Posts Tagged ‘Fifth Street Park’

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Before work, we had a look at the job being done across the street at the J Crew Cottage: removing shrubs from along the driveway. A great job by Peninsula Landscape Services.

Susie’s garden


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Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Long Beach

In Fifth Street Park, Allan tackled the corner of bad asters with the slayer and the “double tool”, a two sided hand tool. We hadn’t weeded it last autumn because we thought it would be someone else’s problem this year, maybe someone who likes the short, running aster (Aster douglasii, I think). Of course, when we took the job back on for this year, it became our problem, and I think this aster is a bully.


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Sunday, 6 March 2022

Ilwaco Post Office

Our volunteer garden at the post office is one of two jobs we like to do on a Sunday when the building is closed.


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Thursday, 3 March 2022

Before work


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Friday, 11 February 2022

Long Beach

We started on the SE quadrant of Fifth Street Park. I pulled some tatty hesperantha out of a planter next to the park…

…and weeded the street tree nearby, which has a continuing infestation of creeping sorrel that got worse with last year’s neglect. Before and after:

Allan string trimmed the bed in the park under three maples. It is a mess that I rebelled against weeding a few years back, and we had resorted to flattening it with the strimmer a couple of times a year. The bed is sodden with some kind of sprinkler or nearby pond leak, and the weed roots are all entwined with the tree roots. I have campaigned to have the entire bed removed, as even the trees are unhappy in the sodden muck.

After an entire year of not being weeded or trimmed
The sea turtle bench is by local chainsaw artist Joshua Blewett.

Meanwhile, I weeded the new-in-autumn-of-2019 bed that had had a year’s worth of weeds in it when we came back to it in autumn 2020. It will take some time for the effects of a year of reseeding and spreading weeds to be undone, which is one of the reasons we decided to take the job back on. The deer have, unfortunately, discovered the tulips in this bed. They looked pretty last May…among the weeds, which were taller than the tulips then. I remember how it felt to drive by, see the mess, and not be able to fix it.

Just as we were about to move on from this park, I remembered the hydrangea in the corner. If it is not pruned down, the flowers won’t even show because of the lower branches of the adjacent maple tree. And it had not been pruned since 2020.

We did not plant the ivy!

We then dumped a load of debris in order to make room for the next project.

Third Street Park was next because we managed to snag the one perfect, elusive parking spot for pruning the hydrangeas along the north side of the park.

A rhododendron that had been sickly and got cut down has put out a new poorly-placed sprout, and the stump has some interesting fungi.

Working in Long Beach often attracts an audience.

Although I could spend hours more thinning and perfecting each hydrangea, we don’t have hours more.

Our trailer was full again. We took another load of debris to city works, just about eight blocks away, and this time we saw our good friend Terran of BeeKissed Gardening, waiting to get a load of biosolids mulch.

For our last portion of the day, we parked by the old police station, which is now a visitors’ center and Long Beach Merchants building (with printing and other business services). I trimmed a hydrangea and did some weeding behind the Lewis and Clark Square wall, which has plaques for each future town they visited on their journey of exploration.

I weeded the two beds in nearby Veterans Field and planted some white phlox and some Shasta daisies.

Allan took on one of the most unpleasantly stabby jobs of the spring, cutting all the rugosa roses (‘Blanc Double de Colbert’) to the ground on the south side of the building. (Longtime readers may recall that weeding the beach approach was the worst spring job…but we’ve made it clear that we won’t do that extensive job…we are just too old and tired! We will trim back the ornamental grasses, though.)

The blue window trim is falling off into the garden.

Getting the thorny debris out of the trailer with thick welding gloves in our final offload of the day is no fun.

I was sure we were going to get the trailer stuck in deep mud. Allan was right; we got out just fine.

The work board tonight:

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Thursday, 9 February 2022

Long Beach

As we began the work year by picking up our key to the city works gate at City Hall, we spied nearby the city crew putting up the celebratory centennial banners.

I feel that it is good to be back doing our best to make the town gardens and planters look beautiful during a special year.

We began, as we almost always do, by tidying up the west side of Fifth Street Park. Allan tackled the miscanthus. It is a shame for the Malai Thai Restaurant that these grasses block their sign from midsummer to late winter. I didn’t choose them, and the restaurant was not there when the park was planted around the year 2000.

I trimmed the Leycesteria ‘Jealousy’. Allan cut back the grasses.

I weeded and planted some of my extra white phlox.

Mostly, though, I worked on the northwest quadrant of the park, where I took no before or during photos because I kept forgetting to put the camera in my pocket and the vehicle was closer to Allan. Allan took a few, including a chat with a passerby we know well, Beth who used to manage Anchorage Cottages, one of her former jobs. (We left the job when she did.)

I dug out some tired sanguisorbas and some of the dreaded orange montbretia that got a big foothold here during our absence last year.

After all our clipping and digging, we took a full load to dump.

How many deer do you see in the field by the biosolids mulch barn? The answer is below.

We collected some biosolids mulch to fill in the holes where I’d dug out the tired plants.

The number of deer:

We returned to the park and mulched.

In the planter by where we parked, the deer have chomped the tulips, but not the Iris reticulata.

The work board has a list of first visits to make. Although these visits do include weeding, we are not aiming for absolute perfection, just to get all the jobs looking good enough for now. A passerby expressed astonishment that we were gardening in February. I didn’t think to ask where he was from but told him we used to start the last week in January. I was more skint back then.

From the work board, I got to erase one letter today, the W for west side of Fifth Street Park. (Three work days later, I remembered to add the Depot Restaurant to the list. At the moment, my mind is just on Long Beach.)

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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Frosty greeted me when I awoke (after not enough sleep, again).

I am appreciating my time with him after coming home one evening last week and finding him all wobbly and confused again.  I had googled how much honey to give him and learned from reputable vet sites that it should be a tablespoon, not just the touch of honey I had given him the first time.  Getting a tablespoon of honey into a cat’s mouth was not easy.  He ended up with honey dripping from his whiskers and sticky honey on his ears and plenty of honey on my shirt sleeves.

Dr Google for cats informed me that he could die from one of these spells and that if he were to be found in a coma, we must try to administer honey or corn syrup.  I was glad that soon we will be home more.  I hope to have at least one more reading winter with him.  He is 15, maybe even 15 going on 16.

On the way to work, we pulled the last cosmos from the post office garden.  The light is so low now that even at midmorning, the River City Playhouse across the street casts a big shadow on the garden.

Port of Ilwaco

We began with a continuation of yesterday’s fall clean up along Howerton Avenue, from RiversZen Yoga to Salt Hotel.

the Time Enough Books garden boat

Long Beach

I tidied up Fifth Street Park’s west side some more while Allan worked on the east side and a street tree garden.  I’d got a last small shipment of bulbs and added some more narcissi (a cyclamineous mix and a miniature mix), hoping for a better spring show in 2020.

A handsome horse and carriage passed by going south….

Allan’s photo

…then west…

…and then to the north.

I had thought someone was calling out “Jeeves! Jeeves!” but it had been “Gee! Gee!”

The pineapple sage in the west garden continues to bloom.

Although it is the only one for blocks around, a hummingbird had found it and worked at every flower.

This particular pineapple sage has come back for several years in a row.  I must plant more in 2020.

The final street tree bed (of eighteen in all), before and after:

Allan’s photos

It will be chock-a-block with narcissi come springtime.

We then pulled the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ foliage out of all three parking lot berms on the east side of downtown.

after (Allan’s photos)
south berm
middle berm

I have always wanted to do something better on the middle berm than the few clumps of crocosmia and rugosa roses.  We have never found the time.  (And they do get walked upon by owners of parked cars.)  In the spring, the quaking grass takes over and is attractive.

blackberries on the north berm (Allan’s photo)

After we dumped a trailer load of debris at City Works, a beautiful cat appeared and inspected our work.

Allan’s photos

I did not have time to make friends.  We were racing sunset.

We cleaned up the welcome sign, pulling the agyranthemum, bottoming out the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and trimming the Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ so that the lights will shine on the sign without deep shadows (I hope).

I had to stand back a quarter of a block to not have my long shadow in the photo…and still had my head in the frame.

It was a warm day with no jackets needed!
after (I left some still blooming bidens along the edge.)
north side, before
and after (Allan’s photos)

The grape hyacinth foliage is already up, which is perfectly normal.

Port of Ilwaco

With less than an hour till sunset, we returned to the Howerton Avenue gardens, planted some narcissi in the east and the At the Helm Hotel curbside beds.

east bed (Allan’s photo)

Allan sheared down the pearly everlasting by the hotel.

after, with red twig dogwood looking grand

I did not have time to gather the precious leaves!  We had just time to get home, offload debris, catch our breath, and go back out to a meeting.  Additionally, there was the anxiety of Frosty having one of his bad spells.  We managed to get him to take a half tablespoon of corn syrup (a tablespoon being the goal), which proved to be sticky, but not half as sticky as tablespoon of honey.

Ilwaco Community Building

I was surprised how few people showed up other than the mayor, Jenna (president of the merchants association) and the members of the commission.  The seven? citizens who attended, including us and Marlene, enjoyed an excellent presentation.  That is Mayor Gary Forner speaking, in blue, below.

We now have a five day break before next Tuesday’s volunteer crab pot tree decorating session, after which I hope the weather allows us to do one last brief weeding of the Howerton Avenue gardens before Thanksgiving weekend’s tourists arrive.  If it doesn’t get done, that will be sort of ok, as they are not terribly weedy.

What is left on the work board looks much more daunting than it actually is.  (I was so mad that I had not written down “LB berms”, because I robbed myself of the joy of erasing it.)

Most of those locations on the “final check” list will take no more than an hour of work, and in some cases less than an hour.  I estimate that less than eight hours of work, some of it dependent on having a hard frost, stands between us and full staycation and a hiatus (not quite yet) from daily blog posts.


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Monday, 12 November 2019

Skooter wakes up.

After our days of skiving off work for Halloween (but not resting), we buckled down to the fall clean up tasks.

Here is a mystery cat, a photo taken by Allan…somewhere along the way to work.  Unfortunately for me, I missed seeing it.

The Depot Restaurant

It was high time to clip the hops off of the dining deck lattice.  In fact, sous chef Jamie told us that they had just taken in the outdoor seating and had wondered when the hops would be removed.  I do like to stay one step ahead so that no one has to ask us to do things, thus we were just in time.

I trimmed from the outside, while Allan trimmed from the inside.


north side of dining deck


I like to leave some perennials standing.

Allan’s photos:

We cleaned up along the east wall of the restaurant and put some river rock in a low spot where the edging logs got shifted..

Now we wait for a hard frost to take down the window box annuals, and we try to remember to put some water on the window boxes once a week.

north side

still blooming, planted by Roxanne from Basket Case Greenhouse

Long Beach

I started a clean up of the NW quadrant garden, putting in about an hour of work.


Because birds are still enjoying the seeds, I left some tall perennials in place even though I think some passersby will find it messy.

seeds on Solidago ‘Fireworks” and sanguisorba



an hour later



The pale pink hesperantha, either Mrs. Hegarty or Viscountess Byng, is such a runner that we pulled much of it last spring.  A large amount that evaded us has been blooming beautifully in the autumn.  I find that if we pull a massive amount, then about the perfect quantity of blooms remain.

Meanwhile, Allan string trimmed an impossible-to-weed bed (dank, wet, rooty) in the SE quadrant across the street.


There is talk of removing this bed, trees and all.  The trees themselves are not healthy because of the wet soil.

With all that work done, I took this photo, below, and then ate my lunch whilst Allan ran the blower on the pavement.

We drove to Ilwaco and checked on the south garden by the Port of Ilwaco office—still with the cosmos that will not die.

just before sunset

It was not till we got home that Allan realized, while unloading debris, that the string trimmer and rake had been left behind on the bench in Fifth Street Park.  He hared back there.  Before he had arrived, I got a message from Cathy of Captain Bob’s chowder that a Long Beach local had noticed the tools and had alerted Cathy, who was holding them for us in the restaurant.  Whew.  We know other public gardeners who lost some power equipment by leaving it behind and having it gone by the time they returned and looked for it. The next time we saw our rescuer, Allan gave him a tip for saving us some stress and money.

Being home by five meant I had a nice relaxed evening for writing up the Halloween blogs at last.


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Thursday, 1 August 2019

We took Don Nisbett a birthday card and gift certificate to Ilwaco Bakery.

by the port office
in Don’s art gallery

When we stopped back at home for a few minutes, Frosty did not want us to go to work.

We photographed the new paint job on one of Ilwaco’s handsomest houses.

Depot Restaurant

We did our spot watering and deadheading.

Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

Nasturtium ‘Moonlight’ has arranged itself prettily on the lonicera and on the escallonia.

Lower left corner, above, a Nicotiana langsdorfii that reseeded.  I find that exciting.  I later read a Facebook post by Ann Amato that said that nicotianas reseed a lot.  That pleases me.

I liked this lily partly hidden with bamboo.  When I looked again, Allan had trimmed the bamboo so that the lily showed better.

Long Beach

We deadheaded at the welcome sign.

Allan’s photo

We each watered half the planters. I was happy that no one yelled at us that it was going to rain.  Rain was in the forecast, but only for 1/4 inch, not enough to skip watering planters.  Their foliage is too thick for any but the heaviest rain to penetrate.

I tidied the front circle garden of Coulter Park, and a good thing, too.  The memorial plaque was almost lost to a hebe.

I took the hebe branches home to make cuttings.

There really is a plaque in there:

In the northernmost planter, I have a favourite oregano, ‘Hopley’s Purple’.  I have divided it and it is now in almost all of the planters.

I found a note in that planter: Mom dus [does] love me.

“Mom dus love me.” This gave me at least a block worth of poignant thoughts.  As a child, I was never sure my mother did love me.  One of her favorite things to say to me was, “I always said I wanted six boys and if I had a girl, I’d drown her.” Her favorite thing to say to others was, “We liked her until she turned two and learned to say no.” Words like that really make a child wonder. Fortunately for me, I knew my grandmother did love me and, because she was my daily caregiver, I have many happy childhood memories.

Now that my mother has gone, I have figured out that she did love me, in her way. As is so often true, I wish I had figured it out while she was still alive.  She told me in the last years of her life that she was “not a nurturing person”.  Even her plants felt this; if she wanted to plant a shade plant in the sun, she would, and “it could take its chances.”  She confessed that if there had not been societal pressure to be a mother, she would probably have chosen to be childless.  This did not bother me, as an adult, because it made sense of so much. She had recently diagnosed herself with social anxiety disorder and felt that it explained a lot about her life and loneliness.

If only we’d had another year or two, I think we would have had a communication breakthrough. I had tried hard for the breakthrough and then given up. My words to her as I stood in a hospital room with her body, after her second heart attack, were “I’m sorry I didn’t try harder.”

I do wonder what the story is behind the child’s note that I found. Is it as poignant as it seemed to me?

Gardening, especially weeding and watering, is more conducive to pondering and reminiscing than careers that take more mental attention.

Allan’s photos while watering:

miniature rose
Doogers Restaurant is now the Drop Anchor.
Basket Case Greenhouse makes the baskets for the town.
The Fifth Street Park pond had been cleaned.

Allan pulled bindweed from the shady back corner of Fifth Street Park’s SE quadrant while I weeded other areas.

ivy on the Benson’s Restaurant side

Even though English Ivy is a noxious weed here, it is not our place to remove it from the fence on the edge of this park.

rudbeckia in the sunny NE quadrant (Allan’s photos)


I had been going to skip watering the boatyard garden because of the rain forecast.  However, I had kept checking the weather and found the amount was being changed from 1/4 inch to 1/10 inch and then just to occasional showers.  Better to water anyway than have to come back out on a weekend day off.

One of the boat owners agreed with me that the chance of rain looked slim and that “we might just get a bit of mist.”

The job was not unproductive.  I managed to pull a lot of grass back and out from the inside of the fence while wielding the hose.

Meanwhile, Allan watered the street trees and planters and lent his tire jack to two women from Azure Salon who had a flat tire.

in a planter (Allan’s photo)

We did dare to skip watering the volunteer gardens at the post office and fire station, hoping for rain.  Otherwise, we would be back out with a hose on the weekend.

at home

Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’ and lilies
Echinops and lilies

I was thrilled to see my Angelica gigas in bloom.

It certainly did not feel like rain.

Now for three days off.  Tomorrow, the door to my room will open and Jazmin will simply have to deal with the world of the rest of the house and the two other cats.

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Friday, 1 March 2019

With midmorning weather a bit warmer than predicted, we headed out for a big rose pruning job in Long Beach.

On the way, I requested a sudden parking stop so I could pull a lopsided woody old Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ from an Ilwaco planter.

In Fifth Street Park, Allan pruned the good, healthy, floriferous Super Dorothy climbing rose in the SW quadrant while I pruned the pitiful, mildew-prune Dorothy Perkins in the NW quadrant.




Allan kindly wheeled the trailer over as if it were a wheelbarrow and picked up my pile of rose canes while I went on to pull loads of hesperantha (new name for schizostylis), a roving perennial that I loathe in spring and love when it blooms well into autumn.

After pulling loads of hesperantha, a tiresome task

Allan’s photos from his pruning:

Before dumping our full load of thorny debris, we took a break for delicious crab rolls at Captain Bob’s Chowder, conveniently located right behind the park.

At City Works, Allan bucketed up some river rocks to finish off the edge of the Heron Pond.

On the way home, we parked at Ilwaco’s First and Main intersection, where Allan yanked out four more old Erysimum.

Ilwaco planter clean up is on the work list. I am waiting to trim back the small perennials because we are supposed to have nights down to 28 degrees through early next week.

My great big plan is to replace the Erysimums with plants so drought tolerant that Allan will only have to water them once a week instead of every three days. Because of a limited budget, I am thinking of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Strawberries and Cream’, which I can get for free out of my own garden. I am a bit concerned that the deer will graze on them and that they will look bad for a little while after I give them their Chelsea Chop. A bonus is that they won’t need deadheading.

Perhaps some citizens will be grumpy that the planters might be less interesting than they were with purple-spiked Erysimum. I am reminded of the time when a local group (of ladies) informed me they would like to take on the Ilwaco planters so that all would match with the same plants (tricky when plants get stolen. Or chomped by deer). I responded sincerely that I would be thrilled to pass the planters on to them, and that they would need to take on watering them as well, with thirty five gallon buckets of water every three days. (This was before we had the water trailer.) I never heard another word about that volunteer plan.

I myself was grumpy (again) earlier this week when I heard that someone who had offered to “volunteer” on the Long Beach planters had been overheard to say that the planters did not “look nice.” To be honest, it hurts me feelers.

He was probably referring to the beach approach planters. We have already had a quick look at them in February (a drive by) during which I saw some empty holes where we had planted sea thrifts last autumn.

I look forward to three years from now seeing what someone else (whoever replaces us when we semi-retire) does with those planters. Meanwhile, I have little patience for the complainers because we are doing our absolute best with the situation. It is not my place to organize the bureaucratic rigamarole involved with allowing volunteer work, but it would be interesting even now to see how long a volunteer would take to become disheartened out on the beach approach.

When we got home, I was able to erase two items from the work board.

I opened a package that had come in the mail from old Seattle friends Maggie and Susan and found a lovely edition of a book, which I happily perused over my cup of Builders Tea. They had been thinning out their books and had thought of me.

We look forward to taking the weekend off. I hope that by next week the nights warm up to above freezing; as soon as that happens, the private gardens that need clipping back will each get a visit.

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