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Posts Tagged ‘Erin’s garden’

Monday, 31 March 2014

After putting the word out that we were looking for old crab pots, we were offered two by Ilwacoan Queen La De Da.  We picked them up before starting work so did not get going till noon, and even then, we were at our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Post Office.  Let’s just say that at the end of the day, I was surprised by how little money we actually made.

Ilwaco post office garden

Ilwaco post office garden, with more rocks piled to hide the bottom unpainted bit of the wall

It was time to take the old Cistus out (removed by Allan with the heavy pick)

It was time to take the old Cistus out (removed by Allan with the heavy pick)

while I planted sweet peas along the picket fence and hoped they'd do better than last year (when I got bupkis)

while I planted sweet peas along the picket fence and hoped they’d do better than last year (when I got bupkis)

post office Narcissi

post office Narcissi

I’m not sure what I’ll plant to replace the Cistus at the back of the garden.  Possibly something daring and original like…cosmos!   Some annual sunflowers would be fun, if they got watered enough to grow well.

A crow watched the sweet pea planting from two lots away.  Uh oh.

A crow watched the sweet pea planting from two lots away. Uh oh.

Next, we planted some perennials in the re-done border in the frying pan quadrant of Fifth Street Park in Long Beach.

Allan planting

Allan planting

Let’s see….from memory, Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’, Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’, three Gaura ‘Whirling Butterfly’, ‘Barbecue’ Rosemary (because the shopkeepers nearby used to love to get cooking sprigs from the rosemary that was there before), Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’…

tulips

tulips

narcissi and tulips

narcissi and tulips

Narcissi and Tulip 'Princess Irene'

Narcissi and Tulip ‘Princess Irene’

irene

I checked on my gunnera in the pond quadrant of the park and found two hopeful leaves.

Fingers crossed it will put out more leaves than this.

Fingers crossed it will put out more leaves than this.  Note the bindweed…sigh…and ivy, not my choice!

Across the street, the Asphodel that usually has but one flower stalk has five.

thrilling, and possibly because the first stalk got frozen.

thrilling, and possibly because the first stalk got frozen in late winter.

We then planted three Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ (but needed four for symmetry) in the Veterans Field garden, where right now we have blue (glaucous) foliage and white narcissi.  An addition of one Geum ‘Sangria’ added a splash of red.

Veterans Field

Veterans Field; also planted some ‘White Linen’ California poppies

white narcissi

white narcissi, blue muscari

Narcissi 'Sailboat'

Narcissi ‘Sailboat’, fragrant

One stem of ‘Sailboat’ narcissi had broken off in the wind and rain, so we took it to the barista at Great Escape drive through espresso on our way to our next job.  I sorely needed a pick me up.  She marveled at the fragrance and said she had just seen Ciscoe on telly talking about scented narcissi.

With an espresso boost, we went on to Erin’s garden to add some wind and drought and deer resistant perennials to her new bed.

bed

many deer prints

many deer prints

gardenboat

boat

Felix was so happy to see us, and I was happy to see him (but did not put on a show like he did).

felix

planted up

planted up

(From memory):  we planted a couple of lavenders (‘Grosso’ and ‘Hidcote’), a ‘Barbecue’ and an ‘Arp’ rosemary, three armeria (sea thrift), some silver and some green and some gold santolina, an Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ (to be joined by ‘Sapphire Blue’ later), an Agastache ‘Blue Boa’, and a lot of poppy seeds, California mainly.

As we left, a serious rain began to fall.  An excursion to the Basket Case seemed like a great way to wait it out, and I did need a Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ for Long Beach.  The maddening thing is I did not think to get three more Geum ‘Sangria’ for Veterans Field.

Geum 'Sangria'...I even took a photo for the Basket Case Facebook page!

Geum ‘Sangria’…I even took a photo for the Basket Case Facebook page!

Ceanothus 'Dark Star' and birdbath at Basket Case

Ceanothus ‘Dark Star’ and birdbath at Basket Case

I picked up some Penstemon ‘Raven’ and ‘Garnet’ to add to Erin’s garden; I love them, and they are strongly recommended for dry gardens by Robert Nold in his book that I read on Saturday (High and Dry).

Penstemons

Penstemons

My penstemons got killed to the ground by this winters wet and/or cold.  I think I saw some life at the base of them yesterday; here’s hoping for a comeback.

The rain stopped so instead of ending our workday, we went on to the west end of Howerton Way at the Port of Ilwaco and weeded and planted more poppy seeds.  Allan saved the day by finding, over the weekend, another plasticine bag of little seed packets in the envelope from One Stop Poppy Shoppe.  I had not dug into the manila envelope deeply enough and when I had wondered why I had no white California poppies and no ‘Rosa Romantica’, I figured I had forgotten to order them.

Usually I am big on botanical names but I can’t remember how to spell Eschscholzia.

westernmost gardens on Howerton Way

westernmost gardens on Howerton Way

Muscari 'Ocean Magic'

Muscari ‘Ocean Magic’

Narcissi in profile

Narcissi in profile

On the way home, we went round the block to get a photo in the Ilwaco boatyard.  Ballard was the neighbourhood just over the hill from my old house in Seattle.

Timber Wolf from Ballard

Timber Wolf from Ballard

Tiburon in a puddle

Tiburon in a puddle

We chose to get home in time to place the crab pots for the Ilwaco themed fence.

It will keep dogs out!

It will keep dogs out!

The gate is temporary, and there will also have to be a gate that will permit me to get to the weeding path next to the house:

I need to be able to get in here.

I need to be able to get in here.

Thanks to Queen La De Da, the crab pot fence went from idea to reality in less than 24 hours.

If you watch Deadliest Catch, you’ll have seen big rectangular crab pots.  Locally, crabbers use the round Dungeness crab pots. (The boats here are smaller than the ones seen in Deadliest Catch.) The pots are still quite heavy, and after helping Allan to heft these, I am even more in awe of the men who lift them overhead in highliner competitions.

Highliner competition at Astoria Commercial Fisherman's Festival

Highliner competition at Astoria Commercial Fisherman’s Festival

Highliner competition...now I'm even more impressed.

Highliner competition…now I’m even more impressed.

 

 

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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, 19 November, 2013

We return to bulb time.  As always, I found it hard to get myself back into gear after a lazy day off, and we spent longer at Olde Towne Café than I had planned.  A switch of the compost bucket turned into sitting at a table and getting started at about noon instead of eleven-ish.

My elderly neighbour Nora often reminded me to get out and about “while you’re still young”.  (At 89, she saw us a young-ish.)  After years of being almost 100% work focused,  I am determined to have some fun along with work, even though work is sometimes fun.

Our first work stop:  The planting of bulbs in containers and along the road at Diane’s garden.

evidence of yesterday's storm

evidence of yesterday’s storm

Three critters grazed nearby.

Three critters grazed nearby.

Diane likes pastels, so she got tulips ‘Angelique’, ‘Green Wave’, ‘White Parrot’, ‘Virichic’, and other soft colours.

Next door at The Red Barn Arena we saw more evidence of the approach of crabbing season.

pots in waiting

pots in waiting

I decided to not plant bulbs in the whiskey barrels at the barn this fall.  Some narcissi will come back.  The wind usually beats the tulips up too badly.  And the barrels are disintegrating and need to be replaced.

Then we swung by Erin’s garden.  I had realized during our previous bulb planting session there that I had not allocated any bulbs for the driveway entry so I put in Narcissi ‘Misty Glen’, ‘Thalia’, and ‘Stainless’, all white ones to glow at dusk next spring.

three kinds of Narcissi

three kinds of Narcissi…

one of Erin's cotoneasters

planted under one of Erin’s cotoneasters

Allan checked the boat garden to see if the bird scare tape had worked.  Either it has, or they are too clever to leave any sign of bulb stealing.  He did find a few anemones pulled to the surface in the garden bed alongside the porch.

We checked the two outermost planters on the beach approach from bird bulb depradations and found only six bulbs pulled up and dropped  on the bench and on the cement edge.  We had not had a seagull or crow audience when we planted in the rain late last week and I think that helped protect the bulbs.  If birds are watching, they will peck around the moment one leaves!

We did a weeding and planting job in the narrow, two tiered garden that Gene and Peggy Miles planted along the west wall of city hall.  Now it is a memory garden for her, and I think she would have liked the Narcissi we planted:  Rjinveld’s Early Sensation, Pheasant’s Eye and Angel Eyes.  Sweetheart would be a good one to have planted there but before I realized that, I had saved it for a park that needs some narcissi.

before weeding and planting

before weeding and planting

Finally, we got the bulbs of red, white, and blue flowers planted at Veteran’s Field:  Narcissi ‘Stainless’, ‘Misty Glen’, ‘Thalia’, ‘Curlew’, ‘Silver Chimes’, ‘Mount Hood’, Iris reticulata, Crocus ‘Miss Vain’, chionodoxa, and Tulip ‘Estella Rjinveld’ (red and white).  Some blue grape hyacinth and other white Narcissi will return from last year.

At the end of a short day, in fall or winter, the angle of the sun is quite irksome for seeing what one is doing at ground level.

annoying Old Sol

annoying Old Sol

I’m still waiting for a frost before I cut plants back.  Only the blackened ones will I chop after the freeze.  When will it come?  As we planted, the temperature fell to 42 degreed F;  the ground felt like it was freezing up on me.

Veteran's Field

Veteran’s Field

We have one more area to plant in Long Beach with the last of the bulbs in the yearly budget, and that is in the Frying Pan park in an area that is getting new lighting and is not done yet.  We hope the wiring will be done tomorrow so I can cross Long Beach off the bulbs list as a mission accomplished.  Oh, and I have a few leftover Baby Moons to stick into the planters.  I thought I had cleverly counted the exact amount for each one, but it did not turn out that way at the end of the planting day last week!

We had a turnaround time at home to drop off the trailer and then leave again for an event.  I thought it wise to put about twenty more potted plants into the greenhouse.

Frosty and our neighbour, Onyx, by Allan's garden.

Frosty and our neighbour, Onyx, by Allan’s garden.

Onyx with black mondo grass

Onyx with black mondo grass

the bogsy wood against evening sky

the bogsy wood against evening sky

sky to the west

sky to the west

back garden at dusk

back garden at dusk

Onyx again

Onyx again

As we drove off to our event of the evening, the sky to the west blazed with pink.  With a turn past Judy’s house we got lined up to take a photo over the old storage boatyard.  In those few moments, the colour had already begun to fade.

streams of light

streams of light

I am a natural recluse, although you might not think so from this blog.  Yet we had another event to attend, a medical bills benefit for chef Jimella (formerly from the Ark and now Jimella and Nanci’s Market Café).  The Ark was not in my circuit of frequented restaurants; back in those days I simply did not have the money.  Now I do find that I stick to the south end restaurants and don’t venture much to the ones that are out of our way.  However, the combination of a sushi special and a benefit was enough to get us up north for the evening.

Jimella's Café

Jimella’s Café

community

Allan and I had gotten there a bit early and had a delightfully small booth along the north wall, with this view:

pretty lights

pretty lights

As diners came in the door, I had the sensation of anxiety that often comes, that I was in the wrong place and as a working class person I felt uncomfortable in a crowd of folks with oodles more money.  Just as I got that itch to leave…something I could not have done anyway without being rude…our friend, landscaper Ed Strange, showed up and sat with us and my nerves relaxed.

One of the two chefs is our esteemed veterinarian from Oceanside Animal Clinic.

chef photo lifted from Facebook

chef photo lifted from Facebook:

above:  Jeff Harrel (left) and Ed Ketel, local vet.

We ordered almost everything on the specialty menu.  I had to have the Crantini with cranberry juice from our neighbours’ farm.  (The farm is not located next to our house —wouldn’t that be scenic?  The house belonging to the owners of Starvation Alley Farm is next door to ours.)

cocktails

blurry but good:  miso soup, edamame beans, California and spice tuna rolls

blurry but good: miso soup, edamame beans, California and spicy tuna rolls

rainbow roll

rainbow roll

four kinds of sushi

four kinds of sushi

Ed took a photo for me from his angle at the side of the table.

a lavish table

a lavish table

I do love sushi for very much and find it odd, as do many, that there is no regular purveyer of good sushi here on the Peninsula.

On the way home, we stopped by Fifth Street Park so that I could take a couple of photos to share that the Sea Serpent has been installed for the holidays.

serpent

I was hoping we would get the thorny ‘Dorothy Perkins’ rose cut back along that fence before the city crew got in there to install the serpent.  Sorry, we did not make it in time!  As you can see, he opens and closes his eyes and moves his tail.

moveable Christmas critter

moveable Christmas critter

When we left for dinner AND when we returned, Mary was sleeping right on top of Smokey in a crate of unsorted papers.

Mary uses her son as a pillow.

Mary uses her son as a pillow.

At home, I had a look at the gift from Colorblends bulbs.  After my verklmept post earlier during Bulb Time that my order from them did not include the usual small gift, the order of 100 mixed narcissi and 25 ‘Akebono’ tulips that arrived today did!  In the box was a small booklet with gorgeous photos of tulip bulbs.

Tulips booklet atop the bulb clipboard

Tulips booklet atop the bulb clipboard

inside

inside

inside

inside

I did not plant species tulips this year as I have in every previous bulb time, so I hope my earlier plants come back in 2014.

As usual, a sheet from a Dutch newspaper...

As usual, a sheet from a Dutch newspaper…

Thanks, Colorblends!

Tomorrow we will do very little bulb planting as I am waiting for the rest of the Van Engelen bulbs to arrive at the end of the week to complete four big batches.  Meanwhile, we will switch to the task of mulching.

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Tuesday, 12 November, 2013

I hope this blog does not descend into “planted bulbs…sorted bulbs…argh” before bulb time is over.

Today we started at Mayor Mike’s house and planted a comparatively small quantity of mostly blue and white bulbs to go with his garden colour theme.  Blue Muscari, white crocus, white narcissi, some Alliums (albopilosum, schubertii, and Purple Sensation and Mount Everest), some snow drops and some blue iris reticulata.

Still in bloom:  Gaura 'Whirling Butterflies' and Fuchsia magellanica

Still in bloom: Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and Fuchsia magellanica

We then drove down Howerton heading west with the intention of planting bulbs in the Ilwaco street planters.  I saw a worrisome sight:  The cosmos had been cut to the ground in the Time Enough Books garden boat.  This must mean the owners are about to put out their Christmas decorations in the boat and then we would not be able to get the bulbs in.

an ominous sight!

an ominous sight!

We swung back around Lake Street and grabbed the box of Time Enough bulbs; good thing I had sorted them out the night before.    In went 20 Tulip ‘Strong Gold’ and 3 Tulip “Texas Gold’.  (Why only three?  There are certain tulips I am almost out of after sorting for other jobs.)

planted and ready for the winter snowman and his dog decorations to be installed.

planted and ready for the winter decorations to be installed.

From 2012: the snowman and his dog take up a lot of room!

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

We then got to the Ilwaco planters in a cold and foggy wind.  I was not pleased to discover some finger blight…

Planter by the boatyard with Erysimum stolen from the center

Planter by the boatyard with Erysimum stolen from the center

That planter by the boatyard fence corner at 1st and Eagle has the worst problem with plant theft than any other planter we do.

In the boatyard garden, despite recent windstorms, some of the painted sage still looks almost as good as midsummer.

Salvia viridis

Salvia viridis

tenacious boatyard cosmos

tenacious boatyard cosmos

autumn colour at First and Eagle Street

autumn colour at First and Eagle Street

We planted three tulips in each planter.  I am always surprised how the tulips hold up to spring storms especially since I choose May blooming ones that will still be flowering on the 1st Saturday of May for the children’s parade.  In the three planters that are new this year, we also planted some crocus, iris reticulata, and species (small) narcissi.  Sometimes it is awfully hard to jam three tulip bulbs down into the older, established planters.

By the time we got to the last planters by Olde Towne Trading Post I was so cold from the wind, and thought rain was on its way, and was ready to quit and go back to sorting bulbs at home.  Olde Towne was closed for the day or we would have been in there having a warming drink.

I had miscounted, so three extra 'Strong Gold' tulips got planted under one of the pumpkins.

I had miscounted, so three extra ‘Strong Gold’ tulips got planted under one of the pumpkins.

Allan encouraged me to keep on planting.  I had the tulips sorted for the Long Beach planters and he thought we could start there and be able to stop easily if rain came.  I got encouraged by some bright sky to go to Erin’s garden as I had a large batch sorted out for her.

On the way, we solved the mystery of why a sheriff’s car and an aid car had screeched around the corner at the Ilwaco stoplight and headed north.  Someone had jumped the curb going south (it is hard to imagine how…foot on the gas instead of the brake, perhaps) and taken out a corner of the Long Beach police station and part of one of the town restrooms!

Bathroom tiles flew across the floor into the stalls!

Bathroom tiles flew across the floor into the stalls!

The station’s office manager said she at first thought it was a bomb.  No one was hurt, amazingly, so the photo is not too ghoulish.  I am going to miss having this restroom available when we plant the Long Beach bulbs!  Fortunately, no one was in there when the accident happened.

On to Erin’s:  While the temperature felt much warmer…and much less windy…there, the sky got ominously dark just after I had laid bulbs out in the boat and given Allan a lot of white narcissi to  plant right along the porch.

an ominous sky

an ominous sky

Once the bulbs are laid out, they must be planted!

a boat full!

a boat full!

In the boat, assorted narcissi, crocus, iris reticulata (short and early), snowdrops, Alliums schubertii, albopilosum, Purple Sensation and Mount Everest, and 6 short Tulip ‘Princess Irene’ that I hope the deer will not browse.  It is so delightfully easy to plant in a new container, of any size, that is full of fresh, soft soil;  no tools required.

Felix appeared...

Felix appeared…

eager to help

eager to help

Erin's son took an interest in the bulb planting.

Erin’s son took an interest in the bulb planting.

I had a moment of panic…not unusual when planting bulbs..upon finding a second crate of bulbs in the vehicle.  But I had two crates out…and Erin’s had filled two crates.  So had I gotten mixed up and brought someone else’s crate and accidentally planted the wrong bulbs?  I felt sick…yet they had seemed like the right ones.  Then I remembered I had sorted, on the job, one big crate into two smaller ones…some for the boat and some for the cottage garden.  Whew.  I had wondered why I could not find many tulips for the cottage garden…and here they were in an untouched crate!  Into the garden they went while the rain continued to hold off.

My little brainstorm of the late afternoon:  We then zoomed up to The Planter Box and got some bird scare tape for the boat, to keep birds from pulling up and noshing on the crocus like they did in the Port of Ilwaco gardens last fall.  A new garden or container with soft soil is easy to plant AND easy to peck at.

"holographic' bird scare tape

“holographic’ bird scare tape

We did not intend to make a star…just used the holes already there on the sides of the boat.

Oh, how I look forward to getting back to creating the big garden bed here!

We went home in the dark after Allan went into Sid’s Supermarket to do a bit of shopping.

Sid's...dark at 5 PM

Sid’s…dark at 5 PM

Then back to sorting bulbs and again getting ahead far enough to be able to plant tomorrow.  There is no sign of a rainy day to get all the sorting done.  My thoughts, as they had been all day, were on a dear friend who is going through a terrible time.  Unlike last night, tonight I sorted without tears in the way.  Allan helped with a snack plate of cranberry-studded cheese, crackers, pickles, the last of the cherry tomatoes and some herring in sour cream.  I even moved on to the sorting for the NEXT day till the moment my back seized up and I decided the time had come to blog instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 5 November, 2013

We overslept yet again, fooled by rain and…just tired.  Thus we missed perhaps an hour of good working weather.   Our mission for today: to fill Erin’s new garden boat with soil.

 On our way out of Ilwaco, despite being late, we had to stop when we saw two hens on Williams Street.

Inn at Harbour Village hens taking a stroll

Inn at Harbour Village hens taking a stroll

a friendly and unskittish pair

a friendly and un-skittish pair

At Peninsula Landscape Supply, we got a yard of Soil Energy…

soil

load

Next, a stop at The Planter Box as they have the best and thickest landscape fabric.

Teresa rolls up a length of fabric for us.

Teresa rolls up a length of fabric for us.

I realized we still did not have good scissors with us!

Teresa revealed to us the true weight of the pumpkin in her “guess the weight” contest.

150 pounds of pumpkin

150 pounds of pumpkin

She said she had ordered 150 pounds of pumpkins, but someone had left the “s” off on the receiving end of the order….

And then we drove to Erin’s, and up the side yard of her neighbours’ house (who does not seem to mind the traffic across their lawn) and rather suspensefully, across Erin’s lawn to park near the boat.  I have heard horror stories about vehicles sinking into old septic fields at old houses, so we stuck to the path that Chester’s truck had tested out when he delivered the boat!

Allan drilled some strategically placed holes in the bottom and soon I was able to start filling it.  I soon realized that I did not need to have soil in the dark spot under the prow of the boat (if that is the right term for inside the front of the boat).

filling the boat

filling the boat   

I told Allan my brainstorm and he went to the ruins of the original garden boat for reusable lumber.  (That boat has disintegrated over the  more than a decade since Robert and I first turned it into a garden boat.)

 scavenging the old boat

With his rechargable chainsaw, Allan was able to cut old wood to fit at the end of the open area of the new boat and save us from wasting a considerable amount of soil.

a fix it job on the spot

a fix it job on the spot

Eventually, when it’s needed as the old wood rots, he can make something better.

When I went to scavenge for a few small pieces to jam into a couple of holes in the makeshift wooden barrier, Felix appeared.

Felix

my friend Felix

my friend Felix

He hung around and helped us for awhile.

Felix and the boat

Felix and the boat

We had gotten the landscape fabric tucked underneath before making the boat heavy with soil.  As soon as we can (I hope tomorrow) we’ll cover the fabric with gravel and then decorate with river rock to make it look (with a lot of imagination) like it has washed up on a rocky beach.

Then came the careful backing and turning to get out of the yard without hurting the sprinkler heads.

the van and trailer in the big yard

the van and trailer in the big yard

Felix kept a careful eye on the proceedings.

Felix escorting us...

Felix escorting us…

on the fence at the northwest corner...

on the fence at the northwest corner…

and saying goodbye for now.

and saying goodbye for now.

We had a longish discussion about where to get the remainder of the soil to fill the boat.  If we went back to Peninsula Landscape Supply for another load of soil energy, the cost of material would be smaller but the cost of time and labour would be higher.  To make the soil richer, we could go to the Planter Box and get a load of cow fiber, but then we would have way more than we needed.   We decided that bagged soil from The Planter Box would be so time saving that it would pay off the extra cost of bags vs. bulk, and we would could buy enough for two other projects at the same time.

the drawback:  Allan loads the heavy bags

the drawback: Allan loads the heavy bags

Below:  Here’s the boat holding one yard of Soil Energy, two big bags of Gardner and Bloome potting soil and two bales of Gardner and Bloome Soil Building Compost.

ready to plant!

ready to plant!

Erin and I were discussing paint colours for the boat; she had said she liked white or green.  I realized today it should be white, with the red paint redone in the same green as the house’s shutters.

We had some daylight left and had only used two of seven bags of potting soil, so we went to The Anchorage Cottages where two containers awaited fresh soil.  While Allan filled them, I was suddenly inspired to tackle an annoying area of beach strawberry by some parking spots.  One of my goals in quitting some jobs this year is to at last be able to do some of the little things for which we just have not had time.   This was one:

before and 45 minutes later

before and 45 minutes later

The blue potato vine in this spot has a history of blowing over, and the courtyard garden has two others, so out it went.  I was sick of the schizostylis here, so it too was ousted.  When we have time to finish around the edges, the garden will be blank but for two Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and some lily bulbs.  Manager Beth saw the empty area and requested dahlias; I am not sure it will be enough sun (morning sun only) but we can give that a try…although I had had something more formal in mind.

I keep picturing small columnar evergreens.  Must be Pam Fleming’s influence.

We just had time then for a bit of Long Beach work.  Allan took potting soil to fill in the planter by the carousel (the one from which we had pulled vinca two days before).  I pulled Salvia viridis (painted sage) out of the planters in front of and across from the Home at the Beach shop.  I’d noticed driving past that they looked raggedy from Saturday’s wind.

Close up, a few of the blue ones did look quite bad, and one was still pretty.  And one of the pink ones looked almost as good as in midsummer…

In fact, the planter looked downright summery.

In fact, the planter looked downright summery.

Close up, you can see the pink one would need some deadheading to look perfect…

pink

And I was just tired of it, so out it came.  I almost immediately felt bad, and now feel worse looking at this photo…but it is NOVEMBER, for heaven’s sake, and these summer flowers are so last month!

I wonder how long it would have lasted had I left it alone?  I am tired of the nasturtiums, too, but I left them.  I figure that some visitors will be impressed that we have blooming nasturtiums this late and perhaps will not notice that they are rather tatty by now.  I suppose the same could have been said of the salvia…darn it.

I am hoping that tomorrow we can get gravel and river rock to make that faux beach at Erin’s house.  The idea of a garden on that huge lawn has me wanting to neglect other jobs in order to get it done…

Wednesday, 6 November, 2013

Back to the boat project!  We headed straight up to Peninsula Landscape Supply to get some pea gravel and river rock.  We cannot carry much of something that heavy in our little old trailer.

 a small scoop of river rock

a small scoop of river rock

The river rock went in the bottom of the trailer as it would be applied second.  The pea gravel went on top.  Allan set up some buckets so that some of the gravel would arrive ready to go.

topping off with a scoop of pea gravel

topping off with a scoop of pea gravel

Meanwhile, I handpicked two buckets of larger river rock.  Had I wanted to, I could have gone into the bin of rainbow rock and got an even larger one.

I like the pink one at lower right!

I like the pink one at lower right!

I fished some fairly big ones out of the bulk pile, though.

Then we delivered our rocks to the new garden boat at Erin’s.  Yesterday, we had tucked landscape fabric under the edges of the boat.  Today, I tucked some newspaper underneath as well, just to make extra sure of smothering the turf.

The hardest part of using the newspaper method of garden building is acquiring enough for a big project.  The second hardest thing is laying newspaper in wind.  (Today was calm, so no problem.)  The third is resisting the urge to read every article that looks interesting.  We had The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal today and because I have several friends who have had cancer recently, my eye was particularly caught by this article.

paper

boat with pea gravel

boat with fabric and newspaper, and pea gravel application in progress

For several years, whenever doing a dry creek bed or any sort of river rock effects, I would lay down landscape fabric, and then medium to small river rock, and then spend the rest of the lifespan of that garden tweaking the rocks so that the “underwear” (fabric) did not peek through.  FINALLY in 2007, when doing a  garden with a dry creek bed in memory of a man who loved to fish, I realized that small gravel would hide the fabric and added it after the fact, then had to shift and fuss with the rocks to get the larger pretty ones on top.  Now we always put down a layer of pea gravel, or even plain crushed gravel, first, to completely hide the fabric, and then dress it up with larger rocks.

first: a solid sheet of gravel.  second: river rock.

first: a solid sheet of gravel. second: river rock.

The part of the fabric and newspaper left showing is where more thick layers of newspaper will get laid down and soil put on top to meet the gravel “beach”.

Allan screwed it one bit of the boat that had come loose.

 

And I rejoiced that I had found the blue scissors that cut the fabric well.  We had struggled without them while cutting fabric for some Long Beach planters on Monday.  They had been in the van the whole time, hidden under some papers (not in the box they were supposed to be in).

triumph!

triumph!

over the picket fence, the dunes, and then the beach

over the picket fence, the dunes, and then the beach

Felix made an appearance but did not linger so no cute cat photo for Wednesday.

By now, what I wanted to do for the rest of the day was to get a yard of soil and start making a garden bed around the boat.  I had not brought enough newspaper for that as it was not in my original plan.  Perhaps, I thought, we could scavenge some from the recycling bin.  First, though, I should check the weather.  Oh dear, high wind and rain warning for tomorrow.  We had better go to one of our weekly jobs, Andersen’s RV Park, in case we were rained out tomorrow…And it does make more sense at this point in the Erin garden job to have a really big pile of soil delivered to just outside the picket fence. Unfortunately, now it will have to wait till after Bulb Time, and I am burning to do this garden…

Oh well, on to Andersen’s.  I had a project in mind for there:  removing lady’s mantle and three tired Stella D’Oro daylilies from the garden shed garden.

1:44 PM and 4:06 PM

1:44 PM and 4:06 PM

The rain came on a little after two PM.  Without wind, I found it sort of refreshing (for awhile).  This is the hottest spot to work in on a scorching (well, 65 degrees and up) sunny day.

While Allan cleared the long bed, I cleaned up a little area by the garden shed door.  Somehow this year it got full of beach strawberry, and there was way too much of  boring old Bergenia.  The Bergenia has been there since before I started caring for the Andersen’s gardens.

before and after

before and after

In between pecking away at the beach strawberry and bergenia, I worked over the areas Allan dug out to prep them for receiving wheelbarrows full of cow fiber, as with every trip he made to dump debris, he returned with a wheelbarrow full of mulch.

before with hideous Stella D'Oro

before with hideous Stella D’Oro

after

after

before:  I am SO over lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

before: I am SO over lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

after

after

We even got started on the eastern end of the garden.

one huge lady's mantle gone from the corner...

one huge lady’s mantle gone from the corner…

The rain had become harder and chilly, so we were not inspired to finish all the way to the end today.

Now, what to plant next year in the lovely blank slate?  Lorna loves bright flowers and is fond of cosmos (as am I).  I wonder how she feels about dahlias?  Something extra bright might get some attention drawn to the garden as people drive into the park.

At dusk, we went to our appointment at NW Financial and Insurance where our insurance broker, Shelly Pollock, was finally able to help us register for the Affordable Care Act.  Yes, the state website was working and we are now officially enrolled.  Even though we chose one of the mid range plans, we are still going to save (and this will not be a typo) $937 a month over what our cost for a similar plan would have been in 2014.  And our ACA plan will have a much lower deductible AND will help with prescriptions, which our old plan did not.  “Obamacare”, at least in states with a Health Exchange set up, will be so beneficial to the working class.  No more will we be paying 20 to 25% of our income for health insurance, and local friends who have never been able to afford insurance are now able to sign on.  We believe this will be an stimulus to the local economy.  I can guarantee Allan and I will have a dinner out to celebrate and raise a toast to Obamacare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday, 28 October, 2013

We started at Casa Pacifica, a few minutes east of the Peninsula.  My first subject for thought was that the non gardening punter may not “get” Helichrysum petiolare.  Here, the small leaved cultivar swamps a whiskey barrel by the lower garage:

Helichrysum (licorice plant)

Helichrysum (licorice plant)

As I mentioned once before, a long ago client called it “that grey junk.”  I think most clients might like this sort of thing better:

flowers

flowers (Sanvitalia, Calibrachoa, Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ still blooming.

Walking up the road, I was shocked to see so many branches down.  There had been piles of tree branches and a couple of fallen trees on the side of the road as we drove in.  At the top of the driveway, an alder had snapped off in the windstorm of a couple of weeks ago.

a wind-topped alder

a wind-topped alder

from above

from above

one of several piles of branches

one of several piles of branches

My friend Dusty met me at the top of the driveway.

Dusty

Spook was standoffish and skittish as usual.  I wonder if I could lure her if I remembered to bring some cheese.

Spook eyeing me from the porch

Spook eyeing me from the front deck

At least she lets me look at her now; she used to hide under the deck the whole time we were there.

one of Leanne's dragons in fallen maple leaves

one of Leanne’s dragons in fallen maple leaves

We did a before and after on the lawn island, mostly pulling toppled orange montbretia and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.

before and after

before and after

Allan also weeded atop the back garden and clipped away some branches that were obscuring the well water pump.

fall colour in the back garden

fall colour in the back garden

While we worked at Casa Pacifica, I got a call from Chester of Olde Towne Trading Post Antiques saying that he could deliver Erin’s garden boat today.  Fortunately, we had time to finish job number one with a little extra time to spare in Long Beach.

I stopped at the Wooden Horse shop in Long Beach to talk to the manager about being on the cash mob.  They hadn’t requested to be mobbed…but I like the store a lot.  They will the mob site in January.

The shelving entrances me.

The shelving entrances me.

As does the Boston Terrier tin.

As does the Boston Terrier tin.

A bit before the appointed time, we went to Erin’s garden to meet Chester and Michael.

house and cotoneaster

house and cotoneaster

entry lamp

entry lamp

While waiting, I thought about the future garden beds.  I want to leave a path along the fence at least as tall as the picket shadows.

looking southwest

looking southwest

Erin likes to set up a table for dining al fresco, so I don’t want to start the garden too close to the gazebo.

gazebo

gazebo

There will be a long garden bed on each side, with the picket fence width path along the edge, and I want to keep the center wide open for children to play.

tetherball

open center for tetherball and other games

Felix was there and happy to see us.

Felix on the front porch

Felix on the front porch

orange

From the porch, I thought further about the garden design.  Erin wants it to be like mine,  a big sweep of grasses and perennials and some shrubs, nothing that will block the ocean view.

porch

The line of the sprinkler system could be the inner edge of the south garden bed.

Felix thought I might have the power to open the door for him.

Felix thought I might have the power to open the door for him.

We tested the lawn with the half moon edger to see how hard it would be to dig the trenches around the edges of what will be newspaper based beds.  The digging seemed pretty easy!  Then Chester arrived.  I had thought he would need a boat trailer, but he and his stepson Michael had loaded the quite heavy boat onto his truck.

in the driveway

in the driveway

Chester looked at the steps going up to the lawn, and at the rather distant point past the gazebo where I had stuck in a half moon edger to say “the boat stops here”, and then he looked at an opening in the fence on the northwest corner of the lawn and suggested he drive in that way.  I texted Erin with the question, “Can Chester drive his truck on the lawn” and she texted back “YES!” and then “I think so.”  So he drove up the outside access road by the picket fence and very carefully backed all the way in to the boat spot.

truck backed into the future garden

truck backed into the future garden

audience

audience

Chester and the boat on the Olde Towne truck

Chester and the Olde Towne truck

preparing to offload...

preparing to offload…

olde

Chester and Michael

Chester and Michael  (note Felix on his way to investigate)

down

down

boat

Felix and the Olde Towne truck

Felix and the Olde Towne truck

After Chester and Michael departed, I realized the boat was sitting too straight ahead.  I wanted it at an angle that looked like it had washed up from the ocean.  As I grabbed the sides and pulled and yanked to no avail, I said to Allan “Can you help me shift the front over about a foot?”  He grabbed the rope and pulled to the side.  Easy peasy.

Very smart, Allan!

Very smart, Allan!

Here’s what she looks like.  The boat will be at the beginning of the south garden bed, leaving plenty of room for outdoor dining and parties.

boat in place

boat in place

washed ashore

washed ashore

I have known of several garden boats placed so they could be imagined to have washed ashore.  At Linda’s garden, even though the boat was a half mile from the beach, sometimes her guests really believed it had washed in.   Now someone might think we are imagining the boat washed in from Japan, and that is not it at all; there is too much sadness associated with that.  Besides, it is clearly not a Japanese boat.  (That reminds me to recommend again a beautiful book recommended to me by my friend Kathleen Shaw:  Facing the Wave by Gretel Erlich.)

With the boat all set, we finished daylight at the Boreas Inn garden and in Long Beach.

Boreas garden in long shadow time

Boreas garden in long shadow time

I remembered my plan to remake this raised bed along the north edge of the lawn with some good medium-tall grasses:

note to self

note to self; maybe Ilex ‘Sky Pencil’ also!

the glorious Lobelia tupa; would that all the ones I planted had done as well.

the glorious Lobelia tupa; would that all the ones I planted had done as well.

We cut down the tall fennel in Long Beach’s Coulter Park and got home in time for a Lake Street sunset.

from in front of our house...

from in front of our house…

I added most of the fennel stalks to our Corridor of Spooky Plants.  The last of the spooky tall stalks will be added on Halloween day, to make sure the structure is not too heavy if we get wind between now and then.

spooky plant walkway for trick or treaters

spooky plant walkway for trick or treaters

Allan made the little ghosts with small white rags over apple heads.

spiders

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Tuesday, 22 October, 2013

At last a truly easy workday.  We began with a stop at our excellent accountant, Jennifer Hopkins, to discuss some figures pertaining to the Affordable Care Act.  I always appreciate how she has attractive plant containers outside her office.  In the early spring, while our Ilwaco planters are choked with bulb foliage that must be allowed to die back, her containers totally show us up!  Today we missed her dog Helen, who was taking the day off.

Hopkins office

Hopkins office

Then, on to The Red Barn.

The fence sported autumnal figures.

The fence sported autumnal figures.

We weeded the narrow fence garden and the barrels.  I thought of cutting down the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’, above, but decided it has some autumnal feeling and should stay till after Halloween.

barn

Next door at Diane’s, the roadside garden looks tidy but I wish it had filled in more.  I think that my plan to mulch it with cow fiber will give it more vigor next year.

along the road

along the road

The pale pink heathers, which were Diane’s inspiration for wanting this garden, bloomed rather briefly.  The lavenders never really took off, but the rosemary (in background, below) did well.

a short bloom period

a short bloom period

In my constant thoughts re privacy if I were to get a noisy neighbour next door, I pondered the Leyland cypress hedge (if that is what it is) between Diane and Larry’s and the Red Barn field.    There is much debate about whether this would be a good idea or a disaster, but surely it would block noise AND light.

a controversial idea

just a thought

The pots by the back porch are still looking good.

The pots by the back porch are still looking good.

Diane likes pastels, as you can see.

One of my good friends was at home there and we had a happy visit.

Misty!

Misty!

We had a brief, shall we say comfort break at the Fifth Street Park restrooms.  Next to the doors, Rose ‘Super Dorothy’ is still blooming wonderfully, while plain old Dorothy Perkins, on the other side of the park, is pitiful, flowerless, sickly and mildewed, as always.

Super Super Dorothy!

Super Super Dorothy!

The schizostylis (either ‘Viscountess Byng’ or ‘Mrs. Haggerty’) glowed in the pale sunlight on the east side of the restroom building.  We won’t cut back the Helianthus till it looks just terrible, because it hides the weedy mess behind the restrooms….a jungle of horrible unkempt pampas grass which I have made pretty clear is Not My Problem.  This garden area is exceedingly damp, and it has been hard to get anything to grow large here.

pale pink Schizostylis

pale pink Schizostylis

Yes, a pale, misty, cool sunlight made me very very happy today.  When we got to our next job, I was able to put on a flannel overshirt.  Joy and comfort indeed!

At last, we got back to Erin’s house.  We’d promised this visit back in late September, and then had company, and rain, and then catching up after the rain, and then the hydrangea job!  We worked on the garden by the cottage, not by the very big house.

house with widow's walk

house with widow’s walk; the shutters are down being painted

Erin’s cat appeared for a visit….

Felix

Felix

Felix

felix

felix

The cottage garden job was a straightforward fall cleanup.

before and after, outside the fence

before and after, outside the fence

inside the fence, before and after

inside the fence, before and after

before and after

before and after

The camera angle makes that arbour look more tilted than it was at the beginning, but it really is not.  In fact, I lightened up the honeysuckle (which really has to be removed so the arbour can be fixed, but that reality makes Erin sad, so we will leave that to the carpenter).  Note that the shiny sunshine went away over the course of our time there, and the afternoon became deliciously and gloriously cool and grey.

In the cottage garden we find two problems:  shade cast by large trees, and way too many groundcovers.  I am sure each was planted, probably by previous tenant Paul, from nice little pots looking ever so pretty, but now sweet woodruff and oxalis and Japanese anemone have become problems, all up in everyone else’s business.

oxalis pestering the nice Epimidium

Oxalis pestering the nice Epimidium

Now that Erin has the huge sunny lot of the  big house for a garden, we won’t have to keep trying to grow sun loving plants in the cottage garden.  But we will have to have another deer-friendly garden, like Marilyn’s, on the big lot…

Deer who visit daily.

Deer who visit daily.

My idea is to have two big flower beds, one running east to west where the deer are, with a wide path to walk next to the fence, and another echoing it on the other side of the enormous lot.   There will be plenty of open space in the center.   I have been wondering lately if it would be unwise to use the newspaper garden construction method if irrigation pipes for the sprinkler system ran underneath.  You can see one sprinkler head to the right, above, and I am happy to say that Erin believes there is no piping between that line of sprinklers (east to west) and the fence.  So bring on the newspapers…when we can find the time!

This project will require so much newspaper, I had better start asking my local friends to save paper for us.

On the way home, we poked at the Ilwaco planters (four of them out of…quite a few) to see if they need watering.  Oh how we do not want to have to do that job!  But we think it must be done on Thursday.  They are only faintly damp, and there is no rain in the five day forecast…

In closing, here is an evening photo from yesterday, taken by Allan outside our house.  I did not have it in time for yesterday’s blog.

spider

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Friday, September 20, 2013, part two

On our way home from a shopping trip to Astoria, we stopped at Inspirations Stained Glass to finally pick up the two little fish and a bowl that we had made on cash mob day back in June.  That shows how busy our summer has been; any Saturday trip taking us through Chinook town has been rushes to get across the river for one garden tour or another!

Who did we find at the stained glass workshop but Rob from Andersen’s RV Park!  He’s making a stained glass window for his RV and knew what he was doing.

Rob making stained glass window

Rob making stained glass window

Inspirations: a good place to find glass "jewels" for garden decoration

Inspirations: a good place to find glass “jewels” for garden decoration

I do love this fish on a stream of glass jewels.

I do love this fish on a stream of glass jewels.

And then, after an interlude at home, we went to pick up the Long Beach check.  A sure sign of fall is the fact that all the baskets have been removed from downtown and from city hall.

a sad sight to see the baskets gone...

a sad sight to see the baskets gone…

another autumnal sign: Colchicum in the city hall entry garden

another autumnal sign: Colchicum in the city hall entry garden

We then checked out a new (old) job.  We’ve worked for Erin on and off at her Long Beach house and cottage.  This year, we didn’t have time in the summer to do the cottage garden but she had another able gardening friend who took care of it.  Now time is freeing up and we can consider doing some sort of gardening at the big house.

We were greeting first by a cute and friendly cat.

Felix

Felix

And then by Erin, who gave me a huge hug because she was so happy we had finally found time to talk about her garden.  We looked briefly at the cottage garden and offered to give it a good fall clean up (although it looks good).  Our attention turned to the big house.

In 1974 or 75, when I visited the beach with my old friend Mary, we took a walk and got lost in the dunes.   We ended up getting back to the road by coming onto private property and passing an old house that I photographed in awe.  It has a widow’s walk and is one of the grandest houses in Long Beach.

Glenn house

Glenn house

I had a copy of this photo tacked to my wall for the next 20 years to remind myself that I had formed a dream of living on the “North Beach Peninsula” as it was then known. The cosmic thing would have been if I had ended up owning this house, but it was still pretty cosmic that I met Erin and ended up making a garden around the big house in 2001.  Back then, we started by making a boat garden.

boat planted up with cosmos

boat planted up with cosmos, 2001

Today we saw the boat has been reclaimed by nature.

former garden boat, Sept 2013

former garden boat, Sept 2013

We also enhanced an area by the south side porch in 2001 with lots of flowers.

entry garden

entry garden

I was amused to see that that arc shaped garden is now the playground for Erin’s son.

a big sandbox!

a big sandbox!

I think that is ideal, and what a great way to be able to start with a blank slate someday when he and his friends have outgrown the sandbox.

Along the porch, Erin and her mom have planted lavender and grasses, an excellent choice.

porch garden

porch garden

Back then, the cottage to the east of the big house was lived in by Erin’s friend Paul.

Paul's cottage gate

Paul’s cottage gate

Later we took care of the cottage garden while Erin lived there and while it was a rental, but it never made it onto our roster of weekly or biweekly jobs.  The big house was empty for awhile, but now that it is occupied again the question is:  What to do with the garden?

The arc garden is a sandbox, and the porch gardens are just fine the way they are.  The wonderful old garden boat is no more.  So what to do?

looking northeast to porch and sandbox

looking northeast to porch and sandbox

Looking southwest from the stone steps next to the sandbox, we contemplated the vast stretch of lawn.

lawn, then dunes, then beach

lawn, then dunes, then beach

We are not looking for big new jobs, but I have a long interest in this house so I said to Erin that we could maybe do a couple of big flower beds like we have in our back garden.  They would be different from mine in that deer frequent this garden and it would be on sand rather than the dirt with a high water table that keeps our back garden so lush.  The slope of the lawn would allow the view over the dune grass to be still visible even with fairly tall plants.

I suggested Erin look for another garden boat that we could plant up for her.  She is already on that quest.  As for her desire for a wonderful fire circle, I suggested she call Bill Clearman who is a genius at carpentry, stonework, concrete, and hardscaping, none of which are our forté.

the simple fire circle now

the simple fire circle now

I may be mad, but I could imagine taking on some sort of big project here…especially since Erin has the gardening friend who could do a lot of the maintenance.  It will be interesting to think about this and perhaps, just perhaps, make a new garden bed for Erin this winter.

Meanwhile, we’ll tidy up the cottage garden and keep thinking.

After visiting Erin, we finally had time to stop by Nancy and Phil Allen’s to see how her new garden is doing.  Just like Erin’s garden might be a late fall project for 2013, helping Nancy with her new flowerbed was our 2012 fall project.

The mixed flower border is still not as good as I would like.

pretty enough but I want more!

pretty enough but I want more!

I haven’t checked on it enough or encouraged the adding of enough plants.  I’ll remedy this by bringing more plant starts this fall.

Nancy’s vegetable garden continues to impress with its productivity and attractiveness.

bean tower

bean tower and spuds

purple bush beans

purple bush beans

Why can’t I get a nice veg garden going like Nancy’s?  I just cannot seem to spare the room to make a tidy area like this:

a beautiful vegetable area

a beautiful vegetable and herb area

We sat inside because the rain had returned; Phil’s remodeling of their historic old home has come along to the wonderful moment of the kitchen having a gorgeous oak floor and the lighting and painting being almost done.

kitchen window

kitchen window

a charming old kitchen cupboard

a charming old kitchen cabinet

a perfect detail by the stairs

a perfect detail by the stairs

Nancy's harvest bowl

Nancy’s harvest bowl

We had to hightail it home before dark so that Allan could install a headlight to replace a burnt out one.  And I found our day off had been so eventful that it took me not one, but two evenings to blog about it.

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