Posts Tagged ‘dairy manure’

Saturday, 19 March 2016

I would rather have stayed home and sorted photos of Mary the cat.  (In fact, as our regular readers know, I did do the sorting and posting over the next couple of days.) However good weather, a charitable event, and work called.

Empty Bowls


Local potter Karen Brownlee devoted weeks of energy to this event, organizing, helping with the making of the bowls, and publicizing.


We got there at 10:45 to get a good chance at the bowls I’d seen on Facebook!

(Don’t anyone tell the little ones, but I always go for a bowl by a grown up potter!)


There was a plug for the quilt show in the window…we still hadn’t made it to the quilts.  (Allan’s photo)


crowds gather around the bowls


Our Kathleen arrived shortly after us.


Allan’s photo


Allan’s first choice was the large tan bowl on the left. Our Kathleen also had an eye for its functional beauty and nabbed it later. He went for an octopus design.


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


our friend Robbie and her bowls

Robbie had been holding her bowls right in front, but moved them when I said they looked like a reverse coconut bra.


live entertainment


an assortment of soups on offer


Allan’s photo

My very favourite soup, smokey tomato and bleu cheese from the 42nd Street Café, was one of the options.


Robbie’s bowls


Allan’s and my bowls (later at home)


Allan’s photo


Robbie’s photo: me and Our Kathleen.  (You eat out of plain bowls, not the ones you buy.)

Then, without lingering quite as long as we would have liked, Allan and I left for the Planter Box to get some mulch for Jo’s garden.

On the way north, we stopped for photos when we saw that the Long Beach carousel  being assembled for the season.


Allan’s photo


Installing the fabric roof in the wind


in a planter across the street (Allan’s photo)

The Planter Box

Our goal was the dairy manure mulch, now known by a zippy new name:


Cow WOW!


Raymond loads our little trailer

While Allan reloaded the buckets and wheelbarrow, I took some plant photos for the Planter Box Facebook page.






double primroses pink…


…and white


an early blooming white clematis that I acquired for myself a coulpe of years ago

Jo’s garden


trailer load, one yard of Cow WOW

At Jo’s, the mulch has to be bucketed into the garden because of a few steps at the east end and just one step at the west end.


ahead: the steps


entry bed, mulched


and the shade bed


and the bed by the east deck

back to the Planter Box

Last year, we scraped the bottom of the cow mulch pile and were only able to apply one yard.  This year, the lavish pile allowed us to return to get a second yard to make the garden extra fluffy.


Planter Box: The Next Generation


Allan’s photo


second load


white bleeding heart




some poppy plants for Jo (Allan’s photo)

back to Jo’s

This time we parked at the end of the west lawn and Allan wheelbarrowed the buckets up three at a time.


It’s a long way.

I did the dumping and spreading of mulch.  I am thankful to report that the Really Bad leg pain of a few days ago went back to just the ordinary amount…thank goodness.


the west end entry step

One could put a ramp on that little step.  However, the brick paths are narrow and the garden full of plants, making it actually easier to bucket.


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


center courtyard mulched


Allan’s photos: Jo’s sword fern yesterday…


and today


northwest bed mulched


NW corner


west bed, where we ran out last year, nicely mulched


On the way home, we drove by the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum and I remembered I had wanted to pull the chickweed from one of their planters before the quilt show, which had started yesterday.  Kitty Mary’s death had changed our plan to attend the quilt show on Friday and I had forgotten the weed.  We don’t take care of those two planters; the chickweed just bugs me.


museum planter, before



While weeding here, I had a brainstorm.  The small amount of mulch we had left would be just perfect to mulch our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Post Office, so with a slight sense of reluctance I decided to donate it to that good cause instead of applying it to a few needy plants at home.


leftover mulch (Allan’s photo)




In taking the after photo, I had another brainstorm: Those two grasses have seen their last good days and have to go!  So out they came.  You can see to the far left that they have made some nice new starts.


the new after

Maddeningly, I thought of removing the grasses after using up all the mulch so had none to nicely fill in the empty spot.


post office looking more colorful


at home: akebia blooming

We had time to rest for a short while and then turned around to meet Our Kathleen for dinner at Salt Pub on the waterfront.


‘Twas a belated birthday occasion as Kathleen was in her workaday world on my birthday.  (Allan’s photo)

She gave me a fabulous plant, knowing I love green flowers:


Hellebore ‘Jade Dragon’..or is it ‘Jade Tiger’?  It’s outside in the dark as I write this.


I had a much needed Gibson


Todd’s birthday flowers from Thursday are still looking fine


flowers, Laila, and Annika


the work board with all the spring clean up done except for Long Beach!


which did not last long, because Penttila’s chapel (misspelled on the board) emailed back that they would love a spring garden cleanup.

Guest photos:


Nancy Gorshe sent me this photo of my friend Scooter in Marilyn’s (her mom’s) garden


from Todd Wiegardt:  Ipheion ‘Albert Costillo’

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

1998 (age 73):

March 19th:  Beautiful day.  I took Tabby to the vet to get her booster shot and nail clipping.  I didn’t get outside but got started on seed planting.  I got the ones planted that had to be put in the shop refrig.  I got labels to make for tomatoes but if it’s as nice outside I’ll work in the garden tomorrow.

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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



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:



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.



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


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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Today at the Ilwaco Post Office, the Lollipop Asiatic lilies have popped open.  It is actually not my favourite lily, but I got them for free somewhere, a good price for a volunteer garden.  I will be donating my one remaining Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ because I realized this morning that the post office is lacking one.

Ilwaco post office

Ilwaco post office

We went to Basket Case to pick up three Erysimum for the Ilwaco planters, an Azara microphylla for Larry and Robert, a Lobelia tupa for our own garden, and some Dianthus for Jo’s garden.  I sorted out the Sanvitalia situation.

Sanvitalia, a favourite annual

Sanvitalia, a favourite annual

Sunbini and Aztec Gold

Sunbini and Aztec Gold

Of the two cultivars offered at the Basket Case, I think Sunbini is a little tougher and can hold up better in the truly challenging conditions of the Ilwaco street planters.

Next time we go to the Basket Case, I hope to have room to finally get two hanging baskets for our garden, now that we will have a little more time to water them.  (Who am I fooling? With three gardens to get ready for the garden tour, when will that extra time be?)

Petunia 'Pink Lemonade'

Petunia ‘Pink Lemonade’

Here are the plants I wish people would go buy because they need to be in the ground!  First, ALL the Agastaches would love to have their roots in the soil.  Then, the lovely Sidalcea is getting so tall it is bending over!

Sidalcea...a favourite of my grandma

Sidalcea…a favourite of my grandma

The Lobelia tupa is an exciting plant that it seems no one but me is buying because it is not flowering yet.  The two Brunnera, Looking Glass and Jack Frost are excellent for shade.



There are still some hardy geranium ‘Rozanne’ available.  It has won the Royal Horticultural Society award for plant of the century!  Inspired by Adrian Bloom’s  photo of his river of Rozanne, I now have my own Rozanne river in my garden.  I think one of the reasons I moved to our sunny lot was just so I COULD have a river of Rozanne.

Adrian's Rozanne river, my Rozanne river

Adrian’s Rozanne river, my Rozanne river

His is curving and I like the effect of the grasses so much that, now that I look at his photo, I think I might add some grasses on either side of mine.

On to work!  We had dithered away the morning with sleeping late because of rain, waiting for rain to stop, and shopping.  We had two big projects to accomplish today at Andersen’s RV Park.

At last, on the east side of the house semi-shade bed, my weeding project:



and after

and after

The west side of the house behind the office was Allan’s project:





Allan's before and after set

Allan’s before and after set

There is some newspaper under the mulch to try and keep the pernicious quack grass from coming back too quickly.  Both projects were mulched with Cow Fiber (dairy manure) from The Planter Box.

Meanwhile, energetic park staffer Al was looking for a project, too, so I showed him an awful place in the garden shed garden.  A trench had been dug last year for some sort of plumbing or electrical fix, and had never been filled in because I was never sure the fix-it project was done.  Now we were running out of time to get it looking nice by summer.  I suggested it could be covered with rock, not made back into a garden, and in an amazingly short time Al fixed it.

Al accomplished this in one hour.

Al accomplished this in one hour.

This is a good spot to be graveled because sometimes a rig is parked by here and has to hook up to electric and cable.  I could put a pot here if we ever need a plant in this area.  It was a wonderful quick fix to a very unsightly area, full of quack grass that would have taken back over with a vengeance had I tried to weed it and plant it.

Al also weeded a raised bed with three blueberries in it and has cheerfully agreed to add liquid fertilizer every ten days when it is his shift to water the assorted planters.

Here are some beautiful things:

Allan's photo of Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Allan’s photo of Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

I don’t know the name of the perennial poppy, below, that I got from Joy Creek nursery but it is just the sort of colour that Lorna most likes.



The picket fence garden today

The picket fence garden today

the poppy field, with Al walking by the back

the poppy field, with Al walking by the back

by the office

by the office

Agyranthemum 'Butterfly' and Petunia 'Pink Lemonade'

Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ and Petunia ‘Pink Lemonade’

A quite heavy rain came along at seven, so we went to dinner at the Depot Restaurant.  I had been anxious to see the garden, because I had been told that Susie of the Boreas Inn has taken Ciscoe by there to see it!  We had not checked on it over the weekend because our car was out of order, so I hoped it had looked good.  It did…till I got to the corner by the front door and found a big dead branch on the Cistus.  Oh no!   Allan lopped it off, and here it is, a great embarrassment, in our trailer.

It was really bringing down the tone.

It was really bringing down the tone.

Next Wednesday the Sisters on the Fly club will be at Andersen’s, and now that we have ALL the big clean up projects done at last, we just need one day to weed from one end of the gardens to the other and it will look spiffing.

Even more important, my friends Sheila and Harold will be staying at the park next month on garden tour weekend, and I want the gardens to be impeccable for that happy occasion!

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People do urge me to take my birthday off, but it falls at such a busy time of year that I do not get the day off unless nature cooperated with rain.  Yesterday was the day off.  Today, I would rather have worked in my own garden, and did linger a bit to admire my new garden present from my gardening near-neighbour, Judy:

Maddy with my new garden pig

Maddy with my new garden pig

After considerable procrastination (including a stop at The Planter Box for more poppy seeds), we worked at Andersen’s RV Park all afternoon.


I had thought it would be miserably cold, but by the time we finally got there, we were able to work comfortably for hours.

The beach is just over the dunes at the end of the RV parking sites.

The beach is just over the dunes at the end of the RV parking sites.

Our main project this month is to get the west side garden looking better, ridding them of the Bad Aster and most of the goldenrod, and the too enthusiastic cranesbill geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’.

westernmost area with a mat of the Bad Aster.

westernmost area with a mat of the Bad Aster, noon.

considerable improved, 5 PM

considerable improved, 5 PM

Owner Lorna wants more small ornamental grasses, so there they are.  We still have much weeding right around the driftwood; the area is rampant with couch grass, which my grandma called Witch Grass.

Allan worked on this area along the restroom/clam cleaning building…a hideously weedy spot that is almost always the last one we get to.

horrible area

horrible area

Worse yet, it was in the cold shade!

horrendous corner at noon

horrendous corner at noon

and at 5 PM

and at 5 PM

It is very clear what still needs to be weeded and mulched in this area.

still do do

still to do

We will go back there on the next workeable day, even though other clients want us.  It is becoming increasingly clear to me (with age?) that life is not satisfactory when we hare madly back and forth from garden to garden, never getting a project completely done.  I am determined that we shall finish this, and get poppy seeds planted, before we go anywhere else, and Allan is in full agreement.

Along with poppy seeds in the west side garden, I also must plant sweet peas next time all along the white picket fence.  Happily, it is all weeded, mulched and ready from earlier this month.

picket fence garden

picket fence garden

The mulch was fairly easy to move onto this garden area a couple of weeks ago, because it is in the woods behind that fifth wheel. Not so today, when Allan had to go behind the house from the west,  and over a rough lawn….

rough lawn

rough lawn

to the far, far away mulch pile.

far distant mulch pile

far distant mulch pile over uneven ground

He told me he established some sort of a path.  Maybe he went this way:

into the woods and around back?

into the woods and around to the back of the pile?

But I doubt it.  Either way, it was a trek, and I was most grateful that he also dumped some of my wheelbarrows full of weed grass and bad-aster.

Meanwhile, I was astounded to see a crew working on the Payson Hall windows and taking exquisite care of the garden.  They had screwed two by fours onto the planter beds and were standing ON the boards rather than the planter soil, something I have requested at various places to no avail.  I had not even had to mention it.  They just did it!

how to not hurt the planter boxes

how to not hurt the planter boxes

solid boards to stand on

solid boards to stand on

I complimented the crew boss, who responded “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.”  Bless them!  They are champs.  The agile crew never let a foot slip into the garden.

I planted some special primroses for Lorna:  the peachy one I got yesterday at Back Alley Gardens and two of the Zebra primroses that Allan brought back from Seattle.



Primrose 'Zebra'

Primrose ‘Zebra’

Then…more birthday:

a flowered Polish pottery bowl from Mary and Denny of Klipsan Beach Cottages, with truffles, all most surely from Sweet Williams on Bay gift shop in Ocean Park.

bowl and truffles

bowl and truffles

a beautiful handmade shawl from my most longtime friend, Mary:


…perfect for comfort after a long cold day.  The shawl was accompanied by Hello Kitty themed presents (and some cookies):

birthday treats

Mary and I, whose birthdays are but days apart, know better than to send each other birthday boxes without chocolate in them.

On the porch, I found a very fancy gold box with purple crown from Queen La De Da:

gold box

purple crown

Allan placed by the new water feature a comfortable chair that he made from an old bench (old metal bench ends, new wood):

birthday chair from which to view my river of Geranium 'Rozanne'

birthday chair from which to view my river of Geranium ‘Rozanne’

And even though my first thought had been to collapse in exhaustion at home, we did go out for Shepherd’s Pie at our favourite local restaurant, The Depot:

a very Irish shepherd's pie

a very Irish shepherd’s pie

The parsnips were divine, by the way.

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An aside: the new horse at Laurie’s is in its own corral because one of the other horses took a dislike to it.  We have three cats, one of whom hates the other two, but it is a lot easier to manage three incompatible cats than three incompatible horses!  The cats find their own private nooks, amid some hissing and potential scratching, but that’s so much less complicated than separate stalls and flying hooves.

As we continue our rounds, we’re pleased that so many gardens still look delightful.

Laurie’s late blooming Hebe is matched in pinkness by the Cosmos at Sea Nest.

(left) Discovery Heights; (right) our own garden

The cotoneasters draping the rocks at Discovery Heights are highlighted with orange and red berries…and inside our own overgrown and rather neglected garden, viewed from the street, a fall blooming Clematis romps over the contorted filbert.

All the little clean up and tidying projects that we do now are time fillers while we wait for the arrival of the fall bulbs.  But in cleanups great and small, there are two different philosophies: Mine is to leave a lot of seedheads for the birds and a lot of structure of billowy tawny grasses and stems, but some clients like to have the garden totally tidied and GONE until next spring.

The two fall clean-up philosophies, illustrated above.

Jo likes her garden to be completely cut down, whereas Annie’s is left in more my style of hazy wispy mist-catching stems.

Or there is the philosophy of Annie’s dog, Kira, who naps through the day in a warm patch on the lawn and doesn’t bother with the garden clean up at all.

For gardeners who might be as lazy as Kira, garden writer Ann Lovejoy recommends leaving the garden alone till early spring when the old growth breaks off so easily, thus saving lots of clipping.  On the other hand, she recommends mulching in winter with washed dairy manure…and that’s not a job for anyone lazy.

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