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Posts Tagged ‘Basket Case’

I woke in the night to the sound of rain. On and on. This was good. All the plants we have been planting will get watered.

It was not so good at ten AM when a seemingly ceaseless torrent was falling. We had in the garage five flats of plants for today’s job and I just wanted them out of here. I did not want to be carrying them out to the patio to get light, and then into the car tomorrow instead of today. Annuals hell must end, as weeding jobs are urgently calling to us. As is my own garden.

Mary sets a tempting example

Mary sets a tempting example

But wait…Was there some lightness in the sky to the south? The sky was definitely light around the edges to the south and to the west. I said we should just go to the job. I cited the example of Deadliest Catch, an inspirational tv show about hardworking crabbers on the Bering Sea. Allan looked skeptical about the weather, especially since the forecasts all called for it to worsen hourly all day long. But the rain suddenly stopped. We loaded, and as we did the rain came lashing sideways again. I did not care (much). Surely we could endure and plant twelve whiskey barrels even in a torrent. And yet…if I stayed home I could read a couple more months of the Tootlepedal Blog archives.

But we went to Casa Pacifica, Dan and Leanne’s garden near Wallicut Farms. It is our only job off the Peninsula (unless one is a stickler for the fact that technically Ilwaco is part of the mainland).

When we got there, the sun came out intermittently. And rain came back for a while but not for long.

after a squall

after a squall

Soon raincoats came off and stayed off and all twelve barrels and several smaller containers were cleaned up and planted.

The barrels have Narcissi so we cut the foliage back by two thirds. It must be done in order to plant. My guru Ann Lovejoy would not approve; in this recent article she writes of the importance of letting the foliage mature. And yet once NW garden celebrity Ed Hume (who was as well known as Ciscoe in his day) said in a lecture that narcissi foliage can be cut three weeks after the flower has bloomed.

before

before; unplantable.

before:  last year's boringly overgrown Helichrysum

before: last year’s boringly overgrown Helichrysum

after

after, Helichrysum cut back VERY hard

Planted: An Agyranthemum in the center (“Butterfly’, ‘Spring Bouquet’, or the white one) and around the edges mixed (80!! total) calibrachoas of various colours and sanvitalias and, in the planters closer to the house, some blue felicia as well. In the mid-center of each, three painted sage triangulated around the Agyr. Some have Diascia that came back from last year.

Dusty lives in hope that I will stop to play fetch. It will not happen as then he will not stop pestering. But most of the time he walks with me all around the job with his head just where I can reach down and pet him. I love that and lavish him with smooches.

Dusty

Note Spook in the background.

Dusty

Dusty

Spook continues to be very shy, but it is progress that she stays out from under the deck while we are here.

Spook

Spook

We did not have time to weed, but I did walk along the bottom of the garden casting Sluggo up into it, with camera in hand. (Allan deadheaded narcissi while I talked to Dan and Leanne at the end of the work session.)

the shady end of the long border

the shady end of the long border

I don’t add many new perennials to this garden because it has water troubles in the summer; the well is just not enough for home and garden, too. It might be fixed for this year. It has therefore been a garden that peaks in mid springtime.

Another problem is that I would like to lavish the garden with cow fiber mulch but the lawn where a truck would have to drive to deliver the load close to the garden is also the septic field. And it would have to be wheelbarrowed up at the end of the wall. And if the pile were dumped in the driveway it would be far from the end of the wall. And I am tired just thinking about it. Maybe this fall we will manage to do it. As I have said to myself every year since taking on this job.

long curved border goes from shade to sun

long curved border goes from shade to sun

guardian of the garden

guardian of the garden

geranium and hosta

geranium and hosta

Silene

Silene

hardy geranium

Geranium macrorrhizum

Halmiocistus wintonensis

Halmiocistus wintonensis

Around the north side of the house, in a spot that is usually wet from roof runoff, I found a small blue flower which I think is a kind of Camassia that I planted last fall. I would have rain barrels at every gutter catching water for summer in this garden.

camassia

I surprised Spook in her nap on the hot tub cover and got as close to her as I ever have!

snoozing

she was snoozing

With this, the last of the big batches of annuals is planted, and I can see the light at the end of Annuals Planting Hell. There are still a few days of filling in here and there. The concrete planter in Ilwaco that needs a hole drilled is still undrilled. Andersen’s needs more cosmos and some Salvia patens. Some gaps in the Long Beach planters need filling, and because I had made a careful list of exactly what plant was needed where, we went to The Basket Case to get some more annuals.

My list would have been incomprehensible to another: two uppies here, four trailies there, five herbie flatties there. But I knew what I wanted.

We also got some plants for a big shady planter against the house at Andersen’s RV Park; it only gets morning sun.

I'm trying a big new impatiens there.

I’m trying a big new impatiens there.

and assorted types of begonias

and assorted types of begonias

These might like more sun but they do ok in the east facing planter. The tuberous begonias excel and are the same thing that Andersen’s owner Lorna’s dad used to plant there.

At The Planter Box I stocked up on Cosmos for planting at the Ilwaco boatyard, Larry and Robert’s garden and….soon I hope! my garden. Uh oh, I still need more for my friend Nancy! And more for a few last clumps of Cosmos at Andersen’s, in an area it was too late to weed tonight. I got one flat of the very good Salvia patens plants that Planter Box grew this year.

At The Planter Box

At The Planter Box

Teresa and I talked a bit about when would be a good date for a midsummer madness Cash Mob at the Planter Box, probably in early July.

Planter Box

Planter Box

I saw salpiglossis starts and wanted some for gardens of ours that might be on the tour this year, but we were full up with plants by then.

Salpiglossis has a gorgeous flower.

Salpiglossis has a gorgeous flower.

I also saw just two of this cute little plant I had once found for sale somewhere and planted in an Ilwaco planter. It looked adorable all summer long. Apparently, it is a house plant. I don’t know why it is not sold in quantity for summer containers.

so cute!

so cute!

Then…Andersen’s after six. The wind had come up with a biting chill and the rain returned, but the east facing planter was not at all bad to work in with the house between us and the ocean. I was so tired I did not put on gloves, then regretted it, then could not get them on over wet hands. I just remembered that one of the crew gave me some Hershey’s kisses, as he often kindly does, and I was so busy I put them in my pocket and did not eat a one. (I think that shirt is still in the car….tempting….). I decided to hold off on planting some Salvia patens in the Payson Hall planters, as it is supposed to get down to 44 degrees tonight. I think they will be happier if they wait till we go to Andersen’s (and all other north end resorts) on Friday to fluff it up for the three day holiday weekend.

The last task was to plant 12 tiny little not very promising white petunias in the two west side whiskey barrels that lacked them. They were in little six packs so small that one could hardly tell each held six plants. The wind and rain blew straight from the sea just over the foredune and I thought very hard about Deadliest Catch while planting the little plugs.

I often think in bad weather, "Could be worse, could be crabbing on the Bering Sea!"

I often think in bad weather, “Could be worse, could be crabbing on the Bering Sea!”

It’s on tonight and I look forward to sitting in my chair eating warm food and drinking wine and feeling inspired by the crabbers’ hard work in almost all weather. I have put on hand lotion five times and my hands still feel dry from the wet cold soil. I could never be a crabber…too wimpy.

Home by seven PM! I had had it with the outdoors, but Allan went out and mowed and weed-ate our lawn…in the drizzle. The grass was long and so wet it is amazing A) that he did it and B) that our little rechargeable electric mower got through it at all.

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Due to my rashly planned mini-trip this week, I have so much to do that I could not take the day off today.  We did begin with a worthwhile errand:  acquiring yet another free composter, this time from Cheri’s garden.  It may have to be roped back together, but it will work:

The price is right!

The price is right!

The compost pile was not broken down enough to put it on the garden, so we set it to one side.  Two snazzy new rotating composters will be installed here side by side.

This not quite rotted pile can be reinstalled in one of the new composters.

This not quite rotted pile can be reinstalled in one of the new composters.

Cheri's lovely Dutch iris

Cheri’s lovely Dutch iris

I had a bit of anxiety that some of the special plants at The Basket Case Greenhouse would sell out while I am away on my three day trip, so we detoured from our Ilwaco gardening plans to go up and snag some more Sanguisorbas and Agastaches.  Fred and I discussed what we could put in the Veterans Field garden for the red colour needed for the dedication ceremony on May 5th.  He really wants me to plant red geraniums but I have annoyingly strong opinions that certain plants (geraniums and petunias!) belong in containers rather than in the ground so I am hoping to find something else that is red and blooming.  But if not…I know where to buy some very fine dark red geraniums.

at the Basket Case

at the Basket Case

Later for the (first ever for me because I am not a nationalist) red white and blue theme I will have more interesting plants:  Salvia patens, Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’, Cosmos ‘Purity’, Salvia ‘Lipstick’ (or is it Hot Lips? anyway, a nicely shaped red one), Barberry ‘Crimson Pygmy’, Sapphire blue oat grass and Lobelia tupa.

A friend last year was searching hard for the Aquilegia called ‘Clementine’. and this year The Basket Case has it.

Aquilegia 'Clementine'

Aquilegia ‘Clementine’, a double white

Speaking of red, white and blue, when we stopped back at home I noticed that my Pulsatilla ‘Red Clock’ is in bloom.

Pulsatilla 'Red Clock'

Pulsatilla ‘Red Clock’

The very cool contorted English Hawthorn that I got at Joy Creek two years ago seems to be doing well after struggling for a couple of years.  (Picture Allan and I having an argy bargy about how to best face it up* while planting the large root ball and then hearing an ominous crack in the lower trunk.)

a happy Hawthorne

a happy Hawthorne (between the red tulips)

How very much I wanted to stay home and weed my own garden...but not today...

How very much I wanted to stay home and weed my own garden…but not today…

We began our post-shopping workday at the topmost garden on Discovery Heights, where we found my favourite ornamental grasses, Stipa gigantea, looking surprisingly tatty.

not very nice

not very nice

Allan combed them out while I weeded.  I found a mysterious sight: another grass sitting sideways out of the ground.  And not a small grass.  What happened here, I wonder?

??!!??

??!!??

You can see that the garden is full of Montbretia.  The rampant orange one came in on the soil that was used (not by us) to build the garden bed.  The owners actually like the montbretia so I just try to keep it from swamping everything and making a monoculture out of the garden.

Pesky montbretia would love to take over.

Pesky montbretia would love to take over.

The stipa looked much better after Allan had attended to them.  I wonder if they will flower?

improved

improved

top garden: weeded, combed, six santolinas added

top garden: weeded, combed, six santolinas added

On the way down the hill, we stopped to photograph a stunning display of native plants below a curve in the road.  I believe this might mean this is a moist spot.  (My botanist friend Kathleen Sayce will tell me what it is and I will add the name.)

a curving sweep of white flowers

a curving sweep of white flowers:  Petasites, sweet coltsfoot (thanks, Kathleen!); ‘

Kathleen says:  “Sweet coltsfoot, loves wet seeps, and flowers relatively early, tho’ it’s late this year.”

We skipped the T Junction garden (three quarters of the way up the hill) and went to the middle garden by the gate.  I walked down partway, pruning some sword ferns by a couple of the light bollards, and Allan deadheaded middle garden narcissi.  A scrim of maddening horsetail is appearing but the narcissi should provide a distraction and let us postpone a thorough weeding for another week.

white narcissi and white cresting waves in the distance

white narcissi and white cresting waves in the distance

That bit of ocean is at Beard’s Hollow where we cleaned the beach yesterday.

I had a revelation that I could use Ceanothus as a green backdrop in Marilyn’s deer-chomped garden because the deer do not eat it here.

Ceanothus (California lilac) backdrop

Ceanothus (California lilac) backdrop

I credit my friend Terran with the idea to plant all white Narcissi.  The narcissi “All White” mix from Van Engelen has lasted so well in this middle garden although it has petered out a lot in the lower and T Junction gardens.

middle garden band of white

middle garden band of white

white mix aglow

white mix aglow

A Hellebore feotidus has reseeded itself below the rocks in middle garden.

Hellebore and child

Hellebore and child (to the right by the road is the child)

This hellebore has amazed me by coming through year after year in these harsh windy and not very shady conditions.

a toughie

a toughie

We also skipped lower garden because we needed to do some weeding and planting at the Ilwaco boatyard garden, especially one long section that I knew had lots of horsetail.

horsetail haven

horsetail haven

horsetail in sidewalk crack

horsetail in sidewalk crack

My guru Ann Lovejoy says you must cut rather than pull horsetail or you will make it worse:

“Chemical warfare only takes out this season’s stalks, while mowing is more effective and less environmentally damaging. That’s because the best way to get rid of horsetail is to cut, not pull.

Pulling horsetail actually stimulates new growth. Pull one stalk and three or four will take its place. Cut it at ground level and you will slowly deplete the roots.”  (Ann Lovejoy)

We don’t cut it but we do break it off pretty close to the ground.  Even in places where we have greatly improved the soil (like my own garden) it comes back but it does weaken in time.  We did a quick job today because a thorough job will need to be done before the day of the children’s parade (May 4th).

boatyard before...

boatyard before…

after

after

A lot of the green is from California poppy seedlings.

This Stipa gigantea at the boatyard is putting out flower stalks, as it should, unlike the battered ones up on Discovery Heights.

healthy Stipa gigantea

healthy Stipa gigantea

At the southern end of the garden, the horsetail had not sprouted back with such force, but many mushrooms had appeared.  I am no mycologist so I can’t ID them.

with blue oat grass

with blue oat grass

mushrooms

They do come in sometimes, but not always, on the Soil Energy mix….

boatyard

boatyard

I photographed some boats in the yard for the Discover Ilwaco Facebook page and we then moved on to the Marie Powell Gallery garden on Howerton.  (More boat photos from earlier years here.)

While weeding the Powell Gallery garden I pondered on how I think the plants in it are too tall.  I am hoping to convince the powers that be to remove that pampas grass with a large machine.

We did not get this one cut back in time!

We did not get this one cut back in time!

I prefer the shorter plant schemes in our newly redone garden beds on this street.

looking west with telephoto

looking west with telephoto

The pampas even hides Marie’s print making shop from street view.

too big!

too big!

I also pondered how much I dislike weeding among river rock.  I wish it were confined only to a faux stream bed!

It is a pain to weed among the round rocks...

It is a pain to weed among the round rocks…

but they are attractive as a stream bed.

but they are attractive as a stream bed.

The river rock does set the plants off nicely so I should stop whinging, I suppose.

By six forty five, I had tired of an increasingly cold evening wind.  We went home…just a block away! and I tried to plant 18 or so small Nicotiana langsdorfii in my own garden.  I hit the wall after only three.  Why did 51 degrees seem so very chilly?  Could it be that working on the blog seemed more amusing than being outdoors?

.

*Facing a plant up is when you put its best side to your most important view of said plant.

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The day started chilly but dry and with a chance of showers.  I optimistically pictured them as light and intermittent.   The knowledge that new plants had arrived at the Basket Case Greenhouse put me in a cheerful mood, as did the sight of the new-to-us tulip “Green Star’ in bloom in our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Post Office.

Tulip 'Green Star'

Tulip ‘Green Star’

We headed north through Long Beach because we needed to buy some magnesium sulfate at The Planter Box.  (We apply it to roses at this time of year:  a cupful per rose to encourage basal breaks.)

Long Beach planter at the stoplight

Long Beach planter at the stoplight

At The Planter Box, I had the great pleasure of petting some baby ducks.

ducklings!

ducklings!

While we were at the Basket Case admiring the new plant acquisitions, the cold rain began.  Misty wore a fluffy pink coat and still shivered.

Walter and Misty

Walter and Misty

We filled our small car with wonderful plants, with me fretting to myself as usual that someone else would come along and get some of the best ones before I do.

Eryngium 'Jade Frost'

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’!

From the Basket Case, we drove to Andersen’s RV Park and deadheaded the road box.  I suggested we drive on to points north because the sky looked just a bit light around the edges and the weather might improve as we traveled.  We traveled to Ocean Park and deadheaded a few narcissi from the Oman and Son Builders Supply garden.

OBS spring bulbs

OBS spring bulbs

and rain...

and rain…

The rain was not just wet but very chilly.   We decided to go north of Nahcotta to pick up a free composter that had been offered to us.  When we turned onto the residential road off Sandridge a memory surfaced from past work.

One summer before 2002, Robert and I had cared for the garden at the end of the road.  It had had a view of the bay from its deck and we had planted containers on the deck.  The new trendy plant at the time was Helichrysum petiolare and oh how I loved it.  Only later in the summer did I find out that the man of that household called it “that grey junk that she planted.”

I also had a strong memory of dropping a container of Soil Moist (the synthetic product we then used in pots;  now we use Zeba Quench, even though it is getting harder to find) on the lawn and having to pick up all the slippery little jelly pieces and then having to put a cone there so no one would walk on it and fall.  What an embarrassment!

not the best gardening memories!

not the best gardening memories!

Just to the left of the top of the driveway, our sad Soil Moist incident occurred.

And here is our wonderful new composter, a valuable acquisition.  It rotates.

nice composter

nice composter

Heading south again, we stopped at the Wiegardt Gallery to deadhead a few narcissi and plant a ‘Jade Frost’ Eryngium and a pine scented rosemary (intoxicating!).

Allan planting in the rain

Allan planting in the rain

We had piled our new plants on top of our raincoats and were still hoping the rain would stop.   The narcissi glowed in the grey weather and took my mind off being cold.

Narcissi

Narcissi

at Wiegardt Gallery

at Wiegardt Gallery

love the wee frilly cup!

love the wee frilly cup!

Narcissi and pine scented rosemary

Narcissi and pine scented rosemary

The rain washed away my enthusiasm for weeding the bed at the north end of the parking lot.  We decided an in-car Hawaiian barbecue feast might pass the time till the rain lifted so we stopped at Tu Tu’s Lunch Wagon in Ocean Park.

Tu Tu's

Tu Tu’s

During our car picnic the truth finally sunk in:  the rain had no intention of stopping.  We determined that we would at least get the narcissi deadheaded at Klipsan Beach Cottages and Andersen’s and then go on home.

Ocean Park interlude:  Why I dislike pampas grass:

so ugly if not cut back

so ugly if not cut back

But we love this driftwood fence and admire it every time we are in Ocean Park.

lovely

lovely

Then on to the deadheading at Klipsan Beach Cottages.

very wet

very wet

Oh how deeply thrilled I was to see that over the past week. Luis had mulched the fenced garden with the washed dairy manure from The Planter Box!  We are still behind on work so we are so glad to not have to do this.  What a beautifully detailed job he did, too.

mulched fenced garden

mulched fenced garden

a beautiful job by Luis

a beautiful job by Luis

stunning dark red tulips

stunning dark red tulips
Tulip 'Cool Crystal'

Tulip ‘Cool Crystal’

tulips

Tulips

Tulips

a returning tulip

a returning tulip

Most of the large KBC tulips are planted in pots and treated as annuals, but this particular tulip (above) has returned year after year in the garden.

Tulip

tulip

by the basement door

After attending to the house garden we walked across the drive to deadhead narcissi at the A Frame (one of the rentals when not occupied by its owners, Pete and Darlene).  Darlene wanted a vast show of narcissi in her woods garden so last fall we planted more, and more, and more…and finally this is the first year we got the breathtaking show that we wanted.  Enjoy:

entry to A Frame driveway

entry to A Frame driveway

A Frame garden A Callistemon blooms among the narcissi….

Narcissi

what a show!

what a show!

Allan had finally retrieved his raincoat from under the plants in the car and he toned will with the narcissi display.

Allan

narcissi and clam cleaning shed

narcissi and clam cleaning shed

The windowboxes on the cottages feature tiny species bulbs.  This will be the last year for the windowboxes;  they are being phased out and these bulbs will instead be displayed in some larger seasonal containers.  We all agree we’ll miss the windowboxes but they take too much time in the busy summer.

cottage windowbox

cottage windowbox

cottage windowbox

cottage windowbox

It’s nice to have the view of looking up into the faces of the flowers.  Sometimes they look back.

tulip

tulip

Owner Mary asked me to take some photos inside the cottages for the website…That made for a nice dry job for awhile while Allan continued to weed.

windowbox from inside

windowbox from inside

a wonderful place to stay

a wonderful place to stay

much more pleasant than out in the rain

much more pleasant than out in the rain

I fell in love with this valance in the cottage four kitchen.

I fell in love with this valance in the cottage four kitchen.

The cottages all have guest journals and I do so want to come up some winter day and read them all.  The last time I read them was the winter when Robert and I painted the cottages inside, to make some winter money, and that must have been before 2002.

room journal

room journal

guests from Russia!

guests from Russia!

and a recommendation

and a recommendation

Before we moved on from KBC, three more shots of the garden:

by the garage: Corokia cotoneaster

by the garage: Corokia cotoneaster

sword fern unfurling...the payoff for all the earlier cutting back

sword fern unfurling…the payoff for all the earlier cutting back

rhododendron and waterfall

rhododendron and waterfall

On the way back south I was sorry to have forgotten to even take a look at the Golden Sands Assisted Living garden….and our second visit of the year is so overdue…but we no doubt would have seen some big need that would have given me sleepless hours tonight.  We drove straight on to Andersen’s to deadhead the narcissi in the RV park.

west side garden

west side garden

Payson Hall planters

Payson Hall planters

tulips

tulips

Lorna will be thrilled that her tulips have almost popped, but the most thrilling sight of the entire day to me was that her sweet peas are up.  With the cold wet weather I have been terribly worried, having planted all the special seeds with no way to replace them if they failed.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for those teeny tiny sprouts.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for those teeny tiny sprouts.

The silver lining to the day is that although this blog entry took much longer than I thought it would, I may have time to read a few back entries of the Tootlepedal blog tonight.   I don’t know how he gets so much done and also writes such long blog entries each day.  Perhaps with practice at daily writing will come more speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The day began with a stop at the Basket Case to check out the new availability list. We pored over it page by page, although I do skip certain plants entirely. (Phormiums and Agaves. I know there is probably still an Agave fad but they do not call to me.)

perusing the list

perusing the list

Whatever shall we do when Fred and Nancy retire?

Nancy was planting the last of the baskets…

Nancy

and had rigged up a board to keep the three poodles from leaving the back greenhouse.

Walter

Walter

We bought some Sanguisorbas, of which I never have enough. And some more grasses for Andersen’s Rv Park. There will be some excellent plants of all sorts (including another new-to-us Sanguisorba) arriving Friday.

And then, at last, we went to one of those four clients whose gardens we had not yet set foot in this year. At Steve’s garden, we got an unexpected greeting.

Last time I saw them they were babies!

Last time I saw them they were babies!

They had gotten quite large.

They had gotten quite large.

I thought of the time my friend Sheila had been knocked down by a sheep…

QUITE large.

QUITE large.

I was actually fascinated because I like animals, but I did wonder how they would behave because when they were younger, they would jump up on Steve when he fed them.

I have been doing Steve’s garden for a long time, going way back to when he owned the house that later became Laurie’s, and way back then two little goats used to nudge and butt me while I gardened. These two large goats would pack quite a wallop if they were in a nudging mood.

They were interested in everything. Allan later realized that they had peeled all the reflective tape off the back of the trailer.

trailer

wheelbarrow

shovel handle

I felt sheer delight when they let me pet them. The only truly disconcerting moment was when I opened the car door to get some plants. I had decided earlier that Steve’s garden should have some (deer candy) Sanguisorbas because his garden is never bothered by deer. I did not even have the plants all the way out when there were two goats next to me, standing on their hind legs with their front feet on top of the car, leaning on me and chewing the leaves off the plants. Ok, no Sanguisorbas then. Perhaps Steve could only have a Cistus. The deer on Discovery Heights do not bother assorted Cistus at all.

The goats followed us to the garden.

Down the slope by the garden I was thrilled to see someone else had weeded the raspberry patch and the blueberry patch! There are advantages to being late to the garden job.

fenced blueberry patch

fenced blueberry patch..usually thick with creeping sorrel

raspberry patch

raspberry patch

The goats followed us to the garden and showed a great interest in the raspberry canes…and our lunchbox.

I think they could have figured out how to open it.

I think they could have figured out how to open it.

Allan planted the Cistus and we got down to weeding (befores and afters coming up, of course). Meanwhile, the goats wandered through the garden chowing down…on daylilies, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, a Buddliea…

goats

goats

They stood on hind legs, broke long branches off the variegated Buddleia (time to prune it anyway!), ate a few leaves from each, and moved on…soon discovering the new Cistus. Allan barely rescued it as they greedily began to consume it, so back in the car it went. It can live at Discovery Heights or Marilyn’s among the deer. I am not sure what we can plant to fill in empty spaces in Steve’s garden, because the only thing that seemed to be goat-proof were narcissi and (boring) rhododendron.

At lunchtime, Steve came home and put the goats away in their indoor-outdoor pen. (I told him I would have put them away myself if they had had sharp horns.) Allan pointed out to me later that (aside from my joy in petting them!), it was a good thing they were out, or we would have planted a bunch of nice new plants with no idea that they would soon be eaten.

And now, some garden photos. I have been doing this particular garden since creating it for Joanne. While I will always think of her there, and miss her gardening presence, I have finally segued into calling it Steve’s garden instead of Joanne’s garden.

Due to our late-season arrival the garden had gone all blurry with weeds.

before

before, looking south

before, looking west

before, looking west

before, looking north

before, looking north

before, the path by the stream

before, the path by the stream

This garden has a wonderful layout with an upper pond with waterfall, created by Steve and Joanne and a backhoe, and then a long stream that runs under a bridge down to a small natural lake.

the streamside path after Allan's weeding

the streamside path after Allan’s weeding

On the other side from the path we have Siberian and Japanese irises in a planting inspired by a lovely photo in a book called The Stream Garden.

iris bed is on other side...very hard to keep the pasture grass out

iris bed is on other side…very hard to keep the swamp grass out!

looking upstream

looking upstream

weeded pond bed

weeded pond bed at head of stream

pond bed

The front bed was made by leveling the mound of soil left from digging out the pond.

pond

Five and a half hours later…

across the pond

across the pond; driftwood marks the waterfall

reflected iris

reflected iris

I wonder if there will be any flowers at all this year with those goats?

We still need to get back, do some edging, and weed the backside of the garden….and am not sure when that will be.

While I sorted out the billing, Allan took some photos of the lake from points that I never take time to walk to while working.

by the gazebo, looking south

by the gazebo, looking south

the stream bridge

the stream bridge

When Joanne was alive, she had taught horse riding and had developed a bridle trail all around the large acreage.

from the trail, looking northeast

from the trail, looking northeast

Every now and then something jumps in the lake but we have never seen what it is!

and back across the very wet meadow toward the garden

and back across the very wet meadow toward the garden

The garden looks very small compared to the vastness of the property, but feels very large while we are weeding it. I am going to wait and see what happens with the goats before I worry about how the garden will survive their interest.

Tomorrow I hope to make the wake up call to another private garden. Or, should it rain, I will happily read back entries in Tootlepedal’s Blog. I had time today only for the most recent entry (excellent as always).

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Friday: With optimism, we headed out to the Red Barn Arena with the hope of planting violas and doing spring clean up in a garden next door.  I wouldn’t have minded weeding the little fence garden at the Red Barn as well.  Why did I think the drizzle might improve when the Port of Ilwaco had two red flags up (storm warning)?

Upon arriving at the Red Barn, we sat in the car for ten minutes of downpour, then went to Diane’s house to plant violas with sheer determination to not let her have another weekend of cheerless containers.  Allan started weeding the garden beds so I had to participate, of course.

Back to the Red Barn and more rain.  Drenched horses, most of them with blankets on.

at the Red Barn

Next stop, in a planned semi-repeat of the previous workday: The Basket Case for more violas for Long Beach planters.

Fred selling us some plants

The big plan was to make another stop at Peninsula Landscape Supply for another yard of soil energy and use part of it in the Long Beach planters and part to finish filling my two big new planters at home.  Sideways rain had Fred agreeing with us that the day’s mission simply had to be called off.

On the way home, we stopped at the Planter Box so I could buy a couple bags of soil amendments for those big new boxes at home.  This is the biggest garden centre on the peninsula with most of the bagged and boxed supplies you’d need for your garden, and is also the grower that provides me with Salvia viridis, my favourite annual, in quantity for all our assorted gardens.

Planter Box: pig watering can

A pig watering can is surely essential.

At the Planter Box: bulbs

at the Planter Box: seeds

Allan needed a quick stop at Dennis Co, the hardware store in Long Beach.  While he shopped, I pondered the weather and hoped he would remember to buy a chocolate bar.

weather view by Dennis co

He didn’t forget the chocolate bar.  He was on a mission to bleed the brakes on his motorcycle so dropped me off at Olde Towne where I soothed my work stress (as in, How in the heck are we ever going to catch up in this weather, and guilt re having taken such a long staycation) with soup and sandwich and the company of Luanne at my table for awhile because it was a very quiet afternoon…

rainy view from Olde Towne

The café had been quiet all day…As the rain finally let up, a few customers came in just as I was leaving.

Olde Towne afternoon

Work-related paperwork consumed the afternoon, followed by a surprise dinner at Pelicano (when a friend messaged me on Facebook to come over and join her).  The wind and rain lashed us on the way there, almost causing me to lose my scarf, but after dinner the temperature had risen, the wind was becalmed and the night skies were clearing.  (I love being easy walking distance from the Port!)

Saturday: We stopped at Olde Towne on the way to work to pick up the week’s coffee grounds for my compost.  Here the struggle was to have to go to work instead of hanging out with friends from Clatsop Weavers and Spinners Guild.

Cheri spinning at Olde Towne

You’ve read here about my ace realtor, Cheri Diehl, whose company (Discovery Coast Real Estate) found me the perfect buyer for my former home, and here she is spinning away at the monthly Olde Towne get together.

But staycation is over…and probably lasted too long…and I had to tear myself away so Allan and I could weed at Andersen’s Rv Park.

before

One relatively small bed was so solid with weeds that it took most of the day…with a little transplanting, weeding, and pruning accomplished in other parts of the garden.  The price was paid for having bailed out of work early last December to make the new house garden.  One last clean up of this bed would have made all the difference this spring.

after

Ah, well, at least it’s ready now for planting with assorted colours of California poppies.  I have to remind myself that even on staycationless years, trying to get all the spring cleanups done is a bit of a stressful panic.  And it couldn’t be helped that last week at this time all the gardens were under a blanket of snow.

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A typical day (and it isn’t even spring yet!)..

Left home, not particularly early as neither of us are morning people…

Stopped at The Basket Case Greenhouse to buy some violas for assorted jobs (Diane’s garden, Long Beach, McDonald’s…the latter bright yellow, of course). About a twenty minute drive from home.

Basket Case violas

Then off to Peninsula Landscape Supply for some Soil Energy mulch.

acquiring Soil Energy

Then to a garden called Sea Nest to do spring clean up and apply soil energy; for example:

before

after

The lovely weather turned to rain and hail, but once we are stuck into a soil unloading job, we have to finish.  I stood on the deck for awhile while Allan worked in his fluorescent rain gear.

wimping out vantage point

The squall left, then another came, and I saw him standing under the eaves wimping out while I mulched!

Seanest is on the dunes with path to the beach right out the back gate:

Seanest west side garden

Seanest gate to beach path

The squalls passed one after another and the sky became blue again.  Off we went to Long Beach (about 10 minutes south) with high hopes of finishing the mulching of one of the parks.  I realized to my sorrow that the bed which needed the mulch was infested with beach strawberry (sometimes wonderful, here not so much).  As I weeded prior to mulching, gloomy darkness fell and a torrent of rain began…Too much rain to even get out the camera to prove how miserable we were as we finished the job!

Dripping and muddy, we called an end to the workday and, after dumping our weeds at Long Beach city works, headed down to my favourite hangout, Olde Towne Trading Post Café.  I was hoping the usual Thursday afternoon crowd would be there, and indeed they were.

Allan joins Olde Towne Thursday crowd

Fortified with soup, cheesy bread sticks, Mexican hot chocolate and a brownie, and inspired by another break in the weather, we went back into the field and weeded and cut back Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ under the Ilwaco street trees.

With only an hour of daylight left, there was little point in heading back to work up north.  I dropped a gardening bill off at Time Enough Books at the Port…greeted by shop dog, Harper:

door to Time Enough Books

We got home in time to get a little project done before dark: Figuring out where to put two wooden boxes that we had gotten from behind the Long Beach city shop; they had been used for shipping glass and will make a kitchen garden raised bed area for a couple of years till they rot away.  I’ll paint them on some nice day.

instant kitchen garden; just add soil and seeds

Oh…the cutest thing I saw all day was this little round moss in one of the garden beds at Sea Nest.  Adorable!

tiny bun

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After three days of madly planting Cosmos, including Cosmos ‘Sonata’ in all the Long Beach main street planters, we learned a major storm was about to hit the coast.  Even if I had known of the wonderfully informative blog by weather expert Professor Mass, I wouldn’t have seen the storm warning in time to abort Monday’s planting session.  I only hope those little cosmos are holding their own as today we had the power out for two hours in the early evening and have had 55 mph winds.

Because there was no hope of actually gardening, we left a sheltered patio full of waiting plants and headed to Oregon to check out all the local  nurseries as far as the Seven Dees’ just south of Seaside, about a 45 minute drive. Locally, this is known as “going overseas’ and involves crossing the long Astoria bridge, a venture that increasingly car-phobic me does not like at the best of times. The lure of plants was strong, so off we went, hoping to beat the storm’s early afternoon arrival.

Astoria bridge work

Astoria bridge work

Astoria bridge

There’s bridge work going on with flaggers that slows down traffic. I prefer that. Big oncoming traffic terrifies me. There is nowhere to go sideways.

up the Astoria bridge

Here we go up the high part….

down the bridge curve

Here we go down the bridge curve.  I particularly dislike this part.

my nemesis

Here we are about to curve  to the stoplight to go either right toward Seaside and Cannon Beach or left to downtown Astoria.

roundabout

I’m also perplexed and filled with anxiety throughout the roundabout (left) right before the Young’s Bay Bridge, leaving Astoria for Warrenton.  Allan, who shares almost none of my phobias, has his own little problem, since he thinks those big cement blocks at the top of that bridge structure  (right) might just fall on our heads.

Young’s Bay Bridge view

I try to distract myself with the view toward the Columbia River.

We took a detour down the turnaround in Seaside, Oregon, to show you the streetside gardens there…photographed from the car, on the move, because we were in a great big hurry to beat the storm.  Sometimes I am happy because the Long Beach gardens look better.  In the spring, I can occasionally feel mine are better because I plant more tulips. But today Seaside’s were looking pretty darn good.  Their gardeners have the advantage, I tell myself, of slightly bigger curbside plantings….

Seaside street garden

Seaside street garden

Seaside street garden

view, Seaside turn around

The end of the Seaside turn around provides this ocean view.

Seven Dees nursery used to be Raintree, Seaside, not the same as the Raintree in Morton (?), and I loved the staff and was always greeted warmly.  Now there is a new staff and, in my opinion, a disappointing selection of plants to add to the Long Beach containers. Even though it was midweek, and perhaps this week’s delivery had not come, I’ve never run across such slim pickings there.  I was hoping for an exciting osteospermum or agyranthemum of a colour not available locally…just a little something to add a few of to supplement the wonderful local selection…but didn’t find much.

Seven Dees

The container gardens were nice, and if I hadn’t such a great plant selection here on the peninsula, I would have found a lot more to buy here.  In previous years, they always had something rare, something new, something I just had to have a tray of for the planters.

I do love this little tree and have three in my own garden, and cannot remember its name, and had I been seeking them would have been thrilled to find this happy batch.We stopped at Costco (catfood and coffee, not plants) and Home Depot, where I always check to see if they might have just one special sort of plant.  Usually I do find one thing, and this time it was a showy Penstemon in a gallon pot. At Fred Meyer, where some years I’ve found some spectacular and unusual osteospermums with ringed centers, I did find a whole flat of Salvia ‘Victoria’ and Salvia ‘Striata’.  I am sure that some years they have a plant nut buyer…and some years…not.road to Brim's

view from old bridge

We took the back road past Fort Clatsop so we could stop at Brim’s Farm and Garden (and Lewis and Clark Nursery, which had nothing to offer my planter collection).  I knew Brim’s would have something good; they always do, even though the nursery part of the shop is small.

Henry, greenhouse cat

Henry, with warm fur

Not only did I find a flat of high quality Armeria ‘Joy Stick’ and another of the gorgeous Viola ‘Etain’, but in the back greenhouse I got to pet this sweet and friendly cat who had been lolling in a warm spot.

Beautiful window boxes and window frames lined the walls of the outdoor section of the nursery.

container at Brim’s

container detail

I loved this container back in the greenhouse with its gorgeous echevarria.

from the top of the bridge looking down

I know people who cannot drive across this bridge at all…and others who cross it regularly without a qualm. The fierce wind pushed our little car sideways, and for once I was glad it is low to the ground.

One thing that distracts me as we come up the scary curve to the highest spot is the view of the old houses in Astoria. I wonder what it’s like to have the curving onramp to the bridge in your home’s view all the time?I have rarely been so relieved to get home; we took a short detour down to the port, where the red flag, denoting bad weather, was flying in the 55 mph winds.

My conclusion: Except for a couple of Penstemons and that flat of Viola ‘Etain’, and the flat of Salvias ‘Victoria’ and Striata’, I found little to add to our palette of plants,  and I left a message on the Facebook wall of the owner of our local Basket Case nursery (she also creates the wonderful hanging baskets you’ll see around our towns) and let her know that her nursery rules them all.

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My love of plant tables was inspired by George Schenk’s book Gardening on Pavement, Tables and Hard Surfaces and by a particular photo of one of his tables overflowing with moss and ferns.

I include among the ideas inspired by Mr Schenk the planting up of chairs and old trunks as well.

at KBC

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Above, an old wooden table with some soil piled on top, some sedums and a cluster of species tulips, the kind with quite small bulbs.  (The lavender and yellow one is Tulip bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’.)

Below, in a somewhat barren new garden bed, a plant table at Golden Sands Assisted Living makes a focal point till the ground level fills in.  A bench usually sits next to this, giving the residents a close view of the tiny landscape.

at Golden Sands

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

I like to place little bits of broken pottery and china in among the plantings, but if the table is anywhere where someone might pick up a piece that is sharp, be careful what you use for decoration.

That same table had started its life in the garden at my mother’s before she moved to Golden Sands, along with this one:

mom's table

It gave my mom great pleasure to sit next to this little table garden.  That very same table is now in OUR garden again planted with sedums, so these little tablescapes can travel from garden to garden and transport memories with them.

mom's old table

mom’s old table in our brand new garden

In mom’s garden we also installed a fairy chair….

fairy chair

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Just before a garden tour, we bought a small selection of shady mosses and tiny shade perennials from The Basket Case Greenhouse and had an instant charming focal point in a rather unfocused garden bed.

fairy chair detail

The chair was free, the soil scooped off a garden bed, the little china piece was just kicking around, and the whole ensemble cost about $20.  We could have done it for free with a bit of moss and a fern from the shade bed but we did want a special selection of plants for tour day.

A similar chair has moved from our old garden to my mom’s garden and now to our new (ish) garden where Allan recently photographed it by lamplight.

evening chair

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

In another client’s garden a plant table has metamorphasized from a sedum display to a soft moss-scape perhaps due to dripping from the roof.

Marilyn's table

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Marilyn's moss table

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Our friend Annie brought this old office chair out into her garden and we planted it up with some bit of sedums and so on dug up from her path.

Annie's chair

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

It took less than half an hour to create and could be embellished with whatever she might like to add.

We were given a rickety round mesh table and turned it into a plantscape by laying a round piece of landscape fabric over the wire mesh top.  My friend Mike of the Garden of Mu had given me a collection of sedum and sempervivum starts from his garden so this is the miniature garden of Mu.

mini-Mu

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

It made a pretty focal point for a sit spot halfway down the stairs to the pond.

round table halfway down

round table halfway down

Plant tables are not permanent.  The round mesh one disintegrated when we tried to move it to our new garden, but the plants were saved and simply went onto a new tablescape.

One of my favourite tables is a rough slatty thing that we rescued from the debris area at the Long Beach (Washington) city works shop.  The flat board parts are great for displaying rusty bits of junk and the in between parts for filling with soil and plants.  It started out in the shade under a big tree…

shade table

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

….Then I decided I liked it better against the wall of an outbuilding….

shade table

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

…but because it was under a roof overhang and I tended to forget to water it, it ended up being more of an artscape than a tablescape.   It now sits in our new garden in full sun all planted up as the new mini Garden of Mu.

Anything flat topped can be dragged out of the house and planted up as I realized with two old trunks that had gotten mildewy smelling from sitting in the damp basement.  I knew they would only last a few years but why not get some beauty out of them in the meantime?

one old trunk

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Another old trunk sat by the patio as one entered our front door and I doubt that I ever failed to notice the precious plant gems that grew on it.

entry trunk detail

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

I would think of Lily, a dear friend who died of horrible ALS, every time I saw the frog bowl tucked in the back of this miniature landscape.  The brown pottery bit was from a friend’s garden, the rebar bits from my former partner’s welding projects.

trunk detail

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Because the entryway trunk was exposed to the rain and observed daily, the plants did much better than on that table tucked under the eaves of the work shed.  The rain also meant that when we went to move to our new house, the trunks were easily smashed into soft, discardable pieces!

So find yourself an old table…scoop up some soil and some small scale plants, add a flowerpot, some crockery, a little sculpture….and make yourself a miniature landscape.

another table

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Be prepared for nature to exert her decay, then scoop all your plants and items off of the old collapsed table and install them on a new table, chair, bench, or old trunk.

planted bench at Dragonfly Farms nursery

in the garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Enjoy decorating the tiny landscapes with the little momentos that speak to you of your memories and your loved ones, and don’t be surprised if you are not the only one who likes the beauty that you’ve created out of almost nothing.

Maddy on a planted chair

Maddy on a planted chair

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Our favourite local restaurant and one that gets all the top star ratings is The Depot Restaurant in Seaview, Washington, and we are honoured to work on their small garden.

The Depot Restaurant

The Depot building was indeed a depot for the Clamshell Railroad. The Depot gardens consist of the front door container plantings, a garden bed on east side (left) of entrance, a garden bed behind the log that defines the parking area (backed with a wall of hops). You enter the dining deck from behind the clump of bamboo in the crook of the “L”.  A raised bed with ornamental grasses segues into a bed of herbs as it wraps around the east and south sides of the dining deck.

Depot, two garden beds, 30 June

Above: On a sunny day in June, the east wall garden bed with Cistus and Cosmos (left), and the north side of deck garden bed with Astilbe and Allium schubertii (right).

5 August, Dierama (Angel’s Fishing Rod)

Above, Dierama, Cosmos, Hardy Fuchsia, Cistus in the east wall bed.

5 August, Persicaria ‘Firetail, Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’, Astilbe

5 August, Hardy Fuchsia, Astilbe

Above six photos on August 5th: The mostly shady garden bed on the north side of the outdoor dining deck.

Alongside the outdoor dining deck, a raised bed of railroad sleepers (ties) was built back when the restaurant opened and planted up with ornamental grasses and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ from The English Nursery, a small collector’s nursery just three blocks away.  These make a privacy screen and rustling backdrop for outdoor dining in the summer.

Ornamental grass border along dining deck

In tribute to the delicious beers on tap at the Depot, we planted hops on the north side of the deck.

5 August, hops, views from inside and outside the dining deck

The containers and windowboxes around the entryway were planted up by The Basket Case Greenhouse.

Depot front door plantings

window box with plants from The Basket Case

late summer, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ by the dining deck.

5 August, fresh herbs right outside the kitchen door

Let me know if you want company for dinner; we are always eager to dine at the Depot!

at entrance to outdoor dining deck

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One time jobs….One-off jobs….Occasionally we take them on although I much prefer gardens in which we’re involved in the ongoing process.

In mid October we took on a big weeding job just as one drives into Ilwaco from the east.  Health reasons had caused the owner to let her garden go dormant and she needed one clean sweep so that she could get back into it again.

before, with Allan weeding; after, weeded and mulched

If I were the ongoing gardener here, I would eventually have a bed running all along those trees and shrubs…

corner bed, before and after

We do pride ourselves in really getting the weeds out, not skimming them off like we’ve seen some jobbing gardeners do.

In the back yard, the owner had a big vegetable garden with some flowers and in it a spectacular dahlia.  I think she said its name is ‘Black Cat’ (but I might be mixing it up now with Scabiosa).  She gave me a bouquet after I admired it.

dahlia

Then at Barbara’s home in Ocean Park we created a one day front garden a la Ground Force.  (They took two days but usually added a water feature and some decking.)

before…what to do?

We had carte blanche to do whatever we wanted.  We had to think of the deer problem as they would probably enter the garden.  At first, I thought of a bed all the way around the outside, then realized it would be hard to plant right up against the escallonia hedge and decided that would be an excellent spot for the bench to sit on gravel.  I rarely draw out a design so we just plunged in to see where the future garden led us.

The sweet dog kept us company most of the day.

The darling resident dog, Delilah, obsessed all day about getting us to play ball with her…which we did as time allowed.

end of day one

End day one: Lawn removed and hauled off, washed dairy manure applied to future beds. Tools: Ho-mi (Korean hand plow), half-moon edger, grub hoe, wheelbarrow. We got the gravel laid and rolled and the decorative touches made on the first day, with pots and rocks that were already there.  Finally it got too dark to take the final “after” at the end of day one.
The next morning we stopped by to get the after photos.

afters

We had used some of the plants from her containers and also planted assorted spring bulbs.

This is the sort of garden I would have loved to follow through on….but by the time she wanted some veg. beds in her back yard we had become swamped with increasing hours from our regular jobs so had to recommend someone else (probably our capable friend Ed Strange) to take it on.

Meanwhile, autumnal beauty abounded at our regular jobs.

Hydrangea ‘Izu No Hana’ at Klipsan Beach Cottages, 1 October. This is my favourite hydrangea of all time.

Ornamental grasses and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ carried the show at Sea Nest.

Sea Nest, 5 December

Gazanias from The Basket Case Greenhouse bloomed tirelessly into December in the Payson Hall planters at Andersen’s Rv Park (backed with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’).

at Andersen’s RV Park, 5 December

P.S.  In adding the link to Ground Force (my favourite gardening show ever), I ran across this, about the music.  The fact that the final song title is “Lament of the Dandelion” made me laugh out loud.

The theme music for the series was performed by the Black Dyke Band and included the following pieces:

  • Ground Force Theme—played during the show’s opening and closing.
  • The Titchmarsh Warbler—a fast tempo piece usually played during the rush to complete the garden.
  • Lament of the Dandelion—played near the end of the show as Titchmarsh surveyed the completed garden.  (Wikipedia)

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