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A Real Time Reminder

It’s garden tour day!

just a reminder that it is almost time for the Music in the Gardens Tour

just a reminder that it is almost time for the Music in the Gardens Tour

Here’s an article about the tour by our friend Debbie Teashon of Rainyside.com.

Now back to our chronological catching up.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Ilwaco post office

Ilwaco post office

I began the day still shaken from yesterday’s watering woes.  The sight of our volunteer garden at the post office cheered me up.  Then we were off to our north end jobs, with a couple of small jobs on the way.

The Red Barn and Diane’s Garden

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

watering the Red Barn Arena garden

watering the Red Barn Arena garden

one of the pretty horses

one of the pretty horses

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo showing the garden behind the pasture’s gate

Diane and Larry's garden next door

Diane and Larry’s garden next door with Stipa gigantea

California poppies in Diane's roadside garden

California poppies in Diane’s roadside garden

penstemon

penstemon

Salvia viridis

Salvia viridis

grooming the container garden (Allan's photo)

grooming the container garden (Allan’s photo)

Golden Sands Assisted Living

At Golden Sands, regular watering with the sprinkler system has the courtyard garden looking wonderfully lush.

The enticing view from the hallway window made me happy.

The enticing view from the hallway window made me happy.

SW quadrant

SW quadrant

SE quadrant

SE quadrant

NE quadrant

NE quadrant

Marilyn’s Garden

Next, we went all the way up to lower Surfside to do some weeding at Marilyn’s garden.

a neighbour of Marilyn's (Allan's photo)

a neighbour of Marilyn’s (Allan’s photo)

Marilyn's daughter, Nancy (of the Depot Restaurant) is doing a good job of watering.

looking south—Marilyn’s daughter, Nancy (of the Depot Restaurant) is doing a good job of watering.

elephant garlic about to discard its cap

elephant garlic about to discard its cap

Tall miscanthus now hiding the neighbours' garage.  The next layer down is Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' which will bloom in late summer.

Tall miscanthus now hiding the neighbours’ garage. The next layer down is Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ which will bloom in late summer.

looking north—weeding the gravel path was my project today

looking north—weeding the gravel path was my project today

Klipsan Beach Cottages

After Marilyn’s we drove south again to our very favourite job, Klipsan Beach Cottages.

view from the west gate of the fenced garden

view from the west gate of the fenced garden

rose

rose2

in the background: tall Thalictrum ‘Elin’ with hazy purple flowers

Thalictrum 'Elin'

Thalictrum ‘Elin’

Erysimum 'Winter Orchid' and Agastache 'Acapulco Salmon and Pink'

Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’ and Agastache ‘Acapulco Salmon and Pink’

Nicotiana langsdorfii

Nicotiana langsdorfii

I wish Mary still knew the names of all her roses.

I wish Mary still knew the names of all her roses.

Lily 'Landini'

Lily ‘Landini’

daylily

daylily

driveway garden

driveway garden

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

Rose 'New Dawn'

Rose ‘New Dawn’

This year we are getting an extra long bloom time from Euphorbia characias wulfenii.

This year we are getting an extra long bloom time from Euphorbia characias wulfenii.

Geranium 'Rozanne' embracing a boxwood.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ embracing a boxwood.

the weekly view looking southwest over the bird bath

the weekly view looking southwest over the bird bath

fairy door (Allan's phot)

fairy door (Allan’s photo)

Andersen’s RV Park

We had been weeding and deadheading at Andersen’s for about an hour when owner Lorna came outside and told us the big news:  Barring any unexpected last minute glitch, the deal was about to close on selling the park.   I turned in our restroom key (and said we’d get it back next week if something went wrong at the last minute).  I might as well tell you now that the deal did close for sure a few days later, so our walk around the garden saying goodbye was really the last time.  I have always told Lorna that when she sells, we are leaving with her as it is a good time to further accomplish our goal of cutting back a bit on work.  She says the new owners, a young couple from California, intend to do the gardening themselves so it worked out for the best for everyone.

A farewell look at Andersen’s gardens:

picket fence and garden shed gardens

west garden, Payson Hall (blue roof), picket fence and garden shed (upper right) gardens

Payson Hall clubhouse

Payson Hall clubhouse

Payson Hall detail with Allium schubertii

Payson Hall detail with Allium schubertii and Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’

one of six whiskey barrels on the west side

one of six whiskey barrels on the west side

the west garden

the west garden

west garden

west garden

west3

west garden telephoto

west garden telephoto

 

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

Stipa gigantea

Stipa gigantea

garden behind office

garden behind office

office2

detail: Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue' and Crocosmia 'Lucifer' and godetia

detail: Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and godetia

picket fence garden (east side of house and office)

picket fence garden (east side of house and office)

lilies

lilies

office

picket fence from inside

picket fence from inside

My only regret in leaving now is that I planted some of every kind of sweet pea that I had here, and now won’t see all the different colours bloom.

old fashioned wooden picket fence

old fashioned wooden picket fence

one of two big hydrangeas

one of two big hydrangeas

the garden shed garden

the garden shed garden

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a guest arriving (Allan's photo)

a guest arriving (Allan’s photo)

I will miss the fun of seeing a “wagon train” of RVs come in, led by the first driver, who is known as the wagon master.

As we were leaving, Lorna gave us this chair.  She is packing to move full time to her Seattle townhouse.

It's on my covered front porch now.

It’s on my covered front porch now; Thank you, Lorna.

Jo’s garden

Jo and Bob had returned from Montana.  She had called to ask me to stop by because they had brought us a present.

Jo's garden all ready for Fourth of July company.

Jo’s garden all ready for Fourth of July company.

Verbascum and Nicotiana langsdorfii

Verbascum and Nicotiana langsdorfii

Jo's back deck with bunting

Jo’s back deck with bunting

Coco! (Allan's photo)

Coco! (Allan’s photo)

our present: Thanks, Jo and Bob!

our present: Thanks, Jo and Bob!

(She did not even know I had been whinging on about my watering woes yesterday.)

Port of Ilwaco boatyard

We ended our day watering at the Ilwaco boatyard.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo; we have to water from behind the fence

a bit of finger blight on the Echinops (blue globe thistle), as usual...

a bit of finger blight on the Echinops (blue globe thistle), as usual…

 

 

Stipa gigantea and lavender

Stipa gigantea and lavender

Stipa gigantea and Ceanothus

Stipa gigantea and Ceanothus

boatyard south end (telephoto compression)

boatyard south end (telephoto compression)

boatyard north end

boatyard north end

We took some of our bucket water to give the new curbside plants at the port a boost.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

So….what shall we do with the extra few hours from not going to Andersen’s?  I suppose we could put it toward weeding the Long Beach beach approach garden, or….we just might spend it on our own garden.

We are now down by several jobs, as we quit two small jobs over bad pruning and slow payment, and Todd has the Wiegardt garden, and we gave Casa Pacifica to Sea Star Landscape Maintenance, Cheri is doing her own garden, and Flowering Hedges has been doing Erin’s garden.  It has delighted me to be divested of all of these jobs; however, I suppose we need to be careful that we don’t go too far into early retirement and lose our ability to afford to go garden touring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Before leaving Ilwaco, we planted two tiny lavender starts in the Time Enough Books garden, where we think they will enjoy the scree-like environment.  The weather was ideal: comfortable, not too hot, very little wind.

The Time Enough Books garden

The Time Enough Books garden

Then we were off toward some north end jobs, beginning with a check up on the planters at

The Red Barn Arena

I finally managed to get two photos of the baby, born earlier this spring.

foal

foal2

one of the barrels

one of the barrels

We couldn’t cut across a pasture to the garden next door as a horse grazed in that pasture today, so we walked along the highway.

Diane’s garden

This Stipa gigantea puts on a good show for those driving by.

This Stipa gigantea puts on a good show for those driving by.


Stipa gigantea

Stipa gigantea


back garden planters

back garden planters

On the road again, I remembered that Garden Tour Nancy had asked me if we would check out a potential tour garden for her.  Located in Tides West, it was on our way to our next job.

a garden tour sneak peek

I do believe this one will be on the tour, so I can’t show too much.  I was so impressed; the owner has built all these features herself in just one year.

IMG_9526

I was immediately impressed.

I was immediately impressed.


I wish I had such skills!

I wish I had such skills!


Just one year old

Just one year old


one of two cute dogs

one of two cute dogs

I was inspired to turn two photos into Waterlogues:

Painted in Waterlogue

Painted in Waterlogue

The gardener told us that Ed Strange had recommended that she contact Garden Tour Nancy, and that he calls her garden “Neverland”.  She thought he meant it was like a magical fairyland until she learned he actually meant he thought she would never be finished with projects.  It is just around the corner from our friend J9’s and I am surprised I had not noticed it before, until I realized that  I first visited J9’s new abode and walked around that block over a year ago, and this garden had not even begun then.

Back to the world of work…

Golden Sands Assisted Living

Next, Golden Sands, where Allan strimmed the center lawn (because its easier to bring a string trimmer than a lawn mower down the hallways to the central courtyard).

outside the dining room

outside the dining room (NW quadrant)


SE quadrant

SE quadrant

I had had a plan for quite some time that I finally got around to.  I wanted to prune the rhododendrons behind the SW quadrant to be closer to the height of the ones in the upper right above, that were severely pruned two years ago (not by me).

SW quadrant

SW quadrant: Behind the maple tree are the rhodies I have had my eye on.

The best time to prune them is shortly after they bloom, so last month would have been better.

before: the view out the back hallway window

before: the view out the back hallway window


Here they are pruned...

Here they are pruned… and not looking all bare and stubby.


Well done, if I do say so...and now someone in the corner has a view of the garden.

Well done, if I do say so…and now someone in the corner has a view of the garden.


And there is a garden view from the back hallways window.

And there is a garden view from the back hallways window.

It might seem like a bad plan to have large shrubs blocking the view.  However, before we got our hands on them, the four quadrants were just scrubby sections of lawn.

Allan hauled four wheelbarrowloads of branches down the halls and out to the debris pile.

With a great sense of accomplishment, we went about ten blocks up the road to

Klipsan Beach Cottages

looking in the east deer fence gate

looking in the east deer fence gate


a little frog in a nest of ivy (not planted by us, and not the dreaded English ivy)

a little frog in a nest of ivy (not planted by us, and a more delicate choice than the dreaded English ivy)


the birdbath view

the birdbath view


sit spot in the fenced garden, with Tetrapanax papyrifer 'Steroidal Giant'

sit spot in the fenced garden, with Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’


Alliums and roses

Alliums and roses


bright orange lilies, bright sunshine

bright orange lilies, bright sunshine


River of Geranium 'Rozanne' in the shade along the road to the cottages

River of Geranium ‘Rozanne’ in the shade along the road to the cottages


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


I'm pleased that some Fuchsia magellanica that I brought from my garden are sizing up.

in the A Frame garden: I’m pleased that some Fuchsia magellanica that I brought from my garden are sizing up.


A Frame garden: hydrangea and Allium albopilosum

A Frame garden: hydrangea and Allium albopilosum (Allan’s photo)

On the way further north, we stopped at Jack’s for some snacks and a hose fitting.

Jack's Country Store, Ocean Park

Jack’s Country Store, Ocean Park


I noticed someone working on a nice curbside garden at Anita's Coastal Café.

I noticed someone working on a nice curbside garden at Anita’s Coastal Café.

Marilyn’s garden

At our northernmost garden, I had at long last remembered to bring 13 little painted sage plants, and when they were in the ground, Annuals Planting Time was finally truly done!

Eryngium 'Jade Frost' at Marilyn's

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ at Marilyn’s


one of the cosmos that reseeded from last year

one of the cosmos that reseeded from last year

Just as I thought we were done with our weeding session, I saw an Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ that needed deadheading.

before

before


after

after


path, looking south; we did a fair amount of gravel weeding today

path, looking south; we did a fair amount of gravel weeding today


the buds of Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

the buds of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’


more Crocosmia 'Lucifer' buds

more Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ buds


Cosmos

Cosmos


the back deck

the back porch


looking north from the back porch

looking north from the back porch

I had pulled out a big clump of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, behind the montbretia to the right, because I felt it blocked Marilyn’s view of the garden.  Her assistant told me a mother deer and two baby fawns are frequenting the garden and Marilyn loves to observe them.  There is still plenty of ‘Lucifer’ on the other side of the path.

  I wish there were not so much orange montbretia.  It was the only plant in the landscape when we began, just a bit here and there.  That clump got huge before I realized it.

Tall Miscanthus now blocks the view of the garage to the west.

Tall Miscanthus now blocks the view of the garage to the west.


north view with catmint  sprawling on the path

north view with catmint sprawling on the path


Allium albopilosum

Allium albopilosum


Agastaches and poppies by the driveway

Agastaches and poppies by the driveway

I had hoped we would be done in time to do Andersen’s RV Park today.  It was not to be, so that will have to wait for tomorrow.

We finished with a tiny pruning job at the south side of the port office, where once again we were in the cold north wind.  A volunteer elderberry needed some branches trimmed.  The wind discouraged photos of the process.

Allan's photo: the port wind warning flag was up, as it has been often this month.

Allan’s photo: the port wind warning flag was up, as it has been often this month.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Olde Towne

Olde Towne

After the usual every-other-day stop at Olde Towne Café to switch compost buckets, we went to Long Beach to water all the main street planters.  I had a fairly good day physically and walked around town without much leg pain.

Allan's photo: tents selling fireworks promised much noise and chaos on the weekend

Allan’s photo: tents selling fireworks promised much noise and chaos on the weekend

a charming display outside of the Wooden Horse gift shop

a charming display outside of the Wooden Horse gift shop

In a few planters and under a few trees, Crocosmia 'Lucifer' is looking all firework-y, in time for the fourth.

In a few planters and under a few trees, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ is looking all firework-y, in time for the fourth.

I used to have more Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ in town till I began to find it sort of a thug.  It is spectacular in its flowering, although its season is only a few weeks long, if that much.

The Salvia viridis is starting to bloom and will be the star of the planter show for a couple of months.

The Salvia viridis is starting to bloom and will be the star of the planter show for a couple of months.

Salvia viridis

Salvia viridis

cupid's dart and blue hardy geranium; this geranium, not long blooming like 'Rozanne', has come back after its first bloom because I cut it back hard when it started forming seedpods.

cupid’s dart and blue hardy geranium; this geranium, not long blooming like ‘Rozanne’, has come back after its first bloom because I cut it back hard when it started forming seedpods.

The Long Beach gazebo with baskets by Nancy of the Basket Case Greenhouse

The Long Beach gazebo with baskets by Nancy of the Basket Case Greenhouse

The planter closest to the Long Beach Tavern had been sat upon or otherwise somehow thrashed.

The planter closest to the Long Beach Tavern had been sat upon or otherwise somehow thrashed.

I took a whole bouquet of yellow Agyranthemum 'Butterfly' to the LBT crowd, as it had been broken right off.

I took a whole bouquet of yellow Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ to the LBT crowd, as it had been broken right off.

They told me they had seen a woman “messing with the planter for about fifteen minutes” not long before.  Wish I had caught her in the act!

This much painted sage was broken off, to my deep disgust.

This much painted sage was broken off, to my deep disgust.

Awhile later, to cheer myself up, I popped into my favourite shop, NIVA green, to have a quick natter with Heather.

Heather Ramsay, artist, makes many creations, including lamps made of tins.

Heather Ramsay, artist, makes many creations, including lamps made of tins.

another piece of Ramsay art

another piece of Ramsay art

I just barely resisted this teapot.

I just barely resisted this teapot.

With Long Beach all watered, we went on to the Anchorage Cottages north of town.

Anchorage, where we cut the stinky viburnum back earlier in the year,

Anchorage, where we cut the stinky viburnum back earlier in the year,

This resort was the favourite spot of our friend Kathleen Shaw before she bought her own cottage near the beach.

The Music in the Gardens tour poster, posted in the office window

The Music in the Gardens tour poster, posted in the office window

Peruvian daffodil by the office bench

Hyemnocallis festalis (Peruvian daffodil) by the office bench

and a floppy Allium albopilosum

and a floppy Allium albopilosum

Rose 'New Dawn' by the center courtyard

Rose ‘New Dawn’ by the center courtyard

Allan did some pruning on an Escallonia that had been badly hacked at on the south side of the cottages.

during....he'd already cut some floppy sideways branches

during….he’d already cut some floppy sideways branches

after: pruned to where the trunks are showing new foliage buds

after: pruned to where the trunks are showing new foliage buds

We also went out to the Sid Snyder beach approach road to turn on the soaker houses in those street planters.

In the westernmost planter, Back Alley Horse Rides is doing a good job of taking care of the petunias that they planted. (Allan's photos)

In the westernmost planter, Back Alley Horse Rides is doing a good job of taking care of the petunias that they planted. (Allan’s photos)

In the westernmost planter, Back Alley Horse Rides is doing a good job of taking care of the petunias that they planted.  (Allan's photo)

blue globe thistle in one of the planters, an excellent plant from back in volunteer planter days

blue globe thistle in one of the planters, an excellent plant from back in volunteer planter days

At home, back under the former danger tree, the Dranunculus vulgaris had bloomed for the first time.

two flowers

two flowers

dv

dv2

Although it is supposed to smell of rotten meat, I could detect no foul odor.

Although it is supposed to smell of rotten meat, I could detect no foul odor.

My lovely purple podded peas, from seeds given me by Garden Tour Nancy, had turned out to be purely decorative; I had not had time to pick and eat them.

My lovely purple podded peas, from seeds given me by Garden Tour Nancy, had turned out to be purely decorative; I had not had time to pick and eat them.

too old now...but I have enjoyed looking at them.

too old now…but I have enjoyed looking at them.

Calvin is getting bolder about coming out to take the air.  He even followed me partway into the garden.

Calvin is getting bolder about coming out to take the air. He even followed me partway into the garden.

In the evening, I continued to blog about our recent garden tours.  I finished writing about the very last (and one of my favourites) of over twenty gardens!

Meanwhile, Allan watered the Ilwaco planters.

While filling the water tank in the boatyard, he notcied a woman with a bird enjoying the Clamshell Railroad history sign.

While filling the water tank in the boatyard, he noticed a woman with a bird enjoying the Clamshell Railroad history sign.

The hose had popped again and he repaired another two feet of it with electrical tape.

The hose had popped again and he repaired another section of it with electrical tape.

 

 

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from the program:  Eagles’ Aerie:  Enchantment is afoot in this garden’s diverse array of dazzling flora.  Along the front walkway are bright tansy and lady’s mantle amid Mahonia, lavender-like curry plant and Phlomis, with borders of ornamental oregano, rosemary and mint.  Note the many salvias and other deer-proof plants such as Penstemon, dahlias, yarrow, poppies, peonies, Mexican orange, and Euphorbia.  Also flourishing here is lamb’s ears, catmint, Inula, hyssop, calla lilies, London pride, Astrantia, and wild fuchsia.  Delight in the plentitude of fern varieties by the back gate and along the back of lawn mixing with lungwort, hellebore, astilbe, daphne, creeping ginger, Gunnera, yellow violets, a white heather ‘stream bed’ and an abundance of azaleas.  A luxurious green and white bed by the flagstone patio is graced by a cherished sculpture.  You may climb to the viewing deck to ponder the edge of the continent and listen for eagles’ cries above.

approaching the house from below

approaching the house from below

As we approached, I did not see a hint of how good the garden was going to be so I was happily surprised (having, as usual, just skimmed the program description).

We drove past that bank of ivy and parked on the east side of the house.  As soon as I walked to the north side, I was gobsmacked by the view.

Astoria-Megler bridge from "Eagles' Aerie"

Astoria-Megler bridge from “Eagles’ Aerie”

The bridge work is why there are what a friend of mine called “big diapers” on the bridge.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

view

view

Consider how much wind this north facing garden must get, most of it salty from the ocean.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

You could watch all the ships and boats go by.

You could watch all the ships and boats go by.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Look how beautiful the garden is with well chosen plants that can take such intense conditions.

the hilltop garden, looking east

the hilltop garden, looking east

flowers

ornamental oregano

ornamental oregano

The plants are indeed deer resistant.  The garden owner told Allan (and I heard the same thing said elsewhere during the tour) that more deer are coming to Astoria gardens because of the destruction of woods south of there where big box stores are being built in Warrenton.

Against the north wall of the house is a spirit house.

spirit house

side

in the spirit house

in the spirit house

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

We walked back around to the south side of the house to find a completely different feeling: enclosed and sheltered from the wind.

back yard

back yard

This porch must be a good wind shelter.

This porch must be a good wind shelter.

The back yard is up against a steep hill so would also be sheltered from south and southwest wind.

window shelf

window shelf

In the corner of the back garden, a patio with water features:

patio

a cunning water feature

a cunning water feature

water

the artist

the artist

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Just behind the water feature patio area, a sign protected a steep pathway from tourist foot traffic.

sign

dead end

dead end

looking northeast over the back garden

looking northeast over the back garden

a sit spot

shady corner

shady corner

We did go back up onto the free standing deck.

on the hillside

on the hillside

The path was easy, first, generous steps and then a gentle path.

looking back down

looking back down

on the way up

on the way up

path to deck

path to deck

a fairy door

a fairy door

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

the view from the hillside deck

the view from the hillside deck to the mouth of the Columbia River.

The hills across the water, above, are in Washington State.

telephoto

telephoto

back yard

back yard

from the hillside deck

from the hillside deck

Against the hill grew large shrubs and behind them in the deep shade a fence probably tall enough to keep deer out.  But they could jump the entry picket fence for sure.

at base of hillside to south of back garden

at base of hillside to south of back garden

inside the picket fence

inside the picket fence

I’m left with the memory especially of that impressive north side of the house garden in the full wind.  I wonder how strong it gets up there.

The hillside in the back yard reminded me of the possibilities of packing plants up against a hill as shown in this amazing West Seattle garden.  I had big plans to make a dense planting against my hillside when I returned from that West Seattle tour, but instead…I moved to the flatland.

Only one more garden to go on the Astoria ’13 tour (plus a post-tour nursery trip).

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On the way to another day of planting in Long Beach (that’s Washington, not California), we stopped to plant two Diascia ‘Blue Denim’ (or ‘Denim Blue’) by Azure salon.  That’s our little theme for Ilwaco:  yellow or orange flowers for the yellow café, blue for the Azure Salon.  Then a quick compost bucket switch at Olde Towne Café, where we found that great strides had been made over the past week in the antiques rooms at the back of the shop.

looking into the back rooms

looking into the back rooms

I took some photos for their Facebook page but did not have time for a coffee break.  In fact, I had awoken at eight AM in great anxiety about work but did not feel I should wake Allan early because I would be rather annoyed if he got a burst of early morning work energy and woke me early.  (We are both chronic night owls and at least we are compatible in our schedule;  my ex the famous mystery writer Chris used to be up, breakfasted, and returning from several yard sales before I even opened my eyes on Saturday morning!  I always felt I had missed out on some good yard sale acquisitions.)

But I digress.  My anxiety was mainly because I suddenly felt we simply MUST redo the planter in front of the charming shop called Home at the Beach before they are the featured  Peninsula Cash Mob site on Saturday.  And then the planter across the street would have to match.  Both were full of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.  That’s a perennial I once loved and now view with suspicion.  I once thought it was a good plant because it does not spread like the similar orange montbretia, , but it will take over a spot and spear through all surrounding plants.  I regret ever having planted it in any of the Long Beach planters.

Sheila and I attended a Hardy Plant Society study weekend where Adrian Bloom, whose nursery introduced ‘Lucifer’ to the gardening world, was the keynote speaker.  The emcee introduced him partly with the questions “How many of you grow Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’…and how many of you are trying to get rid of it?”  The audience laughed as we almost all raised our hands to both questions.  Adrian defended it as a very good plant (which it really is if one has the room).  He also is the one who introduced many many other great plants including one of my all time favourites, Geranium ‘Rozanne’.

So first we watered and added some annuals to the southernmost street planters and planted some cosmos (tall) in the Fifth Street park and then….the difficult task began.

before

before

When it blooms, the Crocosmia gets so tall it somewhat blocks the view of the shop.  I want prettier things with longer than a three week bloom period for the nice owners.

Allan begins to dig

Allan begins to dig

The last time we removed Crocosmia from a planter, our shovel broke (and the manufacturer, Fiskars, honoured their lifetime guarantee!)

the planter across the street

the planter across the street

These planters were two of four that I did as a volunteer way back in ’99 or 2000 when the planters were first installed.  They were installed without a maintenance plan other than perhaps volunteers would take them over, and later every other one was replaced with a street tree.  Then city administrator Nabiel Shawa said mine were “magnificent” and that’s what began the series of events that got me my Long Beach gardening job.  Originally the one across the street had no working water so was planted to be drought tolerant with Santolina, Geranium macrorrhizum, variegated bulbous oat grass and the Crocosmia and some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.  It worked, because the plantings have lasted for all these many years, but I am just tired of the same old thing.

While Allan dug (it took well over an hour if not more!), I watered and planted Cosmos and painted sage and some sanvitalia and calibrachoa ‘Lemon Slice’ (yum!) in several of the planters on the blocks to the south.

empty centers

empty centers

The lavenders and sedums around the edges are just fine with me and can stay.

A trip to The Planter Box got us some painted sage and diascia and agyranthemums and at The Basket Case we added some different agyrs and different diascia and a lot of Cosmos ‘Sonata’ (the short one).

Fred and Nancy of The Basket Case have us shop in the back greenhouse so we don’t deplete the displays up front of all our favourites, and while there we met their son’s lovely old dog, Biggins.

a very sweet boy

a very sweet boy

And here are the planters later in the day, all nicey nice.

after

after

across the street, after

across the street, after

The old Adopt a Planter sign has not showed for years since it was covered with the hardy geranium!

historic sign

historic sign

We took a short breather to consume the delicious cupcakes that Home at the Beach owners Kathy and Karyn had brought us from the new Sweet Celebrations cupcake shop.  Then we kept going till 8 PM, watering and planting.  We parked for part of the time near the new Veterans Field garden which looks more filled in than last week.

Veterans Field

Veterans Field

Veterans Field

Perhaps the worst of annuals hell is already over.  Planting the Long Beach planters is the hardest spring planting job because of working in traffic, watching for cars, people honking in a friendly way (but still startling!) and just the sheer size of it.  We will go through again adding more but the basic annuals planting is done now.

And now only ONE planter has lots of Crocosmia.   It is in front of Wind World Kites and the owner actually loves the plant and does not mind the way it sort of hides the shop at its peak, so we will leave it there for him.  It is also under several street trees and tends to bloom like fireworks right around the fourth of July, making the town look festive.

The dry weather has put us behind on our other jobs (watering Long Beach took precedence) so tomorrow after taking photos at Saturday Market and Cash Mob we hope to get to at least two, preferably three gardens up north.

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While it is technically not spring yet, I always refer to anything done in the gardens from February on as Spring clean up!  Late winter clean up does not sound as fresh and hopeful.

By getting Coulter Park cleaned up in Long Beach yesterday, we have now narrowed down the Long Beach garden clean ups to just two remaining, but they are big ones:  The berms behind the parking lots and the dreaded Beach Approach clean up job.  The latter has 13 sections, each of which takes at least two hours, and is one of the two worst jobs in bad weather, especially wind.  (The other is Discovery Heights, the middle and top gardens.)

In contrast, Coulter Park was an excellent, sheltered place to work on a windy and drizzly day.

Coulter Park, south side, before

Coulter Park, south side, before

Coulter Park, south side, after

Coulter Park, south side, after

Coulter Park, north side, before

Coulter Park, north side, before

Coulter Park, north side, after

Coulter Park, north side, after

Normally our motto is “Just say No to Barkscapes”, but I told Mike Kitzman, parks manager, that I would love for this park to be barked with a rather fine, not too red, bark that he did three other of the shrubby parks with so far this year.

After dumping a whole trailer load of debris, it was 3 o’ clock and I cast about for something to fill in the rest of the day.  Aha!   We had a project in the making at The Depot Restaurant.  The bed at the kitchen entry had been planted years ago, by someone else, with Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, a handsome, non culinary plant with a relatively short period of bloom.  It had spread and spread, as is its wont, and I had suggested to Chef Michael that it would be so much nicer to have herbs there, and he had enthusiastically agreed.  But could we get it done before dark?

in late February

in late February

It had taken us almost a month to get back to the nasty grass infested raised bed.  (To those who wonder about railroad ties and edibles, the sides of this bed were lined before the soil was put in.)  This bed was made before one could get a good soil mix delivered in bulk, so the old soil is nasty, heavy, sodden, rooty old cranberry bog dirt.

It took a pick and much heaving to get the corms and grass roots out.  I hope we got it dug out deep enough.  Had I known just how rooty it would be, I would have had some newspaper to lay down or maybe even dug the whole thing out to the ground.  Here’s hoping that the grass does not just pop back with pernicious swiftness.

We dug for forty five minutes and decided that we would have time to get the new soil for the project.  There was no way I could bear the thought of hauling away many wheelbarrow loads of heavy dirt and corms, so we dumped the old soil in a low corner of the back yard beside the garage, under a tree.  Should be interesting to see Croscosmia ‘Lucifer’ pop up there.  I wonder if it will bloom in the shade?

Off we sped (not really) to Peninsula Landscape Supply for a yard of Soil Energy.

at Peninsula Landscape Supply

at Peninsula Landscape Supply

Then back to finish the digging project and install the nice new soil mix.  I have another rosemary at home to add here, and I picture the edge lined with the chives I saved and replanted, and some Oregano (at Mike’s request), and then enough Rosemary so that the plants have a chance to survive constant picking for delicious meals!

after

at dusk

Now the garden can live up to this little sign:

Chef Michael's pig

Chef Michael’s pig

Meanwhile, around the corner on the north side of the deck, all sorts of Narcissi and Tulips are starting to come up.

north side

north side

How I hope the deer don’t discover this delectable patch of tulips!  I must keep an eye on it, so we can spray it with an anti-deer potion if we see one bite mark.

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