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Posts Tagged ‘garden sheds’

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Gardens, Sea and Art tour

presented by the WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties

Ocean Shores

garden two: Living Rooms

In the front garden, ivy and honeysuckle had been trimmed around some sort of pre-existing structure, but neither Allan nor I found out for sure what it was.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Oh but wait! Here is a before photo!

Before photos are always appreciated.

On the other side of the honeysuckle sculpture, a small pond was screened against raccoons.

Down the side of the house to the back garden…

back deck

decorated shed

Allan’s photo

Sit spots abound in this garden.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Kilyn followed these footprints…

…but did not find a bear.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

In the way back corner, we found a playhouse and a campfire circle with a useful grill…

…and a space for games. Kilyn looked through the back gate and said it was a place to put debris, something gardeners wonder about.

Allan’s photo

Just like Kilyn, I always look for the hidden areas that show how the garden works, where the compost is and where the debris goes and the empty flower pots are stored.

We found a greenhouse.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo – Just take this bucket to where you’re working to always have the right tool nearby.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

This may be a memory garden for a tuxedo cat:

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

On the shady side of the house…

And we emerge into the front garden again.

Allan’s photo

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For clarity in these prequels, I’m going to call our OLD Tangly Cottage garden the Spring Street garden (and our new garden since autumn 2010 is the Lake Street garden).

1996

Orson loved to bask on the big rock above the pond.

Orson on his rock, 1996

Orson on his rock, 1996

He loved basking in general.  His fur would bleach to brown in the summer.

my twenty-pounder

my twenty-pounder

Looking north (below) from the backside of the pond, you could still see across to the neighbour’s garage and hill opposite, a view that would soon start to disappear as the garden grew. I always wished the previous owners had planted those columnar trees closer together, which is just what they themselves said one time when they came to visit.

by the pond, '96

by the pond, ’96

Below, Orson snoozing on the wicker chaise lounge which I had no room for in the tiny house. I had bought this item for Carol to have her own telly and reading space when she lived with me and Wilum in Seattle, and now it was to molder away outside.

a sad eventual fate for a nice wicker piece

a sad eventual fate for a nice wicker piece

pond in May '96 with rhodos in bloom

pond in May ’96 with rhodos in bloom

I felt we were not making much progress with our own garden, being so busy with work.

Orson by the little rivulet that ran from the pond.

Orson by the little rivulet that ran from the pond.

pond '96, still quite wild

pond ’96, still quite wild (although the irises were new)

In ’96, we started making concrete garden paths with a plastic pattern called Rock’n’Mold that we had got at the garden show. It made faux-paving stone paths; below, looking toward the house is the first section we made by mixing concrete in a wheelbarrow. We urgently needed hardscape paths because in winter the grass paths were so muddy that our feet would sink in to shoetop level. With the going back and forth to Seattle (a four and a half hour trip each way with the ferry) we did not get any further than this strip of path in summer 1996.

the first strip of path

the first strip of path

1997

The tiny cottage was finally coming together, helped enormously by Robert having enclosed the front porch in winter ’95.  In winter ’96 he finished the trim and I had some bookshelves at last and room to acquire a desk (even though in the photo below, I’m still using the window area to pile stuff.)

a new room, '97

a new room, ’97

bookshelvesIt was a tiny house, so tiny.  I had bookshelves now and had been able to unpack my books, but over the years the damp air did them no good.  We replaced the scary big old propane stove with a fancy new one, but every time the wind blew the pilot light went out; the manufacturer suggested disconnecting the safety feature, but that idea did not appeal to me.  Oh well, I spent most of the time outside anyway!

stove

stove

I read books about Tiny Houses for inspiration.

tiny

tiny

lower path

lower path

In our own garden, we were working hard on the Rock’n’Mold paths with the aid of a home sized cement mixer from Costco.

Our Tangly Cottage sign, made by our friend John (who had been a renter in the cottage when we bought it in ’94) was getting framed by climbers.

at the lower gate

at the lower gate

I took the photo of the sign with ‘Bobbie James’ rose that would become our logo and avatar:

Tangly Cottage sign

Tangly Cottage sign

Making the paths helped define the lower garden.  Below, I had dug out a little pond at the bottom of the garden over the winter to collect water run off from the big pond.

lower pond

lower pond

Below, Lower garden, 1997, with paths. It looks so perfect, but the path idea was not one I would recommend. Despite using landscape fabric underneath, weeds got into every crack. By 2008 I had replaced almost all these paths with gravel and used the cement pavers for making low walls. Only toward the end of the project did Robert and I figure out that you could pour the concrete and then just stamp the pattern on the top of it, thus elimated those pesky weedy cracks.

lower garden summer '97

lower garden spring ’97

Below:  The twig arbours in the lower garden, midsummer 1997. Around this time, our truck’s tie rod completely broke…a very big problem. We bought a Voyager van which turned out to be a complete lemon and plagued us with repairs and crises for the rest of the year.

arbours

arbours

Meanwhile, the upper garden paths and the lower gardens paths had a long way to go to meet in the middle of the garden which was still undeveloped.  The enormous spruce tree two third of the way down daunted me.  Oddly, when I first looked at the property in spring of  ’94, I had been so entranced by the pond I had not even noticed the monster tree!

upper garden path 1997

upper garden path spring 1997

1998

In winter of ’97-’98, I messed around with river rock around the pond.  Why do we always think that a look like this will last?

river rock

river rock by the pond overflow stream

It was always very pretty when I cleaned up fallen leaves and weeds, but never again looked as perfect as this…

We started to come up the north side of the garden into the middle section.  The shrubs on the north side had still not filled in enough to hide the neighbour’s house.

north middle path

north middle path, spring ’98

Here’s the view  from our upper back yard across to the trailer park two houses away. The hill was still clothed in trees; this would change within a couple of years.

RV park view

RV park view

Throughout all my years in this garden, deer kept breaking in despite our best fencing efforts.

another break in!

another break in!

May 1998:  Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose starting to cover the old trailer in our garden.  I had spray painted the trailer green with Rustoleum.

Rose of May

Roses of May

view from loft window, May 1998

view from loft window, May 1998: middle path finally done!

mej9

J9 and me, 1998

Our friend J9 came to visit us and took this photo of me by our new garden shed that Robert had built over the winter.  We had been in a hurry to get it built before the city council changed the setback law for commercial property.  (Our lots were zoned commercial.)  It got built in time to sit right on the property line instead of five feet back.

the purple shed, summer '98

the purple shed, summer ’98

I wrote on the shed wall: “This used to be among my prayers, a piece of land not so very large, which would contain a garden, near the house, a spring of everflowing water, and beyond these, a bit of woods”, which perfectly described our property with its spring fed pond and the woods by the dirt road that ran along the south side.

street side of the purple shed

 

front door, early summer '98

front door, early summer ’98

My friend Elissa (a former Moby Dick innkeeper) and I found a tiny feral kitten in Long Beach and I brought her home.  I named her Madeline (“The stars are God’s daisy chain”) to go with our dog, Bertie Woofter.

Maddie as a kitten

Maddie as a kitten

I thought Orson would be pleased, as he had been fond of our orange cat Valene, she who had gone missing while we were at Shakti Cove Cottages.  I was terribly wrong, and he sulked up in the loft for most of the winter.

Maddie  by the front window

Maddie by the front window

I have only once mentioned the fact that we had rescued parakeets; the first two needed a home, then one would die, the other would be lonely, we would get another, and so on. Robert had turned one of our windows into this aviary, but Maddie (unlike the more placid Orson) was so obsessed with the birds that we found better homes for them where they had more room to fly.

goodbye to the birds

goodbye to the birds

Having her cling to the wire of the cage must have been unsettling for them.

While this journal skims over most of the personal events, I should say (so it won’t be a big shock later) that signs of discontent were brewing in my personal life.    But by the end of 1998, Robert said that, as a former welder, he thought he could make garden art from rebar with oxygen and acetyline tanks, so we got some…(more on his wonderful projects soon).  I hoped that a major creative outlet of his own would make him happy at last.  His first creation, at the end of 1998, were twin arbours to replace the rotting twig ones in the lower garden.  He felt they were rough and unsatisfactory but I loved them (as did the man who bought the cottage and garden from me in 2011).

Robert's rebar arbours, lower garden

Robert’s rebar arbours, lower garden

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Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle:  favourite scenes

These are not the best photos, all being pre-digital and with a disposable camera (which was the easiest way to take photos of the garden show without being weighed down).    But they do help me remember the designs that spoke to me the strongest during these years.

I had missed all but a couple of hours of the show in ’91 because I was preoccupied with the Federal Building protest, in ’92 because I was ill from a miscarriage that week, had missed ’93 and ’94 because of the Sou’wester job.  I think we had gone in ’95 and stayed at Bryan’s rented house in West Seattle.

I usually attended 18 seminars, and took notes through every one.  Some day I hope to go through all my notebooks and type up the best of what I learned.  I hope a lot of it sunk in!  Hrm, typing my notes into this blog would be a great project for next winter.

1996

In February 1996, Bryan drove to the beach, picked me up and drove me to Seattle during a time of much flooding in Pacific County, Grays Harbor, and the Chehalis area. Just after we got through Chehalis the freeway went underwater and Robert, who did not enjoy attending seminars, was unable to drive up for three days.  This began a tradition of me going to the garden show by myself.

dripping rocks

dripping rocks

rock wall

rock wall

patio made of recycled materials

patio made of recycled materials

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

sod table and chair (adorable!!)

sod table and chair (adorable!!)

Rapunzel's tower

Rapunzel’s tower

 

1997

This moss-scape made me realize I should qui removing the moss from the huge rock by our pond and just let it be green!

This moss-scape made me realize I should qui removing the moss from the huge rock by our pond and just let it be green!

teapot

teapot

green roof.  I still do not have one....

green roof. I still do not have one….

mysterious door

mysterious door

1998

Bryan had gotten married, so I took the train from Kelso and stayed with my old friend Carol in Ballard, an arrangement which turned into a fun yearly event for the next seven years.

I think this garden was designed by Dan Hinkley.

I think this garden was designed by Dan Hinkley.

large water feature

large water feature

garden shed

garden shed

bridge and stream

bridge and stream

fence with old tools

fence with old tools

1999

I went to the garden show in 1999 and stayed at Carol’s, but did not take photos for this year or the next couple of years because the show for awhile provided video tours of the display gardens.

video tour of the display gardens!

video tour of the display gardens!

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approaching the garden

Standing in the driveway we could glimpse a lovely garden…

just outside the garden

…but to the right we saw and could not resist this boardwalk.  On one side a spur path ended mysteriously in beach grass; on the other, hostas were planted against the house.

boardwalk of mystery

The boardwalk segued into a gravel path and as it came round the side of the house…Ah, paradise.

paradise

When I saw the garden’s decorative touches I felt I had found a gardening soul mate.  Did I not have an old door of exactly this same faded red in my own garden (but without the clever sign).

To Life Boats

Every detail of the garden spoke to me.

gate and sit spot

Between garden beds and house a moss lawn grew in full sun.  I overheard the gardener telling other tour-goers (in left hand photo, to the right)that it was hard to grow the moss in full sun, but she had determination.

moss lawn

The back edge of the garden overlooked a swampy lake.  I wanted to sit on the red bench and talk plants with my sister gardener.

red bench with a view

Looking toward the house I realized that the cluster of other tour goers were acquaintances of mine from the Peninsula.  We all schmoozed for awhile but I was sort of glad when they meandered off and I could talk to the gardener with just her, me, and Allan!

garden tour-goers

I told her how much I liked the way the more casual area around the garden shed  flowed into the intensively planted beds near the house.

garden shed

A more private area at the corner of the house lay behind this magical gate which she said she and her spouse had constructed.

geared up gate

Well designed plantings afforded glimpses from here and there toward the central gazebo.

gazebo glimpse

The garden looked delightful from every angle.

different views

We expressed admiration for her garden, so perfect in every detail.

details

I even mentioned (I hope not in a scary way) my thought that she and I were soulmates in gardening style and gave her my card with email address and phone number.  She told us she sometimes visited the Peninsula and I said I would love her to come see my garden…which after all was looking really good that summer.  She looked a little more alternative and less polished than the very uspcale couple from the first garden…still glossier than me, but I could imagine us being friends.  Perhaps because I so missed the days when my friend Sheila had lived on the peninsula, I had high hopes for the fun and camaraderie of a new gardening friend.  I had not met anyone since Sheila who loved a spontaneous trip to a nursery (and who didn’t too much mind doing the driving while I paid for the gas).

gate

We left the garden with a last admiring look at another vignette of a unique gate backed with Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.

I didn’t wait by the phone like someone lovelorn after a first date.  (I didn’t even check my cell phone for missed calls.)  For a few days I felt a frisson of hope when I checked my email but it was not to be.  I did not pine away but I do wish she had walked with me once through my garden.  I think in its way, in the summer of 2008, it was as good as hers, and I think she would have liked it.

I have never found a dreamy block to live on like that one in Gearhart where one would always have ready made gardener friends and gardens to visit back and forth.  From the first formal garden to the last cottagy and whimsical one this block in Gearhart was paradise indeed.

[2013 update:  In 2012 I finally made a gardening friend on my block in Ilwaco, Judy, whose political views and sense of humour also mesh well with mine!]

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