Posts Tagged ‘bulb time’

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Despite the daunting sight of wind whipping our alder grove around, we decided to try to work.  Rain was predicted at 2 PM.

Long Beach

We headed straight for city works and got 19 buckets of mulch from our pile.  That was every five gallon bucket with a handle that I could find.  We could use more if you have any to give us!

at city works

We mulched at city hall first (which also involved some weeding and some escallonia pruning).

city hall north side (Allan’s photo)

west side; I was pruning the escallonias so they would not touch the building.

Back we went to get another load.  This time, we gave the Bolstad planters their autumn top up.

I had been carrying with us some cereal that had dropped on the kitchen floor, waiting for the right birds.  Today was the day to distribute it.

Allan’s photo

We had only enough treats for a few, leaving many disappointed. (Allan’s photo)

While we were working on the beach approach, we encountered a couple of tourists (probably) who had parked at the west end of Bolstad before we arrived. A guy on a black bike smashed the window of their car and stole their belongings while they had walked down to get ice cream at Scoopers. The driver of the car saw the theft happening as they returned and ran back and chased the thief down the gravel that goes through the pines to the city from the Bolstad restroom parking lot. But the thief got away.  It was a sad encounter to see tourists’ have a ruined day. The police came, and one hopes a search was made of the beach pine woods because that’s where the culprit disappeared to, we think.

This happened to a friend’s car once when I was with her at the Oregon coast (the door jimmied rather than the window smashed).  Among my items stolen were two precious rolls of undeveloped film of our visit in Eugene, Oregon, and my leather looseleaf pocket notebook in which I had kept for years a list of books to read. Many books were unread by me because of that theft.

Back to work; I hoped the nineteen buckets would be enough for the eleven planters.  The soil in those planters sinks quickly into the netherworld, or what lies beneath.

Allan’s photo, the light layer won’t prevent beach strawberry or sedums from survival

Nineteen buckets was not quite enough so back we went for load three.  The wind was getting worse and a slight drizzle had begun.

We finished topping up the last three Bolstad planters and the west side of city hall, by which time the rain had fully arrived.

work conditions at city all

Long Beach City Hall west side

I was longing to get another load for Veterans Field, and then another load for Fifth Street Park.  The rain might stop in half an hour, said our weather apps, so we repaired to Taqueria el Jalapeño for lunch.  Yes, finally, many months since it opened, we had a rainy break to try out the new restaurant behind Lewis and Clark Square.

Vet Field

ready for a walk through the rain to the café

Inside, the decor was cheerful and delightful and the food was excellent.

I noted that the pop bottles were prettier than the Mexican coca cola bottles we had used for bouquets for an immigrant fundraiser, so we saved two and will keep saving them.  You do, too, if you dine there, please.

The rain did not cease and a 20 plus mph wind was kicking when we emerged. We gave up on getting more mulch.  We did accomplish planting two Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and four Oregano ‘Hopley’s Purple’ in the newly redone planter by the Long Beach frying pan.

Shelburne Hotel

And at the Shelburne, we removed three or four echeverias from two back deck planters to take home and winter in my greenhouse, replacing them with some hardy hens and chicks and sedums for the winter.

echeverias about to go home for the winter (Allan’s photo)

one of the pots, after

and the other (Allan’s photos)

front, looking north

Bulb Time day 11: the spreadsheets

I got the bulb lists all typed up and added.  When the last bulbs come for the welcome sign (which will be day 12), we will have planted slightly over 5332 bulbs.  (The overage is from some buckets of port bulbs from the defunct office garden that were waiting to go back in.)

The typing is not something Allan can help with because I use increasingly scrawled abbreviations for bulb names as the sorting goes on.

Only I can deal with these lists.

Fortunately, I very much enjoy sitting down to do a spreadsheet.  In another life, I might have quite liked an office job.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

(I am trying to get the blog caught up so we won’t be a week behind at Halloween.)

The Colorblends bulbs for the welcome sign arrived a day early!  The weather was dry and not windy, perfect for planting them.  We took a few more bulbs with us for a little job at

The Depot Restaurant

but could not plant them because the barrel for which they are destined is still so flowery and full.

Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’

the “after” photo we did not take after cutting back perennials in order to plant bulbs last week.

Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’

Long Beach

Bulb Time day 12

Into the welcome sign bed went about 300 tulips, red and yellow for the front and a soft pastel mix for the back.

Also single early tulip ‘Flair’ and some Orange Emperor along the front (Allan’s photo)

Now bulb time is done except for a couple of postscripts: the 15 or so tulips for the Depot barrel and the transplanting of some Lily ‘Conca D’Or’ from my garden to the Shelburne and the Post office.

We filled up 21 buckets of mulch at city works and mulched the corner garden in Veterans Field, not as deeply as I wished, because I realized the pile of mulch was not as big as I had thought.  The tarp was on a bit of a mound and the pile looked deeper than it was.

Then with ten buckets left of that load, Allan mulched five of the most beaten down street tree pocket gardens.  The rest will have to wait till next spring.

Allan’s photo

Meanwhile, I cut back one Geranium Rozanne:

And admired the flowers in another planter:

Zauschneria californica

Must have more Zauschneria californica next year.

It is much smaller across the street where it gets a bit less afternoon sun.

While Allan mulched the last two trees, I tackled a big patch of the BadAster that we have not had time to control.  He helped me finish up.

We returned to city works and gathered all the rest of the Soil Energy Mulch, 22 buckets this time and a bit more just piled in the trailer.  It all went to Fifth Street Park.

badaster bed, mulched. It’s the northeast corner of the four Fifth Street park quadrants. (Allan’s photo)

Salvia leucantha in a planter

Most of the mulch went to the northwest quadrant.

after, with mulch added (not as much as I would like)

One of Allan’s projects, before and after

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

The park still has sweet peas.

On the work board, almost all bulbs are planted, and mulch LB is erased by virtue of running out of mulch.

At home: Alycia has returned to the Nora house for a few days and so we are about to repair next door for a spaghetti dinner with “warm cookies and ice cream” for dessert.  With rain predicted, I think we will now have time off for paperwork (necessary) and Halloween decorating…oh, and cleaning the house after Bulb Time chaos and exhaustion.

Friday, 26 October 2018

After a rainy Thursday of paperwork (no time for fun reading), we took advantage of good weather to get a jump on the fall clean up.

the rain gauge (Allan’s photo)

Long Beach

before and after, Coulter Park

before and after, Lewis and Clark Square; I would have pulled the hesperantha, also.

While Allan did those, I clipped and tidied several planters.

by the pharmacy

clipped santolina, cosmos too pretty to pull

lots of snails revealed when I pulled a trailing California poppy…they are living at the city works yard now.

L&C Square planter before and after BadAster removal

hydrangeas in Third Street Park


We did a quick check up before their pre-Halloween ghostly event.

looking south

still sweet peas for Halloween

al fresco dining area


No time for a meal there; I wanted to work on a four part blog post in memory of my Smoky, starting tomorrow.  (Anyone who finds cats boring or irksome will want to skip those days and return to us on Nov 2.) And Halloween preparation begins full force on a series of days off; that’s what we’ll be doing (and then processing photos about it) while our most faithful readers try to load posts with a kajillion photos of my Smoky.




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Sunday, 21 October 2018

bulb planting at home

Started at 11:30, planted for seven straight hours, began to think I would not get done by sunset, but I did.

My first thought had been to clear areas as I moved along—for example, the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ in the west driveway garden.

I am so glad that I did not, because I would not have gotten done planting.  I’d decided that billows of plants, especially tatty ones, look nicely spooky for Halloween.

In that bed, some lovely autumn crocus that I had forgotten I had.

maybe from Todd

I was triumphant and exhausted by end of day and took a few photos just before going in.

Allan had mowed our lawn, the Nora house lawn, and the walking path in the Nora house meadow next door.

the meadow next door

Looking in one of our west gates:

west Willows Loop


Before dinner, I finished Marion Cran’s last book, Hagar’s Garden, published in 1941. I wept as she finally got her home and garden, “Coggers”,  back after losing it for awhile due to a heart attack followed by financial woes brought on by World War II.  She was ecstatic to have a home for her new cat, Minnie, and to begin garden plans she had made in exile.  Minnie had been neglected during the six weeks that Marion had her fostered while moving back into Coggers.  They were both so happy to be home together. But I knew that Marion would die within two years and my heart was shattered by that. What happened to Minnie?  Torn out of paradise; Coggers was sold soon after.  Marion had many friends; I do hope one of them gave Minnie a good life.

There are much sadder stories in the world and yet… Marion is my great love this autumn.  She has been gone for longer than I have been alive and I miss her so.

In a chapter called I Have Secrets, she finally wrote about her first daughter, Maidie, born of an early marriage to a violent older man.  Because Marion’s second daughter was illegitimate, in the early part of the century when such an event was shocking, and her first was raised by her ex-husband’s parents, Marion had held back from her usual personal revelations and had made the two daughters into one character in the earliest books.  Much more on this later, I hope.  I was happy to have learned that Maidie loved her mother and wrote many letters hoping that Marion (then in her mid 60s) would come live with her in America after the war.

My Marion

I reflected on how Marion had now twice revealed that she took some creative license with the plot line of her own life.  And here in this blog, I feel I have to be completely honest, to the point that if we go to one job, then another, then back to the first, I cannot roll the two work sessions into one for ease of narrative flow.

At bedtime, I began Marion’s book of essays based on her radio broadcast, circa 1925.  I was delighted to find the first two essays had Marion’s personal touch.  Even though I have read her last book, I still have a few more to go, some of which have not arrived yet.

That makes the wrench of finishing easier to bear.

From Garden Talks:

And in the first chapter, the pleasure of dividing plants:

And especially apropos is this about bulbs:

While I read in the early evening, Allan did his Bulb Time task of crossing this year’s names off of the bulb bags so that they can be easily reused, and smoothing them and putting them back into the box.



He retired this one!

I would have written in the empty space, somewhere, and used it for more years.

The work board now has the fall clean up list. That work will mostly take place after  November 5th.:

Now, in case you have been wondering what bulbs we have been planting, here is what I put in our garden.  I used at least a few of each.  I added up the cost after making the spreadsheet and am slightly shocked.  Three days of bulb work will just about pay for my own bulbs.  I blame this year’s extravagance on wanting the Shelburne to have some of all my special favourites.  The Shelburne and other places got some tulips I did not add to my garden: Flair, El Nino, Strong Gold, Suncatcher, along with Fritillaria meleagris, of which I already have plenty, and Allium christophii, of which I always want more, but I was trying to be budget-minded.

At least I divided out some of the best narcissi and some of the little bulbs to make four pots that will be a housewarming present for Mary and Denny (don’t tell!).

Bulb Time will continue in the evenings for me, or perhaps for a full rainy day, as I make all the spreadsheets for each client.

My bulb list (also, Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ and Brodiaea laxa coccinea and Tulip ‘Spring Green’, which I forgot to write down, and Narcissus ‘Sabine Hay’, which arrived a week later):

Allium ‘Firmament’

Allium ‘Gladiator’

Allium ‘His Excellency’

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’

Allium ‘White Giant’

Allium atropurpureum

Allium nigrum

Allium nigrum ‘Pink Jewel’

Allium schubertii

Brodiaea ‘Pink Diamond’

Brodiaea ‘Rudy’

Camassia ‘Blue Melody’

Crocus minimus ‘Spring Beauty’

Crocus olivieri ‘Orange Monarch’

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Barr’s Purple’

Crocus tommasinianusRoseus‘ 

Iris histriodes ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ and Katharine’s Gold’

Iris hollandica ‘Alaska’

Iris hollandica ‘Mystic Beauty’

Iris hollandica ‘Telstar’

Iris reticulata ‘Eye Catcher’

Iris reticulata ‘Painted Lady’

Iris reticulata ‘Pixie’

Lilium  ‘Black Beauty’

Lilium ‘Pretty Woman’

Lilium martagon ‘Arabian Knight’

Lilium martagon ‘Claude Shride’

Muscari ‘Baby’s Breath’

Muscari ‘Golden Fragrance’

Muscari ‘Helena’

Muscari ‘Pink Sunrise’

Muscari paradoxum

Narcissus ‘Actaea’

Narcissus ‘Cha Cha’

Narcissus ‘Cragford’

Narcissus ‘Dreamlight’

Narcissus ‘Jamestown’

Narcissus ‘Julia Jane’

Narcissus ‘Kedron’

Narcissus ‘Minnow’

Narcissus ‘Moonlight Sensation’

Narcissus ‘Punchline’

Narcissus ‘Rapture’

Narcissus ‘Silver Smiles’

Narcissus ‘Sunlight Sensation’

Narcissus ‘Thalia’

Narcissus ‘Tweety Bird’

Narcissus ‘Winter Waltz’

Narcissus ‘Xit’

Narcissus obvallaris

Tulip ‘Akebono’

Tulip ‘Aveyron’

Tulip ‘Caribbean Parrot’

Tulip ‘Green Wave’

Tulip ‘Night Rider’

Tulip ‘Orange Emperor’

Tulip ‘Purple Lady’

Tulip ‘Queensland’

Tulip ‘Spring Green’

Tulip ‘Virichic’

Tulip ‘White Parrot’

Tulip batalinii ‘Bright Gem’

Tulip batalinii ‘Salmon Gem’

Tulip greigii ‘Corona’

Tulip greigii ‘Quebec’

Tulip linifolia

Tulip turkestanica





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Saturday, 20 October 2018

For me, this is day 12 in a row of work.  (Allan got time off while I sorted bulbs for two of those days.)

I must be getting old, mellower, and wiser because I did not think of yesterday’s planter criticism annoyance first thing upon awakening, nor had I had any planter nightmares overnight.

Long Beach

We planted in Fifth Street Park, all four quadrants, lots of narcissi, some camassia, some crocus.

Melianthus major, Fifth Street (Allan’s photo)

sweet peas still blooming (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

more sweet peas (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

It was truly Bulb Hell getting the narcissi into the hard, rooty soil in all four quadrants.  When it was done, that sort of bulb hell was over for this year, as all that remained was the welcome sign and planting in some pots.  Over for Allan, anyway.  I still have my bulbs to plant at home and may find some hard, rooty soil there.

We dumped debris at city works and covered the new mulch pile with a tarp so that weeds won’t seed into it.

The Basket Case Greenhouse

On the way north, we stopped to get two Geranium Rozanne for the planter we (Allan) dug out two days ago.

Allan’s photo at The Basket Case

Penny (Allan’s photo)


Buddy and Penny

buying and chatting with Darrell

Penny (Allan’s photo)

Klipsan Beach Cottages

greeted by Mary and Bella

and Sarah

I planted tulips in pots while Allan did some fall clean up clipping.  Half the pots will stay at KBC for the new owners next spring, as it is a tradition to have pots of tulips in the fenced garden.  The other half will go with Mary and Denny to their new home in Naselle!  They will be only ten minutes further away from us than they are now (although not on the way to anywhere we usually go).

sit spot

part of Allan’s project, before


after cutting Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Allan’s photos

Thalictrum ‘Elin’ got cut to become part of our Halloween decor.

Allan walked to the swale to pull a lot of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and daylily leaves and found, to our delight, that other KBC helpers had already cleaned it up beautifully.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I got the tulips all planted in the pots (mostly viridiflora, or green, tulips, my favourites). This year, I had been going to get some colours other than “green”.  After I got the Shelburne garden back, I had to get green ones for the green-painted inn: Spring Green, Green Wave, Green Star, Virichic, Night Rider.  Greenland and Artist and Golden Artist are viridifloras I did not get this year because you can’t have everything; budgets won’t allow it.

looking in the east gate

Billardia longiflora

the bird bath view

the pond garden

Now except for the Long Beach welcome sign (whose bulbs are not here till the 25th), we are done with bulb time at jobs.  Tomorrow, I will plant my own bulbs.

Long Beach 

After yesterday’s infuriating revelation that a citizen is threatening a letter to the editor about how utterly dreadful the Bolstad planters look, I decided we had better have a look at them on the way home.  Based on the dire complaint, I expected to find dead plants and massive weeds.  But no!  Clearly, the city crew had done some watering and the plants that remain have proved their toughness.  So tonight, I will present a Planter Reference Post for Bolstad.  As usual with PRPs, it will be rather dull.

On the way back through Long Beach, we saw a big tour bus parked at Scooper’s Ice Cream, from a “Beeline Tours” company, with a cute logo.  The bus had huge windows…

like this…(photo from Beeline Tours)

…and all lined up in the windows were folks of retirement age, each with an ice cream cone.  We found it a sweet sight to see.

Shelburne Hotel

We stopped for five minutes of cosmos deadheading.

looking north

sweet peas

Right at the sidewalk entryway, deer have eaten the roses!

front garden, south end

OleBob’s Café

After going home and unloading all the empty bulb boxes and bags and the bulb food, we repaired to OleBob’s at the port for another celebratory dinner.

tasty dinner salad ((Allan’s photo)

Chef Laura, who is from Uraguay, showed us some wonderful photos of a Brazilian beach that she will soon visit to see her brother.  The beach has a free lending library!

You can borrow books or a surfboard on Praia de Pipa (Pipa Beach)!

Why, I reflected as Laura spoke of southern countries, were we not taught at school to say the names of the countries properly? We learned Paraguay and Uraguay with a hard G, not Para-whay, the way Laura properly pronounces it.

Tomorrow, Allan is FREED from Bulb Time, and my bulbosity continues for one more day at home.  In a week, we will have the last bulb planting day at the welcome sign.  I overspent my budget this year so I WILL resist the end of season sales.

The work board tonight:




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Thursday, 18 October 2018

We woke to the tsunami warning—but it was just the Great Shake Out drill.  “Move to higher ground; do not delay!” followed by the spooky undulating siren.  You can listen to it here.  The siren starts at about 1:10 into the video.

We began the day with planting all sorts of little bulbs, usually called “minor bulbs”, at our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco fire station: crocus, iris reticulata, brodiaea of two sorts, species tulips.  It has amused me greatly in a petty little way to plant Brodiaea ‘Rudy” around town in tribute to the nature of a former friend.  It is a cute little thing.  I hope that its foliage is not floppy and rampant like B. ‘Queen Fabiola’.  I learned this year that Brodiaea is drought tolerant so I am now hoping it will do well in the thirsty port gardens.

B. ‘Rudy’, photo from the most excellent Van Engelen bulb catalog.

Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’, lovely starry blue after floppy foliage starts to dry off

Before actually working, we dropped some orange mesh bulb bags off at our friends Keleigh and Keith’s (Beachdog) house.  Keleigh thinks she can do something crafty with them for Halloween.  Next door, I admired this:

garden decor idea from which I might have to borrow inspiration

(Allan took all the rest of the photos between here and dinnertime.)

In Keleigh and Keith’s “Fur Ridge” home:

me and Teacup

Keith and Keleigh working on materials for a South Pacific County Humane Society auction

This beautiful banner over the table was bought at a local charity auction.

And then we finally began the biggest bulb planting of the year.

Long Beach

First, we planted in the Sid Snyder beach approach planters, with Narcissus obvallaris and ‘Minnow’.

schlepping bulbs on Sid Snyder to the last planter, a block after our parking spot—the planter is to the upper left.

Allan trimmed the last of the blue globe thistle in the next planter inland…before

and after

I had not done the final sorting of the bulbs into individual bags for each planter, as I sometimes have time to do.  That only happens if I have enough rainy day sorting time. Today I put the boxes partly in the trailer and partly lined up inside the van’s side door and proceeded to sort, just staying one step ahead of Allan, who was planting.

Incredibly, some of the planters needed watering.  The incredible part is not that they are thirsty in our hot dry weather.  It is just incredible that the weather has been so consistently hot and dry with only one day of rain relief, a week ago.

I got the bulbs sorted into City Hall and Fifth Street Park and Veterans Field boxes, which got some of them out of the way, and was able to join in the planting.

Did not have time for niceties like cutting back that Geranium ‘Rozanne’. It is still a little bit flowery.

Salvia leucantha (Mexican bush sage, blooms late)

By the end of the work hours, we had only gotten two blocks of trees and planters done.  Each planter got some tall tulips (with the emphasis on ‘Strong Gold’ and its similarly tough sister, ‘Suncatcher’).  I also used some single early ‘Flair’ and some ‘Orange Emperor’ in planters that had room.  Planters that were recently redone and still have lots of room got all sorts of nice minor bulbs.  Each street tree got six narcissi added and six Dutch iris.

During our planting, we had encountered Parks Manager Mike who told us that he had delayed winterizing and left the water on (which, as you saw above, was a relief) AND that a new pile of mulch had appeared for us at city works.

So at the beginning to block three, we decided to dig out the ugly old lavenders and rampant beach strawberry from the shrubby planter by the frying pan quadrant of Fifth Street.  That meant Allan did the digging while I kept planting bulbs.

before, with plants dating back to volunteer days

This planter has the hebe that we cannot remove, a spirea that would love to be full size, and a running rampant rose that is once blooming and then looks diseased, and two very old lavenders, one of which was cut way back last week.  Why so many volunteers planted huge or wanna be huge shrubs in these planters continues to baffle me.

before, north side

We call this shovel from Fiskars our magic shovel.  Note the wide and comfy step-on part.  It has a lifetime warranty, and has been replaced for free twice when it broke while digging things out of these planters.  Allan has learned that strong though it is, it will not survive bending against cement.  It is heavy, so I prefer a lighter shovel for moving piles of mulch, but nothing beats it for digging large tough plants.

woody old lavender

after digging out

The landscape fabric had been laid pretty high up in this planter and had a mass of roots in it.  They looked to me like just old lavender roots.  If they are rose roots, we will soon know.  The rose is still in the center all tied up with the hebe roots.

before, south side

Across the street, with bulbs set up to plant, I had a chat break with Cathy of Captain Bob’s Chowder.  She likes how well her café can be seen now that we removed the tall crocosmia.

There goes our friend Max.

south side after

landscape fabric enmeshed with roots, old bulbs getting replaced

Allan dumped the debris and brought new soil while I kept planting.

glorious new Soil Energy mulch pile at city works

How can I ever bear to retire and give up the joy of a sight like that?

adding soil and bulbs



It is stuffed full o’ bulbs but I will not add new plants till we get some rain.

on a vehicle parked next to us

I was hoping to get three of the six blocks of planters done today. We still have almost four blocks of planters and trees and then some park gardens and city hall. Tomorrow should go faster because the bulbs are more sorted.

Shelburne Hotel

At dusk, I planted seven Narcissus ‘Tweety Bird’ and obvallaris that came in the second small shipment in the back garden of the Shelburne.  From Van Engelen: Narcissus pseudo-narcissus ssp. obvallaris “Also known as the Tenby Daffodil, this prized early-blooming naturalizer is a golden-yellow gem with a large, flared trumpet and shorter petals. As reports have it, the windswept Wales coastline was blanketed with wild drifts of this upward-facing bloom as far back as the 18th century. Narcissus Class: Species Wild Variants (Royal Horticultural Society Division 13). 

Narcissi are The Art & Soul of Spring.”

night lighting at the Shelburne

Phlomis fruticosa

At the pub, we celebrated that I did not have to sort any more bulbs after work.

Brian O’Connor performs on Thursday evenings.

smoked salmon reuben sandwich and fries

chopped salad with fried chicken

and my favourite dessert



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Oct 17: Bulb Time, day 6

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

on the way to work!

Diane’s garden and The Red Barn

I set up bulbs along the roadside garden and Allan and I both planted them.

A spider was in our shortcut spot so we went around, from kindness, not fear…

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Although we did some deadheading of the roadside cosmos, I told Diane we are pretty much letting them go after this.

In the back yard, Allan did the bulb planting in the center of the raised box garden (which requires climbing up)—not easy because it is still so thick with cosmos and more.

Allan’s photo

statice almost over (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

I planted all around the edges and in the pots by the back porch.

Allan’s audience while he watered the pots (Holly and Whiskey)

At the Red Barn, I put a few tulips and narcissi in each of the barrels while Allan planted some narcissi in the ground.

Allan’s photo

Allan found a rock.

from Snohomish County.

Allan’s photo

We then tried to plant at the Kite Museum garden but could not.

Roofers up above the garden! (Allan’s photo)


With the kite museum planting delayed, we went on to plant at our two volunteer gardens in Ilwaco.  Or so I thought.  On the way, I realized how dry the Ilwaco planters were.  With two hours till dark, we had 14 bulbs (in a small batch that arrived today) to plant at the port’s west end, and then Allan had to go water all the Ilwaco planters!  He dropped me at the post office garden, where I planted all the bulbs for there.  A passerby told me about visiting Holland and ordering tulips to be shipped from there, ones he had picked out on his trip, and planting them all, and then the deer ate them.

I then carried the bulbs for the fire station in a heavy bucket (just two blocks).

seen on my walk to the fire station

At the fire station, a bumble bee was happy in the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’.

I planted till dusk, banging the bulbs into the terribly hard soil.  Mayor Gary (also a firefighter) stopped by and I said I intend to mulch the garden (again) and that I have thought of putting out a plea on Facebook for someone to donate some money toward that.  (I can’t have any old mulch donated because it might be weedy if I don’t pick the right stuff.)  But, I told him I don’t know how to keep from getting TOO much money if I ask on Facebook…odd but true.  He might have an idea for a bit of funding for supplies, we will see.

Once I was going to put a donate button on this blog, but I could not figure out how!

As darkness fell, I saw the bumblebee was asleep on the helianthus flower.  I did not know bumbles did this until I read about it in a Marion Cran book.  She wrote that they sleep on flowers at night, rather than go home to a hive, and they die in winter.  Makes me sad, although the sleeping part is mighty sweet.

night night

fire station garden at dusk

on my two block walk home

Meanwhile, Allan had watered the planters…

while filling the water truck at the boatyard by the deep blue boat

nasturtium that trailed into the parking zone…

tidied up

volunteer watering after dark

I had to keep sorting till after ten PM because Long Beach is next.  Usually I sort the bulbs into batches for each block but ran out of time and energy; tomorrow, I will have to sort madly on the job to keep us going from planter to planter.  At least I got it done, with the rest of the bulbs divided between Long Beach and my garden.

work board, jobs done are erased and jobs sorted are all checked off!

You might be wondering what bulbs we have planted.  I will reveal the list on day ten of Bulb Time.





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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

We began by buying more bulb food at Dennis Company and then planting bulbs at the…

Depot Restaurant

‘Twas this hot as we arrived there.

We battled our way through the still tall and blooming garden to plant the bulbs.

Allan’s photo, before trimming down the solidago to just get in there.

I wanted an after, showing much more space, but we both forgot to take one.  The goldenrod was all flopped open so had to be trimmed to make room for bulbs.


The weather was uncomfortably hot.  Fortunately, our next job was in a garden that has a feeling of coolness.

The Shelburne Hotel

sweet peas still blooming (Allan’s photo)

up on the room 4 deck (Allan’s photo)

I sent Allan up to the decks with an assortment of species tulips and narcissi, little ones, to go in three of the large planters.

room 4 deck (Allan’s photo)

a frog on Allan’s tool belt

I don’t know the story behind that! (Later: frog lives in a planter on the center deck and jumped onto the tool belt. After posing for a picture it hopped back to its planter, sticking to the side.)

Soon it hopped down and hid while Allan finished planting its planter.

While I finished planting the last of a rather huge number of bulbs, Allan watered the entire garden.  Watering in mid October … Is that the new trend from now on?  Rain is not expected for another week so it had to be done.

totem garden in early evening (Allan’s photo)

the mini bog garden (Allan’s photo)

Got done just at sunset…6:20 PM, front garden, looking north

sweet pea longevity

and south, with cozy lights in the pub windows

I got some of pretty much all my favourite bulbs for the Shelburne, just wait and see!

I would love to have had a meal at the pub.  Instead, I had to sort bulbs for tomorrow till about ten PM.  Allan kept me going with a cheesy melt and a fine cuppa.

Sorting involves more standing than sitting and makes me tireder than actually planting the bulbs.

I only have time to read one chapter a night of Marion Cran’s final memoir, Hagar’s Garden.  Reading a chapter at a time is diluting the emotional impact, which means less weeping over it on my part.  And it is delaying the moment when I come to the end of her story.

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Tuesday, 15 October 2018

We had an all Ilwaco bulbing day.

J’s & Norwood’s & Mike’s garden

We started at the little blue cottage across the street.  I had noticed in a recent photo that some blue fescue looked old and tatty, so it got removed (by Allan) and new bulbs put in its place. Meanwhile, I set the bulbs out across the street at the Norwood garden and then Allan planted them while I planted at the J’s cottage.

At the J’s: azalea oddly in bloom last week, with tatty grasses

bulbs are now where fescues were

Every bulb I planted around the J’s birdbath required banging a hole through the stupid landscape fabric that is underneath this garden (not installed by the Js; it was there when they bought the place).

At the Norwoods, Allan’s befores and afters of the north side (he weeded, too, mostly pesky creeping sorrel):


after (I see the area where a big pieris came out needs some small shade plants added …when the weather gets damp again).



We will mulch the south side bed when we start our mulching rounds.  It is narrow and was planted by the previous owners of the house.

south side

Next we planted white and pink and blue spring flower bulbs (narcissus, tulips, crocus, iris Dutch and reticulata and assorted whatnots) at Mike’s.  His garden was looking quite fine with pink hesperantha but not one photo was taken.

Port of Ilwaco

Planting at the boatyard and the port came next.  The hot weather was more manageable down by the water.  Today, there was no wind, so our bulb bags did not blow away.  That was a treat.

boatyard garden

ceanothus and lavender

I am pleased with the tapestry of flowers.

Even the BadAster is pleasing here.

rue, euphorbia, cosmos, santolina

hot sunshine, a bit too hot for my preference

looking south from the gate

We headed down to the curbside gardens along the port with an assortment of narcissi and some species tulips that I hope are small enough to not entice deer.  I wish I could plant lots of crocus and Iris reticulata there.  It was heartbreaking a few years back when crows or seagulls pulled out almost all of those little bulbs as soon as their early green sprouts started to show.

on the way to the port…hot

Allan’s photo (obviously)

Ilwaco pavilion garden  (Allan’s photo)

Ilwaco pavilion garden

By five thirty, we had made it all the way down to the west end, putting some new bulbs in almost every bed.

west end (Allan’s photo)

shockingly hot at 5:30!

At home, the evening was pleasant, warm, windless, even after dark.  I would love to have sat around the campfire but instead I had to sort the next batches of bulbs for several more hours, with the front and back garage doors open with the van parked in the driveway to give me some privacy from the street.

work board with port and boatyard erased and more sorting done




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Sunday, 14 October 2018

Allan briefly visited the Cranberrian Fair while I did some last minute bulb organizing.

our friend Jan Bono

We made a quick visit (with a small amount of social time) to the Boreas Inn to deliver some narcissi to innkeeper Susie G.  We hope she finds time to plant them!

some interesting growth in the Boreas entry garden

Ilwaco Community Building

We planted at the community building in hot and windy weather.  So windy paper bulb bags flew away when empty and even shifted somewhat when full.  Not pleasant.

I got Allan to move some saxifrage in a too-dry spot…

…too a shadier spot by the library entry.

Allan’s photos

The saxifrage had originally come from his mother’s garden.

Ilwaco Timberland Library entrance

Good news, per local newspapers: No library branch will be closed this year, giving the board a year to figure out their budget (and hear from concerned patrons).  Not sure about the South Bend branch, which was closed because mold was found in the unused basement.  Have been too bulb-busy to follow that story.

bags of tulips tossed out for Allan to mix and plant (Allan’s photo)

I learned slowly over the years that it works better to toss the bags out into the garden than tossing loose bulbs on the ground to roll around and get lost or hidden in bright glaring sunlight.  Works well on rainy days, too, easy to pick up bags and go home if a sudden storm comes.

the light as we finished, after 4 PM

the tiered garden in front of the Ocean Beach Alternative (high) School

autumn blooming crocus

I felt like I physically could not, and yet I did, dig deep enough to get us down to plant in the garden boat and curbside at Time Enough Books, where no photos were taken because we were so darned tired.

Getting to cross TWO things off the work list was the satisfying reward.

I then sorted bulbs from six to eight PM and was able to add some more check marks to the work list, indicating a batch being sorted.

At eight, we rolled out our back garage door and into the back door of the Nora House next door, having been invited to dinner by Alicia (Nora’s granddaughter) and Brian. They had been painting the cranberry colored trim on the house (now Alicia’s house). They had prepared delicious steaks, baked potatoes, with salad and corn.  They are night owls like us and were pleased to hear that we often dine at home at ten PM or later.

At dusk, they had been amazed to see a doe stroll out the driveway, right past them in the back patio, not scared at all.

Allan’s photo

The pleasant dinner invitation had saved me tonight from feeling that I must sort till 10 PM with my head swimming with names and numbers.  Alicia and Brian and Coco would be dream neighbors if they moved here full time…but city life is what they enjoy.

Alicia’s cat, Coco, entertained us.

Allan’s photo


sitting on Allan’s lap!

She is a good girl.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tomorrow, back to more daytime bulb planting and evening bulb sorting.  The clear weather cannot be missed.  Bulb Time is much easier if I get a couple of rainy days to sort all the bulbs at once.  Not this year.  This year is brain-hurting mental chaos of keeping just one step ahead on the sorting.



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Friday, 12 October 2018

The bulbs arrived. As with every year, I thought I might have the garage and clipboard all organized before the arrival.  This year, the bulbs arrived the earliest ever, so that is some excuse for the first part of the day being devoted to getting the sorting space organized.  I spent the rest of the day doing the intake, with a lot of arithmetic that even with a calculator hurts my brain.  By the end of the day, I had the packages all sorted into an area for big tulips, small tulips, big and small narcissi, alliums, crocus and muscari, and assorted small bulbs.

In between printing and binding copies of his boating book, Allan kept me sustained with snacks delivered to the garage.

I got a nice message today on my Our Ilwaco Facebook page.  A woman named Kathy Moyer had painted the flowers in one of our Ilwaco gardens.

art by Kathy Moyer

At midnight, I was able to read a chapter of Hagar’s Garden by Marion Cran.  I do wish I had finished it before Bulb Time.

Skooter has turned into a lap cat.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Allan went shopping across the river. Although I wanted to get right to bulb sorting, I walked down to the Cranberrian Fair at Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, hoping that “The Card Lady’ would be there.  The superb creator of homemade collage greeting cards for all occasions was absent this year.  I do hope she is well.

at the Cranberrian Fair

The Bog Bus will take folks up to the Cranberry Research Station and Cranberry Museum on Pioneer Road.

Dudley’s Harvest, a cute local book about a cranberry bog dog.

Rose Power and her creations

Karen Brownlee at the wheel

I love her cranberry plates.

Karen’s maritime butter dishes

Harmony Soapworks of Oysterville

blacksmith demonstration

I got the smithy’s email address, having recently read three pages about blacksmithing in one of Marion Cran’s books; I will send him photos of those pages.

The Nahcotta railway car was open for touring today, evoking my longing to ride on the Clamshell Railroad.

Nahcotta railway car

I had a look at my favourite part of the museum (other than the Nahcotta), the “village street”.

newspaper office

Nearby is a display about the seining horses of yesteryear.  I found an interesting video about the old timey fishing with horses, here.

I can’t imagine the horses liked it much.

Allan’s book, Southwest Washington Paddle Trips, is now on the shelves in the museum gift shop and at Time Enough Books at the Port of Ilwaco.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum gift shop, top right

at home again

The weather was warm and calm and lovely.  I felt sorry for myself having to be indoors sorting; then I reminded myself of my friends with office jobs who have to be indoors every day.

With Allan gone, there was no van parked in the driveway to give me a sense of privacy.  The garage was hot with the big door closed and just the back door open.  Finally, in a stroke of genius, I built myself a barrier inside the big door….

…and then I opened it and could breathe fresh air again.

Allan’s photos upon his return:

a few jobs sorted and ready to go

I managed to get enough clients’ bulbs sorted and bagged and boxed and ready so that we could work Sunday and Monday.  I would have continued to sort on into the evening, had not Nora’s granddaughter and her partner come visiting her house next door.  This inspired me to knock off bulbing at dusk so that the four of us could have a pleasant campfire dinner.

Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’ aglow just after sunset around the campfire circle

Allan’s photo


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Thursday, 26 October 2017

At midnight, just as the clock turned to Thursday, a crisis struck.  My best beloved cat, Smoky, had been sleeping in my room and then sitting on my lap.  All seemed normal until I saw him walking…He looked enormous.  He had somehow bloated up all through his sides and belly, so quickly, since he had looked normal two days ago.  Yet he was eating, drinking, purring.  I called the vet and heard the “Please call the emergency vet only in a real emergency” message and felt I should wait till morning.  But I started shaking, as hard as any cliché you can think of, teeth chattering, while I tried to look up causes of cat bloating.  Dr Google was not reassuring.

I managed to get five hours of broken sleep, with Smoky sleeping and purring on my feet.  This in itself is unusual; he usually sleeps in the living room, lately curled up with Calvin, the neurotic black cat who finally has a friend to cuddle with.

At 7:30, I woke and bided my time till exactly 8 when I called the Oceanside Animal Clinic and got a 9:15 appointment.  Smoky was still purring and eating a bit of food, but he could hardly walk.  He would take a few steps, find his hind legs burdened by his increased size, and he’d just stop, like this:

I was frantic inside; I love this cat so very much.  We got him and his brother Frosty and mother Mary (who died of lung cancer last year) from a neighbour of our old house.  The cats’ first seven years were well loved and lived inside a moldy broken down motor home with a heavy smoker who doted on them. Before he died of lung cancer, he asked me to take his three cats.

At the vet, Smoky’s abdomen was tapped and drained of some fluid, which was sent off for a test that will take a week.  He had blood tests and X rays which showed a lot of internal fluid and reasonably good heart and liver, so the tentative diagnosis is a serious cancer.

a little dog to pet while we waited for the blood test results

We got to take Smoky home, with some pain medication, and we could take him back to be “tapped and drained” when the fluid builds up again.  He’s only 12.  I have been worried about him being 12, after his mother’s death at 13.  I wanted at least two more years with my best little friend. (Later I realized that he is either recently turned thirteen or is almost thirteen.)

Smoky back at home, on a sheet covering the bed blankets, because his abdomen would be “leaking”.

We went to work, bulbing.  If we could get three jobs done, we could take four or five days off.  I had been so looking forward to that time off of planting my own bulbs, decorating for Halloween, and cleaning the house for Halloween company.  Now I wish I had nothing to do other than just spending time with Smoky.  (Maybe he will feel well enough to come outdoors with me.)  The house is a tip, though. The better I clean it, the more time I’ll be indoors with my precious cat.

Today we were back to beautiful summer-like weather.  We started by planting some white narcissi and tulips at Mike’s garden.  When we stopped back at home, a package of the second round of bulbs (shipped later) had arrived, and we distributed some to Time Enough Books, the boatyard garden, and the community building garden.

Boatyard got Narcissi ‘Green Eyed Lady’ and ‘Latvian Freedom’.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo; new blooms from the Echinops I had cut back to the ground.

Sweet peas are still blooming.  I asked Allan to take these sweet pea photos.

I was going to make an end of season sale order of more narcissi for the boatyard, but after a $400 vet bill, I don’t want to tempt my budget with any more bulb purchases this fall.  I also feel somewhat tentative about planting more narcissi here, since last spring someone picked about a hundred (that is, all of them) overnight.  (The local vet is reasonably priced.  The $400 included expensive tests and x rays.)

We planted some more bulbs at the Ilwaco Community Building.

Ilwaco Community Building

a test planting of tulips. We have seen deer in this tiered garden so….it is only a test.

autumn blooming crocus

Allan’s photo

We then got back to our planned planting and clean up at

The Depot Restaurant

where Allan cleared the hops from the dining deck lattice while I planted bulbs.

tulips and narcissi set up to plant

Allan’s befores and afters of the hops project:

the hops project, before, showing the door that leads from restaurant to dining deck


before, the ramp to the dining deck


a Pacific tree frog in the lattice

After today’s work. More fall clean up will be done after frost. 

Long Beach

We now had five more white narcissi for the Vet Field corner.  While Allan planted them, I planted a combination of yellow tulips in the big Lewis and Clark Square planter.

L&C planter; Allan helped me by pulling the bad asters that had appeared, as they seem to blow in from the dunes or other gardens.

Then on to the last of today’s planned jobs,

Diane’s garden.

before (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo, bulbs laid out to plant

bulb tossing

All done…Planting bulbs in the soft soil of the septic box was so easy.

Red Barn in the background.

Diane was pleased to see all the bulbs go on, and of course she was sympathetic about Smoky.  I got to give good dog Misty a good belly rub.

Allan also planted clumps of narcissi in the newly restored roadside garden.

The recent heavy rain had not washed out the new garden strip.

Last thing: cutting back some short (due to lack of frequent watering) Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ at the Red Barn.

our little Red Barn garden

As you can imagine, my bulbing today was done in a somber and anxious mood.

At home

There was little joy in erasing bulbing jobs from the work board.

I sat with Smoky, who purred while I wept, trying and failing not to cry because I don’t want to upset him.  I fretted about whether he was again retaining fluid and mourned over the thought of soon losing my softest, plushest, kindest cat ever.

Allan heard the sounds of the big homecoming football game up on School Hill. He walked up the hill to watch the halftime show which he’s always missed before.  The marching band often does a Halloween themed show which he wished to see.

halftime fireworks

They did not disappoint.

This year included music from Nightmare Before Christmas.

The score was Ilwaco 39, guest 0 when Allan left after the show.

The most comforting thing for me about Smoky’s dire prognosis was the support of Facebook friends.  After writing about the visit to the vet, I changed my profile photo to one of me and Smoky at one of our backyard campfires.

The comment that got to me the most was when I wrote how much I had been looking forward to my staycation reading with my best friend, Smoky.  Shannon, friend of Tony, wrote, His book says “Dear Mama — you’re the best one.” He reads it over and over.



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