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Posts Tagged ‘cow fiber’

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

At last we got back to Erin’s garden project, the one we began at the end of last year’s work season, just before bulb planting time kicked in.  I’d had big plans of doing more on this garden over the winter.  That didn’t happen!

Today we started by loading the newspaper into the van; we’d been collecting it all winter.  And then, to weigh it down as we laid it out, we needed a load of cow fiber from The Planter Box.

Raymond and the bobcat go after the cow fiber

Raymond and the bobcat go after the cow fiber

It's heavy due to rain so we can only take three scoops (a bit less than a cubic yard).

It’s heavy due to rain so we can only take three scoops (a bit less than a cubic yard).

at the Planter Box

at the Planter Box

Back down to Erin’s Long Beach house.  We drove in through the neighbouring yard to get into the back yard.  The three deer that Erin says visit every day greeted us.

not with telephoto

not with telephoto

We enter through a gap in the fence.

We enter through a gap in the fence.

the project, before

the project, before

Erin had told us she wanted a garden just like ours.  Now, that would mean three huge garden beds on the lawn.  We’re starting a bit smaller than that.

At this time in my life, I would normally turn down a big new project.  However, I have a history re Erin’s house that made me say yes.  I took a photo of it on a beach visit at age 19 or so; the photo was on my wall in Seattle for many years and was one of the remembrances that brought me back to Long Beach at age 36.

before, looking west

before, looking west

The boat has a rough edge of fabric and newspaper underlayment showing.  Last fall, we acquired and installed it so fast and suddenly that we did not have time to dig out a trench to tuck the fabric in.

We started laying thick, overlapping layers of newspaper down.

during

A winter’s worth of newspaper collecting went terribly fast.  We left to hit the recycling bin and then went to the Depot Restaurant in Seaview to scavenge their cardboard recycling pile.  The Depot is not open for lunch.  We found another place to have a tasty meal.

Curbside Grill in Seaview

Curbside Grill in Seaview, a favourite of our friend Ed Strange

Due to our odd schedule of not being morning people, by the time we are ready for lunch this lunch wagon is usually closed.

We returned with more supplies.  Look who was back!

deer

deerandme

They hopped the fence in one easy bound.  This will have to be a deer friendly garden like Marilyn’s.

With more newspaper and cardboard to lay, we started making the trench around the garden bed.

trench made with half moon edger

trench made with half moon edger

While I tucked the newspaper into the trench, Felix the cat appeared and found a use for the new garden.

Felix!!

Felix!!

Clearly, we will have to protect areas sown with flower seeds by laying down some pieces of chicken wire or bird (cat) netting.

It’s hard to watch all sorts of interesting newspaper articles disappear under the mulch.  We did not have enough supplies to keep pulling intriguing sections out of the layering.

I did not stop to read.

I did not stop to read.

Deciding that we wanted to make the bed longer, just because it would look right, we went on another run for more paper, and then to The Planter Box again for one more load of cow fiber to hold it down.

cute chicks for sale at Planter Box

cute chicks for sale at Planter Box

Back to work!  Here’s the bed’s final shape, for now.  It can be expanded in the future.  If it were mine, it would be wider and twice as long, with a matching bed on the other side of the lawn.

We'll see how it looks with a bed this size, for now.

We’ll see how it looks with a bed this size, for now.

looking west

looking west

I had cut a trench around the boat and Allan had further cut into the old sod under the edge of the fabric so that it looks finished now.  The garden bed also has a finished look but is far from done.  We are getting six yards of soil energy delivered to build it up to a depth sufficient for immediately planting some perennials.

Later, we'll get a few more buckets of river rock for around the boat so the landscape fabric does not show anywhere.

Later, we’ll get a few more buckets of river rock for around the boat so the landscape fabric does not show anywhere.

If all goes well, the soil mix will be delivered tomorrow.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

At home before we went to work: a new angle on one of the Hellebore areas in our front garden.

rich in Hellebores

rich in Hellebores

On the way back to our project, we stopped by Long Beach city hall to pick up our check.

north side of City Hall

north side of City Hall

City Hall trillium, with the usual problem of taking white flower photos.

City Hall trillium, with the usual problem of taking white flower photos.

City Hall; I love the new foliage of the Aruncus (goat's beard)

City Hall; I love the new foliage of the Aruncus (goat’s beard)

This particular Aruncus came from along the road near my old Ilwaco house, as did the trillium, perhaps.  I rescued some plants when the road was widened.

We stopped also at Dennis Company to get a little something to add to a friend’s birthday package.

lots of Narcissi in the tree planter

lots of Narcissi in the tree planter outside of Dennis Co

I especially like Narcissi with very small cups.

I especially like Narcissi with very small cups.

And then back to the project at Erin’s house.  We parked on the street in order to make it easy for soil delivery to find us.  Felix took immediate advantage of the opportunity to hop into our van.

My friend Felix

My friend Felix

Allan and I worked on cleaning up a small street side garden while watching to the north for the soil truck.

looking north

looking north

passing time in tidying

passing time in tidying

This little garden is on the east side of a cottage that sits behind the big house.

This little garden is on the east side of a cottage that sits behind the big house.

The truck came right on time with six yards of Soil Energy mulch; Allan guided it in over the neighbour’s lawn and through the gate to Erin’s west lawn.

Here it comes!

Here it comes!

Soil Energy from Peninsula Landscape Supply

Soil Energy from Peninsula Landscape Supply

(Soil energy combines composted wood products, aged screened sawdust, screened sand, composted chicken manure, lime, fertilizer and iron. pH 6.2, brown in color, 38.9% organic matter)

6 cubic yards

6 cubic yards

Several hours of work waiting.

Several hours of work waiting.

The idea was to cover the roughly 350 square feet of the new garden bed to a depth that would permit immediate planting.  Usually the Soil Energy mix is too hot to plant the same day.  Today, after sitting all winter, it was nice and cool and I wished we had brought the three buckets of free plants (divisions from here and there) that are waiting at home to go in this garden.

I moved several wheelbarrow loads to the boat end of the bed while Allan scooped with buckets and shovel onto the closer end.  Then the sun came out and I realized I had forgotten my lightweight warm weather shirt.  How miserable!  A revelation struck:  The Reach Out Thrift shop was just three blocks away.  I had been meaning to stock up on summer shirts…so I left Allan shoveling while I took a half an hour break to walk there and back.

looking south on Ocean Beach Boulevard: just three blocks to a summer of comfortable shirts.

looking south on Ocean Beach Boulevard: just three blocks to a summer of comfortable shirts.

reachout

Inside the thrift store at 10th North is an unbeatable deal.  You can fill a grocery bag with as many clothing items, including shoes, that you can stuff in and buy the whole lot for only $5.00

racks organized by size

racks organized by size

I got at least ten good items of work clothing; a couple of the lightweight shirts may be for Allan.  Then, back to the job to shovel without overheating.  The whole excursion took exactly half an hour, as I had hoped.

When I returned, Felix was ever so happy to see me.

such a nice kitty he is.

such a nice kitty he is.

While I was gone, Allan got a photo of Felix in the van again.

While I was gone, Allan got a photo of Felix in the van again.

I buckled down to the rest of the soil moving; Allan had been working all along.  I could feel my age, as I resorted to ibuprofen and bengay when my right calf locked up again.  By midafternoon, the soil shifting was done, and Allan had also filled ten five gallon buckets with some soil to take down to the other part of the project.

done

done

ready for planting

ready for planting

looking south from the fire circle

looking south from the fire circle

Erin wants to be able to see the whole horizon to the south while sitting around the fire with friends and family on summer evenings.  Because of the next door trees, I will be able to plant some taller plants in the upper stretch of the new bed.

So far, the plan is to add some free Nepeta (catmint) that we got from Jo’s garden, and a Helianthemum that came out of the Picture Attic garden when Allan cleaned it up recently.  I can scavenge some starts of Stipa tenuissima (Mexican feather grass, which is low in stature) and I have a good selection of different coloured poppies and California poppy seeds to add.  I’ll also want to get some Eryngiums and some Armeria (sea thrift) and some Dianthus and some Agastache and, later, cosmos.  The planting will have to take into consideration the three deer who frequent the garden.

boatThe sun had gone in and I layered a warm sweatshirt and walked to the entry garden while Allan drove the van back out the neighbour’s lawn to join me below.  I looked back to admire the view from the top of the stairs that lead to the the house’s front door.

from where the lawn begins

from where the lawn begins, looking west

From the base of the stairs, the boat shows enticingly.

From the base of the stairs, the boat shows enticingly.

To my delight, we had time left for the rest of the project:  tidying up the courtyard behind the big house.  While the house had sat empty for a couple of years, chickweed had taken over.

courtyard before

courtyard before

before, the mermaid bed

before, the mermaid bed

and the raised bed by the back porch

and the raised bed by the back porch

When we had stopped by earlier in the week to talk to Erin, she had expressed a dream of having a simple year round planting in the courtyard so that it would be cheering in the winter.  I suggested hellebores and Allan had gone to retrieve from  our van a hellebore that we had just purchased at The Planter Box.  Just as he walked up to us with the plant, Erin showed me a phone photo of a plant she had fallen in love with.  It was exactly the same Hellebore cultivar.

this one!

this one!

raised bed after

raised bed after

mermaid bed after

mermaid bed after

courtafter

I’m not as satisfied with the “after” as one might think.  I know the chickweed has re-seeded already and, far worse, the roots of bindweed have infested both these beds during the time they sat untended.  Bindweed is one of the worst weeds to eradicate organically and I am sure it will be popping up throughout these areas.  We hear that WWoofers* will be staying in the little cottage behind the big house and will be looking for useful tasks to do.  I’m thinking they could take on one of the best bindweed controls:  “Never let it see a Sunday.”  In other words, they could make it one of their projects to pull it every single week.

*What is a Wwoofer?

“The acronym stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, but some still refer to it as Willing Workers On Organic Farms. People of varying experience levels and all ages (although, usually a minimum age of 16) have been taking advantage of this excellent program since it started in the UK in 1971.

Here is the idea: You, the WWOOFer, agree to volunteer on an organic farm working for at least four to six hours a day for a few days or more in exchange for the host providing free home-cooked meals, a free room, and free advice on organic farming.”

Best of all, for me, is hearing that the WWOOFERs will take on the clean up and maintenance of the garden by the little cottage in which they will reside.

the cottage garden

the cottage garden today

Just as we finished weeding and planting the hellebores, a light rain began.  I was so pleased we had gotten the new garden bed done, and I am relieved that Erin does not want the second one on the other side of the garden yet.  Except for some fun planting and pleasant maintenance here, we can now focus on our “regular” jobs.  This deserved a reward.

Reward:  Dinner at Pelicano!

a quick stop at home to change clothes

a quick stop at home to change clothes

Pelicano Restaurant is just a block south of the bogsy wood, overlooking the marina.  It is presently featuring art by Astoria painter Noel Thomas.

inside Pelicano

inside Pelicano

the view from our table

the view from our table

our drinks:  Ilwaco Sunrise and a Grapefruit Margarita

our drinks: Ilwaco Sunrise and a Grapefruit Margarita

I like to have the chef’s menu when it does not include oysters.  This month, it was perfect for me.

menu

Although I did sort of want the scallops more…so Allan ordered those and we switched our main courses because he is very fond of the way Chef Jeff McMahon prepares fish.

scallops and more

scallops and more

Asparagus and Roasted Beet Salad...as delicious as it is beautiful.

Asparagus and Roasted Beet Salad…as delicious as it is beautiful.

Allan got a caramelized onion soup and I had to steal several delectable spoonfuls.

I almost forgot to take a photo of the shrimp. avocado and pinto bean salad.

Here it is after I gave a portion to Allan in trade for more soup.

Here it is after I gave a portion to Allan in trade for more soup.

the scallops...after giving a portion to Allan.

the scallops…after giving a portion to Allan.

Walnut Meringue and Malted Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich with caramel sauce.  The chef makes ice cream in house.

Walnut Meringue and Malted Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich with caramel sauce. The chef makes ice cream in house.

Chocolate pot de creme with Maldon Sea Salt

Chocolate pot de creme with Maldon Sea Salt

Karla of Time Enough Books at the port has said that if she had to choose a last meal, this dark chocolate pot de creme would be its dessert.

As we left (me, hobbling), the rain continued and I admit that I would very much like a rainy day tomorrow.  The book I am reading is overdue and I could finish it given a stormy day:

imgres

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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

We left the house in frosty weather.  Even at 11 AM, the driveway was so icy that Allan had to move the van onto the street in order to hook up our trailer.

iced driveway

iced driveway

frosty front garden

frosty front garden

Our mission today:  To finish mulching Andersen’s RV Park, thus ending the list of jobs to mulch AND removing one more job from the list of gardens to put to bed.

The mulch pile (cow fiber) had been delivered to Andersen’s some time ago, so we did not have to pick a load up on the way.  There it sat waiting for us, in the cold shade.

at about 34 degrees F

at about 34 degrees F

I had chosen to mulch along the picket fence garden.  That turned out to be in the total shade and never got over being frosty.

before and after

before and after

I managed to get some weeds out, left over from when darkness overtook last week’s weeding session, and…buried the rest.  That’s not unheard of, and will at least make the soil looser and richer so that the weeds will be easier to pull when they poke their heads back out.

One area, at the south end of the picket fence, inside, is just horrid with asters and creeping buttercup.  I want to pick it all out, but with air so cold that any dampness to my gloves became bitterly uncomfortable, and with a lack of time, I will leave this hideous area till February.

a big patch of Bad Aster that I have never got round to eliminating

a big patch of Bad Aster that I have never got round to eliminating

the better part of that garden bed

the better part of that garden bed

My grandma would have been horrified that I walked on the frosty lawn, but what could I do?  The weather will be even colder later this week and by next week, I hope to be done with work for the season.

picket fence garden put to bed

picket fence garden put to bed

Allan did the remaining mulching of the west side beds.

before

before

after

after

after2

I debated whether or not to pull Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ out of the Payson Hall planters.  (Payson Hall is where RV clubs have their get togethers.)

passable? or bad?

passable? or bad?

They still had some yellow daisies.  Maybe the winter RVers would enjoy that, even though I have no intention of deadheading any of the spent flowers.  Later this week, weather in the mid 20s might turn them black, and I don’t want to have to come back again to check on them.  When Allan said “They don’t look very good NOW,” I was glad to say “PULL THEM ALL!”

Payson hall planters put to bed

Payson hall planters put to bed

The difficult corner behind the office had thawed enough to be weeded…ineffectually, as usual.  It is deeply infested with couch grass.  Mulch covered its sins, for now.

The couch grass always laughs last.

The couch grass always laughs last.

All day on my mind was the knowledge that a dear friend had started chemo again today.  Join me for a moment in saying:  “Shrink, you damn tumors, shrink and disappear.”  Please make it so.

mulch pile tucked up for the winter

mulch pile tucked up for the winter

On the way home, I could see to my right the most amazing sunset.  I saw it after we had passed the beach access road at Cranberry and by the time we got to Long Beach, all that was left was:

Imagine all those clouds lit with pink.  DANG it.

Imagine all those clouds lit with pink. DANG it.

A stop at the Timberland Regional Library inspired me to put two more planters to bed by cutting back an Agyranthemum in one; the other had died from not being watered (!!!!) so having just one threw the whole scene off balance.

library lights and planters

library lights and planters

It is very difficult to convince people that planters need water even when it rains!  Especially when they are partly tucked under a roof!!

At home, I erased Andersen’s from the mulch list, which is now done!  And from the “last”, as in last visit and put to bed list.

what remains

what remains

Tomorrow, we will walk the city of Ilwaco planters are take down any remaining annuals and any perennials that will be battered with a cold frost.  And we are going to jump ahead on the “after frost” list and walk around Long Beach and take down any plants in the planters that I believe WILL be damaged, if they have not been already by the cold temp predicted for tonight.

Other than Long Beach, the remaining after frost checks will be very brief.

There is a garden clean up at Marilyn’s that could take a long or a short while, depending on how much I decide to cut back.  There may or may not be some more to cut back and weed at the boatyard, depending on whether the ground thaws before I decided to pack it in for the season.  And there is still a big question mark on whether we are going to make a big garden bed for Erin now-ish, or in February.  Still leaning toward February but collecting underlay newspapers just in case I get a burst of ambition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday, 29 November, 2013

Just some rather dull befores and afters

I was sure I heard rain this morning and thought we might have a day off.  I wanted to work in order to cross one more thing off the list.  Later, Kathleen S. told me I had not heard rain at all.  There had been none.  Apparently I had heard the moisture from heavy fog burbling into the water barrel.  She was impressed that I could “hear fog”.

So we went to the Port and clipped back Lavender and Gaura ‘Whirling  Butterflies’ in the beds along Howerton near the Port Office.

before, looking east

before, looking east

after

after

summer flashback on Howerton

summer flashback on Howerton

At the Time Enough Books garden, we removed a big woody Lavender.  My idea to take it out, Allan’s work with the pick:

We will put something new here next spring.

We will put something new here next spring.

Time Enough Books

Time Enough Books

books

Next we went to Fifth Street Park in Long Beach and weeded and cut back catmint in the quadrant in front of Marsh’s Free Museum and Captain Bob’s Chowder.

before

before

after

after

flashback to summer

flashback to summer

A light mist fell on us now and then and no glaring sun cast a blinding light on the job.  To me, today offered pleasant weather.

We circled round to the “little pop outs” on Boulevard and 7th SW to pull some Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.

crocosmia

We just ignored most of the low growing weeds because we had a mission to get to Andersen’s today.

I now consider Long Beach almost done.  After the upcoming predicted cold spell, we will walk the town one more time to cut back frost damaged plants and then consider it put to bed for the winter.  (Unless, when we are driving through town, I see something in a garden or planter that bothers me.)

Sadly, we could not dump our debris because the city works gate was locked and our key would not work.  (It has been acting sticky.)  So,  stuck with a trailerload, we just drove on and made it up to Andersen’s RV Park after two thirty.

Allan took on the arduous task of wheelbarrowing dairy manure mulch all the way from the pile on the southeast side of the house (under some trees) to the gardens on the west side.

I cleaned up the picket fence garden some more and still did not get it done.

before

before

after

after

before and after

before and after

still more to do...and bad weather coming.

still more to do…and bad weather coming.

flashback to summer

flashback to summer

Allan’s job looked lovely.

west bed

west bed

The bed in the foreground remains to be done and certainly shows the difference!

The bed in the foreground remains to be done and certainly shows the difference!

flashback to summer

flashback to summer

While we gardened, the Andersen’s staff cut down a shore pine and brought it in for a Christmas tree.

Andersen's office

Andersen’s office

We need just a few more hours here to declare this garden put to bed.

The work board is getting smaller.  I erased most of the jobs that are done.

board

I officially put Klipsan Beach Cottages and Wiegardt Gallery gardens to bed by deciding that they don’t need another visit and removing them from the list.  That was easy.  Marilyn’s could use another session of cutting back perennials (but not too many; we like to leave it wild for the winter).  Ilwaco and the Port need one more walk through.  I should put a big question mark after Erin’s as we may wait till February to make her new garden bed.   And I started a new work list called “After Frost” for those last removals of blackened plants.

The most recent work list is called 2014, and is the one to which I will shift everything that does not get done soon.

I am eager to start staycation as soon as possible because the relaxation of January is going to be impacted by my being called for jury duty.  Around here, that probably means that I will call in every weekend and find that the trial for the next week has been cancelled, but it COULD mean having to get up horribly early during my month off.

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Wednesday, 27 November, 2013

And the day begins for Mary and Smokey:

Mary and her son Smokey (in his BirdsBeSafe collar)

Mary and her son Smokey (in his BirdsBeSafe collar)

I am pleased that we rendezvoused with Raymond at the Planter Box and got 4 scoops of delicious (to worms and plants) and visually pleasing Cow Fiber.

Raymond also has a larger machine for loading larger vehicles.

Raymond also has a larger machine for loading larger vehicles.

I was not so pleased by the return of bright sunshine.  Planter Box co-owner Teresa agreed with me that it is difficult to work outside at this time of year with the glare of the low angled sun making it hard to see, and she did not think I was crazy to say I would rather work in a light, not too cold rain.

Christmas trees, and 61 degrees out!

Christmas trees, and 61 degrees out!

Our mulching destination of the day:  The Boreas Inn.  There, I suddenly realized that the old daylily patch had to be dug out now so that mulch could be laid on the bed.  Allan did the digging; I was spreading mulch on three other beds and doing considerable trimming back of spent plants.

earlier this fall

earlier this fall

re-done today

re-done today

The daylilies were terribly boring old yellow and orange ones.  At least I think they were.  I don’t recall seeing a single flower this year, and I think they were deer food.  I picture ornamental grasses in their place.

Boreas garden, officially put to bed for the season!

Boreas garden, officially put to bed for the season!

looking east toward the Boreas Inn

looking east toward the Boreas Inn in August

Boreas

as it was in August

today

today, tucked up in a bed of dairy manure

all accomplished in the mind boggling glare of the sunshine

all accomplished in the mind boggling glare of the sunshine

I wondered if I would be able to find a shady spot across the street in Jo’s garden, the job that would keep us busy for the rest of the workday.  Imagine my delight when I found that the whole garden lay in shade!   When we arrived at 1:20 PM, the sun had dipped below some beach pines to the southwest of the lot.  For the next three and a quarter hours, we worked at blazing speed cutting down all the perennials and doing a fair amount of weeding.  Jo likes the perennials  FLAT for the winter.

1:20 PM, looking west from the front gate

1:20 PM, looking west from the front gate

4:30 PM

4:30 PM

The area above could be made flatter (for example, by cutting down the Schizostylis to the right)…but we were out of time and daylight.

by the middle gate, before and after

by the middle gate, before and after

We did a more thorough job at the west end of the garden (where we started today’s session).

Northwest garden, before

Northwest garden, before

after

after

and last July

and last July

Jo’s garden was a great hit on the Music in the Gardens tour this past summer.

west garden before

west garden before

after

after

and last July

and last July

A rose still blooming in the northeast garden

A rose still blooming in the northeast garden today

the northeast garden today

the northeast garden today

and last summer

and last summer

What a glorious year it was for Jo’s garden—now officially put to bed for the winter.  Because of the many beach pine needles that will fall on the garden between now and the end of our staycation, we will wait to mulch it sometime in February.  Jo credits last spring’s dairy manure mulch with giving the garden its best summer ever.

We dumped the weeds over the fence and loaded a trailer full of clean debris to add to my pile at home….but will unload tomorrow, as we went straight from work to a social engagement.

Allan and I had a dinner date for five PM with Kathleen S, would-be and we hope future Peninsulite, at the Lightship Restaurant’s Mexican Fiesta Night.

Kathleen arrives just in time to see the guacamole being made at tableside.

Kathleen arrives just in time to see the guacamole being made at tableside.

We do so wish that she could live here full time.  Work up north still has her in its clutches.

I had the crab stuffed chile relleno

I had the crab stuffed chile relleno, as did Kathleen.  The frame is for the amusement of Mr. Tootlepedal but it may be over the top!

Allan had an outstanding prawn fajita with rice and beans on the side.

Allan had an outstanding prawn fajita with rice and beans on the side.

We stayed talking and laughing till 7:40 PM and, due to being Thanksgiving eve, were the only people there.

At home, a certain tableau had hardly changed at all.

Do they move at all during the day?

Do they take any exercise at all during the day?

The “last visit” work list that stands between us and staycation would be getting shorter had I not forgotten two jobs and had to add them in.

work as of today

work as of today

Diane’s and the Red Barn will be a quick clean up of annuals after the next hard frost.  Long Beach and the Port of Ilwaco are the only big jobs left….(unless we decide to do that big garden bed for Erin….)  The more I look at the list, the more I think to myself that maybe Wiegardt Gallery and Klipsan Beach Cottages and The Anchorage Cottages are already done!

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Monday, 25 November, 2013

As the weather continues to be bright and warm, I am not envious of the sleeping cats when I leave the house for work.

Smokey and his mom Mary are awfully cute.

Smokey and his mom Mary are awfully cute.

I had looked hopefully on the porch for the delayed shipment of 200 tulips that had been supposed to arrive on Friday, and without which the three last bulb planting jobs and the happy end of bulb time was frustratingly delayed. No bulbs! My back up plan, to mulch instead, would depend on whether or not Raymond was available at the Planter Box to load us with cow manure. Yes, he was!

First we had to unload yesterday’s debris from the trailer. The clean debris went into one of the piles in the back garden, giving me a chance to check on it; I had not had much free daylight time lately.

back garden today

back garden today

The last glorious dahlia is done.

The last glorious dahlia is done.

All the hardy Fuchsias have their leaves crisped by frost. This makes me sad as they usually last much longer.

Fuchsias and Verbascum

Fuchsias and Verbascum

With an empty trailer, we went straight to The Planter Box. While getting ready to load the “Bovine Fiber Digest” (their official name for the processed dairy manure), Raymond told me that we are one of the two warmest spots in the country today: Florida at 70 something degrees and SW Washington Coast in the 60s. I had already changed to my summer shirt.

first load of cow fiber

11:30 AM: first load of cow fiber

Our first target: The Anchorage Cottages.

Anchorage, garden near office, before

Anchorage, garden near office, before

after

after

lovely cow poo

lovely cow poo

Courtyard garden, before, with more of the low glaring sun we are having daily.

Courtyard garden, before, with more of the low glaring sun we are having daily.

courtyard after

courtyard after

I kept the mulch a bit back from the edge so the little, well, turdlets, won’t roll out onto the nice clean courtyard. So the contrast between old sandy soil and the new rich look shows well here:

contrast

contrast

We had enough mulch to do part of the beds by the south end of the cottage complex, as well. Then, back to The Planter Box. I was determined to get as much mulching done as possible since Raymond was there all day long; when he is off on a landscaping job, there is no one to load the fiber.

12:44 PM:  second load

12:44 PM: second load

We had a problem when leaving the Planter Box: The speedometer, tachometer, and gas tank, er, thingie (how much gas is left) all went to zero. It was not the alternator, as the radio and the indicator that shows our miles per gallon still worked. It added considerable worry, in my mind at least. The day had been going so well and I hoped to get three loads of mulch distributed without mechanical problems bringing us to a halt. I especially dread a breakdown with a heavy trailer of mulch attached.

When we got to Long Beach, the second load (which I decided to not refer to as “load number two”) went here:

the newly redone bed in frying pan park, Fifth Street in Long Beach

the newly redone bed in frying pan park, Fifth Street in Long Beach

Hmm, I think that garbage can brings down the tone. It is a cute enough garbage can, but having the bag showing is not quite right. However, it is Not My Problem, and it will not show as much when a bench gets put back next to it. [Next day I learned that it is going to be removed.]

We also added a nice layer of cow poo to the small garden bed on the south side of Summer House, the yellow house you can see in the background of the above photo. And joy! When Allan turned the van back on, all the meters worked as they should. I had been hoping that turning if off and on again would do the trick.

Next we added a nice layer of Cow Fiber at the welcome sign. (Last week we had mulched all three of these areas with Soil Energy from Peninsula Landscape Supply.)

welcome sign with a double whammy of two kinds of mulch

welcome sign with a double whammy of two kinds of mulch

To my delight, the four scoops of cow fiber extended far enough to put a thick layer on the north and east side beds at the Depot Restaurant.

lusciousness at the Depot

lusciousness at the Depot (north side of deck)

east side of dining room

east side of dining room

Back to The Planter Box for load number three!

2:20 PM: Raymond tidies up the Cow Fiber pile after loading our trailer.

2:20 PM: Raymond tidies up the Cow Fiber pile after loading our trailer.

By the way, The Planter Box has a nice selection of bulbs for those who might still need some. It is not too late to plant; around here, you can plant bulbs well into December.

bulbs

bulbs

Just to keep the suspense strong about whether or not we would accomplish offloading three loads of mulch today, the engine light came on in the van. My heart sank when I came back outside from paying and saw Allan with his head under the hood. Whatever he did worked. The light went off and all was well as we drove to the Port of Ilwaco.

and at the Port of Ilwaco

at the Port of Ilwaco

We mulched the end of the bed where we had weeded and planted new plants last week.

bed, with empty wheelbarrow

bed, with empty wheelbarrow

And we mulched down at the Port Office on the new-this-past-year south side bed.

3:07 PM:  Oh, how I wanted the glaring blinding sun to go behind Cape Disappointment!

3:07 PM: Oh, how I wanted the glaring blinding sun to go behind Cape Disappointment!

Then we headed over to Mayor Mike’s garden at the south end of Lake Street. There, we used much less mulch than I had thought the garden would need. The beds are quite narrow. I forgot to take a picture, but I did take one of two of my canine friends walking by.

Dwight walking Larry and Big River.

Dwight walking Larry and Big River.

The dogs had had a great time at the riverside park on the east end of town.

With plenty of cow fiber left, we unexpectedly had enough to do more mulching down at the port along Howerton Street.

beds along Howerton north of the Port Office

beds along Howerton north of the Port Office

I do hope to find time Friday or even on Thanksgiving day to do some trimming of the plants here, as this weekend is the first day of the Saturday Christmas Market in a storefront just at the end of these beds (next to Time Enough Books, where the red Christmas Market sign is on the left).

More luscious mulch should help hold moisture next summer.

More luscious mulch should help hold moisture next summer.

We had just enough left to add a smattering of mulch by Queen La De Da’s Art Castle and The Imperial Schooner restaurant at the west end of Howerton.

a Jade Frost Eryngium still blooming, albeit sideways

a Jade Frost Eryngium still blooming, albeit sideways

looking east

looking east

and north

and north

more jet trails

pots ready for crabbing

On the drive down to Ilwaco, I had seen a disconcerting sight in the Fifth Street park’s waterfall quadrant: The Gunnera was DOWN. We did not stop for fear we would not have gotten the manure offloaded before dark, but now we went back to Long Beach to deal with the problem.

unsightly frosted Gunnera

unsightly frosted Gunnera by Benson’s By The Beach Restaurant

I saw a Little Brown Bird dining on the Gunnera seeds!

very busy

very busy

Little Brown Bird

Little Brown Bird

bird

At the back of the park, the lacecap Hydrangea had also been hit hard by unseasonal frost. It is a darn shame because the frost was followed by such summery weather and warmer nights.

a limp hydrangea

a limp hydrangea

We cut back the dead leaves of the Gunnera and tucked some of them over the crown in hope of protecting it from future frost. The seeds are still there for the Little Brown Bird.

Gunnera tucked in for winter

Gunnera tucked in for winter

Here’s something ever so satisfying: The white board in the kitchen tonight.

Today's accomplishment! before and after

Today’s accomplishment! before and after

Also satisfying: the last bulbs came and are now sorted and ready to plant tomorrow. We have one large and one medium bulb batch to plant and two little afterthought batches of fifteen each. When that is done, and The Boreas Inn and Andersen’s RV Park are mulched, one side of the project board will be blank. I am going to shift mulching Jo’s over to the planned work for next February! Then we just have to deal with the list of last clean ups (weeding and cutting plants back) for each garden:

here they all are

here they all are

Jo’s is a big one, as is Long Beach.

And then staycation will begin! Unless….unless….we decide to put in a big garden bed at Erin’s place before our winter break.

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Friday, 22 November, 2013

We had no bulbs to plant at our first job today; we would have had oodles to plant at the A Frame garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages, but the UPS shipment was delayed by a day so I did not have them sorted yet.  Instead, we stopped at The Planter Box for a load of Cow Fiber.

I thought I had seen the last of my favourite perennial, Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’, for the year till I saw one blooming in The Planter Box’s front greenhouse.

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

Onward to Klipsan Beach Cottages where we spread the mulch and clipped back some more plants.

The sun was bright and annoying, making it hard to not trip over the edges and hard to see what we were doing.

It was very much like this.

It was very much like this.

bright lights, strong shadows

bright light, strong shadows

Although we cut down a lot of plants in this garden (on the theory that guests would not understand leaving them mostly up for the winter as I would rather do), we do leave the most architectural perennial seedheads.

Agapanthus

Agapanthus, with bright blueberry leaves behind

To the left of the Melianthus major, I like the brown stalks of Artemisia 'Ghuizo'.

To the far left of the Melianthus major, I like the warm brown stalks of Artemisia ‘Guizhou’.

The frost had turned some annuals in pots to mush and owner Mary Caldwell had already pulled them, and yet some flowers of shrubs and perennials remained.

rosebud

rosebud

and another battered bud against fresh mulch.

and another battered bud against fresh mulch.

red rose and hydrangea

red rose and hydrangea

Schizostylis

Schizostylis

Fuchsia 'Debron's Black Cherry'

Fuchsia ‘Debron’s Black Cherry’

If I have been calling this Fuchsia ‘Black Beauty’, I have been quite mistaken.

another hardy Fuchsia

another hardy Fuchsia

I expected the Helichrysum to be down from frost, but it wasn’t.

Helichrysum 'Limelight'

Helichrysum ‘Limelight’ with Phormium

A beautiful blanket of mulch makes up for cutting down more plants than I would like chopped in my own garden.

Cow Fiber

Cow Fiber

put to bed

put to bed

sleeping

Sarah lurked nearby under a hedgerow.

sarah

She might have been keeping an eye on the gentle new officially adopted addition to the family:

sweet, rescued Bella, who has gained seven pounds.

sweet, rescued Bella, who has gained seven pounds.

We had time left, as I had hoped, to do some work at Andersen’s RV Park.  We pulled over just off the highway when I saw that frost had decimated the narcissi in the road box.

before

before

after

after

While a big container like this could now be filled with some sort of winter interest, it seems fine with me to not add to the considerable expense already spent on plants and just let it be restful till the narcissi pop up.

Then I tackled the six whiskey barrels by the road to the RV sites while Allan did some cutting back of frostbitten Solidago and Baptisia australis.

barrel with tatty annuals

barrel with tatty annuals

I am certainly not going to deadhead the Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ anymore , so out it went, along with petunias and Sanvitalia.  I did put one grass in each barrel:

sedge

Carex testacea (orange sedge), colors up more in the winter

My original idea had been to have a triangle of grasses on the outside edge. However, I could not find small inexpensive ones of the kind I envisioned.  (Something bright!)  The narcissi are already poking their noses up so they will give promise of spring soon enough.

If you look closely, you can see the Narcissi.

If you look closely, you can see the Narcissi.

I used to put lots of violas in those barrels for winter, and then primroses in spring (owner Lorna likes them), until the deer started to munch those down to the soil.  Lorna also liked ornamental cabbages, and so do the deer.

When the narcissi fill in and then it becomes time again for annuals, the sedge can join other grasses in the west side garden.

future sedge home

future sedge home

We worked as late as we could.  I did have a few tulips to plant in containers by the office:  Salmon Parrot and Apricot Parrot.

sunset over an RV

sunset over an RV

Back in Ilwaco, we did a drive by inspection of the boatyard garden.  The cosmos are DONE, blackened, a sad sight, and as soon as we can find the time we will pull them.  (Saturday late morning is a cash mob at Don Nisbett Art Gallery and OleBob’s Galley Restaurant at the Port so the work day will be truncated and we will need some smallish tasks to do.)

At the end of the boatyard, we could see the crab pot Christmas tree has been put in place (by crane and human power).

Ilwaco's crab pot Christmas tree, best one ever.

Ilwaco’s crab pot Christmas tree, best one ever.

At home, I took a little time to watch the sunset from my neighbour’s driveway.

sunset over Nora's back yard

sunset over Nora’s back yard

Cape D

Cape D

…before turning the garage back into bulb central to sort the one big box of bulbs that did arrive today.  I thought I had it all figured out on paper for the last four clients.  I was wrong.  I had forgotten about Narcissus ‘Fragrant Breeze’ and it threw all my totals off.  Bulb Time was Bulb Hell for about half an hour till I got it sorted.  You see, each amount has to come out to what the recipient wants to spend, and not a penny more.

I juggled and now a few of the jobs I thought were done are getting some ‘Fragrant Breeze’ and aren’t they lucky (even though it will cost a little more).

Once all the bulbs are planted, I will get around to writing about some of the rather gaudy Narcissi I am planting for the first time ever!

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Wednesday, 20 November, 2013

The morning was so cold that I was glad we were starting with a project other than bulbs:  picking up a trailer load of cow fiber.  At our post office stop, I noticed a cat face on a pumpkin at the house next door.  I think it is new.  It must be a Thanksgiving rather than a Halloween pumpkin.

still seasonal

still seasonal

At the Planter Box around 11:30 AM, we saw evidence of the cold.

pond

Raymond loaded us up with four Bobcat scoops of dairy manure, carefully maneuvering around our small and rather fragile trailer.

incoming

incoming

Allan scraped the pile level with each scoop.

leveling off

leveling off

The sun, while it did provide welcome warmth, glared in an irksome and blinding way all day long from its uncomfortably low wintry angle.

scoop number four

scoop number four

getting the last precious bit of cow poo out of the scoop

getting the last precious bit of cow poo out of the scoop

the beautiful pile of beautiful dairy manure

the beautiful pile of beautiful washed dairy manure

Back to Long Beach:  At the World Kite Museum on Sid Snyder Drive in Long Beach, we planted Narcissi, Alliums christophii and schubertii, species Crocus and Iris reticulata.  I had been afraid the ground would be frozen.  It was stiff, but diggable.  The nice layer of mulch on top will keep the bulbs snug.

mulch

It is a small patch of garden for such a big building.

in context

in context

Brainstorm:  The strip of lawn along the sidewalk should be removed all the way along where the Hebes are planted.  I have thought this before.  Perhaps, if we can get the go ahead, we will do that in February.

That grass needs digging out!

That grass needs digging out!

There is also a ridiculous spot inside the Escallonias that needs to be newspapered and then mulched to save someone from having to try to get a mower or strimmer into there.

an unfortunate grassy patch

an unfortunate grassy patch

From the Kite Museum, we went back to Diane’s garden and laid mulch all down the bed where we had planted bulbs yesterday.

during, and after

during, and after

deliciously fluffy now

deliciously fluffy now

We had enough mulch for the blueberry patch but not enough for a small bed against the northeast corner of the house, an area where extra plants get popped in.

Oops!

Oops!

I could get free horse manure from right next door at the Red Barn just for this spot, even though I do find horse manure to be horribly weedy.

The Cow Fiber we had used at the Kite Museum would have been the perfect amount for this spot, dag nab it.

Surprised that it was just a bit past one o ‘clock—How had we gotten so much done in two hours??—we went back to The Planter Box for another load.

The difficult to work in angle of the sun made pots of Bright Lights Swiss Chard live up to their name.

Bright Lights Swiss Chard

Bright Lights Swiss Chard

as did Heather 'Wickwar Flame'

as did Heather ‘Wickwar Flame’

ornamental cabbages for sale

ornamental cabbages for sale

I wandered to the back of the nursery because the reflections in the big pond had caught my eye.

pond

trunks

sketchy

sketchy

We drove all the way to The Wiegardt Gallery simply because it would be such a satisfying mulching job to accomplish.

along the front of the gallery

along the front of the gallery

newly cleared beds, "bulbed" last week

recently cleared (of Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson) beds, “bulbed” last week, mulched today

The sun finally went down behind some trees, reducing some of the glare.

sun

Even though it was barely three o’clock, the temperature began to drop.

We could not bear to quit work quite this early in the day, even though I had recently checked my email and learned that the 30% off final end of season bulb sale had begun on the Van Engelen website!

So we went to Jo’s and did some pulling of cosmos.

before and after

before and after

I can see Joe got tired of waiting for us and cleaned out her own window boxes.  She likes annuals to be removed and perennials cut all the way down in fall.  We have a long way to go on this garden clean up.  Today we only lasted an hour because our hands got so cold, the sun was setting, and the bulb sale was on my mind.

I pulled the last of the Salvia viridis

I pulled the last of the Salvia viridis

many weeds await our return in slightly warmer weather

many weeds await our return in slightly warmer weather

birds on one of Jo's feeders

birds on one of Jo’s feeders

We rushed home, as we would need to go out again at five, and I placed a quick end of season sale for my garden:

bulb order

I will be very curious about whether or not they will ship the Alliums.  The catalog says they won’t, but I have heard they DO ship them to the Seattle area.  This is the first year there has been a restriction of Alliums shipped to Washington.  I have also heard that Western Washington state Costcos and other stores have had Alliums for sale.  I did not even really mean to order any.  My fingers just had to click on my favourite Allium at 20% off, and I did not realize what I had done till the order was finalized.  Our area has no commercial onion crop, so perhaps that is why the company is selectively shipping Alliums.

At a little after five, we were back out for an art gallery opening at The Cove Restaurant featuring the art of our friend Jean Nitzel of The Picture Attic in Long Beach.  As the event was so successful and crowded, we toured the paintings but did not linger.

a happy crowd

a happy crowd at jean’s art opening

This little bird:  sold.

This little bird: sold.  Photo by Robbie Richeson

Yesterday at the sushi benefit, landscaper Ed Strange had told us about a wonderful new Mexican dinner night on Wednesdays at The Lightship Restaurant and we wanted to try it out.  We suspected Ed would be there, and he was indeed.

Our Ed Strange

Our Ed Strange

Ed wants to get the word out about this excellent weekly dinner so that it is successful and stays with us.  Here we go:

Mexican Fiesta night has not been "discovered" yet.

Mexican Fiesta night has not been “discovered” yet.

As Ed had promised, the chef made fresh guacamole at tableside.

fresh quacamole for each table

fresh quacamole for each table

the ingredients

the ingredients

guac

guac

couldn't be fresher

couldn’t be fresher

All of the food was delicious…prepared from the chefs’ grandmas’ traditional recipes, Ed told us.

food

chicken molé and steak fajitas

We will return next week to try other items on the Wednesday night Mexican dinner menu.

On the way home, we saw that the lights on the Long Beach clam and world’s largest frying pan have been lit.

holiday lights

holiday lights

Especially exciting to me are the ground level lights to the left.  They mean the underground wiring and lighting are done in that garden bed, and tomorrow we can finish planting the Long Beach bulbs.

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Monday, 21 October 2013

We did it!  Got a difficult job out of the way.  But not without difficulty.  At least on my part.

But first: a cute kitty next door to the Ilwaco Post Office (where we pick up our mail six days a week as this little town has no mail delivery).

an Ilwaco cat

an Ilwaco cat

Followed by a cute cat at The Planter Box

Planter Box cat

Planter Box cat

…where we went to get a load of “cow fiber” for the Golden Sands Assisted Living courtyard garden.

Raymond loads us up.

Raymond loads us up.

There is still a “guess the weight” contest going on for the giant pumpkin.

Allan and I both guessed wrong.

Allan and I both guessed wrong.

And lots of small pumpkins and other gourds for sale…

in colourful array

a colourful array

And some ornamental grasses, which will be handy because we need some for Andersen’s RV Park:

just what I need, soon

just what I need, soon

The Planter Box has two kinds of chocolate cosmos in excellent condition.  Oddly, the new one has a tag that says “annual”, and the classic old Cosmos atrosanguineus has a tag that says “perennial”.

two kinds...and they do smell like chocolate.

two kinds…and they do smell like chocolate.

At Golden Sands, we parked by the back fire door and I shuffled through a long line of fallen leaves to the front entry, to get someone official to open the locked fire door for us.  It reminded me so much of olden days in Seattle.  I miss long crunchy drifts of fallen leaves.   Around here we mostly have conifers.

so autumnal

so autumnal

typical treeline of the peninsula

typical tree line of the peninsula, to the north of Golden Sands

And so we begin the job…

with the fire door open

with the fire door open

and the long, rather surreal trek down the carpeted hallway to the courtyard door...

and the long, rather surreal trek down the carpeted hallway to the courtyard door…

A dry day like today is perfect for the job because any dampness in the soil leads to a track of mud.  Something about having to wheelbarrow down that hallway makes any mulching at this job daunting to me and something to worry about and dread.  Maybe because of having read this excellent young adult suspense novel a couple of times?

hall

In the courtyard, I’m pleased to report that after our pruning talk, the maintenance man did a much nicer job on the rhododendrons.

an improvement in pruning technique

an improvement in pruning technique

He spoke last time of removing the two big conifers outside the dining room doors.  If he would not be allowed to remove them, he will limb them up.  I agree they are too heavy and ponderous and severely block a view that might inspire residents to actually go out into the courtyard.

These trees are too ponderous.

These trees are too ponderous.

I was thrilled to get the NW quadrant mulched at last and applied a thick and luscious layer of manure.  It was fresher than usual and smelled rather strong in the building till I propped the courtyard door open to get a cross breeze in the hallway!  If any of the residents grew up on a farm, the smell would bring back memories.

NW quadrant, happy at last

NW quadrant, happy at last

What a difference from the sunken, rubbly look of two weeks ago.

today!

two weeks ago

That quadrant consumed quite a lot of our three big scoops of cow poo, and soon I was pondering what to do about the frustration of, as usual, not having enough to finish.  The budget probably did not include two loads of mulch, and yet I just could not bear to think , “Oh well, we will finish it next spring.”

I wanted enough to mulch the back edges of the southern two quadrants and to fluff up the northeast one (although it started with the best soil because my mother spent some money on soil amendments when she lived in a room overlooking that area).

two areas hungry for mulch

two areas hungry for mulch

Forget waiting.  I decided I could divide the bill between October and November and sent Allan back to The Planter Box for another load.  Meanwhile, I weeded out more beach strawberry.  By now, the weather had me feeling truly miserable.

too hot!!

too hot!! inside the courtyard

It really was too hot…74 degrees outside, and who knows how hot in the heat-holding courtyard.  I reflected I might be the only person on the Long Beach Peninsula who was hating the “lovely” weather.

When Allan returned, I tried switching with him for awhile and getting the manure from the trailer.  It was in partial shade….

just a bit shady

just a bit shady

An aside: just south of where we park is something interesting:  a long grass runway which is kept mowed, and must be kept that way (we have been told) for airplanes.  Why, I do not know!  Perhaps it is there for emergency landing needs of small aircraft.

the runway of mystery

the runway of mystery

I did not do well on wheelbarrowing…still seem to be recovering from the hydrangea job, so we switched tasks again.   Finally, we had all the quadrants deeply mulched.

Southeast and Southwest

Southeast and Southwest

Just because I am so darned pleased, let me reprise that before and after, but bigger:

southeast before

southeast before

southeast after

southeast after

It is luscious.   We could have used even more on mom’s old quadrant, but a third load would have truly done us (and the budget) in.

me mum's former garden

me mum’s former garden

This project all started in 2009 when my mother moved in to the room behind the righthand window, above.  Each quadrant was just scrubby grass (formerly lawn) and weeds and a few California poppies of the plain orange variety.  She wanted a garden and the director at the time, Linda, said we could dig up the quadrant outside her window and make one for her.  Over time, this segued into remaking all four quadrants of lawn.

As we left, so glad to get out of the heat, Allan saw some mushrooms at the west side of the building and stopped to photograph them.

I have no idea what kind...

I have no idea what kind…

shrooms

I can tell he was pleased with the mulching job.  He went back into the courtyard to get something, and when I downloaded my photos tonight, I found these:

mulch

mulch

mulch...so beautiful...gardeners will know what I mean...

mulch…so fragrantly beautiful…gardeners will know what I mean…

Driving south, I saw a lovely fog ahead as we approached Long Beach…but it stayed just ahead of us.

beautifully grey in the distance

beautifully grey in the distance

I had an ominous feeling that the Long Beach planters might have their water turned off “for the winter” and indeed they do.  We tested them.  Fortunately, the soil feels slightly damp, I suppose from evening dew…as there is no respite in sight from this weather.

makes everyone ecstatic but me!

makes everyone ecstatic but me!

We did some fall clean up around Long Beach city hall (the only place I could think of to work for an hour in the shade!) and bought some H blocks for a project.  By the time we got to Ilwaco, the mist had eluded us.

home in time to do a little project

home in time to do a little project

I needed to retrieve milk crates that were holding up plant shelves by the greenhouse.  I’ll need the crates soon for sorting bulbs.

little project before

little project before

and after

and after

I will be so glad to get the plants into the ground at Golden Sands.  Some were donated by Sheila and some by Kathleen Shaw and have been waiting since July for the sprinkler system to be fixed, and for the mulch to be applied, and now for the rain to return.  (I must remember to try not to complain too much when eventually we may have to work in rain and wind again.)

I did a little bit of at home gardening till dark and enjoyed my own personal sunset (from the garden, and the street, not with a fancy port/boats/water backdrop).

hops in evening light

hops in evening light

from the garden

from the garden, looking west

looking south to the port from our back garden

looking southwest to the port from Nora’s back yard

How I love seeing the western sky; our old house backed onto a hill and we never saw a sunset from there.

sunset sky over the Tom/Judy and Larry/Robert houses just down the block

sunset sky over the Tom/Judy and Larry/Robert houses just down the block

birds and clouds

birds and clouds over Nora’s roof

sunset over Lake Street

sunset over Lake Street

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Even though it is not yet officially fall, I want to do project after project. It has come to the point when I would rather move three yards of cow manure than deadhead three planters full of Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’.

Today’s outdoor time began with my dear friend Gracie coming from across the street to say hello.

my neighbour, Gracie

my neighbour, Gracie

I had forgotten already that yesterday I’d worried that The Planter Box would run out of cow fiber and had suggested we mulch Larry and Robert’s garden post haste. When Allan reminded me, I was quite happy to put off a couple of regular maintenance jobs till tomorrow and instead do A Project.

First, two errands. We still hand deliver a couple of gardening bills, one to Time Enough Books. I did not have time to peruse the new board of book recommendations by customers but I think it is a great idea.

books recommended by customers

books recommended by customers

I will be ordering a lot of books from the library to get me through the rainy winter. Time Enough is my go to place for buying books as presents.

Next errand: to switch compost buckets at Olde Towne.

Two touring bicyclists were there, Allan said maybe from Canada.

Two touring bicyclists were there, Allan said maybe from Canada.

I loved the way someone had politely hung their bottles and cans in a bag from the side of the next door building…because there really are not enough garbage cans on First Avenue.

so polite and thoughtful

so polite and thoughtful

Before our project we did have two maintenance stops that couldn’t be postponed.

deadheading the Cosmos at the Depot Restaurant

deadheading the Cosmos at the Depot Restaurant

The wall of hops looks strangely hop-less and I’ll bet they have been harvested by Fort George Brewery to make Co-Hoperative ale. If so, like last year, the harvesters treated the garden with great respect and trampled nothing.

depot

We made our next stop at The Planter Box. The sunflowers in pots are looking wonderful. I love the green centers.

sunflowers for sale

sunflowers for sale

Raymond loaded us up with cow fiber (washed and processed dairy manure, light and odor free).

three scoops with the bobcat

three scoops with the bobcat

Raymond at work

Raymond at work

We thanked him for the excellent job he did getting the sprinkler system working again at Golden Sands Assisted Living, and he gave us some hints on how it could be adjusted if need be.

We were assured that cow fiber will be in plentiful supply so we need not worry that they will run out.

On the way back to Ilwaco we did our second maintenance stop at The Anchorage Cottages.

While deadheading the containers in the center courtyard, I noticed pink upon pink in the garden:

in soft grey light:  a late lily, pink Arbutus flowers, Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and two tones of pink Schizostylis.

in soft grey light: a late lily, pink Arbutus flowers, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and two tones of pink Schizostylis.

windowboxes still hanging on....but the blue trailing lobelia has petered out.

windowboxes still hanging on….but the blue trailing lobelia has petered out.

Earlier this year, the pampas grass by the tennis court, having been chopped back early, (not by me) looked pretty sad. But it revived and now is blooming at a dwarfed and quite attractively low height.

results of being chopped in winter

results of being chopped in winter

The ones we chopped in February are blooming at the normal height.

the usual height

the usual height

I am always happy when the manager’s dog, Mitzu the shih tzu is there.

My little friend Mitzu.

My little friend Mitzu.

Finally we got to our project.

Larry and Robert's before

Larry and Robert’s before

I cut out a wider edge on the beds and we mulched with the luscious cow fiber.

after

after

And I added a start of a ‘Tiger Eye’ sumac and a nice gallon sized Hydrangea ‘Pistachio’.

Pistachio lives up to its name.

Pistachio lives up to its name.

By the time we finished, it was 4 PM, too early to quit for the day but too late to show up at a private client’s home to weed, so we went to the Ilwaco boatyard to tackle the horsetail.

I also decided to cut back the Santolina. I usually do so in early spring, but am hoping it is not too late to have the plant re-form itself into silver balls by winter.

before:  the round shape has started to fall open

before: the round shape has started to fall open

after: cut back to new silver buds

after: cut back to new silver buds

a green santolina that I trimmed awhile ago, getting its shape back

a green santolina that I trimmed awhile ago, getting its shape back

Their sharp lemony scent is a pleasure as I cut them. I do hope this is not a bad time to do so. Now that part of the boatyard garden looks boring.

a dull section

a dull section

So many poppies filled this part earlier in the year that I did not even plant Cosmos there.

The sections further north look much better with the cosmos and tall perennials.

Some dividing and replanting will solve the dullness by next year.

Some dividing and replanting will solve the late season dullness by next year.

looking south from the gate

looking south from the gate

The southernmost sections are still scintillating with form and colour.

And then…we knocked off early to have dinner at Pelicano. I did notice last night that the sky began to darken by seven….so six thirty will soon not be an early end to the day.

view from Pelicano Restaurant

view from Pelicano Restaurant

We were joined by Donna and Kathleen; we are excited that Kathleen may be closing in imminently on owning a vacation home down here which will mean we should be seeing her more often in the future.

Allan and I each had a lovely pink drink called Shiso Lovely (say it out loud) made from Shiso grown at Pink Poppy Farm.

Kathleen, Donna, me, Allan at Pelicano

Kathleen, Donna, me, Allan at Pelicano

Tomorrow we will have to do some rushing around to fit in all those maintenance jobs we put off today in order to do the Larry and Robert mulching project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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