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Posts Tagged ‘gardens’

Sunday, 11 February 2018

We decided to work on the downtown Long Beach planters and street trees.  I had big ideas that we would also get to the Anchorage Cottages garden and then get rugosa roses cut down in the beach approach garden by the arch.

As I began with the southernmost planters, Robert (wasband and former co-gardener) bicycled up and we had an interesting chat, reminiscing about our friend Lily who died some years ago of ALS.

Robert

My mission was to trim back any Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ still standing and to clip santolina hard so it will make a nice round ball instead of getting rangy.

before

after; this planter has too much of a boring little hardy geranium but is not one I plant to re-do.

crocuses in a planter

crocuses and an iris reticulata

santolinas, before

an after from across the street, because I forgot…

before

after

Would be huge escallonias that we cut back hard by the pet shop last fall are leafing out:

anemone

After clipping and tidying in eight planters and three trees, I re-joined Allan who had been working on a difficult tree garden that whole time.

before, with an unfortunate batch of rugosa roses

Those roses reseeded into there, and I thought, years ago, how cute, and let one or two stems bloom.  Oh, what a mistake…and yet it does look pretty when blooming in summer.

after; unfortunately, the roses will come back.

after; will this be the year we prevail?

I notice every time I come to a clump of narcissi and find flower stalks picked.  (Deer are not the culprits here, although they might be with tulips.)

Why not leave ALL the flowers for all the people to enjoy?

It was not a pleasant weather day, with wind that became increasingly strong and cold.

not feeling comfortable

Another street tree job by Allan:

before

after (the stems are a hardy fuchsia)

In another tree, we worked on eliminated all but two corners of Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’; I planted too much of it way back when I had a low budget, and it was free (for good reason).

before

after

sidewalk display at The Wooden Horse gift shop

In the last two blocks, the wind was much colder and stronger.  We were determined to finish.

We cut back these chrysanthemums, with foliage undamaged because of our mild winter.

Allan cut down the other two escallonias that are crowded into a planter.

before

after

I came along behind him and trimmed those green santolinas hard.

At home, I was able to erase the Long Beach downtown planters from the work board, and added the Pop Outs (little gardens on Ocean Beach Boulevard).

There may be a reader who is wondering when Kite Museum will appear on the work board.  It finally got added on Feb. 14th!

It took hours after work to finally feel warm again.

 

 

 

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Friday, 12 January 2018 

From my chair, written on my iPad, and inspired by Ian Whitcomb (see my previous post) to blather on a bit more than usual. 

I made it out to water in my greenhouse, the furthest I have gotten into the garden since picking bouquets for Allan’s party on January 2nd.  

The rain gauges showed the rainfall that has made staying indoors for the past week not too frustrating. 

Skooter accompanied me. 

Bulb foliage is emerging in the new window boxes. 

I hope I will be well enough to cut back the epimediums soon. Positive thinking: I will be. 

The fern that Todd gave Allan for his birthday:

I think back to that glorious January 2nd birthday and how wonderful it was to surprise Allan with a bigger party than he had expected. I remember how healthy and energetic I felt (little knowing I would be felled by shingles less than two days later) and how well chuffed I was to have managed, with the help of friends, to organize such a splendid shindig.

 I thought about how once a friend had sternly told me that no one should have a potluck party; it simply was not the thing to do, and no party should be held unless one could pull off a dinner worthy of Martha Stewart. She was not joking. I secretly thought, “Okay then, you won’t be invited to my 60th birthday.”  That conversation was the moment when I knew the friendship was doomed by a class difference too wide to cross. She was too rich for my blood. Something about the conversation disheartened me enough that I  later solved the 60th year party problem by decamping to the Sylvia Beach Hotel five days. 

Not only did I need to surprise Allan with potluck items for his big 65th (or he would have realized how big the party was going to be), but… working class people have potlucks and that is just the way it is. 

After Allan’s party, I kept thinking of people I wish I could have invited. My criteria was to invite people who have invited  us into their homes. I figured that then the invitation would be a pleasure and not a burden.  But I am sure I forgot some. I also forgot to give a shout out to J9’s party helper business, Have Tux, Will Travel.  As a guest, she slipped into party help mode, including washing up, and made everything easier. I also forgot to make a little fuss of celebration at the party that it was the 12th anniversary to the day of Allan moving here. 

My next big party plan is for July 2009, which will mark the 25th anniversary of when I moved to the town of Ilwaco.  That can be a garden party. 

Today, once I returned from my very brief foray outside, I settled in with an interlibrary loan. 

Here’s a clear shot of the cover. 


I had discovered this garden while on a walk home from a Capitol Hill housecleaning job to my home in Greenwood in the late 1980s.  I used to walk miles between work and home. Sometimes a two hour walk would be faster than taking three buses and would be a way to discover wonderful places. I nosed around the hillside garden, not sure if I were really allowed to be there, and visited it several times, without ever meeting the owners, before I left Seattle in December 1992. Recently, I saw that the garden was to be featured on a (very expensive) Pacific Horticulture garden tour weekend. Recognizing it by one photo, I learned its actual name and found its website, at streissguthgardens.com. (The website seems to be down as I write this so I can’t link to it yet.) 

You can read more about it here.  And here.

The beginning of the gardens is the perfect story of gardening neighbors:


I have sort of an obsession with gardening neighbors, especially after finding a chapter on that topic in the book Gardening from the Heart: Why Gardeners Garden. 


I have longed for the glory of a gardening neighbor and never quite got there. Once I thought I had, with someone nearby but not quite next door. I was wrong, and it was deeply disappointing. I have felt envious when touring garden neighbors’ adjoining paradises on garden tours in Portland and Aberdeen.

Back to the Streissguth gardens.  I enjoyed reading about gardening on a hillside of blue clay, as parts of my previous Ilwaco garden was like that.  I had had no idea of the battle to save the hillside from development.  The solution of donating their garden to the city was genius and so admirable. 


I appreciate their use of human powered tools. 

One of the principles of the Streissguth Gardens that strongly speaks to me : “a good garden and its house should be a gift to its neighbors.”

Those of you who live in or visit Seattle, do visit this garden and send me some photos, if you would be so kind. 

The last time I visited the garden, still not knowing its name, was with a friend in July of 2003. Not even sure if I could find it again, we drove Capitol Hill streets until we came upon it from above. 

Here are my photos from that afternoon. 

Looking down the hill to the garages at the bottom of the garden: That may have been one of the garden owners. We didn’t chat as she seemed very busy in the vegetable garden (and I was shy).


Looking to the north side into the private part of the garden, well described in the book. 




Down by the old garages at the base of the hill:


The damp areas by the pond that catches water run off:

The beauty of a hillside garden:

The friend I was with, lost now in the mists of time, was not a gardener and could not understand my rapture over the garden. I’m glad I took photos anyway (before digital camera) and wish I had taken more.

Back in 2018, I finished the day of a convalescent with a suspense novel. Quite good, and set in the wild forests of Oregon. 


While I’ve been immersed in books, our friends Scott and Tony visited Oysteville,  and Tony took this photo of THE Oysteville garden. 

Photo by Tony Hofer

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In real time, we interrupt the narrative flow to wish those of you who celebrate Christmas a happy day.  The blog still running five days behind is keeping it from going on winter hiatus.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

I had a late start because of getting a solid eight hours of sleep for the first time in awhile.  By noon, the weather looked to be a windless 45 degrees and I decided I would do some weeding.

the rain gauge from last night

Skooter on the roof

Frosty was watching Skooter from below the arbour.

Frosty went up to the cat door platform and they exchanged looks.

This is part of Skooter’s route to and from the roof:

I clipped some catmint in the front garden.  That must have released some scent; all of a sudden both Skooter and Frosty converged upon it.

I thought to myself that I had made a mistake in leaving the much less sunny front yard for weeding now.  I’d be warmer if I had done the front garden during the milder days and saved the sunny south side for chilly days.

so much warmer back here where I already weeded

In Allan’s garden, a tall mahonia catches the sun.

In the front garden, east side, the big libertia is all of a sudden on the move.  I will dig up these smaller ones and take them to the droughty gardens at the port.  I might also remove the rather tatty large one and replace with a smaller one or replant somewhere in the back garden.

In different areas, I have four large swathes of epimedium that should be sheared back so the early flowers show.  Googling tells me I can and maybe should wait till February.

pieris backed with epimedium

OH, I see something that might interest Mr. Tootlepedal.

I don’t know much about such things, but that must be a lichen or a fungus…Maybe a lichen IS a fungus.  I am uninformed.  With a hardy fuchsia for good measure.

I was glad to be in the front garden when Seaside gardener Pam drove by, on her way to the port with her mom, Harriet. They stopped for a brief visit.

Pam and Harriet

After they left, I began weeding the shady part of the garden.  It wasn’t as hard as I had thought it would be.  My hands stopped hurting from the cold and I made great progress.

shady front garden, before

The bed to the right was a solid groundcover mass of baby dwarf fireweeds that peeled off in sheets.

Billardia longiflora

Billardia longiflora berries

As the sun set, I could feel the ground starting to freeze and the weeding became slightly more difficult.

after, with hands to cold to pick up the last of the debris

I went indoors at dusk. After hearing the sounds of raking, I looked out the front window. I do think that Allan had raked this path.

I was able to erase the front middle and east beds from the work list, especially since I downgraded the heading from “good weeding” to just weeding.  Now I can think about whether or not I am going to get a big pile of mulch.  (The problem with said big pile is that it will block the garage.)

Skooter had worn himself out with his roof escapades and/or a catmint high.  (Catmint, Nepeta, is not the same as catNIP.  It doesn’t make cats as high as catnip does for some, but they still enjoy it in a mild way.)

naptime

I got a most pleasing Christmas card from Jo and Bob, who you might remember as former clients of ours till they moved away last year.  I loved seeing their new house, on a lake.

Longtime blog followers may like to see this.

And I got teary-eyed over this photo of my good friend Coco.  I miss all three of them!

lovable Coco!

Tonight: The treat of the season finale of Survivor and some more Black Cat Bookshop mystery.

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Monday, 18 December 2017

At the Ilwaco Post Office, Allan delivered our card:

inside, Allan’s sketch

He saw a cute dog waiting outside:

The postal staff told him that this is the busiest day of the year.  In our small town, we have to get our mail at the post office (no home delivery).  I remember in Seattle that the busy holidays would have lines out the door.

busiest day

We all have to go there for our mail. They should get more than two cards!

When the rain stopped in the early afternoon, I went outside with the intention of raking some of last year’s debris out of the garden and chopping it into the compost bins.

We’d had this much rain.

After deposting a wheelbarrow load of debris into a compost bin, I was inspired to dig up an ornamental grass that was now languishing in the west bed too close to Leycesteria ‘Jealousy’.

I gave that up for a moment and decided to move a pink and white old rose that had become lost and invisible in the middle of the bed.

This particular old rose, maybe Rosa ‘Mundi’ used to live at the Wiegardt Gallery, a former job of ours (that is now handled by Todd, brother of artist Eric Wiegardt).  I removed the rose from the gallery for two reasons.  First, the deer discovered that garden so every year the rose got eaten to a nub.  Second, I planted it when the building was pink, and the rose color did not go with the latest gallery color, a pale sort of pea green.

Back when the gallery was pink and blue:

In 2007 or so, the gallery became a sort of faint purplish colour (not lavender) that still worked with the pink theme.

In 2009, it became a pale green and most of the pink theme did not look right anymore.

So the sad deer-chomped rose came home to live with me.

Now it has been moved to a spot where some gold Helenium and gold foliage shrubs are no doubt going to clash with the pink and white flowers.  I can pick the roses for bouquets if the combination is too painful.  This placement will enable me to watch the rose for rampant blackspot and to decide if it is worth keeping.

new home for a rose (where the soil is most ruched up)

Allan walked out the back door just when I was heading into the garage for the heavy pick to get out the big grass.  Lucky me, unlucky Allan.  He agreed to help me by hoiking out the grass and digging out two clumps of boring orange daylily and one big clump of grass infested shasta daisies.

An extra tall Boltonia asteroides went into the middle of the bed. The grass went toward the north edge of the garden, in the hole the boltonia came out of,  to balance another white and green variegated grass. A bit of shasta daisy went where the daylily came out, and Allan helped me do a better job of standing up the columnar apple I had transplanted into the west garden bed not long ago.

before

after

It was a tremendously satisfying work session and solved several problems that had been bothering me all summer.

After dark, which comes at 4:30 now, I read the shortest book of my reading year:

At 31 pages, this darling book is to be a gift for Dave and Melissa (who I am sure don’t read this blog, so don’t spill the beans).  They have a nice flock of chickens.  I read Lovgreen’s book in the 1970s and have always remembered its charm.

I have requested her memoir, As Far As I Can Remember, via interlibrary loan.

In 1982, I visited a friend who was renting a small house on Bainbridge Island.  Imagine my amazement and thrill when it turned out to be Minnie’s old house.  How I wish I had taken pictures of the house and landscape… Those were the days when film was precious and blogging was a thing of the far future.

All I have to show of that day is this photo of me and my significant other, Bryan, sitting in Minnie’s house.

1982

Today, in the evening, Allan wrapped all the presents.  He does a good, neat job.  My wrapped presents come out like bundles.  Some friends found this endearing, or so they said; this year, only Montana Mary got the bundled style of wrapping.

I can now show you how perfectly the little truck I got at NIVA green goes with a Christmas card from The Card Lady.

Tomorrow, much excitement awaits because we will go to see the new Star Wars movie with Dave and Melissa.

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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Finally, I got eight hours of sleep.  Unfortunately, after being up till all hours watching meteors, that meant a late start to the weeding day.

In the front garden, I partially weeded the beds from east to west in order to plant crocuses, so I can count those beds as almost done.

If I had not clipped a lot of Geranium ‘Rozanne’ in Long Beach town, I bet it would still be blooming there like it is in my garden.  This summer weather in winter is surprising.  Usually, my blog would be on a partial winter hiatus now because of inactivity.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ in mid December

a stand of borage still covered with stars of blue flowers

You can float the blue flowers on a soup or use them in salads.  Just carefully pull the blue stars off the fuzzy part.

Today was a bit chillier and slightly more seasonal. Skooter helped me again.

between me and my crocuses

With the front garden packed with new crocuses, I returned to weeding the west bed so that I could plant some down the center there.  Allan walked by at just the right moment (for me, probably the wrong moment for him), and I asked him to remove a nest of Solidago ‘Fireworks’ mixed with rampant creeping buttercup.  If he had not, I would have run out of daylight and been unable to erase “west bed” from the weeding list.

creeping buttercup mess, before (Allan’s photo)

Skooter (Allan’s photo)

Once I broke up the dug up mass of this medium height clumping goldenrod, I ended up with a surprising amount of good clumps that I can plant around Long Beach and at the boatyard. Today and Tuesday, two members of the Peninsula Gardeners Facebook group had come to pick up the  hardy fuchsia pieces that Allan had dug up two days ago.  It’s a pity that I did not have clumps of the excellent goldenrod to share at that time.

Skooter inspects the job (Allan’s photo)

after, with crocuses placed and Skooter enjoying the new clearing

I filled the area with a Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer” that had been lost in the middle of the garden bed.

at dusk, west bed weeded and crocused up

All the paths are a mess now and need a good raking (or mowing).  Allan has been coming along behind me with a rake, doing some of the tidying, and he ran the string trimmer all along the edges.

As the light faded, I got the last 50 crocuses planted in three beds around the campfire area.

Danger Tree bed

two of the three big beds I’ve weeded this week

dusk

sunset next door

across the street

I still have not even put up our own Christmas tree, and I have a feeling it may not happen this year, unless the weather becomes properly wintry very soon.

I was able to do some satisfying erasures, and I changed the “Good weeding” to just “weeding”.  I have to admit it has not been a perfect job.

Tomorrow, rain and some wind may return, and we must go to a late afternoon political rally, and so we might as well try, if the weather is not too bad, to accomplish a few of the “post frost check ups”.  Without frost, I will just call them pre-holiday checks ups.  I long to clear the board of work and be fully on staycation.  Maybe if “call accountant” is the last thing on the work side of the board, I will make myself find a new accountant (our nice local one retired) before it is too late.

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Monday, 11 December 2017

When I realized that just having “good weeding” on the work board for at home staycation projects would not provide me with much erasure satisfaction, I rewrote the list.

itemized weeding list

Skooter and Calvin

As soon as  started weeding the center back garden bed, I realized I had forgotten to add the garden boat area to the list.

Garden boat area needs intense strawberry control.

center bed in progress

Allan worked on getting a string of white lights working along the back eaves of the roof.

wheelbarrow load…

after wheelbarrow load

and done

I was surprised at how long it took weeding this one bed, and the back of it still had an unweeded batch of iris so I couldn’t erase this task yet.

A box of 500 40% off bulbs arrived from Van Engelen: 400 crocuses (the big ones) and 100 mixed miniature narcissi.  I’m not far enough along with weeding to plant them yet.

Near dusk, Allan started to dig out a big Fuchsia magellanica.

Allan’s photos: before

before

digging all around it

A dogwood that had been too big along the edge is now in its place.

Fuchsia seeking new home

Before gathering food for a campfire, I offered the fuchsia up on the Peninsula Gardeners Facebook group.  By the time we had the campfire going, I was already getting responses, and arranged to give away the big clump to one person and two smaller pieces to another.

winter campfire dinner

arranging plant pick ups

I deeply missed Smoky, my campfire companion.

in the good old days with my campfire cat

I need rainy days and the right frame of mind to do a Smoky retrospective photo series.

Allan had gotten all our holiday lights working. (Allan’s photo)

I’m not in a very holiday sort of mood and have not gotten anywhere near deciding to put up a Christmas tree, nor have I written Christmas cards yet.  I must get the latter project done within days.

Meanwhile, Tony and Scott had visited the North Head Lighthouse today, just a mile or so west of us, and I offer up these guest photos:

North Head Lighthouse, photo by Tony Hofer

photo by Tony Hofer

clam tide photo by Tony Hofer

Tony has given me permission to share his photos whenever I like; this could help liven up the blog during stretches when it’s all weeding.

 

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A RealTime Alert

From the local Indivisible group:

Rally to Protest the Arrest of Rosas!

“We are planning to rally again this Friday from 3:00 to 4:15, this time in two locations,  the 4-way stop in Ocean Park again (meet on Jack’s corner) and in Long Beach at the light on Sid Snyder Drive (the light furthest south).

Bring signs if you can.  It is possible this could be our last rally until the end of the rainy season.

If you want to contribute to our fund for Hispanic families who have lost their breadwinner due to ICE arrests, we will have an envelope at the rally.

Thank you for caring.

https://www.gofundme.com/sw4ua-help-the-gutierrez-family ”

My own worried thought: We only had about fifteen people last week, so splitting into two groups concerns me. I hope there is some inside info that lots more people plan to show up. We will be at the LB location.

P.S. Allan and I have rallied in the rain many times.

I’m sorry that once again, this event is on a day and time that is hard for working people.

Now back to compost news.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

I wished I had had better sleep.  Back to insomnia and only five hours…not enough!

Skooter is also a late riser.

After a huge cup of tea and very little news reading, I got back out to the compost project and got the last of the material that had been in the old bin three (and was now on the loose) moved into the new bin three.

Allan assembling Bin Four!

Now I can access the bins from both front and back.

view from behind bin four

Skooter, age four and a half, loves to chase Frosty (age 13) and Calvin (age 12).

I recently read in Fine Gardening magazine’s reader tips that you can grow beautiful carrot umbels by sticking old carrots in the ground.  Looks like it would work!

So I planted this one.

At last, I found a place to display an old piece of picket fence that used to be at Andersen’s RV Park.

a work corridor behind the four bins

four bins!

FOUR!!!!

Allan’s photo

Ann Amato from Portland stopped by to see the bins and to introduce us to her cat, Felix, who enjoys traveling.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan had finished and installed the window boxes and put the plastic window box liners (already planted) inside of them.

Allan’s photo

sun setting over Cape Disappointment at 3:30 PM

The sun was an orb of fire in fog.

I now had room for more clippings and made some from the east bed.

When I went into the house at 4:20, Allan was finishing a pet project of his that he began this afternoon: installing some pavers in the arbor area where the grass gets worn down.

Also shows that the window box brackets got painted green.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Window boxes got erased from the work board.  (We also have to find a new accountant because our old one closed her office to spend more time with family.)

OleBob’s Café

We went to OleBob’s at the Port of Ilwaco for our weekly North Beach Garden Gang dinner, joined by Ann and by Todd.

Allan’s photo

Todd, Ann, me, Dave and Melissa of Sea Star Gardening

Our favourite local restaurant server and good friend, Lynn, is now at OleBob’s, and we were following her, because we are loyal like that.

so nice to be in the expert care of Lynn again!

You might think that OleBob’s is named after an old man named Bob.  It is actually named after two friends, Ole (pronounced Oh-lee) and Bob.

Chef Laura has OleBob’s open for dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings now and has revamped the dinner menu with delicious specials, like…

crab empanada

Ann had sauceless crab cocktail, with just lemon because she’s allergic to pepper.

samples of oyster stew. Even those of us who don’t like oyster found it tasty.

We liked that a dinner salad was included with the entrees.

Ann’s oysters. I just can’t. She pronounced them delicious.

salmon with fresh chimichurri sauce

prawns on polenta

OleBob’s is also a seafood market, so the fish is ever so fresh.

lemon chiffon cake and double chocolate brownie

After closing, we got to see the live crabs in the tank…

emerging from the crab tank area

I think we may have found a new weekly dinner spot.

Sunday, 10 December 2017 (part one)

I had another night of not enough sleep, this time because of anxiety over Skooter.  Last night he seemed poorly. We wondered if he had had a fall or a fight while we were out to dinner.  I realized I would be embarrassed to have to take him to the vet! I have never been to the vet as many times as in the last six weeks.  Fortunately, when I awoke this mid-morning he seemed better. We are keeping a close eye on him.  He certainly has a knack for trouble. [Update a day later: He’s back to his usual self. I think he must have had a fall on one of his climbing adventures and gotten sore.]

Skooter feeling under the weather (Allan’s photo)

I only had a couple of hours in the garden due to a planned afternoon outing.  As I began, our friend Ed and Jackson Strange (Strange Landscaping) stopped by.

Jackson Strange

Jackson and Rudder were exchanging glances.

Our Edster

My mission was to cut down some more compost debris.

before

after

I now have three of the four bins filled.

Meanwhile, Allan pruned the big dead branch and three stubby stumps out of the ornamental plum tree.

before (big branch is cut but is still in there)

after

Even though I did not want to leave the garden at 2:30, we had an irresistible invitation.  To be continued…

But first, one more thing.  You might remember little dog Royal who lived next door and was good friends with Frosty.

Frosty and Royal goofing around next door.

He was not a happy little guy during the day.  He’d been adopted from a batch of small dogs sent up from California so we do not know his background.  It had turned out that he had terrible separation anxiety, coupled with a strong desire to run outside.  So he needed a home with someone who was home all the time and with a fenced yard.  And look! Within three days of the local shelter seeking a new home for him, he found the perfect place, as we learned in this week’s paper.  Those kids will keep him busy and give him all the running around that he craves.  We are all so relieved.  I just wish that Frosty could read.

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