!” and run off to the bogsy wood, or through the door to the meadow to the west, or around behind the shed.  We would hear her voice from afar calling, “I’m lost now!”  I wish I could experience my garden as a child would, between age 4 and 10.  I am sure it would be as memorable as a few gardens I visited with my grandma as a child.

Skooter let her pick him up and lug him around—twice! He won’t let us do that.

Allan came home before they departed and was amazed to see, out the back window, Skooter being carried:

Allan’s photo

Allan and I got to hold Joe and Bella’s tiny dog.

Later, thinking about Bella’s reaction to the garden, I had some childhood garden memories: Lying on a hammock in a flower filled garden while Gram visited with friends.  The sky a bright blue overheard; I was sure I was looking at the very center of the sky.

And going down a flight of steps next to a pond in a garden on Phinney Ridge, a garden belonging to Gram’s best friends, May Lancaster and Addie.  I would love to be able to find that garden again.

And getting “lost” in the big woodland driveway circle bed—probably small in reality—at my uncle’s house in Shoreline.  How big was it, really?  Here it is now; my cousin who inherited the house seems to have tidied and landscaped it.  Pretty big, really. Those big trees may the the same ones I played under.

via Google street view (with Puget sound in the background; house valued at $1,717,700. !

I wish I could find May and Addie’s old garden to look at online. Maybe the pond is still there.

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 7 July 2018

Other than having to go take photos of the Ilwaco fireworks (for a Facebook page that I administrate), I planned to spend the weekend at home, hoping to accomplish some weeding and compost sifting.

Saturday, I was on day three of feeling like I had an ear infection (which used to be chronic) and I did not garden much at all. I did try, but with 70 F weather, it was too hot for me to enjoy the outdoors.  I stayed in and finished my Hardy Plant Study Weekend blog series and had a good visit, in person, with Our Kathleen.

Of course, I was stressed that my little ear infection might turn big and make me miss the Grayland/Markham garden tour which is the garden touring high point of my year.

Frosty helped me blog.

At dusk, we went out to take the fireworks photos.

front garden sky (Allan’s photo)

A few favourites:

waiting

High tide made for good reflections.

While I staked out my favourite spot on the dock bridge with a good reflective view, Allan walked around on the docks in the dark.  Without falling in.

These guys were dancing to music up on their boat.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Allan went boating in Grayland, which you can read about on his blog.  He also succeeded, after quite a quest, into getting us tickets there for the Grayland/Markham garden tour!

Upon arising quite late and well rested (unusual!), I went out on the porch to rinse off my foot after stepping barefoot in a small pile of cat york.  On the way back in, I caught my little toe on the door frame, badly.  With my weird knee, sometimes I just do not know where my foot is anymore.

Never have I had a wee toe pain so extreme. The pain made me think for awhile I had broken it and made gardening impossible for the day, so….I worked on getting caught up on my blog, fretting that my toe would make it difficult to tour the Grayland/Markham gardens on July 14th. Finally, I consulted Dr Google and realized I should be icing my toe.  By the end of a day of icing, it was almost better.

So no gardening got done at all this weekend except for hobbling out on Sunday to turn on and off almost all of the sprinklers.

During my 6 PM sprinkler walk, I did take some photos.

Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’

edge of the bogsy wood

Iris ensata in the bogsy wood

plant table in progress

Paul Bonine (Xera Plants) admired this fuchsia when he visited earlier this week.

astilbes

more astilbes

Luma apiculata beginning to bloom

bench in waiting

Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’

I have not had time lately to write here about reading.  I have finished Mirabel Osler’s memoir about her life, not just about gardening.  I recommend it to anyone bereaved.  More on it some time later….and have begun an astonishingly good book by her friend Katherine Swift.  I only have time to read a chapter or part of a chapter a day during these long summer evenings.

Real time alert: The Wade and Spade Garden Tour in Tillamook is coming up July 21st.  You can read about it here.  This tour happens only every other year.

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