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Posts Tagged ‘Coulter Park’

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

After a wonderful rainy and windy reading Monday (finished The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer), I thought we might get a second rainy, windy day off.  By 11:30, the sky showed signs of clearing.  We have much to do at work before the clam festival on Saturday, not the least of which is to get all the Long Beach parks and planters looking as perfect as possible.  Because the rain was continuing as we drove north, we did a rainy- time errand and picked up a bag of Dr. Earth rhododendron and evergreen fertilizer at The Planter Box.

pb

entry display at The Planter Box

That saw us through to clearer skies.  On the way south to Long Beach, we paused at the Boreas Inn long enough to do a bit of weeding and to fertilize one area that did not get done last week.  (Someone had been reading a book on the porch of the Garden Suite and I had not wanted to invade her private reverIe.)

Boreas Inn

Boreas Inn

back yard view to the west, with trail to the beach

back yard view to the west, with trail to the beach

dogtooth violets at the Boreas, originally transplanted from my mother's garden

Erythronium (dogtooth violets) at the Boreas, originally transplanted from my mother’s garden

Long Beach

Back on our main mission in Long Beach, we tackled the four quadrants of Fifth Street Park.  We are sure people will want to see the squirting clam sculpture during clam fest weekend.

Allan took on the SW garden, including weeding under the fence; you can see to the left of the photo below that the soil extends to a cement wall belonging to the hotel next door.  It’s a dank and damp bed, perhaps due to water run off from the roof.

before

before

after (Allan's photo)

after (Allan’s photo)

after (Allan's photo.  I would like to get even more schizostylis out of here.  It does love the damp soil and does look good in autumn.

after (Allan’s photo. I would like to get even more schizostylis out of here. It does love the damp soil and does look good in autumn.  I just resent its thuggish ways.

When that was done, he did a difficult bed under three trees in the SE quadrant of the park…difficult because the roots of the trees and the sprinkler system and damp soil make weeding mighty hard.

before

before (Allan’s photo)

after (Allan's photo)

after (Allan’s photo)

before (Allan's photo)

before (Allan’s photo) with swamp hedge having made its way into the garden

after (Allan's photo); the blades left behind are of schizostylis

after (Allan’s photo); the blades left behind are of schizostylis

While Allan was weeding, parks manager Mike Kitzman stopped by and we all decided this nasty little bed has to go.  Mike and crew will eliminate the plants and replace it with river rock on landscape fabric, to match the other side of the park.  I’ll be awfully happy to see all the lady’s mantle go.  It is not a plant I love at all.  It just accidentally took over this bed and was allowed to because not much else thrived there.

During that time, I did the NW garden, and a long project it was with lots of shotweed, a bit of horsetail, and the maddening wild garlic popping up through other plants.

a small area before

a small area before

and after

and after

There just might be a tiny green thread of sweet pea coming up along the fence in back.

after two and a half hours of steady weeding (including two more smaller areas not pictured)

after two and a half hours of steady weeding (including two more smaller areas not pictured)

I wanted to accomplish more.  I had had my eyes on a black cloud approaching from the west, driven toward us by a cold wind, and it finally got to us.

much rain

much rain

We made a trip to dump debris at the city works yard.  As we turned the corner to swing west and north to the stoplight, I saw bright sky coming from the west.

a hopeful sign

a hopeful sign

One of the best things that has happened in our Long Beach job is when we got our own key to the works yard.  Before, every Long Beach day was full of the pressure to get debris dumped before the gate closes at 4 PM, and we often had to take debris home overnight.  The crew starts at 7 AM, long before we do.

Now we can dump anytime we want.

Now we can dump anytime we want.

view to the east from the dump area...light all around the edges

view to the east from the dump area…light all around the edges

Sure enough, the rain disappeared and we were able to get back to work.  There would be a Mermaid Lagoon, hosted by our friend Queen La De Da, at the Coulter Park historic train depot.  We made the corner bed, by which many people will pass, look much better.

coulterbefore

before

after

half an hour later

after

coulter

the old train depot

the old train depot

We still had time to weed and to plant three Nicotiana langsdorfii in the narrow bed by the NE quadrant of Fifth Street Park.

You can see clam statue and the famous Long Beach frying pan.

You can see clam statue (at the end of the benches, kind of washed out in this photo) and the famous Long Beach frying pan.

Dutch Iris 'Eye of the Tiger'

Dutch Iris ‘Eye of the Tiger’

detail

detail

In all the planters, Narcissus ‘Baby Moon’ is in full bloom instead of blooming in May as it usually does.  I have decided to just be glad that it is blooming for the Clam Festival weekend and not be bothered about what will be in bloom for the May 3 parade.  Maybe Baby Moon will last that long.

Narcissus 'Baby Moon'

Narcissus ‘Baby Moon’

In the foreground, above, is Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.  We will cut each one back by half during our next planter session after the May 3 parade.  That way they will not splay open by midsummer.  By the lamp post, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, which was purged from this planter, is trying to come back.  After the photo was taken, I yanked all the hopeful little starts right out.

Tomorrow, clam fest preparation will continue with lots of weeding and fertilizing at the Port of Ilwaco.  Thursday we will try to do Klipsan Beach Cottages and Golden Sands and Andersen’s, and Friday will be the pre-festival walk around of all the Long Beach parks and planters.  I learned to my shock that Allan is going motorcycling on Saturday so KBC can’t be done that day as I had thought.  While that trip makes me anxious (because I saw the dire results of motorcycle accidents on his dad and his brother), it should lead to some good photos….

Big telly excitement tonight: The season premiere of The Deadliest Catch.  The bad weather work of the crabbers always helps me to feel that my job is easy.

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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Ilwaco boatyard garden

I had decided that, because of its place on the noxious weed list, all the bronze fennel in the boatyard (about six plants) needed to be cut down instead of left standing all winter with its seeds falling all around.

A boat was on the Travel Lift as we arrived.

A boat was just coming in as we arrived.

I found a disturbing imbalance in the center (slightly wider) part of the garden. One side the the widest bit has a big rosemary plant.

north of the widest spot

north of the widest spot

And just south of the widest spot, the rosemary is missing.

Where did it go?  We're out of balance now.

Where did it go? We’re out of balance now.

Rosemary is easy to start by sticking cuttings in the ground, so I did that; it will take a long time to catch up and balance the garden out again.

Allan doing some weeding and chopping.

Allan doing some weeding and chopping.

One of those annoyingly late, not yet blooming Cosmos

One of those annoyingly late, not yet blooming Cosmos

Long Beach

Just south of city hall in Long Beach, we weeded all along the front of the “big pop-out”.

no before poster...it has been sorely neglected for lack of time.

no before poster…it has been sorely neglected for lack of time.

City Hall was next. I like to leave up any plants that have some good structure, even tall spent perennials. However, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ had to come down before it flopped over, and today seemed like a good day to deal with it.

before, west wall

before, west wall

after

after; soon more perennials will come down, but not quite yet.

pineapple sage, fragrant and late blooming

pineapple sage, fragrant and late blooming

dianthus throwing some late blooms

dianthus throwing some late blooms

corner of the wider garden bed, before

corner of the wider garden bed, before

I usually don’t cut Miscanthus down in fall, but here the variegated one had new growth that looked rather fine, with the old growth flopping all the way to the edge of the garden…so I did. I wonder if it was our warmer than usual summer that brought on the unusually excellent new growth in the center of these grasses.

wide garden bed, tidied

wide garden bed, tidied

behind Sedum 'Autumn Joy', Miscanthus with good new growth

behind Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Miscanthus with good new growth

We dumped our debris in the city works yard, where I managed to get a couple of photos of the resident flock of ducks.

🎵  "Ducks on a pond, ducks on a pond, very pretty swimming 'round..."

🎵 “Ducks on a pond, ducks on a pond, very pretty swimming ’round…”

duck

These ducks are shy and standoffish, so I think no one has fed them bread during city crew lunch breaks (which is not supposed to be good for them).

These ducks are shy and standoffish, so I think no one has fed them bread during city crew lunch breaks. (Bread is not supposed to be good for them).

While we were at the works yard, and Allan was doing the dumping because the rough ground hurts my knee, I noticed that the old hanging basket plants still had their fabric rounds. So I messaged this photo to Nancy at the Basket Case asking if it would be helpful to get them back:

hanging basket landscape fabric circles

hanging basket landscape fabric circles

After dumping our first load of debris, we turned to some pruning and weeding in Coulter Park. When we had stopped there on Saturday to see the art show in the old train depot building, I had noticed some projects to do.

my sharp and handy pruning saw

my sharp and handy pruning saw

I tackled the back entry to the park...

I tackled the back entry to the park…

making it just a tad more passable in a way that hardly shows from the outside.

making it just a tad more passable in a way that hardly shows from the outside.

While it might not look very different, quite a few shabby lower branches came off, so the mowing will be easier.

While it might not look very different, quite a few shabby lower branches came off, so the mowing will be easier.

I asked Allan to take a big branch off of the Ribes sanguineum (flowering currant).

I asked Allan to take a big branch off of the Ribes sanguineum (flowering currant).

after

after

He also tackled some very bad pruning that had been done (not by us!) when the new ramp to the depot building had been put in.

He also tackled some very bad pruning that had been done (not by us!) when the new ramp to the depot building had been put in.

I had noticed this mess when we had walked up the ramp to the art show!

after

after

I chopped away at more the of Siberian iris, a project Allan had begun about a week ago.

iris all cut back

iris all cut back

We both clipped salmon berry and weeded in the row of roses on the back north side of the park. It is a hopeless problem because the neighbours’ salmonberry constantly creeps under the fence and into the roses, and it’s a painful, miserable, and sticky mess.

sort of better

sort of better

Allan used welding gloves to dump the rose mess back at the city works yard, along with our other prunings. It took me just a few minutes to whisk the fabric rounds out from under the old basket plants and I retrieved a pot that was partly buried, and we detoured up to the Basket Case to drop them off.

safely stowed out of the considerable wind in a Basket Case greenhouse

safely stowed out of the considerable wind in a Basket Case greenhouse

This will save Fred and Nancy considerable time cutting rounds of fabric next year. The city is no longer going to use that type of plastic pot for baskets; of two kinds of pots used this year, the OTHER kind (of which I have no photo) held the water better.

at home

We got home in time for Allan to mow the lawn while I picked up fallen branches from wind that had gotten up to 24 mph the night before.

beginning of our new campfire wood stash

beginning of our new campfire wood stash, with Allan mowing beyond the salmonberry tunnel

Rainwater has begun to fill the meander line seasonal pond at the south end of our property.

Rainwater has begun to fill the meander line seasonal pond at the south end of our property.

By midwinter, water should be gleaming all along the ditch under the willow trunks.

By midwinter, water should be gleaming all along the ditch under the willow trunks.

My other project was to dig up a big clump of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ and some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (I have too much of both) for Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm to plant as pollinators.

before

before

after, with Allan's help

after, with Allan’s help; the Helianthus was pushing on the dark leaved Physocarpus (ninebark) shrub and had to go.

another big clump that gets to stay

another big clump that gets to stay

I noticed that strawberries have crept all around the garden boat and will soon want to enter my new scree garden…

strawberries must be controlled...

The attack of the strawberries must be controlled…

Donkey tail spurge is thriving on the new scree bed.

Donkey tail spurge is thriving on the new scree bed.

I wheeled the Helianthus and Sedum to the driveway next door to the east and dumped them, as two Starvation Alley-ers live in the grey house.

In Nora's driveway, just west of our lawn, plants ready to be wheeled.

In Nora’s driveway, just west of our lawn, plants ready to be wheeled.

Speaking of Nora’s driveway, something rather wonderful happened. Nora’s sweet grand daughter came for an overnight and told us that she has no plans to sell her grandma’s house anytime soon but will use it for visiting. When she said that people keep asking her when she will sell it, I told her she had every right to keep it in memory of Nora for the rest of her life if she so desires. When we saw Alicia at her vehicle unloading a walker (zimmer frame) that used to belong to Nora, both Allan and I had the sudden thought that Nora herself was coming to visit. We miss her. Later, we mentioned that to Nora’s former caregiver, Devery, who caretakes the house. Devery laughed in her kind and bubbly way and said in her musical St Kit’s accent, “Oh, Nora is there all right. Sometimes when I go into the house, I smell so strongly the perfume that she used to wear. Other times, I can’t smell it there at all. So when I do smell it, I say ‘Hello, Nora!’ and I talk to her.”

Later, Smokey kept me company while I blogged.

my Smokey

my Smokey

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

I had a plan for today that involved a pleasant assortment of work: an interesting little project, then some garden visits and planting (but not too much planting), then a nursery trip and some more (light) planting. It worked out even better than I had hoped it would.

Just down the street from the Ilwaco Post Office, Helen posed in front of our accountant’s office. Petting a nice dog is a great way to start the day.

Helen at Jennifer Hopkins' office

Helen at Jennifer Hopkins’ office

helen

We stopped by Olde Towne to switch compost buckets. The additional perfection of having time for more coffee was not to be, as we had to hustle on to work.

Olde Towne Coffee Café

Olde Towne Coffee Café

Our first job: to prune the fuchsias in Coulter Park, which like hardy fuchsias in all our gardens have died back to the base. Usually we can count on mild enough winters so that they leaf out all along the stems, but not this year. While Allan got started on that, I checked on deadheading in the trees and planters on the Dennis Company block just south of Coulter Park. The first thing I saw made me glad I’d checked:

dandelions in a street tree garden...how embarassing!

dandelions in a street tree garden…how embarassing!

street tree narcissi across the street from Dennis Company

street tree narcissi across the street from Dennis Company

narcissi

and narcissi under the street tree in front of Dennis Co

and narcissi under the street tree in front of Dennis Co

another view of that little garden

another view of that little garden

I did a brief shopping excursion into Dennis Co’s gardening section to buy some different kinds of sunflower seeds to try at the Ilwaco Post Office garden and maybe Fifth Street Park.

When I joined Allan in Coulter Park, I was pleased to see a brand new sign on the old train depot building there.

Long Beach Depot

Long Beach Depot

The new sign is just under the oval sign in above photo from last year.

driving tour of the Clamshell Railway

driving tour of the Clamshell Railway

detail

detail

Another Clamshell Railroad train depot would figure into the end of our day.

In the area of the park behind the depot building, Ribes sanguineum ‘King Edward VII’ was in full bloom. I had two back here; one died and I could/should add a new a pink flowered variety to make an even better show.

flowering currant, with Pieris japonica

flowering currant, with Pieris japonica

from both sides now

from both sides now

I was thrilled to see that the city crew had mulched the row of roses on the other side of the park. I had expressed to the parks manager my despair about the bindweed and salmonberry that keep coming under the fence from the neighboring yard. Our motto is “Just say no to barkscapes”, but this is a desperate situation.

roses, mulched

roses, mulched

A closer look revealed bindweed popping up everywhere.

A closer look revealed bindweed popping up everywhere.

and a rose with its base infested with birds foot trefoil!

and a rose with its base infested with birds foot trefoil!

These weeds were not on our agenda. All we were there for was pruning and weeding around the fuchsias. I did add one thing: It had gotten very difficult to get in and out of the back entrance of the park due to two trees planted too closely together. We pruned up the underskirt and widened the pathway, a fun project that I think left the trees looking natural. The next time the crew brings the lawn mower in that way, I hope they notice that it is much better. Didn’t take a before photo:

after

after

after, looking into the park from the back entrance

after, looking into the park from the back entrance

a pocket garden, on our way to dump debris

a pocket garden, on our way to dump debris; next year must plant lots of white narcissi here!

Our city dump site is on 6th N and so is the Boreas Inn, so Boreas became our next convenient stop for planting a couple of penstemons and some more California poppy seeds.

Boreas Inn garden, with Allan way in the background weeding

Boreas Inn garden, with Allan way in the background weeding

Boreas narcissi

Boreas narcissi

Boreas narcissi and the hot tub gazebo

Boreas narcissi and the hot tub gazebo

Next, we made a quick stop at Erin’s garden to add three plants: Penstemon ‘Raven’, Penstemon ‘Blue Midnight’, and Agastache ‘Sangria’. Look who got right up in my face to say hi.

Felix, standing atop a stone wall

Felix, standing atop a stone wall

Although there were deer tracks in the new garden bed, none of the plants we recently added had been pulled out. The boat still sang with massed narcissi.

a chorus of narcissi

a chorus of narcissi

narcissi

AND an exciting plant I’ve never grown before this year; I did not expect such lush foliage:

Iris bucharica 'Juno', a wowzer!

Iris bucharica ‘Juno’, a wowzer!

Leaving Erin’s, we drove across Pioneer Road to get to the Basket Case Greenhouse. Contrary to logic, the Cranberry Museum and Cranberry Research Station is on Pioneer rather than Cranberry Road. (Cranberry is the next west to east road north of Pioneer.)

Cranberry Research Station

Cranberry Research Station

passing cranberry bogs on Pioneer Road

passing cranberry bogs on Pioneer Road, heading east

At the Basket Case, I took some photos for their Facebook page (of which these are but a few):

colourful tomato cages

colourful tomato cages

How had I not noticed this Phygelius 'Lemon Spritzer' last time or the time before?

How had I not noticed this Phygelius ‘Lemon Spritzer’ last time or the time before?

I love the foliage...Allan said "like a painter dripped paint on it".

I love the foliage…Allan said “like a painter dripped paint on it”.

I bought some violas (blues and pastels) for Diane’s garden and some yellow ones for the Red Barn. Usually I avoid the big flowered pansies because they get so beaten by weather. Diane likes them so I did get three.

a selection of violas with three pansies

a selection of violas with two of the pansies

Just as we were leaving, Jayne Bailey of Bailey’s Café arrived to select some herbs for her kitchen garden.

Jayne shops for herbs.

Jayne shops for herbs.

Basket Case owners Fred and Nancy suggested we join them for dinner out later in the early evening and we readily agreed. Meanwhile, we drove south to the Red Barn Arena.

Red Barn Arena

Red Barn Arena

Allan planted up a container while I did some narcissi deadheading.

Erysimum 'Winter Orchid' and yellow violas

Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’ and yellow violas

in the Red Barn garden

in the Red Barn garden

Past the ditch where I dumped the deadheads, skunk cabbage bloomed.

Past the ditch where I dumped the deadheads, skunk cabbage bloomed.

swamp lanterns?  I read somewhere that that's the name for skunk cabbage in the UK.

swamp lanterns? I read somewhere that that’s the name for skunk cabbage in the UK.

Behind the barn, heading west, is a trail for horse riding. As you can see (sort of), it enables horse riders to get all the way to the beach.

Red Barn

The trail leads through the woods, then onto roads through Long Beach and thence to the ocean.

This horse did not look in the mood for a ride.

This horse did not look in the mood for a ride.

Allan planted violas in containers in Diane’s garden north of the barn. I planted some pink and white and buttercream California poppies in the roadside garden and we both did a little weeding along the edges.

some violas and pansies

some violas and pansies by Diane’s garage and back porch

in a shade container

in a shade container

red barberry in a whiskey barrel

red barberry in a whiskey barrel…

with Fritillaria meleagris

with Fritillaria meleagris

The roadside garden, in its second year, is starting to fill in and be the eyecatcher I hoped it would be. It got two Penstemon’s and a Verbascum ‘Eleanor’s Blush’.

looking south

looking south

looking north

looking north

I had acquired three more Geum ‘Sangria’ for Long Beach; they and one more Gaura and three blue Catananche (Cupid’s Dart) got planted at Veterans Field, by Allan, when I did some deadheading along the main street. Do you notice how, since I don’t like planting, I make it more of a perfect day for me by getting Allan to do that part? He looked for our narrow shovel to plant the gallon sized plants and it was not to be found. I remembered the last photo taken in Nellie’s garden yesterday:

4:50 PM

Yesterday: shovel with round yellow handle!

Veterans Field half circle garden

Veterans Field half circle garden; Allan managed to plant without the narrow shovel.

Fifth Street Park then got three more plants, two penstemons and an agastache, and I got a photo of an artifact one block east of there.

car

And then…dinner at 5:30 with Fred and Nancy at The Depot Restaurant’s burger night.

depot

showing about one fourth of the garden's narcissi

showing about one fourth of the garden’s narcissi (and tulips)

In good company, we feasted on burgers (stacked so high with ingredients that they can barely be held) and apple cobbler a la mode and a beer each (Total Domination IPA for me and a Guinness for Allan). It seemed to make us so sleepy that when we got home I only had strength to look out the back window instead of going out there…

view from south window

view from south window

looking southeast

looking southeast

…and Allan snoozed while I wrote this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday, 7 March 2014

A sunny day put an end to reading pleasure.  On the way to go to work, I was happy to see that my Azara microphylla in the front garden, new from The Basket Case last year, is blooming!

Azara microphylla, vanilla-ish scented flowers

Azara microphylla, vanilla-ish scented flowers

Impressed it flowered so soon!

Impressed it flowered so soon!

An aside: That got me thinking, as I write this several days later, about my lost and lamented Azara lanceolata that mysteriously died at my old house.  And then…uh-oh…that led me to the Forest Farm catalog, and there I found Azara serrata, which looks like it has the much bigger powderpuff flowers like lanceoata did.  About 20 minutes later…oh dear, an expensive digression.

Forest Farm order

Forest Farm order

Hey, I’ve been missing my wonderful Descaisnea (Chinese blue bean shrub), too big to move from my old garden.  And if one buys a gallon plant, the shipping is the same for one gallon or four, so it behooves one to fill the box.  (I hope they will fit in the little tube sized double flowered Salmonberry, another I used to have at my old garden.) I could not resist a Hydrangea named after Ryan Gainey, as he sort of saved my life (or sanity) once upon a time. (I was actually looking for a plant on my list of plants to acquire, Hydrangea ‘City Line Rio’).

Now, back to the blog about March 7th!

Before leaving for work, I fretted for a moment about a new problem.  I had planted my new Edgeworthia ‘rubra’ under the pink flowering plum.  They clash horribly!

a jarring combination

a jarring combination

I had realized as I looked out the window on the recent rainy days that I must find time to switch the red one with the new white one by the lamp post.

Edgeworthia papyrifera

Edgeworthia papyrifera

The pink flowering currant in the back garden would have looked good under that tree...

The pink flowering currant in the back garden would have looked good under that tree…

Mary thought today would be a good time to garden at home.

mary

But work called.  We started at the Port, two blocks away.  By the time I took the photo below, Allan had done some weeding and I had cut that California wax myrtle down by half to make a good sightline from the parking lot to the street.

I would not have planted such a tall shrub here!

I would not have planted such a tall shrub here!

I prefer to prune in a loose, natural looking manner rather than uniformly and stubby with a chain saw.  However, the chainsaw came into play in the next garden down in which the wax myrtle had become much too tall with big trunks.

extreme before and after

extreme before and after

Wrong shrub, wrong place.  We took it to the ground, and it may resprout.  If it does, I can keep it low.  If it doesn’t, more room for perennials.  (The mugo pine at the west end can stay…for now…although it does not thrill me in the least.)

We made a quick stop at home, where I briefly admired the cascading pinkness of that ornamental plum tree.  It’s one of the few original plants in the garden and looks at its best right now.

wishing I could stay home!

wishing I could stay home!

We had garnered so much debris from the port that we had to make a detour to the Peninsula Sanitation clean green pile, and then we weeded at the Red Barn Arena.  I felt truly glad to have a work day.  Barrel racing on the Barn’s weekend schedule made me want to get the garden cleaned up beforehand.

before, at The Red Barn

before, at The Red Barn

definitely needed tidying

definitely needed tidying

Some new containers will be provided this year.

Some new containers will be provided this year.

quite a production for such a small garden...

quite a production for such a small garden…

after

after

 

The barrel on the wind-sheltered north side always looks best.

The barrel on the wind-sheltered north side always looks best.

One of the pleasures of working at the barn is getting to say hello to the horses; several had been brought in for their dinner.

horse

horse

With a little daylight left, we tidied up the front corner of Coulter Park (just north of Dennis Company hardware store).

Coulter Park

Coulter Park

edge

I was inspired to put an edge on it.

We dumped the sod down at the port…a fair exchange as a bit of port debris sometimes ends up in the Long Beach pile.  The sky’s promise of a good sunset was not enough to keep me outside as I wanted to get home and do one belated blog entry as I’d been neglecting the blog in favour of reading books.  I hoped for more reading weather on the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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boxes

Here on the Long Beach Peninsula, December is the month for Shoeboxes of Joy.  From the Shoeboxes Facebook page (where one can make a donation via a Fundrazr button), here is their mission:

Our goal is to be able to provide a “Shoebox of Joy” to the low income elderly and/or disabled, who may not have family or friends close by. This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to work together and provide a “special gift to those in need”. A “Shoebox of Joy” may be the only gift they receive during the Holiday Season.

You, your business or organization, employees, friends and family, etc., may create one or more “Shoeboxes of Joy” filled with new personal items, holiday crafts and ornaments.  If you prefer, you could provide 1 item to be included in a “Shoebox of Joy”. (Individual items need to be dropped off by December 10th.) Checks may be made payable to Ocean Park Lutheran Church with Shoeboxes of Joy written in the memo.

Please drop off your “Shoebox of Joy” by December 23rd at
CCAP: 152 1st Ave. N., Ilwaco, WA 
Ocean Park Lutheran Church 240th & Ust, Ocean Park, WA or
Donation boxes located in local churches, stores and business.

Suggested items would be: Soap, small size shampoos, lotions, (no hotel samples, please), shaving cream, razors, tooth paste, tooth brush, socks, puzzles, crossword puzzles, cookies, sugarless candy, a small ornament/decorative items, AA batteries, small flashlight, music/movie CD’s, cat food, dog food…….

Please gift-wrap your box, include a gift tag indicating if contents are for a man or a woman.
The more boxes that we receive the more elderly and disabled we can provide with a Joyous Holiday Season. Boxes will be delivered by CCAP, and The Breakfast Bunch (a men’s group associated with OP Lutheran Church). Donations accepted until December 23rd at Ocean Park Lutheran Church.
Thank you,
The Breakfast Bunch, CCAP, and volunteers

The Long Beach Depot

The Long Beach Depot

The group has a donation station at the Long Beach Depot building (one of the old depots for the Clamshell Railway).

flier

On one of our last days of work before our staycation (which is going very well, thanks!), I went into the donation station at the Depot (102 #rd Street NW) located in one of “our” Long Beach parks, Coulter Park just north of Dennis Company.

joy

window

Indoors is the pile of shoeboxes so carefully wrapped by volunteers.  I would be terrible at this as my present wrapping is notoriously sloppy!

an admirable wrapping job

an admirable wrapping job

On the big tables in the center of the room, cardboard boxes hold all sorts of supplies that the volunteers have purchased over the past year.

A volunteer looks over the boxes.

A volunteer looks over the boxes.

I made a cash donation which will help toward the cost of the items.  Some folks prefer to create a shoebox themselves and bring it in all wrapped and ready.  I did that one year and was stumped for the best items to put in, so here are some ideas:

small bottles of shampoo and lotions

small bottles of shampoo and lotions

pens, small packs of Q tips or tissues

pens, small packs of Q tips or tissues

some nice hand towels and washcloths

some nice hand towels and washcloths

nice warm socks

nice warm socks

colourful fluffy socks!

colourful fluffy socks!

hats, scarves, and gloves

hats, scarves, and gloves

batteries.  I think these were to go with some little flashlights.

batteries. I think these were to go with some little flashlights.

Other suggestions:

idea

some completed boxes brought in by a local business

some completed boxes brought in by a local business

tree

Last year the Peninsula Shoeboxes of Joy folks delivered 657 boxes to the disabled and elderly in our community.  Their efforts may have been a little slowed down by the snow and ice we experienced in the last few days, so if you feel moved to donate, we know it will be much appreciated.

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Yesterday, I forgot to add this not great photo of a Narcissus bulbicodium cantabricus (white yellow hoop petticoats), just to show it was blooming in the garden by the Ilwaco Timberland Library so very early.

for the record

for the record, on 3 Dec 2013

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

After a night of 22.5 F temperature, our front garden still showed the effects when we got out the door at 11.  It must have looked stunningly gorgeous while we were sleeping.

Allan's garden

Allan’s garden

boxwood

boxwood

Euphorbia

Euphorbia

Hebe

Hebe

iced velvet:  Verbascum

iced velvet: Verbascum

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

front path

front path

Dichroa febrifuga

Dichroa febrifuga

droopy Tetranpanax papyrifer 'Steroidal Giant'

droopy Tetranpanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’

Rubus lineatus

Rubus lineatus

Rubus lineatus

Rubus lineatus

Sanguisorba

Sanguisorba

Melianthus major

Melianthus major

Melianthus major from shade to sun

Melianthus major from shade to sun

calendula

calendula

Hellebore

Hellebore

The back garden, while in the sun, was still frosty.

back

And the plants in the greenhouse were still happy.

greenhouse

greenhouse

Once upon a time I would have gone around to precious outdoor plants and covered them with sheets and blankets and upturned buckets.  Now, I am letting them take their chances.  I get home from work cold, and just do not have the vim and vigor to go out and do anything here other than opening and closing the greenhouse door.

We left for work with the intention of being able to cross city of Ilwaco and city of Long Beach off the work list.   Ilwaco just needed to have its city planters checked.

planter

icy planter near the boatyard

with sunbini still blooming

with sunbini still blooming

How can that Sanvitalia still be showing little yellow daisies?  Danged annuals that just will not let go!  I feel bad about cutting them back, but I must, otherwise staycation will remain elusive.

Fortunately, most of the remaining annuals in the planters had clearly gone to mush.  It did not take more than an hour to work the four blocks from the boatyard to Olde Towne Trading Post and get all of them done.

inside Olde Towne Café

inside Olde Towne Café

We went into our favourite coffee café to switch compost buckets.  How nice and warm it felt to be in there.  I did not even let myself order coffee as I really wanted to get Long Beach done today.

Our friend Kelly of Blue Crab Graphics on her lunch break

Our friend Kelly of Blue Crab Graphics on her lunch break

Soon it will be me on staycation having a nice relaxing cuppa at Olde Towne.

In Long Beach, I had arrived at my first planter project when I heard a voice say “Hey!”   There was Vernice (a former staffer of Andersen’s RV Park) and her exceptionally cute dog.

This little cutie looks like a stuffed animal toy!

This little cutie looks like a stuffed animal toy!

After a short visit, I got down to work.  Allan, down the street, cut some floppy Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ back in the very first planter.  I gave some lavender a better shape:

before and after

before and after

I had intended to cut back every Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.  I used to leave them all up to provide some “architecture” in the winter.  For the last few winters, I have noticed they look beat up and sad by mid January, just when I do not want to leave staycation to deal with them.  Today, we cut the big floppy ones, but neither of us could bear to chop some of the smaller ones.

in a planter near The Cottage Bakery

in a planter near The Cottage Bakery, still providing interest

And what to do about the planters with tall healthy looking annual Cerinthe, sometimes in large clusters?  Surely a few more nights of mid 20s temperatures will take them down.  I decided to pull the tall ones and leave some of the shorter ones.

Cerinthe and Erysimum

Cerinthe and Erysimum and Lavender

Most of the Chrysanthemums had the courtesy to look done for, except for this one:

I cut it anyway!

I cut it anyway!

and a bright yellow one by the Elks building that I just could not bear to cut.

We finished at dusk with Allan cutting back catmint in a little garden just north of Dennis Co on the corner of Coulter Park.   I went into the Shoeboxes of Joy donation station to make a cash donation.

Shoeboxes of Joy in the old train depot

Shoeboxes of Joy in the old train depot

From the Shoeboxes group:  “Our goal is to be able to provide a “Shoebox of Joy” to the low income elderly and/or disabled, who may not have family or friends close by. This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to work together and provide a “special gift to those in need”. A “Shoebox of Joy” may be the only gift they receive during the Holiday Season.”

The shoeboxes will be filled with small useful and fun items.  One year I collected enough to fill a shoebox, but I find it best since then to give some money to the volunteer crew instead.   More on Shoeboxes of Joy in a near future blog entry.

Allan climbed through the new railing next to the ramp up to the old train depot to pull some remaining Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.  While he was in there, I noticed a way to make a tree right at the entry way look good.

I did not think to take a before.  Here is what he cut away:  lots of branches that the builder had pruned to stubs even with the new railing.

horrid dead branches were front and center

These and other horrid dead branches were front and center

As the sun set, Allan lay on his stomach under the tree and I told him where to cut, then pulled the branches out.  I thought the arrangement worked very nicely.

much better!

much better!  You can imagine how stubby and horrid the before picture would have been.

The miniature tree lights for the Shoebox donation station came on...

The miniature tree lights for the Shoebox donation station came on…

As we drove south, Long Beach City Hall lights were on.

As we drove south, Long Beach City Hall lights were on.

When we came back to Ilwaco, the city crew had been busy putting out the crab pot Christmas tree lights all along First Avenue.  Those pots had not been there when we left Ilwaco for Long Beach at about 12:30.

pot

pot

pot

Despite having to dispose of the last load of Long Beach debris tomorrow, I gave myself the satisfaction of crossing Ilwaco AND Long Beach off the work list.  I removed  “Erin?” from the December list and shifted her new garden bed over to February.  Our Judy, four doors down, had happened to be outside when we drove up to our house.  I told her how close we were to being on staycation except for the question of to do or not to do the Erin’s garden project.  She told me not to do it till February, that the weather is only going to get colder, and then rainy, and I would be miserable.  So now the list looks like this:

list

Thank you, Judy!

The remaining “after frost” checkups are tiny tidyings of containers.   The Port of Ilwaco won’t get a last weeding of the boatyard because the ground is frozen, but will get a check on Howerton Street for any plant that might need further cutting back.  I’m glad I left so much “architectural foliage” at the boatyard, as that will help hide the remaining creeping sorrel that did not get removed.  As for Marilyn, if we make it back up there and cut back a few more perennials (like blackened daisy stems), I’ll be happy enough to cross it off the list.

We closed our evening with a dinner at the Lightship Restaurant Mexican Fiesta night, joined by the always entertaining Heather of NIVA green (best gift shop ever) and Patricia Moss, art historian.

shrimp (prawn) fajita

shrimp (prawn) fajita

Back home again, I found Smokey and Mary still in the same place they had been when I left for work at 11 AM.

They appreciate the comfy chair I put in my office.

They appreciate the comfy chair I put in my office.

Wish us luck, because we MIGHT be able to polish the rest of the work list off tomorrow.  Either that, or I may just polish undone items off the work board and call the jobs good enough as they are….   I did that in 2010, when I was desperate to start making my new garden, and the world did not end.

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The week before the Loyalty Day parade is always a busy one for us in the Long Beach gardens and planters, and this week proved especially so because we were planting up the new garden at the Veterans Field Flag Plaza. Fortunately, I looked in the paper and saw the dedication of the new plaza is at 10 AM Saturday; I had been aiming to do a last deadheading and fluffing of the plants on Saturday afternoon, thinking that the dedication was on the Sunday, same day as the Long Beach parade. That was almost a great big OOPS.

Tuesday, 4-30

The sprinkler system has not been turned on yet. It can’t be because the new stage is still being built and there are supplies and tools around. After adding many more plants on Tuesday, we have had to hose water all week.

Allan hose watering the new garden

Allan hose watering the new garden

Allan practices his Deadliest Catch style hose coiling.

Allan practices his Deadliest Catch style hose coiling.

We added some blue nemesia, more red dianthus, some white cosmos ‘Sonata’ (so early, poor things!), some white agyranthemum, some red nicotiana, and still have avoided red geraniums. The effect is, I hope, like red white and blue confetti.

brand new garden

brand new garden

ready for its close up

ready for its close up

Wednesday, 5-1

International Workers Day! So of course, we worked…. on some of the Long Beach parks.

People might not realize that the back end of L-shaped Coulter Park, just north of Dennis Company, is a cool green oasis. In the summer one can usually find two picnic tables back here.

the secret ell of Coulter Park

the secret ell of Coulter Park

There used to be a row of roses (something tough like Knock Out) along the fence to the right, by the limeygreen house. Now deer have discovered those roses and while the roses are still there, they are thoroughly munched. I imagine an early riser could find deer in the park at dawn.

Usually I am not much for barking a garden. Coulter is pretty much just shrubby around the edges so once we got it well weeded earlier in the spring, I did ask Mike Kitzman if the crew could bark it, and so they did.

A new ramp has been added to the historic train depot and the garden along it is less accessible for weeding now.

tricky

tricky

I did not prune that conifer! It was pruned by the construction fellas. Anyway, I used to regret having planted vigorous Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ in there, but now that the garden is so hard to access I will be glad of its thuggish ways.

In the two little park by the Gazebo, one of the big rhododendrons has gone out of bloom. Once upon a time, I was obsessed enough with park perfection to have deadheaded every last bloom on every rhodo.

not deadheading this

not deadheading this

Now that we do the planters as well, I just don’t have time, and I am pretty sure it does not make a difference to anyone but me. I still do deadhead a few of the rhodos that have bigger and messier blossom leavings.

My mission when I first took on the Long Beach job (I think around 1999) was to get rid of a lot of the rhodos in town. They bloom BEFORE the main tourism season and after that are just boring. Once upon a time rhodos lined the south wall of the police station and the west wall of city hall and those two sets of rhodos were so unhappy baking in the sun and battered by the west wind. I replaced the police station ones with some pretty plants like Cosmos and Dutch iris and eventually went tougher with Rosa Rugosa ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ (which is nicely controlled there by the sidewalk, although we do have to trim it back often to the sidewalk edge). The west side of City Hall is a good mixed border now. It caused a bit of a ruction when I removed the rhodos from there; one of the councilmen at the time was appalled (and rescued a couple of the sad yellowed wind-battered rhodos) but the new garden won him over in time.

The only rhododenron in the whole town that I like is the one in front of Aloha Charlie’s Café, and that is because it has the beautiful undersides of the leaves.

rhodo with indumentum

rhodo with indumentum

“People go through five stages of gardening. They begin by liking flowers, progress to flowering shrubs, then autumn foliage and berries; next they go for leaves, and then the undersides of leaves.” -The Duchess of Devonshire

We weeded the gazebo parks, the small garden behind Lewis and Clark Square, and the west side of the Fifth Street quadrant of parks, and while I planted four Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ in two street planters (to replace four too-tall Sanguisorba ‘Pink Elephant’ that we moved to Fifth Street park awhile back), Allan watered the flag plaza garden again.

I worrited and fretted over the new little strip of a garden as the day had been miserably, windy cold. Poor little plants, out too soon. They are toughing it out well!

another check up

another check up

We finished the day weeding and deadheading at city hall. The hostas in Peggy’s Park are emerging.

Peggy's Park, east side of city hall

Peggy’s Park, east side of city hall

This pretty little garden was a volunteer project by Peggy and her spouse, the city administrator. I am so sad that it is now her memorial garden as she recently was stolen away from this world by cancer. I had just been getting to know her via Facebook as I realized that we had much in common (gardening and liberal politics; that’s good enough for me!). Next week we are going to help out a bit in her home garden and I look forward in a poignant way to seeing what she planted there.

They say that a garden is the only art form that dies with the artist, but we are not going to let that happen to Peggy’s creation.

Thursday, May 2

While weeding the Fifth Street park in front of Captain Bob’s Chowder on Wednesday, I had become sunk in gloom because I want it to look like my front garden, and it simply did not. It had compacted miserable soil since the original planted of a horrible huge Phormium (the size of a Volkswagon bus, it was) and while I had added mulch since then, it needed more.

I awoke at 6 AM on Thursday obsessed with the idea of getting some cow fiber mulch onto the garden, so acquiring a load of same at The Planter Box was my first mission of the day. While we hung around for awhile waiting for the trailer to be loaded, I took some photos of the statuary for your amusement. I am not sure everyone local knows that Planter Box has these for sale:

I would love one of these benches.

I would love one of these benches.

stone lions

stone lions

Stone lions always remind me of the sad heroine of The Haunting of Hill House.

all sorts of little pagodas

all sorts of little pagodas

Usually little critter statues are of cats or dogs, but here we have little elephants. I can’t imagine how I could use them, but they are cute as can be.

little elephants

little elephants

stepping stones

stepping stones; I think I want these, too!

(below) I would like some of these fish for my stream. I used ones just like them in a memorial garden for a man who loved to fish. In the background is the same mermaid statue that graced the entrance to Shakti Cove Cottages in Ocean Park when I lived there briefly in 1994.

fish and mermaid

fish and mermaid

I really like the two fish on one rock...

I really like the two fish on one rock…

But this doggie is way way too sad for me:

Life is already sad enough.

Life is already sad enough.

Oh, here’s Raymond to load the cow fiber; now we’re in business.

five scoops with the Bobcat

five scoops with the Bobcat

Here’s the park that was causing me a sleepless early morning of fretting and planning:

before

before, looking west

before, looking north

before, looking north

and here it is after….Ahhhhhh.

a nice thick layer...

a nice thick layer…

of de-scrumptious Cow Fiber!

of de-scrumptious Cow Fiber!

While Allan worked on the two quadrants on the east side of the street, I walked around town and weeded each tree and planter. That’s eighteen trees and thirty six planters. A truly horrid 25 mph bitterly cold wind had come up…strong enough to blow an empty five gallon bucket away. The next four hours were misery.

The annual Long Beach parade day is always the first Sunday in May and falls a bit late this year. Between that and the wind, there will not be many May flowering tulips left.

windblown

windblown

I’m glad I planted lots of Baby Moon narcissi; I knew from experience that it would bloom late.

bless you for your late bloom, Baby Moon!

bless you for your late bloom, Baby Moon!

I noticed that I will need to plant more each year; the more established clumps have already bloomed and finished!

I walked by my favourite shop, NIVA green…momentarily cheered by the topiaries created by local author Sarah Sloane.

Sarah's topiaries at NIVA green

Sarah’s topiaries at NIVA green

A brief peek into the shop rewarded me with the sight of this cute garden sign made by shop owner and artist Heather Ramsay (who gave me a ponytail holder to help me deal with the wind!).

Heather's sign

Heather’s sign

The planters were a mess (to my eyes). That’s what I get for skipping a week and larking off to the Sylvia Beach Hotel. I wonder if other people are as appalled as I am by the site of a low carpet of dwarf fireweed starts in a planter.

the horror!

the horror!

Back when the planters were done by volunteers, certain ones were neglected and those particular ones still have problems with dwarf fireweed or chickweed that had been allowed to run rampant. But would people, even gardeners, take their eyes off the parade to gaze with horrified disgust upon the little carpet of weeds? I don’t know. But it had to be fixed.

better!

better!

I love the way this curry plant got all up in the business of the two lavenders. I could not make that happen.

a perfect meld

a perfect meld

In cold windblown misery, I dealt with planter after planter and tree garden after tree garden. Fortunately not all are infested with weeds. I can still tell the difference when a dedicated volunteer of yesteryear had kept a planter well weeded.

I had a t shirt, flannel shirt, sweat shirt, and warm jacket and warm pants but the wind was so mean…like a big bully pushing me around all day. My thoughts would dwell on how unhappy I felt, then I’d remind myself , “Could be worse, could be crab fishing on the Bering Sea.” (I sometimes think I watch Deadliest Catch just to see people working hard in bad weather.) I would then feel like quite the wimp to be so miserable when I did not even have a rolling deck and the dangerous sea to contend with. Then my mind would circle back around to being unhappy…and I’d remind myself of the Deadliest Catch deck crews again…and so the thoughts went round and round.

Thirty six planters, eighteen trees later I reunited with Allan who was watering the flag plaza garden again. He had also weeded the horsetail infested garden at Summerhouse, a rental cottage just by the Fifth Street parks.

summerhouse

summerhouse

We finished the day by pulling four buckets of horsetail out of the Long Beach welcome sign planter. The tulips are goners there, which is a darn shame because it won’t look at all flowery for folks driving into town tomorrow.

After we got home, I was so very happy to get inside and write this whine about the wind…while Allan mowed the lawn. He is indefatigable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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