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Posts Tagged ‘Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’’

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Ilwaco

The day started badly when I saw a swathe of smashed plants down the middle of the post office garden.  Just as I was staring at it in shock and saying “What happened here? Did a big dog run through?”, a man emerged from the post office and said “It was me, and I’m sorry.”  “But…..how?” I asked.  He explained he had tripped over the curb getting out of his car, and it seems he staggered across the sidewalk and fell headlong into the garden.  I made sincerely sympathetic noises about the fall, while at the same time holding clumps of broken off lilies and then trying to prop up half broken Allium albopilosum and a laid flat blooming stem of Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’.  The sight was so painful that I realized later I had not even taken a photo of anything but the broken off stems of Lily ‘Landini.’  This is a garden I spend my own money on for plants, mulch, and fertilizer, and I am all….planted out and don’t feel like buying new ones to fix it.  I staked the Eryngium with a bamboo tripod and as we left, started to worry someone ELSE would fall into the garden and poke themselves in the eye on a stake!  Being a skilled catastrophizer makes me good at making public gardens safer.  I resolved to return later with a rounded top hoop stake from home.

broken off plants

broken off plants

The Basket Case Greenhouse

It was not the postmistress’s day to be there, and I did not think the postmaster would be happy to have to find a vase, so I took the lilies to Basket Case Nancy.  (On the way, we checked the transplanted plants in the Fish Alley barrels in Long Beach.  They had survived well and would not need replacing.) We needed to go to The Basket Case to pick up the latest Long Beach plant bill anyway.  Nancy greeted the lily bouquet with much admiration and I felt the poor broken off flowers had been redeemed.

At the Basket Case: gunnera seedlings

At the Basket Case: gunnera seedlings

The perennial greenhouse with African basil (which is not really a perennial here, but never mind)

The perennial greenhouse with African basil (which is not really a perennial here, but never mind)

Brunnera 'Jack Frost'

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’

Long Beach

As I hobbled up the ramp to drop off the bill at City Hall, one of the staff members said “Looks like you have a hitch in your getalong!”  Oh, how I loved that.  It cheered me right up to have such a charming new saying.

Long Beach City Hall, west side

Long Beach City Hall, west side

Allan's photo: he found a sizeable dwarf fireweed and dandelion at the south end.

Allan’s photo: he found a sizeable dwarf fireweed and dandelion at the south end.

City Hall

City Hall

As we had come round a corner to get to City Hall, I’d observed that the traffic sightline was somewhat blocked by two mugo pines planted years ago and supposedly “dwarf”.  Some pruning was in order

before

before

after

after

(I do look for problems like that and try to fix them whenever I see them.  That’s why the Port of Ilwaco gardens have gone from tall shrubs, pampas grass, and tall New Zealand flax to short, see-over perennials and subshrubs in most of the curbside gardens.)

We then began the watering of the Pacific Way planters in Long Beach, splitting up to each take half the town.

We parked near Veterans Field.

We parked near Veterans Field.

While the day was grey, the wind had finally somewhat died down, and the flags were not creating flapping chain-clanking sounds as they have been on recent Long Beach work days.

A comparitively gentle breeze was a welcome change.

A comparitively gentle breeze was a welcome change.

I bucket watered the four Fish Alley barrels and found that one already had its “hens and chickens” disrupted.

finger blight, perhaps interrupted as the plant is still there.

finger blight, perhaps interrupted as the plant is still there.

The rest of the watering went smoothly with no hung-up hoses and very little finger blight.

Planter by Campiche Gallery (and near Scoopers Ice Cream)

Planter by Campiche Gallery (and near Scoopers Ice Cream)

The only disconcerting event was that while I was waiting to cross at the Stoplight of Mystery (a long one), a man said to me I should have a trash picker upper stick because I needed to pick up more trash.  I have a hard time reading people and could not tell if he was serious or just someone with a “needler” sense of humour.  He seemed pretty serious when he told me that he had picked up two bags of trash today.  I asked where, in town or out by the beach?  He said he walked a circuit of town and the beach.  I commended him for trash picking and said the city crew do a great job of picking up trash in town.  (I also pick it up if I see a stray bit blowing around, but that is rare because of the good work of the crew.)  He said he was going to report me for not doing my job.  I think that was supposed to be funny, but as usual with that kind of humour, I was flummoxed.  Well…onward.  The light finally changed and I made my escape.

dennis2

I love our fresh new planting by Dennis Company.

I love our fresh new planting by Dennis Company.

Love the flowers on this hebe in Coulter Park.  I planted it because I love its foliage.

Love the flowers on this hebe in Coulter Park. I planted it because I love its foliage.

Dianthus 'Charles Musgrave' in a planter

Dianthus ‘Charles Musgrave’ in a planter

the wonderful fragrant daphne by the Elks building

the wonderful fragrant daphne by the Elks building

Allan's photo, a bit of finger blight

Allan’s photo, a bit of finger blight

Allan's photo: 3rd Street Park

Allan’s photo: 3rd Street Park, with city crew member staining the statues.

Allan's photo: careful work with no spillage

Allan’s photo: careful work with no spillage

Allan's photo: planter by the Hungry Harbor Grille

Allan’s photo: planter by the Hungry Harbor Grille

Allan's photo: Fifth Street Park

Allan’s photo: Fifth Street Park

Outside the Mostly Hats shop, Allan found tomatoes stashed under the tree!  (They belonged to a Mostly Hats employee, who was keeping them out of her hot car.)

Outside the Mostly Hats shop, Allan found tomatoes stashed under the tree! (They belonged to a Mostly Hats employee, who was keeping them out of her hot car.)

Ilwaco again

With Long Beach done, we returned to Ilwaco to do some watering of planters and port gardens.  First, I did get a hooped stake from home (and Allan got the heavy battery for the water trailer), and I staked the Eryngium safely at the post office.

Perhaps you can tell that someone fell right through the middle of the garden.

Perhaps you can tell that someone fell right through the middle of the garden.  Wah.

Allan and I parted ways so he could water planters and street trees.

Allan's photo: seen while he was filling the water trailer tank at the boatyard

Allan’s photo: seen while he was filling the water trailer tank at the boatyard

Allan found a lovely bag of dog poo in one of the planters.  Kudos to the person who bagged the poo, and yet...

Allan found a lovely bag of dog poo in one of the planters. Kudos to the person who bagged the poo, and yet…

Meanwhile, at the Port,  I worked my way down the port gardens, watering with hoses.

I met an old blind cat named Pit Stop.

I met an old blind cat named Pitstop.

The marina: The weather had at last turned to blue skies.

The marina: The weather had at last turned to blue skies.

My favourite garden bed.

My favourite garden bed at the port

The air was not too warm, the wind was not too strong, and I was getting much weeding and watering done.  I walked by the one place that won’t allow use of their hose anymore and moved one of the plants, purchased by the port, to a happier location in a garden that where I can access water, and thought “I will deal with this water problem some other time.”  Other than that moment of annoyance, the work was happy work…..

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

All was well till I encountered a merchant (the second one this month) protesting the use of five minutes of hose water from zer building.  (I am deliberately using “ze/zer” pronouns to avoid pointing a specific finger.)  I said to zer that surely the garden enhances the business, that the plants were drought tolerant and did not need much water but in this dry weather they do need water once a week.  I was informed that, in zer opinion, the plantings do nothing to enhance zer business.  I gently (really!) informed the protestor that I was a regular promotor of local businesses on the official Facebook voice of town and port, Discover Ilwaco.  Zer had no interest whatsoever in hearing about that.  I understood the problem, especially that I had dared to splash some water on some dying plants on the garden NEXT DOOR to that business, one with no water, and why should one business owner pay to water another’s plants, and why indeed should someone who does not like a garden pay for a garden to be watered? And is it fair that some businesses don’t have curbside gardens at all?  No, it is not fair.  And yet the gardens must have water, and we don’t have time to haul water from elsewhere (and I could have added I can’t water it with my tears!)   I understood that Discover Ilwaco perhaps does not make an iota of difference in the success of a business and has possibly been a huge waste of my volunteer time for the last five years.  (It does have over 2,700 followers.) As a last resort, I tried jollying the complaining person along with a smiling “Hey, I’m 60, I’m too old to haul 40 pound buckets of water.”  The response was a hostile “So the port pays you, and now you want me to subsidize you for being old?” Um, wow.  Now I felt like my work was worth nothing, my volunteering for the Discover Ilwaco page was worth nothing, and I was old and worth nothing because I can’t haul buckets of water.   By now, Allan was with me at the garden.  He had no more success than I did in conversation with the water withholder. My moment of revelation was strong:  I will no longer be a water beggar: I’m a gardener, not a diplomat, and someone else is going to have to sort out this mess. I resolved to turn to the Powers that Be and went home and wrote a long email to them explaining the situation and to say that I will no longer be in the front line of dealing with the rare situation of someone having no fondness for the gardens.  With 98% support, I can’t see letting 2% of the gardens dry up because of water stinginess.  It is no longer my problem, however, as I did turn the problem over to the PTB, whom I hold in high esteem (and I believe the opposite is also true) and am awaiting results (which should come soon).

Mightily depressed at home, I finally realized the main problem in working for a stretch of public gardens:  Merchants come and go (unfortunately for the ones who go out of business) and we can have one who LOVES the garden, followed by one who holds it in disdain, but the plants are still thirsty, and everyone has to be on board so that the whole port looks beautiful,…especially with the exciting new Salt Hotel about to open (and by the way they do let us water). Years ago, some merchants paid us to do the curbside gardens and some didn’t.  So the gardens of the ones that did not pay were dried up weeds.  I thought it was huge progress when the port took over that paycheck and let us make the whole stretch beautiful; I never thought this watering situation would arise (and in fact, both places we are having trouble let us water last year, so the change of heart mystifies me and is not related to some huge hike in water prices.)  Even during the always fascinating Deadliest Catch telly show, which usually puts any gardening difficulties into perspective when compared to hard, dangerous crab fishing in freezing cold weather, my sadness persisted. In the wee hours, I finally fell asleep to get a miserable stressed out nightmarish six hours.

I’ll add a PS here, I hope, before this publishes, that the situation has been resolved.

Three days later:  The second merchant is now letting us water.  Turns out the main issue was a lot of people use zer hose illicitly.  The wonderful Salt Hotel is going to let us use their water to keep the garden of an empty (waterless) building alive.  I intend to reward them with bouquets.  We are down to just one merchant who won’t let us use the hose, and it will be a shame if the plants die.  However, our backs and our already long hours will not let us add the time and physical effort to haul water from elsewhere, so….poor plants.  It will bother me.  The merchant’s attitude toward the garden (and us) deeply hurts my feelings.

 It is tremendously important to me to have my town look beautiful, going way back to the mid 90s when I created the boatyard garden as what was then a volunteer project.  I want all citizens to be civic minded and work together to make the town a jewel.

 

 

 

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