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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Allan’s cold hit him hard today.  My grandma used to say, when ill, that she was “sickabed on two chairs with my feet on the woodpile.”  Google tells me that the original quotation was “sick abed AND two chairs”, apparently something to do with putting two chairs next to your bed so you don’t roll out.

I worried about work all day and as a result I could not focus on weeding my own garden, until about five o clock, when a cold wind drove me indoors soon after I began.  Before that, I assuaged work worries slightly by going to the Norwood and the J’s garden, both just yards away from home.

Skooter accompanied me to the Norwood garden.

the north side shade garden

Across the street, I weeded the J’s front garden.

But look, one of the three arborvitae at the end is dying from the base up. I have no idea why.

looks completely ominous

So I found this possibly useful post.

Someone might tell me “That is not an arborvitae, it’s a juniper.”  I have to admit I don’t pay much attention to the particulars of common columnar evergreens.

The cold wind that sent me indoors after working allowed me to finish reading a wonderful book by Monty Don.  I wish I could remember which recent book led me to this one.  I got it via interlibrary loan; it came from the Johnson County Library, Shawnee Mission, Kansas, which appears to be a linked chain of libraries, similar to our Timberland Regional Library.

Frosty likes dogs.  He grew up with dogs with his previous person, Terry, who died after the dogs did and who passed his cat family on to us.

I was smitten with Monty Don’s writing style.  If I lived in the UK, he would be familiar to me as the host of Gardener’s World.  Oh, how I wish we had more gardening shows to watch on this side of the pond.  We used to, but Home and Garden Television (HGTV) turned into just Home television.  It looks like I may be able to watch Gardeners World online.

I now want to read all of Don’s books.

I was hooked by this paragraph at the beginning:

Because the book reminisces about all the dogs of Monty Don’s life, not just the famous Nigel (who appears with him on telly), there is the tragedy of losing one’s companion, which strikes me hard because of losing my feline friends Calvin and Smoky so recently.  I wept over this passage from The Sword in the Stone.

I liked this passage about having a seasonal pond, as we do out on the Meander Line.

Nigel likes peas.

Nigel also likes apples.

Below: More of the agony of losing a canine friend.  I hope I will feel this way about the place where I will put Smoky and Calvin’s ashes, where Smoky’s mother is already buried.

On changing the garden:

I appreciate that Monty Don is so open about having suffered from depression.  I have ordered The Jewel Garden, the story of how he and his spouse lost their jewelry design business and eventually ended up with a beautiful garden and a prime spot on Gardeners World.

I am pleased to report that after lying sickabed all day, Allan got up in the evening and enjoyed watching some telly (not Gardeners World, unfortunately, just Rachel Maddow and Survivor!).  His improvement, despite still having a cough and sniffles, was remarkable, but I said that we must still have tomorrow off so that he can continue to recuperate.

At bedtime, I began to reread Mirabel Osler’s gardening trilogy, beginning with A Gentle Plea for Chaos.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

I got very little sleep because of worrying that we were both going to get sick.  With the clam festival coming up, we had much to do in Long Beach town.  There is no back up plan if we can’t do it; all of our other working gardener friends are even busier than we are.

Little dramas loom large when one is self employed.

Allan felt poorly in the morning with sniffles and a cough, and yet with the good weather, we did go to work.  It is maddening; we were so good about disinfecting our hands every time we went somewhere public, and yet…the germs got him.

If only we could have followed Skooter’s example:

Skooter

(Skooter has a chin condition, a problem common with orange cats, says the vet.  My orange cat of years ago, Valene, had the same thing.)

On the way, we dropped off a book at the library (housed in the Ilwaco Community Building).

at the Ilwaco Community Building

Tulip bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’ at the community building

The community building garden needs a bit of weeding…(not shown in the photos above).

In case I end up having to go to work on the bus later this week, we went to the two least-accessible-by-bus jobs first.

The Red Barn

Because I am thinking of using a different plant for the centerpiece of the Ilwaco planters, Allan pointed out how good the Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ looks at the Red Barn.  They get less wind here.

My very good friend Rosie was at the barn.

Diane’s garden

My very good old friend Misty greeted us next door at Diane’s garden.

snoozing

till the camera clicked

The septic box bulb display pleased me; we had missed some of it, of course.  After deadheading:

Muscari ‘Bling Bling’

Muscari paradoxum

I was pleased to find sweet peas just emerging along the picket fence.

The corner driveway garden needs mulching; soon, I hope. I asked Allan to take this photo, and did not get what I wanted, which is the fact that the Stipa gigantea grass is already showing flower spikes.  Oops, I should have specified.

Long Beach

Long Beach had been on the schedule for all day this coming Thursday, to get the parks and planters perfect for the Razor Clam Festival.  I was fretting about what would happen if we both got sick and could not work then.  So we did a lot of it today, which led to more fretting on my part that I was going to make Allan sicker by having him work.  I brooded about how I recently delayed one day taking Calvin to the vet, prioritizing work instead because he seemed not especially sick, and then…we know how that turned out.

We went down the six downtown blocks of street trees and planters, deadheading.  I felt reassured each time I saw Allan taking a photo, figuring it must mean he did not feel too terrible.  (He said, “It’s easier than working!”)

Allan’s planter and tree garden photos:

Tulip bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’ and Tulip ‘Silverstream’ and Tulip sylvestris

Geum ‘Mango Lassi’ and muscari

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ in street tree garden (with tulip)

Tulip ‘China Town’ and Fritillaria meleagris

Tulip ‘Princess Irene’

AKA ‘Prinses Irene’

Tulip ‘Silverstream’

Van Engelen catalog says: A magical sport of Jewel of Spring, fragrant Silverstream ranges from creamy-yellow to deep yellow with red feathering, to red with every combination in between. But the surprise garden party doesn’t stop there: it has showy, attractive foliage with silver-white margins. (Did you know that the phenomena of marginated foliage occurs due to a lack of or insufficient pigmentation and chlorophyll in the plant cells on the outer petal edges?)

I did not think to smell the tulips nor did I notice white margins on the foliage.

street tree garden

Tulips ‘Green Wave’ and ‘Formosa’

Tulip ‘Formosa’

lower left: a tulip ‘Sensual Touch’ that went mushy with rain

My planter and tree garden photos:

Tulips that had been broken, and not by the wind.

Tulip ‘Silverstream’

As you can tell by now, I planted a big run of Silverstream through town.  I think they are too tall to choose again.  And the color variation is nice but it does not thrill me.

one of the viridiflora (green) tulips…too tired to look it up

Tulip ‘Strong Gold’ in one of the windiest planters. Short and strong.

Tulip ‘Strong Gold’

Tulip ‘Strong Gold’…would that all tulips were this tough

more Silverstream

Tulip ‘Sensual Touch’ and Tulip acuminata

Tulips ‘Sensual Touch’ and ‘Black Hero’

Tulips ‘Green Star’, sylvestris, acuminata

Tulip ‘Sensual Touch’

Tulips ‘Prinses Irene’, ‘Sensual Touch’, ‘Black Hero’

We also weeded in Fifth Street Park because…Razor Clam Festival!  Fifth Street Park needs so much more attention, and I hope we can do more later this week.  So much horsetail, so much wild garlic.  (No photos there.)

We went on to Veterans Field, which will be the central place for the clam festival.  It is not ideal to deadhead and weed four days before the festival, but needs must.

Veterans Field flag pavilion garden

The last time we were in Long Beach, Allan asked where the blue was in that arc garden.  I said the grape hyacinth along the edge.  Well, now look at what a string trimmer did:

Muscari ‘Ocean Magic’ as was

And right before the festival, when we were trying to make it perfect despite feeling poorly.  I wanted to lie down on the lawn and blub, but it would be too hard to get back up again.  Some white narcissi were also casualties along the edge.  Then I thought…Ok, maybe this is a sign that I do not have to struggle so hard and fret so darn much about making it perfect.  Maybe I can stop worrying about whether we will be able to get back to deadhead on Thursday.

Still….dang blang it!

On the way south, we deadheaded the welcome sign.

And finally, we paused at the

Shelburne Hotel

where I planted 9 more violas and two Agastache ‘Apricot Sunrise’.  I would like to have weeded more, but we had already worked four hours longer than I had originally planned and Allan was not feeling any better.  The question is, was it wiser to work today so that we can take a day off? Or did it make everything worse?  It would have been so bad if we had stayed home today and then both got sick and couldn’t do a thing before the weekend.  It would be even worse if we got even sicker.  Such woes of self employment have plagued me for the last 42 years.

three by the fig tree, the rest in front

If the gardens in Long Beach are not perfect when you attend clam festival, you now know why.  We forgot to stop at First Place Mall on the way south and deadhead the one dead narcissus that I noticed in the planter there.  I will try not to lose sleep over it.

Monday, 16 April 2018

You may recall that starting in late 2004 up till just a few years ago, we planted and maintained the gardens at Discovery Heights.  When my knee started to plague me, we passed the job on to a younger gardening business, Flowering Hedge Design (Shelly Hedges and Terran Bruinier).  It is a job that requires a lot of clambering up rocks and hills.  These young women are most capable of such feats.

Terran and Shelly, photo courtesy Flowering Hedge Design

Terran just sent me some photos of their recent work on those gardens.  She says that almost all of the white narcissi are ones that we planted years ago that have naturalized.  It was her idea, back in 2004, to plant all white ones.  Terran and Shelly have removed some of the plants that the deer were destroying.  (I was startled way back when to find that deer eat yew!)

Terran and Shelly have formalized the garden by pruning those escallonias in the lower garden.  I always regretted having planted them so far forward!

Photos by Terran Bruinier:

lower garden, north side

lower garden, south side

lower garden, south side

middle garden

middle garden

upper garden

It pleases us greatly to see these gardens well maintained.  Just keeping them all nice and clean along the front edge is a big project.

More old photos of the gardens in this post: Three Gardens in Deer Country.

rainy day reading

The Monday weather started with much rain and wind.

Skooter snoozing

Allan ran errands, one of which was to pick up Calvin’s ashes at the Oceanside Animal Clinic.  Oh how terrible it felt to put the pretty little box of ashes next to the box containing Smoky’s remains, on the second tier of the table by my chair.  They will be interred in the garden with Smoky’s mother, Mary, when I can bear to do so.

Frosty, the last one of the three cat family, must miss his mother and his brother.

I know that Skooter misses Calvin, because Calvin incited and seemed to enjoy the Chasing Game. And I sometimes found them curled up next to each other on the bed.

I miss having a good lap cat.  Frosty likes the back of my chair, as shown above, and Skooter is not a lap cat.

I began my reading by finished Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden, while taking copious notes.

from Saturday night

This was rather shocking to me!

I was glad, later in the book, to see this:

A brilliant bouquet idea:

I had plenty of time left for more reading, and I finished two more books, each of which I had already begun.

I had started with book 2 of a novel series by Virginia Ironside, and then, partway through, I realized I must reread the first one.  I got it from the library:

With that one finished, I returned to the second in the series, which I had purchased.

I will share more when book 3 and 4, which I just ordered, arrive and get read.    I dote on the author because she wrote the helpful book about pet loss, Goodbye Dear Friend.

The sun came out for awhile, much to my dismay.  I kept reading, though.  Allan went out and mowed four lawns, the Norwoods, 2 doors down, Devery’s next door, and J’s across the street.  And the part of ours that was dry enough to be mowable.  They had all gotten so long with all the rainy days (and having to work on the rare nice day).

Norwood lawn

I was worried in the evening because Allan had a troublesome little cough and sniffle.  Oh please please please don’t let us be getting sick when we have so much to do.  (Spoiler: He does have a bad cold now and I feel an ominous tickle in my throat.)

Skooter, hours later

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Instead of me finishing my cutting garden book, we took advantage of a break in the rain to put in a couple of hours at the Shelburne on two things that had been bothering me.

But first, I picked a bouquet to take with us.

window box

and another window box

Muscari botyroides ‘Superstar’

some tulips hoping to open

The rain has been hard on the tulips; it is a challenge to find nice ones to pick that are not rain-spotted.  The peony flowering tulips are in the worst state, of course.  Even the single flowers are battered.  This is one of those years when I resolve to never again grow anything but single tulips.

sad mushy double tulips

the rain gauges (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

flowers on the way

The Shelburne Hotel

My project was to get some ferns removed from the roots of a rose in the front garden, and Allan’s was to prune a climbing rose in the back garden that may not have been pruned for years.  It had much dead whippy growth.

Allan’s photos:

before

before

Pruning canes with leaves does remove some of this year’s flowers.  However, the canes were so all over the place that it had to be done.  I would have had it done sooner but was unclear whether or not this arbor will be preserved.  It is more likely to be so if it does not look like a mess!

after

I am flummoxed by the formerly espaliered Asian pear trees on the west fence.  What to do?

(right) The pear has shot straight up in the past nine years.  The center tree is a limbed up hawthorn.

I got the center Asian pear tree looking a little better after I took this photo; it seems this one was not allowed to shoot straight up.

The third one has also been allowed to grow straight up. Its top growth does provide a screen from a window of a nearby house, so….might be valuable like this.

In the front garden:

looking south

base of the second rose today, where before it was all mucked up with a trashy fern.  It was almost buried in soft fern fronds.  And MINT.

Long Beach

We drove through town, stopping to deadhead under one tree, and then decided that the weather, which had just become miserably wet and windy, required the rest of the deadheading to wait.

Allan’s photos

Basket Case Greenhouse

A rainy day is a good time to check on the latest new plants at local nurseries.

Basket Case Greenhouse

We acquired some violas, at the request of Sous Chef Casey of the Shelburne, who wants them for edible flower garnishes.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I cannot resist agastaches.

On the way home, we decided to not plant all the violas in the rain; four went into pots by the front door where they will be handy for garnishing.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Looking out the front window, I noticed that the goldy-bronze Japanese maple, which I planted for eventual privacy, tones well with the cottage across the street.

Allan picked up some books from the library and did some deadheading there:

Ilwaco Community Building

Tulipa sylvestris

Tulipa (probably) ‘Peppermint Stick’

at home

In the early evening, Allan went on a splashabout in the back garden.

I wish that white bucket was not sitting there. Fire water bucket. I keep forgetting to move it.

in the bogsy wood

looking north from the Bogsy Wood

Bogsy Wood bridge

Bogsy Wood swale

the seasonal pond at the Meander Line

looking north

fairy door

at the north edge of the Bogsy Wood

lawn under water

In the evening, we watched the documentary Kedi, about the cats of Istanbul.  It was glorious.  You can watch it right here.

Skooter, lower right

To protect our telly, we had to put Skooter into the laundry room.  The soundtrack of meowing cats had him all in a tizzy. He never gets worked up by the meowing on the show My Cat From Hell.

After the film, I studied the first couple of chapters of this book, a gift from Lorna, former owner of Andersen’s RV Park, a longtime past job of ours..

I have looked at all the lovely photos before, but this time I am seriously studying it as I am not all that successful at intensive cutting gardens.  I am wanting a small one around the edges of the back garden of the Shelburne Hotel and would like to do better with cutting flowers at home because I am taking bouquets there on a regular basis.

A sweet story of how the author got started:

I don’t often pick bouquets for myself but I do like to make them for other people. I learned useful items already, such as succession seeding for annual flowers up till July 15th.  And planting them extra close together for cutting flowers.

After midnight, I looked to see how much rain had fallen on Saturday: 4.36 inches! And 8.55 since this storm began.

Friday, 13 April 2018

By late morning, the considerable overnight rain had stopped and so we went to get a load of Soil Energy at

Peninsula Landscape Supply.

Allan’s photo

one yard Soil Energy (Allan’s photo)

When I returned from the office, I just waited for Allan to drive out to pick me up.

Another rain gauge:

I browsed the pavers while waiting.

The Shelburne Hotel

A few people expressed surprise, beginning at Peninsula Landscape Supply and continuing at the Shelburne, that we were working on such a cold windy day with a forecast of heavy rain. Again, we were determined to get the back garden’s west beds mulched before the removal of the six square railroad tie beds next week.  It would be a circus with railroad ties going one way and a wheelbarrow going the other.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

all nicely mulched

looking north

The totem creature garden, between building and fence, is going to be an ornamental shade bed.

I was concerned about the new fig tree bed; it seemed a little too soggy so we raised the planting  just a tad, with rocks from a handy pile nearby and some more soil.  I do not think we need to replant the tree; the soil is still at the proper depth on the trunk.

These railroad tie beds will be removed to make room for a graveled open space next week, suitable for weddings.

That will give me an L shaped garden along the west and south fence to plant herbs and edible flowers, as requested.  I am concerned because the west side is rooty from a cedar in the SW corner (which I would remove) and only gets morning sun.  Some wheeled containers in the patio might be provided, too, for growing more herbs and flowers in full sun, and those could be wheeled to the side if space were needed for an event.  I think morning sun might be enough; if not, I will have to turn the west bed into a shade garden and find some other place to grow herbs. ( I used to provide edible flowers from my own garden to the Shoalwater Restaurant when it was part of the hotel.) Hardy fuchsias will definitely be added; they won’t mind some shade and their flowers are edible.

While Allan had wheelbarrowed the mulch, I had time to do some much needed weeding of tiny weeds in the front garden.

looking north

looking south from the north end

looking south from the entryway; we added some mulch under the rhododendron, left)

To celebrate getting done with what we hope is the last biggish project of the springtime, we had a late lunch at the pub.

Someday, there will again be dining on the south deck.

garden sandwich, French onion soup, a side of “fisherman’s potato salad” (with smoked herring, sounds odd but it is good), and some nice hot coffee.

After lunch, I longed to go have a look at Diane’s garden, one of our jobs that we had glimpsed, down her driveway, as we drove south with the mulch.  It now seemed too late, almost five, to go to a private garden, and the rain had begun along with an even colder and stronger wind.  So no visit there until Monday or Tuesday; I hope all the flowers that I glimpsed from the highway last until then.

I was able to cross a project off the work board:

I have a feeling that we will not be working this weekend.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

I did not want to clutter up yesterday’s Bad Tempered Gardener post with our weekly North Beach Garden Gang dinner meeting.  Almost weekly.  We missed last week because I was feeling so under the weather about losing my feline friend, Calvin, that I thought I was actually getting ill.  And Melissa was out of town.  Now, because of learning about The Guild of the Garden Lovers, I wish we had named our group a guild.  The word gang did come from this photo, taken as we (Todd, Allan and I, Melissa and Dave, representing three gardening businesses) were in Seaside to tour Pam Fleming’s downtown garde

In the Depot Restaurant garden this evening, we did a bit of pre-dinner deadheading and Allan photographed some lily sprouts:

It felt good to see Dave and Mel again to catch up on their gardening exploits of the last two weeks.  Tonight was burger night (Wednesdays, till tourist season starts).

dinner salad

clam chowder

Allan’s photo; diners can choose from the plethora of burger toppings

Thursday, 12 April 2018

It was windy and chilly, this sort of day:

We worked at the Shelburne instead of having a nice cozy reading day.  At home, I picked some tulips to take to the innkeeper.

in our back garden

Snails got one of these four narcissi.

rain gauge since I last used it a couple of days ago

bouquet on its way

in the post office garden

Near the Shelburne, I photographed a cute Seaview cottage.

I recently learned that Camp Hungry is a vacation rental; if you have always wanted to see the darling inside, click here for a good snoop.

The Shelburne Hotel

Because other hotel workers will be tearing out six old flower beds next week, we needed to get our own back garden project done because it would be hard to find room to navigate around other workers.

We spent seven hours tearing out Ficaria verna (lesser celandine) and orange crocosmia (montbretia), both of which will do their best to win by coming right back from each little bulbil and corm.  I learned recently that Ficaria is a class 3 noxious weed here because “Lesser celandine outcompetes and excludes native plants. It emerges before most other spring ephemeral plants which can give it a competitive advantage over our native understory plant communities. It is invasive, difficult to control and is spreading in Washington.”  More importantly, per Wikipedia: “The plant is poisonous if ingested raw and potentially fatal to grazing animals and livestock such as horses, cattle, and sheep.”  Now that I know all this, I am going to try to get it out of MY garden, where it is going rampant in two areas, having hitchhiked in when I moved a couple of hellebores from my mother’s old garden (where the celandine was there when she bought the place.

Before:

Shelburne project, looking south

looking north

The hotel’s instagram and Facebook have such a beautiful description of the view from the room that looks out to the above garden bed:

So I was particularly eager to make that view look better than horsetail and old, non-blooming orange montbretia.  Seven hours later:

Allan’s photo

That was hard work, and I dread to think what we missed that still lurks beneath.  The celandine was only in one bed, thank goodness, because each one spewed dozens of tiny bulbils.  We will be policing these beds regularly for pop-up crocosmia and celandine.

I looked at the front garden without time to weed it today:

looking south

north end of the bed especially rampant with teeny weeds

and ground elder WITHOUT variegation is popping up willy nilly.

As we were loading debris, my wasband and former co-gardener, Robert, who had worked with me at the Shelburne many times in the mid to late 90s, was passing by.  He was inspired by my armload of clipped sword ferns…

…and my clippers and knee brace to say that an armload of clipped plants, a pair of clippers (secateurs), a knee brace, and one other (unspecified) thing should be my coat of arms.

With our digging done, Allan and I celebrated stage one success with dinner in the pub. Its seating has now been extended into the hotel lobby.

You can even have your meal by the fire.

cranberry cosmo and cranberry lemonade

I had delicious jambalaya (which you can order WITHOUT oysters) with a perfectly cooked egg on top, an egg with a frilly edge. I love that.

vegan nachos (Allan’s photo)

Here is another example of the Shelburne’s fine prose:

They don’t make hotels like this anymore. Not one room is alike. Hidden staircases, mysterious dark hallways, it is a beautiful maze of uniqueness. Some rooms even have private or shared decks; some of the decks even lead to our lower garden and give a separate entrance to your room.  Shelburne Hotel is truly a wonder to walk through.

It is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Washington State, and every one of its newly refurbished rooms is now available for booking.  A painting behind the check-in desk shows the hotel as it was, before the stained glass windows were brought back from England and installed along the front:

At home, I set out some containers of the crocosmia corms because, to my surprise, despite my warnings, four members of the Peninsula Gardeners facebook group wanted some.  I had shared with them what Anne Wareham wrote about it in The Bad Tempered Gardener.

P.S.  My new  (used, refurbished) Lumix arrived…with an unformatted card, that refused to format for quite some time, although eventually Allan did succeed at getting it to work.  I am afraid to use it for every day work, as every Lumix I have had soon succumbed to “system error focus” and “system error zoom”.  My idea is to use it for garden touring and at home photos.  We’ll see how long I can keep to that.

Despite dire weather warnings, we hope for a non rainy window tomorrow in order to mulch the area we weeded today.