Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Friday, 27 January 2023

at home

My shoes show how muddy yesterday’s garden was.

We’d had some rain.

I finished emptying compost bin four and got all the uncomposted material piled precariously onto bin three, thus achieving three empty bins. I slid some of the worms down the narrow back opening (due to poorly fitting lid) of the plastic kitchen compost bin, where they will find tastier food to eat.

I got some more rough compost for the woodsy south end of the garden. The one full load was so heavy that I took some in buckets on the rollator, lightening the barrow before moving it. Great news, my balance is now good enough that I can move wheelbarrows without either asking for help or transporting all the contents via rollator buckets.

Bin four, empty! The smaller bin five is 3/4 full of leaves.

Here is bin three from my west window a few days later, after I had added more fresh clippings from some winter clean up.

I can think of few views as delightful as my compost bins.

Allan helped me move a Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ from where I wanted to put a larger showpiece…

..to its new home next to the deep swale. (Note new name for the deep end of the bridged swale, which is not the same as the Deep Path.)

In its place, I planted a young Salix aquatic ‘Gigantea Korso’, a willow with an interesting story, from Forest Farm.

Highly ornamental, particularly in spring when its very early catkins emerge a pretty, soft pink before turning silver, then the anthers make their wonderful golden-orange appearance, this large (to 50′) tree developed in Sweden features bright chartreuse spring leaves, the ‘Gigantea’ part of its name comes from its enormous 8-10″ leaves; when coppiced every few years, the branches are often used for baskets, furniture and firewood; it looks very elegant planted by waterside.” (Forest Farm’s description.) I also read that it was developed because its rapid growth makes a lot of biofuel.

I picture a tall and big leaved willow as a view blocker just to the left of the new bridge, with a new Salix magnifica (not yet planted) to the right (where the yellow shovel handle is):

I also did some smoothing and refinement of the edge of the seasonal stream.

Nearby, my very dark burgundy chaenomeles is just starting to bud. I got it from Cistus years ago after seeing it in their display garden. It’s a gorgeous rich colour that blooms for a long time in early spring. I wish I remembered its cultivar name.

Chaenomeles (Japanese flowering quince)

Next to that, a young Garrya elliptical ‘James Roof’ is showing some “silk tassels” (the shrub’s common name).

In the front garden, another apricot scented hamamelis is in full bloom…

…and an Iris unguiculara is just coming on.

Grevillea victoriae has been budded for a few weeks and the flowers are finally fully opening.

And a double white hellebore blooms in Allan’s garden. i

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Saturday, 23 July 2022

WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific County present:

We entered down a long driveway…

…and were greeted by the gardeners, family members, and a cute, soft and friendly dog.

To the right was the kitchen garden.

In the back garden, we found lots of sit spots, shady shelters, homes and water for birds, flowers for pollinators, and a rustic greenhouse and shed.

The garden was chock full of the gardeners’ creativity and humor. I observed guests enjoying the signs.

I’d have liked to spend more time with that darling dog, but we had four more gardens to see.

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Saturday, 23 July 2022

Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties present:

In a neighborhood near Aberdeen, we toured a garden with the spectacular feature of ancient tree stumps overgrown with native plants and shrubs. Fascinating. The huge landscape is surrounded on two or three sides by woodland.

This was another garden that was easy to navigate with a rollator, maybe something all gardeners should think about, as we all get old if we’re lucky, and most of us know or will know someone with walking disabilities. As always with a very large garden, and with two people taking photos, we are not completely sure that the progression of our walk is entirely in the right sequence. We have included some of the text of a handout that was given to tour guests.

The entryway had some bright annuals added.

As we entered the former home of giant trees, the look became more woodsy and naturalistic. We applaud the garden owners for preserving the giant tree stumps.

Allan noticed this clever signage that shows what the garden looks like in its autumn finery.

We came upon a vertical strawberry patch and kitchen garden along the back fence.

Allan found this clever usage of a tire to protect the faucet from damage.

We walked through the behind the house garden to another large area surrounded by woods.

The signs told us that we could not wander off into the woods, tempting though those paths were.

Back to the start

The garden most definitely had lived up to its tranquil name.

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Saturday, 23 July 2022

Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties present:

Our first garden was in Montesano, a town just east of Aberdeen. The home is next to Vessey and Sons contractors and its work yard full of big trucks. How enviable to have such a great source of wonderful rocks (which we assumed, perhaps correctly, were sourced by the Vesseys). As Allan and I tour together, we notice similar and different things.

As always, the tour program is a keepsake booklet with each garden getting two pages.
Each garden got this nice sign as a memento.

This was my first foray into rollator touring. I’ve been in many gardens where it would have been a struggle to get through with such a device. This one was a dream to start out in, very easy to navigate.

A place to show painted rocks

The front garden is a parklike setting with shrubs and trees and beautiful rocks with pools of bright annuals.

The front entry garden with annual accents segues into a flawless lawn with massive boulders in the center.

Spectacular and enviable boulders!

At the front of the house, annual color brightens up the weedless beds.

Walk through to back yard

The back garden is set up for entertaining in sun or shade.

A shed with a garage door like this would be ever so useful to us!

The business work yard also has landscaping.

This was the only Montesano garden on the tour. We were now off to Aberdeen, a city that I love. We saw some wonderful old houses as we drove west through Montesano, and I wish we had stopped to photograph them, but the lure of garden touring was too strong to allow for getting sidetracked.

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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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Monday, 7 March, 2022

The Red Barn

We made our first visit to cut back perennials and to weed. Disney was well pleased to get one biscuit, take it away and hide it, get another half…although just half was rather disappointing…but not as disappointing as not getting a third. We had to save some for other dogs!


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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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Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Port of Ilwaco

Ilwaco boatyard

We returned to the boatyard to finish up, including a bit more ceanothus pruning, considerable digging up of Pennisetum macrourum (beautiful but too much of a runner) and the shearing of the huge patch of P. macrourum at the south end (too too much for us old folks to dig up.)


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First notice: Folks who subscribe via email, I apologize for the inconvenience but we are going to start using the “read more” button because of…reasons. This means you can’t read the entire post in email anymore, and will have to click through to the site. I hope it won’t cause you any trouble or stop you from reading. It should still be readable on your smartphone through your web browser.Also, please, let me know if it works; is the content under the read more button hidden until you click?

Sunday, 13 February 2022

This morning, a blue wall appeared over the crab pots next door. Last summer, we had a back drop of uncovered crab pots with colorful floats inside. I like the blue tarp wall also. It speaks to me of living in a working class town instead of the kind of place where you see fancy blue painted stucco walls.


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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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