Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Long Beach

We started at the welcome sign. The back side is a goner. The city crew does not have time to dig it out, so it is a fine display of horsetail. I am holding firm to not doing the digging and soil replacement, mostly because it’s on a steep slippery slope. Also, the water line appears to have been wrecked by a road project to the east so now it has NO water. I would have planted differently on the front had I known we’d have to lug water to it or rely on the city crew to find time to take their watering truck there once a week.

We had fallen behind on weeding the street trees, and many planters had lots of annoying bulb foliage (the lingering price of spring gorgeousness) and I had some more Chelsea chopping to do on Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’. I sicced Allan on a couple of difficult trees at the south end of downtown…

…while I did other trees and planters for two blocks, including the square-ish bed in SE Fifth Street Park, where I pulled out the sickly lily even though it spoils the pattern. All the lilies are going to be a problem when they are done blooming and dying back unless the other plants get busy and grow tall.

I then sicced Allan on the planters and trees in the two north blocks, and I crossed the intersection to the south and did the block by the pharmacy down to Funland, including a big Chelsea chop and Crocosmia pulling at the corner. Found many snails in that planter.

Meanwhile on the north two blocks:

I joined Allan and we finished the north blocks, then went to the Bolstad beach approach. When we had gone out there to a not much used sanican (which we mask up to enter), I had noticed that the planters were all weedy again. So we weeded them. The beach approach has gone to a meadow. This is not a bad thing, as pollinators love grasses and clovers. (The tiny yellow clover thing used to be satisfying to weed; it comes out in a big mat.) But there was very little buzzing. There is much concern that pollinators are scarce this year due to our cold wet wintry spring.

We dumped our debris, then took a break because I had run out of potting soil at home!

The Planter Box

We hoped to get to The Basket Case, too, but ran out of time as they close at five.

More Long Beach

We picked up 8 buckets of mulch at City Works and balanced them, lashed in, atop the potting soil.

We checked on Veterans Field. I was horrified that the horsetail had already come back in the corner garden. Allan attacked it…

…while I tidied nine more trees and planters. I was so happy to see the alliums still unmolested in the Lewis and Clark Square planter. A few other planters had some left, planted before I realized there are some nice things one cannot have in town.

Then I found this under a bench and had a wave of gloom.

That pink cranesbill geranium, probably ‘A. T. Johnson’, looks so good now. I remember how thrilled I was to get it for $8 from a great collector’s nursery in the early 90s…till I found how much it reseeds. Its bloom will end by early summer, and I will shear it back hard to get new foliage as soon as it looks tired.

Geranium sanguineum also has a short period of bloom but the foliage stays nice through the whole season.

I digressed from planters to cosmetically cut some salmonberry invading a hydrangea in Third Street Park, upsetting a bird who must have babies in there. Don’t worry, I said, I don’t have time to do anything more here.

I made a tourist, who was hovering over a planter taking pictures with her phone, happy by identifying and then putting some Cerinthe seeds in her hand, from a distance, with a loooong stretch.

On the way to rejoin Allan, I saw that the rugosa roses were encroaching on the sidewalk that leads to the Friday farmers market. I chopped it, Allan picked it up; next week we will do a good shearing there (I hope).

We pulled bindweed in the parklet behind the Lewis and Clark wall. What a mess, didn’t get it all.

We paused to watch as birds flicked around the red hot pokers at the berms.

Finally, we mulched the three trees that got weeded the hardest…

…and added some to the welcome sign end where the crew had dug around trying to fix the water for us.

Finally we were done, at almost 8 PM, a 9 1/2 hour day….with this to unload.

It is hard for two people to keep up with all the public gardens in Long Beach and the Port, not to mention Ilwaco trees and community building. It’s even harder because of how LB went to weeds last year during our nine months of attempted retirement. Most businesses with this many responsibilities would have a crew! But I’m not about to add that kind of paperwork to our last very few years of working. So we just push on with it as best we can.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

I found a sad plant, a lovely begonia that Pam Fleming gave me, that a cat had pushed off a shelf. Poor thing. It sat in the sink, well watered, all day, and did perk up. It’s supposed to be outdoor hardy, but the one I planted outdoors does not appear to have made it through the winter.

We loaded up the second crop of cosmos that I had grown, along with some left from the first crop that I had been saving for J’s, the post office, and Diane. I’d panicked about not having enough, made a second seed order of which I could only find a mix, Double Click, and some Seashells, and as predicted, the second crop had almost caught up to the first. I love cosmos and grow them as a gift to all the gardens. I just wish I had more ‘Cupcakes’, my favourite these days.

J Crew Cottage

First, across the street, I planted some along the driveway where baby Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ is being slow to start, and some in the garden. No pretty pics. I may not have take a single photo today as planting, which I don’t much enjoy, takes all my energy. I did ask Allan to photograph the river rock as he weeded, because it is a good example of how weed seeds will emerge thickly many years after a garden is brought under weeding control. Before we took this garden on, the dwarf fireweed had seeded thickly, and it still pops up on a weekly basis.

Ilwaco Post Office garden

Allan weeded our volunteer garden and picked snails while I planted cosmos and put in little stakes to perhaps protect them from darling Meadow, the cat from next door. She has soft feet but…the cosmos are little babies.

Port of Ilwaco

Allan planted some dianthus all around the edges of the Time Enough Books curbside garden and then squeezed in some cosmos. I planted more dianthus in the port office south wall garden and some cosmos. I’d propagated lots of old-fashioned pink dianthus. Perhaps if I plant dozens, there will be enough for people to pick without destroying the flower show.

On the south side of the port office, only one allium had been picked.

Coincidentally, a fellow walked by and said he had been growing Egyptian walking onions that he had started from bulblets that he had picked at the boatyard, and that he noticed we didn’t have any there anymore and did we want some bulbs. (The wee onion bulbs grow at the tips of the plants, then the stalk bends over and the bulb roots.) I asked, “Why do you think we don’t have any? Could it be that someone picked the bulbs?” He said he had only taken a few. I said, “Maybe some other people also took a few…and that was all of them.” This didn’t seem to sink in, but he was amenable to my suggestion that he take some bulbs from his plants and stick them back in at the boatyard!!

By the marina, the outfall pipe that you see is the water that comes from the hill into drainage swales to the south of Lake Street, on the north side of the port parking lots. Supposedly an upcoming project by the Department of Ecology is going to make this system better, so that the water going into the marina is better filtered for pollution…somehow.

More driftwood poles that I WANT. Maybe next week will have time for Allan to GET.

[Update, written Monday, June 13th: Little did we even imagine that this would be the last time we would work for the port, but not the last time we’d do the Time Enough Books garden! We quit the port today, June 13th, because of….reasons. We will continue to care for the Time Enough Books garden as a private job, because Karla appreciates us. This has nothing to do with the port commissioners, who have always been supportive and appreciative of our work. We also value the support and appreciation of the front office staff, April and Amy, for all these years. Special thanks to April for her diligent watering of the port office garden. So if you are a local and see that some port gardens are already weedy….well, we were going to weed them yesterday, June 13, but ended up quitting instead. The rest of the story must wait till the blog catches up with June 13th. Damn, now I won’t ever get those driftwood poles!]

Susie’s garden

She got some Cosmos ‘Double Click’ and a mix including ‘Psyche’, which I did not have in my first batch.

We are still waiting for the wall to be done so we can plant some plants that have been waiting for a year!

She recently posted this photo of her first sweet pea, from one of the plants I started in autumn and wintered over in a cold frame.

Long Beach

Fifth Street Park got a few Double Click. The horsetail has stayed at bay, and we hope it does so till at least next week.

The Red Barn

There is no room for cosmos here and not enough reliable watering for them to thrive anyway. The garden got a good weeding.

Cosmo the barn cat got treats and pets.

Bentley got a nice large biscuit. But new puppy Quinn, who was too fast to photograph, stole it right out of his mouth and ran away to eat it in a pasture. All I had left were small biscuits. Bentley took one with a sad face and walked away slowly with a disappointed air. He buries them, doesn’t eat them, sometimes digs them up and moves them. That must make for a fun quest for the puppy.

An audience

Diane’s garden

We did the usual weeding and planted cosmos. Allan planted along the road where I no longer trust my balance to work by traffic, and in the septic vault middle section where I can’t reach. He can still agilely climb up there. I made room in the entry driveway bed for some cosmos where wood strawberries had taken over.

The picket fence sweet peas looked better than last time. Allan tied them in, again.

On the vault garden

We came home with only five cosmos mix left, perhaps for my garden, perhaps for the fire station. I am thrilled to have them (almost) all in the ground.

6 June: seeds

Monday, 6 June 2022

At home

Since we had been saved by heavy rain from watering the Long Beach planters, I could not resist staying home. (When the foliage fully fills in on the planters, it would take a torrential rain like Saturday’s to let us skip watering; a light rain wouldn’t penetrate).

I put out a container of assorted seeds and promptly lost it. I searched all around the back of the garage where Allan had helped me fill in a couple of planting boxes.

Frustrated and anxious, I changed into a summer shirt because of sunny weather, and my old and well loved shirt that has had a tear at the back that turned it into a wear at home shirt totally ripped. Into the compost bin it went (too bad I don’t sew or I’d have saved some fabric) to decompose. The buttons become a cute topping on containers.

I gave up searching and went to the Bogsy Wood to see if the water had receded enough to plant the darmeras I’d abandoned yesterday. Yes it had, although my feet were sinking more into the lawn than before.

The Deep Path
the bridged swale

I saw that the bindweed is still coming toward the center of the garden, so maddening.

Its origin is next door, beyond the sheet of old plywood that we put on the fence last year. And it is infiltrating my good plants.

Behind the plywood lurks the evil weed.
Geranium palmatum cheered me up.

On the way back to the house, I found the seeds where I’d put them on a fish tote, my other veg area. So at least I planted beets, carrots, radishes, chard and more. The first planting I did of early season seeds all failed except for some peas. Just too wet and cold.

Although there is a mystery. I thought I was planting some centaurea of some sort in this flat…and yet that looks like lettuce mixed in with it.

I harvested a carrot crop left over from last autumn….

…and finally did a weeding project in the NE corner of the front garden, where the hedge nettle (Stachys bullata; I got the ID from a weed group) was rampant. I have just called it stink mint. I don’t like the smell of the leaves. And I don’t like its aggression, even though, like many native weeds, it is good for pollinators.

Nearby is a big patch of epimedium and I had the idea of planting some along the fence in the now empty space. Empty looking, as some roots of the weed are still there. Epidemium excels at not letting weeds through…and a day later I realized it might be great to put some in a shady area of a Fifth Street Park where the dwarf fireweed seedlings keep appearing en masse. (It took me till June 12 to get around to transplanting the epimedium at home.)

Epimedium sulphureum, a tough but not especially aggressive groundcover.
After weeding

The red chairs in the south Catio, given us by Patti, have finally been adopted as a comfy spot.

Sunday, 5 May 2022

Ilwaco Community Building

Allan spent two afternoons at work at the Ilwaco Community Building (which houses the library and a low cost lunch program, also has a big room for city council meetings and vaccination clinics).

Old bulb foliage, bottom of entry ramp
Many years ago, the ICB was the local hospital.
Tiered garden, a mess of vetch
To the right, above, a huge grove of montbretia. Orange Crocosmia. A pest. But we leave it because we do not have a massive work budget here.

Monday, 6 May 2022

Back to the ICB

We took the day off from Long Beach because Saturday’s rain meant we didn’t have to water. JOY. I stayed home, Allan took the opportunity to finish up at the community building, whose garden had fallen way behind on weeding. This is truly his job. I like the little entry garden to the library, but the rest of it is not my cup of tea with salal, heather, and the dreaded orange montbretia.

We actually want salal to fill in where someone did a stumpy removal of a mugo pine last year.
A nice Pacific Wax Myrtle that someone is sure to want chopped down for being too tall. Edited to add, Allan chopped it. Oh well! He said it was too close to the building.

Ilwaco Post Office

Allan picked up the mail. The cat next door loves our post office garden. I love the cat but having seen these photos, I think maybe the cat rather than a human broke off one of my precious alliums. Well. I can forgive a cat.

Next door

He mowed Alicia’s back lawn, despite some standing water and disturbing a resident.

Has to be mown high because so wet.

And he photographed the Fremontodendron (flannel bush) along our side of the driveway.

Speaking of Ilwaco and community, there is a city council meeting on June 13 which you could zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting

And I have acquired two documents that have previously been presented to the city council and port commissioners, which are on the agenda topic of our housing situation. See below.

In an amazing and emotionally moving drama, when a representative of health and human services tried to present the following timeline at a port commissioners’ meeting, he was cut off at the three minute mark. This astonished us, because surely information from a public entity should be heard. At that moment, two local citizens, one of them also a city councilman, one a retired teacher and former county commissioner, stepped in on Zoom and took their three minutes to read out the rest of the timeline. When the teacher was cut off at three minutes, the councilman took the baton and finished reading the timeline. It was a brilliant example of citizenship and smarts to step up to the plate so quickly and make sure that the timeline was heard.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

At home

It is astonishingly wet in the garden with all the swales full and my feet sinking into the grass after an inch of rain. Even with a strong and long summer rain, I have never seen standing water like this in late spring except for in the frog bog at the south edge of our property, which sometimes has held water into July.

I did some planting of some hellebore starts and a few other extra not very exciting shade plants, couldn’t plant darmera in the bridged swale because it was too wet! So I just left them there.

Variegated silene in an old wooden box planter.
Standing water in campfire circle in June, unheard of. Till now.
An expanded bed on the edge of the Bogsy Wood
More unheard of standing water on the lawn…
The deep path
The metal path is underwater.
Bridge to the willow grove
New plantings east of the bridge
The bridged swale
Too wet to plant.
Too wet to weed! But…I LOVE THIS WEATHER, I really do.
The Frog Bog

I went indoors in the afternoon, planning to return to the garden. I did not, being overcome with exhaustion and the desire to take a nap, which I again refused to do because that big a change of habit scares me. So I wrote a blog post or two, caught up on the Tootlepedal blog, and read some more of Adrian Bloom’s book about perennials and grasses. I thought if I took a nap, I wouldn’t sleep at night. As it was, I only got six hours of sleep that night anyway so I might as well have napped. But that way lies senility, I fear, so I resist.

Allan worked in the afternoon, which will be tomorrow’s post.

Friday, 3 June 2022

At home

I started with some planting (mail ordered from Far Reaches Farm) in the Bogsy Wood, which has dried out just enough, although it was a challenge to not slide into the deep ditch.

I had a few other plants, an astrantia with a lost tag…

….and a clerodendrum, from a friend, which I put into a crowded area that I will have to keep an eye on (but figured out a better spot two days later so it will get moved again).

I’ve let filipendula and Macleaya cordata go wild in a couple of areas, as I do like tall plants, and they will be easy to pull someday when I want a change. It’s amazing how a plant as big as the Macleaya or plume poppy pulls out. The purple leaved Lysimachia ciliata, beloved of Monty Don, is not as easy to edit.

Not a good spot!

I put a new Azara into the front east garden.

A rose nearby

After appreciating the Geranium palmatums that Ann Amato gave me a couple of years ago…

…and after some general garden appreciation…

Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’
The deep path
Enkianthus in bloom
Impatiens omieana
Rhododendron sinogrande

…I then embarked on a big project involving the thirty or so pavers that Patti gave us when she moved to Portland. First, I had to clear the greenhouse of all stray empty pots that were in the way and drag the big banana and brugmansia pots outside. Then I thought I was too exhausted to go on. It seemed impossible. Then I did go on, and the results were satisfying even though the pavers wandered half an inch to one side.

My left arm has had a very painful jumping muscle or tendon that has made me yell in sudden pain a lot over the last week, even just from putting my seatbelt or a hoodie on. Heaving all those heavy pavers around seems to have cured it!

Also potted up a running bamboo and used some extra pavers to make a little planting area so weeds won’t come up and bamboo won’t escape, and also planted a couple of new brugmansia from gallons to large pots.

Meanwhile, Allan mowed three lawns on our block.

Afterward, he said his legs felt tired and wobbly…and that didn’t even include Alicia’s huge back yard, which was too wet to mow. Perhaps being 69 and a half years old makes one more tired? I’m beginning to think so.

Saturday, 4 June 2022

I worked for hours in the rain, in and out of the greenhouse potting tomatoes from gallon to five gallon containers and getting shelves and junk removed so 12 plants can sit on the ground level. Allan kept bringing me potting soil in the wheelbarrow, which does not fit into the greenhouse, so I got thoroughly drenched filling the pots up outside. Despite wind and constant rain, I was wet but not too cold to go on.

No photos were taken because I had lost yesterday’s pocket cam, I assumed somewhere in the garden, second pocket cam I’ve lost this week. Fortunately, both are waterproof. I’m pretty sure one is somewhere in the van, or at Susie’s garden. Sunday morning, Allan found the more recent lost one on the front porch carpet where it may have fallen out of my pocket. [The following Wednesday, I found the other lost camera deeply buried under dog biscuits and cat treats in my lunch bag. It carries human food, too.)

I got all that done by three and then felt like taking a nap, which would be unheard of unless I’m very ill. I feel naps are the beginning of the end. When my energetic grandma began taking afternoon naps, she went into a rapid decline, or did the decline come first? So a nap was out of the question. Instead, I wrote the two previous blog posts and finished Adrian Bloom’s book Gardening With Conifers.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Long Beach

We didn’t have to water because of so much recent rain. The planters needed checking, although we did not get to all of them. We planted some potted Allium cristophii and some cosmos that I’d grown. The alliums don’t grow well in the parks from bulbs, maybe because the soil is too heavy and damp, but I think I can get the effect I want by putting in pot-grown plants. My hope is that the flowers do not get picked in a large planter or a park.

The big planter is my target. The rollator helps politely clear the way as I say “Beep beep!”

We weeded the Third Street intersection planters. I’m trying to give all the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ the Chelsea chop so they don’t get top-heavy.

Rugosa rose at the old police station, now merchant center.

We weeded the flag pavilion arc garden at Veterans Field because the Friday farmers market starts this week. I was shocked at how weedy it has gotten…same story, the results of the 2021 spring and summer of utter neglect. At least it does not have horsetail. I felt thoroughly discouraged by its extreme weediness.

After mulching. It looks empty because so many weed-ridden plants had to go. I can’t keep up on finding replacements.

A passerby with a rollator then said to me, “No matter what they pay you to do that job, it’s not enough!” We had a wonderful talk. He’s a lifelong nurseryman who grows mostly lilacs in the Okanogan and knows exactly how hard our job is, which is unusual. Like me, he has vertigo, thus the rollator, but his has big wheels so goes well over gravel. The conversation was just what I needed because of my recent feelings of discouragement about work and its weeds, weedkillers and toxic chemicals hurting “my” plants, and people’s indiscriminate and destructive weed-eating, and of course finger blight.

We then weeded and trimmed four planters in sudden torrential rain and went home during the rainstorm to get more alliums (a flat I had forgotten) and change to dry clothes and finished up with planting in Fifth Street Park.

The forgotten alliums waiting at home
Back to Fifth Street SE quadrant which does not have a horsetail problem.

I set up and Allan planted some white Geranium macrorrhizum by the restroom. I planted alliums and cosmos. He then did a thorough battle with horsetail while I checked more planters and tree gardens.

The pink cranesbill geranium is a pest but looks good under this tree.

I am sad that the carousel is gone as the rides appear to have closed permanently.

Allan did a great job on the horsetail. How long will it last?

Below, a reader poll: Make it or Break it on this hebe? One of us thinks it needs to be cut to the ground and its roots dug around to plant more plants, and that pruning to get it out of the street made it very ugly. (The roots are in the works of the planter and make it too hard to just dig the plant out.)

The other thinks that it is fine the way it is.

We agreed to ask our blog readers.

What do YOU think?

We installed a third grass at the city hall garden and weeded four more planters downtown.

Port of Ilwaco

On the way home, we drove by the boatyard and western curbside beds so I could photograph them at their spring peak. I don’t care what I see there, I said, and meant it, and stuck to it, we are not going to work on Friday. [I kept my word.]

Horsetail….too bad! Deer are not eating the columbine!

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Port of Ilwaco

I know I said we weren’t going to do the Coho Charters hedges again because we are just too old and tired and Allan’s back hurt last week, but we got enough of a second wind to do it this week, especially when we heard that our client there hadn’t been feeling well. (He’s better now and was out fishing.) So we did it one more time, before and after which I said I really mean it that we are now out of the hedge shearing business. I gave him the card of Peninsula Landscape Services, which will do a fine job for him, and assured him that we have no intention of quitting the port job, yet. The Coho boats just got home from a charter trip as we finished up.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2022


We went over the street trees again, adding more baby plants to replace the ones someone had weed whacked and moving a sign off of one of the tree gardens where plants that had been trying to grow in its shade had simply plotzed…and planting more baby plants. Some might wonder at our lack of success at getting these little gardens going.

Allan did some extra curricular weeding that no one else does.

The folks of Col Pacific Motel are doing a nice job of having adopted two city planters.

Long Beach

We weeded the square-ish garden in Fifth Street Park north of Benson’s Restaurant which some might also wonder why it’s slow to get going. A large shrub which was dug out of here a couple of autumns ago still has lots of roots left over, and I think the soil despite our improvements is just pitiful. However, I do hope to have some flowery meadow-y look success here later this summer. Maybe. A passerby was pleased with the Long Beach gardens and told me so while I picked thrips off of a rather decrepit lily.

We weeded the strip in the NE quadrant near where folks take their photo with the frying pan.

I was emotionally moved by the color coordination of this man and his very nice dog. It brought a tear to me eye to see such a very good and clearly beloved dog.

We did a horsetail patrol in the NE quadrant of the park. I felt discouraged and only took a photo showing the horsetail was thoroughly back again. It feels so scratchy and miserable to weed here. We are advised by experts to not pull it, just break it off. I think of the garden at Federal Twist which just allows the horsetail to intermingle. If only I could get all the plants to fill in.

Here is the main reason why the plants are so darn slow.

Here at the beach, we are even cooler in temperature.

I did find a moment to admire some blue veronica in a planter nearby. I have often thought of replacing it because its flowering time is so short. I never get around to digging out and re-designing this planter and when veronica bloom time rolls around again, I’m sort of glad.

It occurred to me to check the corner garden at Veterans Field. I was utterly shocked at how weedy it was. I keep forgetting that last spring and summer’s complete neglect made so many weed roots and seeds that the old days of having the gardens “under control” and predictable are just gone. Probably gone for years. You can probably tell that is getting me down as it makes everything in Long Beach take so much more work than it used to.

Another nest of rampant horsetail.
Added some Geranium ‘Rozanne’ that came out of the back of the LB welcome sign awhile ago.
Planted some tiny starts of Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ around the anchor. Will be cool if it “takes”.

I needed potting soil so we took a spin round the two local nurseries.

The Planter Box

The Basket Case Greenhouse

Monday, 30 May 2022

We began the day with a brief social call on Marlene, who lives down by the park at the end of our block. I took her three trays of plant starts that I propagated and am tired of taking care of and she gave me two excellent books. They are on my table but I am too tired to walk over to take a photo of their covers. Oh how I need some rainy days to read, having just missed two by having a garden open in the rain! Today, though, we had to work. (Fortunately, with the blog running a week behind again, which is the way I like it, I’ll have time to photograph the books.)

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