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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

On the way to work, the planter at the Ilwaco Post office has narcissi and the buds of Tulip sylvestris

On the way to work, the planter at the Ilwaco Post office has narcissi and the buds of Tulip sylvestris

In Ocean Park, we had to fuel up with some coffee at the Kiss of Mist espresso drive through.

Kiss of Mist

Kiss of Mist drive through

Marilyn’s Garden, Surfside

I was curious just how long it takes to get to Marilyn’s, our furthest job from home, so I let Map My Walk map our drive.

14.51 miles, 30 minutes

14.51 miles, 30 minutes

This is a good time to sadly reveal that the blue line has NOT meant Allan’s walk as compared to mine.  Turns out the blue line is just a “segment” of my walk (or ride) that appears if I run my cursor over a list of segments on the side of the app.  Sorry to have misled you all!

Map My Walk is also a little weird in that it implies I hared around all over the place on this job, into the house, and over into the neighbours’ yards.  I swear that never happened!

Today's work, with odd digressions

Today’s work, with odd digressions

If I can trust the mapping distance, it says I walked 4.08 miles, 9,754 steps, in three and a half hours at Marilyn’s garden.  It certainly felt like that long of a distance is possible with the backing and forthing to put debris in the trailer.

Marilyn's garden, before, looking south

Marilyn’s garden, before, looking south

I was thrilled, upon wading into the garden to clip, to find that the akebia I planted two or more years ago has finally evaded the voracious deer and climbed up an old snag tree.

Akebia

Akebia

akebia2

sweetly fragrant flowers

sweetly fragrant flowers

a triumph at last!

a triumph at last!  I sniffed and gloated.  No, rejoiced sounds better.

akebia

The neighbour had wanted us to take down that snag and I kept it as that akebia was struggling to hard to get going on it.

Today, the neighbour wanted us to get rid of the English Laurel that has sprouted up (probably from a seed from a big one in her yard) near the property line.  I said if it was on her side, she was welcome to cut it down, but if it was on Marilyn’s side, I wanted to keep it.  While I am no big fan of English Laurel, I am a huge fan of “blocking the eye” at a garden’s edge unless there is a gorgeous view beyond, and it has been very hard to get anything evergreen other than slow growing evergreen huckleberry to “take” along this line,  what with the deer chomping down the escallonia and other solutions that I have tried.  I said we would keep it clipped, and asked Allan if he would bring it down to the height of the gutters.

Allan approaches the laurel with implements of destruction.

Allan approaches the laurel with implements of destruction.

I was weeding by the driveway.  Soon I was crying out “Noooooo!” as he clipped the first of the three sprouts much lower than I had wanted.

He cut this much....

He cut this much….

When all I had wanted clipped was THIS much.

When all I had wanted clipped was THIS much.

So who wins the battle of pruning, the one with the clippers or the one who protests the loudest?  At least the other two uprights were clipped the way I wanted them.

The drama ends with a compromise.

The drama ends with a compromise.  Allan is being careful not to step on narcissi.

As you can see, by then we were done cutting down the ornamental grasses, which all needed clipping.  It was a joy to take down the Solidago ‘Fireworks’ and Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ that just broke off easily at the base with no clipping required.

This juniper (Moon-something, 'Blue Moon' or 'Moonglow'?) has resisted deer nibbling.

At the back: This juniper (Moon-something, ‘Blue Moon’ or ‘Moonglow’?) has resisted deer nibbling, as has the little Ilex ‘Sky Pencil’.

'Wilma Goldcrest' cypress is also not bothered by deer...

‘Wilma Goldcrest’ cypress is also not bothered by deer…

But just since winter, her backside does not look as good as her frontside.

But just since winter, her backside does not look as good as her frontside.

Another successful deer resistant plant is this Ilex, or is it a boxwood?  I fear I don't know how to tell them apart.

Another successful deer resistant plant is this Ilex, or is it a boxwood? I fear I don’t know how to tell them apart.

Nothing but the big ornamental grasses have been truly successful at making a visual wall at the back of the garden, and of course, they are only tall in summer.  I had thought of leaving the Buddleia (a sterile kind) up…but I just couldn’t.

Buddleia, before

Buddleia, before

and after

and after

I was delighted to have time to do some weeding and still be out of there in time to make it to the dump.  I had not that we would get done that soon and figured we would have to keep a trailer load of debris overnight and deal with disposal tomorrow.

I had a visitor while doing the final weeding.

Skooter was very taken with the Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (catmint).

Skooter was very taken with the Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (catmint).

After his roll in the catmint, Skooter helped me finish weeding.

After his roll in the catmint, Skooter helped me finish weeding.

a lovely hellebore in Marilyn's garden

a lovely hellebore in Marilyn’s garden

little dried figs

You can see the fig tree on the left against the house.

after; the garden could use some mulch...

after; the garden could use some mulch…We left some debris, as its breakdown will improve the soil.

SKooter and a large hellebore

Skooter and a large hellebore

the garden, after

the garden, after

IMG_8519

with Skooter posing handsomely.

with Skooter posing handsomely.

We worked at blazing speed and we were done in time for a trip to the dump, a 14 mile, 42 minute drive.

from Marilyn's to the dump is a half hour drive.

I have thought of making a debris pile at the south end of Marilyn’s garden, just where the garden slopes down.  That is always BEFORE I realize again just how much debris the spring clean up creates. The dump scale showed we offloaded 240 pounds of debris.

in to the Peninsula Sanitation dump...

in to the Peninsula Sanitation dump…

a full load, plus some buckets of weeds in the van

a full load, plus some buckets of weeds in the van

the offloaded pile

the offloaded pile

and out again; did I do the math right?

and out again; did I do the math right?

We had time to do one more job at the end of the day.

Long Beach: Sid Snyder Way beach approach

We had some planters to clean up along this road to the beach.  The first one was so bothersome to me that I thought “I am gonna have to dig this one out…next time”) and then found myself walking back to the van (which was parked by planter number two, on which Allan was working) to get the pick.

before, all a mess with plain green annoying creeping Jenny

before, all a mess with plain green annoying creeping Jenny and weeds

after, because I just could not stand that corner any more.  Allan came later and swept it.

after, because I just could not stand that corner any more. Allan came later and swept it.

While I worked on more planters, Allan checked on the kite museum garden.

While I worked on more planters, Allan checked on the kite museum garden.

kite museum garden, before

the kite museum’s little entry garden, before

full of deer hoof prints!

full of deer hoof prints!

tidied up by Allan

tidied up by Allan

Sid Snyder, looking west

Sid Snyder, looking west, as I continued to do planters

I'm happy to see the narcissi are not getting picked this year.

I’m happy to see the narcissi are not getting picked this year.

although they are getting nibbled by snails.

although they are getting nibbled by snails.

Annoyed at planter being used as an ashtray!

Annoyed at planter being used as an ashtray!

I have friends who smoke who will pinch their cigarette butts out and carry them away in their pockets rather than litter like this.

The next planter has a chronic problem of sinking soil, and I do not know why.

The next planter has a chronic problem of sinking soil, and I do not know why.

The very last planter is still done by volunteers...the only one that's true of...I was not going to clean it up but I simply had to.

The very last planter is still done by volunteers…the only one that’s true of…I was not going to clean it up but I simply had to.

Now it's ready for new plants, after removing all the dead annuals (and weeds).

Now it’s ready for new plants, after removing all the dead annuals (and weeds).

By now, Allan had joined me and he took care of the second to last planter.

And there is the ocean, viewed just before we drove home to an evening of blogging.

And there is the ocean, viewed just before we drove home to an evening of blogging.

left: I got to cross two jobs of the work list tonight!  right: The March schedule is already filling up.

left: I got to cross two jobs of the work list tonight! right: The March schedule is already filling up.

At home, I had the best news of the past week.  Bob Nold, of the Miserable Gardener blog (one of my two most favourite blogs), has a new puppy.  You can meet Mani the puppy right here.

Next:  a slide show post of Marilyn’s garden in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, 12 February 2015

I decided we should go back to Long Beach and do some pruning that parks manager Mike Kitzman had requested.  On the way, we chopped the ornamental grasses at

The Depot Restaurant

before

before, grasses on east side of dining deck

after

after

Allan did the grass chopping while I weeded in the other beds.

Rosemary and chives bed before tidying

Rosemary and chives bed before tidying

and after

and after

The rosemary looks so much happier since I fertilized them with Dr Earth all purpose fertilizer last year.  Will do so again in springtime.

north flower bed

north flower bed

Long Beach

First on the agenda: Long Beach city hall

west side of city hall, before

west side of city hall, before

and after cutting down Sedumn 'Autumn Joy' and variegated miscanthus

and after cutting down Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and weeding

I’d cut the tall ornamental Miscanthus variegatus late last fall to keep it from flopping forward onto the sidewalk.  That certainly made “spring” clean up easier.

north side city hall: Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' is blooming mighty early

north side city hall: Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ is blooming mighty early

city hall pulmonaria in bloom

city hall pulmonaria (spotted dog, lungwort) in bloom

and a hellebore, which caused a sensation with some passersby.  "What is that plant?!"

and a hellebore, which caused a sensation with some passersby. “What is that plant?!”

Allan chopped the last three big Miscanthus in Fifth Street Park.

before

before

after

after

I did some weeding under the nearby street trees and had a bad moment while tackling a little-ish street tree bed that was horribly over run with creeping sorrel.  There was so much of it.  And as I pulled and pulled I suddenly thought of all the weeds waiting for us at Andersen’s RV Park and thought “Argh, I just can’t do this anymore.”  My legs hurt and at all seemed like too much work still looming in the future.  The moment passed.

We decided to not prune the big hydrangea in the Fifth Street Park yet but to instead do the ones by the Long Beach Tavern a block north.  They are more visible and look uglier right now.  Also, the crew was about to install some new benches.

Park by LBT, before pruning

Park by LBT, before pruning

and after

and after

I picked up about 30 cigarette butts that tavern patrons drop over the fence even though they have BUCKETS on THEIR side of the fence along with SIGNS saying not to litter.  Also straws, a beer bottle, and other litter.

I’d ask Allan to limb up a big rhododendron that was overhanging the lawn.  Parks manager Mike wants the rhododendrons lowered; I had asked him to let us wait till after the May 2 Peninsula Rhododendron tour and he had agreed.  Limbing up lost some flowers but will keep the crew happy as they will be able to mow.

A rhodo too wide for its spot

A rhodo too wide for its spot

Allan did an excellent job.

Allan did an excellent job.

(My solution would have been to widen the bed and let the rhodo do what it wants to do.  Less lawn is almost always a good thing, in my opinion.)

I do not WANT to lower the rhododendrons.  They WANT to be tall.

rhodos

This one is the tallest and it has not much middle layer of growth so is just going to look bad when cut:

rhodo1

These, in the corner, look just fine the way they are.

These, in the corner, look just fine the way they are.

It makes me CRABBY to have to prune them.  I think they look fine the way they are and I do not want to make them fence height.

feeling very crabby indeed about the prospect of downsizing the rhododendrons

feeling very crabby indeed about the prospect of downsizing the rhododendrons

One of the tavern regulars said he thought it would look so great to have the big rhodos cut to fence height.  Why?  Why would that be an improvement? I asked him.  It would look so neat, he said, as in tidy.

This is why when some rhodos died, I successfully campaigned to replace them with the hydrangeas, which bloom lengthily in summer (when more tourists are here) and which can be easily kept to “fence height”.

Then we were off to City Works with a second load of debris.

Then we were off to City Works with a second load of debris.

Soon we will limb of the rhododendrons on the gazebo side of the park.

Soon we will limb of the rhododendrons on the gazebo side of the park.

Later we are supposed to make those short, as well.  Agh.

Bill’s Birthday at the Cove

We just had time to go home, drop the trailer off, change clothes and head back out again for a birthday dinner at the Cove Restaurant.  This marked our return to Thursday nights at the Cove, our favourite meal of the week.  (They were closed for dinner in January.)

Bill and Susie are good friends of ours and also gardening clients; they own the Boreas Inn (whose spring garden clean up we have not yet begun).

Allan's photo of part of the gathering

Allan’s photo of part of the gathering

IMG_5135

There was much excitement and discussion when the delicious food came.  For one thing, we are all eagerly anticipating when Chi and Jim (left) open their new sandwich café in Ilwaco; they already operate the very fine Serious Pizza at Ilwaco’s Cape Disappointment State Park.

Although I usually cannot resist the seared ahi tuna, I had the Thai Beef Vegetable Coconut Red Curry Soup.

IMG_5131

my delicious soup

my delicious soup

The diner across from me had the ahi tuna....looking as delectable as always.

The diner across from me had the ahi tuna….looking as delectable as always.

Allan had the Jamaican jerk chicken sandwich.

Allan had the Jamaican jerk chicken sandwich.

We had just a taste of the tiramisu dessert as we had eaten a plentiful dinner.

IMG_5145

In fact, I took home some of my soup and had it much later while watching a Ruth Rendell mystery on DVD.

I think back to a quotation that I found in The Year of Reading Dangerously:

I sometimes feel like Nietzche in Ecce Homo, feeling it appropriate to give an account of his dietary habits…convinced that nothing that concerns him could be entirely without interest“.  Michel Houllebecq, Public Enemies.

Next: more Long Beach on Friday.

 

 

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Saturday, 29 March 2014

No, not that kind of high.

I was expecting rain all weekend and was so looking forward to reading. At 6 AM Saturday morning, thunder and a startlingly torrential downpour promised a great day. When I awoke again midmorning on Saturday, the weather still looked ideal.

south window view

south window view

north window view...bliss

north window view…bliss

indoor flowers

indoor flowers

begonia flower

begonia flower

Yes, it looked like I could have one ideal day of rain and not even leave the house. I just craved ONE more day like that before buckling down to work for the next eight months. And yet, before I had even finished my coffee, out came the sun. I would have to weed instead, preceded by taking some photos of lovely backlit flowers. First, the gardens in front of the house and the workshop:

tulips in the front garden

tulips in the front garden

pulmonaria

Pulmonaria in Allan’s garden

Arisarum proboscideum (mouseplant) in Allan's garden

Arisarum proboscideum (mouseplant) in Allan’s garden

Can you see how much the flowers look like little mice diving into the ground?

Can you see how much the flowers look like little mice diving into the ground?

"black" hellebore

“black” hellebore

Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward VII'

Ribes sanguineum ‘King Edward VII’

That barberry that I got from Cistus Nursery

That barberry that I got from Cistus Nursery

If only I could remember the name.

If only I could remember the name.

Edited to add: Not a barberry! Alison of the Bonney Lassie blog has enlightened me that it is Ribes speciosum. Googling informs me that Ribes speciosum is a gooseberry with small fruits. I will have to watch for then.

Tulips and Dicentra spectabilis

Tulips and Dicentra spectabilis

My so fragrant gift Hebe from Charlene

My so fragrant gift Daphne from Charlene

more tulips in front garden

more tulips in front garden

tulips

Then, into the back garden:

the center bed with Geranium 'Rozanne'

the center bed with Geranium ‘Rozanne’

sweet peas in containers protected from sitting cats

sweet peas in containers protected from sitting cats

the garden boat...with less sunshine!

the garden boat…with less sunshine!

south end of garden under a darkening sky!

south end of garden under a darkening sky

Oh joy, the sun had gone, the wind had kicked up, and I could go back in and read!

In my comfy chair, all ready to read High and Dry at last!

In my comfy chair, all ready to read High and Dry at last!

I had recently acquired this out of print book about gardening in Colorado. It’s by the author of one of my two favourite blogs, The Miserable Gardener. (The other is, of course, the Tootlepedal blog.) I had been waiting for over a week for a rainy day at home to read High and Dry from cover to cover. I delved with a feeling of great satisfaction into the introduction by Panayoti Kelaidis.

introduction

from the introduction

As he suggests, I was sure I would get some new ideas for planting the summer dry gardens along the Howerton Way at the Port of Ilwaco (a block south of our house). However, the biggest reason I had sought out the book was because Robert Nold’s sense of humour has often made me chortle as I read his blog.

Smokey decided that he simply must join me as I read.

slowing me down

slowing me down

After we had negotiated that he could not sit right on the book, I began the first chapter and was most pleased to read that my expectation of pleasant reading were sure to be fulfilled:

nold

dream

I was lost in pure delight….And then….I saw a horrible sight from the corner of my left eye. Sunshine outside the windows.

Noooooo!!!!

Noooooo!!!!

Thoroughly disheartened, I had to put the book down and go outside.

Three dutiful hours and several bushel baskets of weeds later, the cold south wind finally picked up and at three thirty I permitted myself to return to the house and the book day that I had planned. I’ll share with you some of my very favourite parts, and urge you to find the book for yourself. The paperback cost me $30; I wish I had known that in it, the illustrations and photos by Cindy Nold-Nelson are black and white. Bob Nold tells me that they are in colour in the hardcover version, which seems more difficult to find (and of course more expensive). She was such a good photographer and illustrator that even in black and white, the art is interesting and informative.

illo

would be more magnificent in colour

would be more magnificent in colour

front and back cover in colour

front and back cover in colour

Robert Nold’s writing was my main reason for seeking out the book, though, so I was well satisfied. Here, he says what I also feel about designing gardens.

on designing gardens

on designing gardens

 

Just the other day at the Boreas Inn, a friend of the owner asked me if I could help her design her front garden and I had to say no. I am out of ideas for gardens other than my own, and I think of ideas for my own garden almost only while I am actively working in it. As Nold says above, “I start digging and see what happens.”

This made me chortle.

This made me chortle.

I was pleased to read his thoughts about trees:

trees

I wanted only a very few favourite trees in my new garden and then succumbed to two apples (Cox’s Orange Pippen and Pink Lady) and one pear tree (in memory of my grandma’s garden, and now I may need a second pear for pollenation) and am already worried that I will lose too much light.

a book recommendation

a book recommendation

Now I must get the shade book by George Schenk, an author whose book Gardening on Pavement, Tables and Hard Surfaces gave me all sorts of good ideas.

I got two spectacularly exciting tips from High and Dry, both of which made me exclaim “Why didn’t I think of that??!” First, Nold writes about raised beds, and how they always sink:

raised beds

Brilliant!! If only I had thought to make a “spine” (as he recently described the concept in his blog) of rubble and junk under raised beds I’ve created.

I was even more excited about a new to me method of planting.

remove the soilless mix!!!

remove the soilless mix!!!

planting

Of course! We always “burble” plants in a bucket of water before planting but have always done so with the pot on. What an amazing idea to do it with the pot already removed. I tried it the very next day, in fact, and the roots sighed with relief. So many plants that we’ve planted end up looking like this after awhile:

a hebe in my garden with its "shoulders" showing above the ground

a hebe in my garden with its “shoulders” showing above the ground

I think I finally can stop this from happening, thanks to High and Dry.

The other suggestion that thrilled me was in a passage about how the latest most favoured method of planting pots is to not fill the bottoms with crocking or gravel. His simple suggestion to place a paper towel over the drainage hole flabbergasted me with its elegant simplicity.

perfection!

perfection!

(I don’t paint the wounds on pruned tree branches, though.)

His passage on botanical names was useful, succinct, and informative:

botanical

And I thought, What?? He does not recommend Agastaches, one of my favourite plants? Which brings us to the plant chapters. (Turns out Agastaches need more water than provided in his almost completely unsupplemented gardens.)

I have to admit I lightly skimmed the chapters on Cacti and Agaves and Yuccas as they would just look silly in my lush gardens. Reading about all the other plants rewarded me with the sort of drollery that is my favourite sort of humour.

helianthus

rhamnus

salvia

I don’t know about you, but the dry humour in the descriptions above made me almost want to laugh out loud.

When I read a comment on Nold’s blog that someone had read High and Dry because he could not resist a gardening book with the word “despair” in the index, I knew I simply had to own it.

despair

And here is the paragraph to which “despair” refers:

the definition of despair

the definition of despair

Even here in the Pacific Northwest, we can learn from the plant descriptions in High and Dry what plants might work well on our hell strips (parking strip garden beds). I hope I’ve inspired you to seek out this book. I can’t imagine why such a helpful resource has gone out of print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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April 8, a walk round before work

front garden

front garden

front garden

front garden

tulips

tulips

Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing', front garden

Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’, front garden

tulip and bergenia

tulip and bergenia

tulips, front garden

tulips, front garden

Fritillaria meleagris alba

Fritillaria meleagris alba

Disporum 'Night Heron' in Allan's garden

Disporum ‘Night Heron’ in Allan’s garden

back garden, Leycesteria 'Golden Lanterns' and horrible horsetail

back garden, Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’ and horrible horsetail

The horsetail will be my next weeding focus.  You can see in the background that the neighbouring crab pots are still uncovered and picturesque.

back garden:  Santolina 'Lemon Fizz' wants to go green.

back garden: Santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’ wants to go green.

I must find time to cut the green bits off this Lemon Fizz!

back garden: Euphorbia

back garden: Euphorbia

back garden: parrot tulips

back garden: parrot tulips

April 9 before work, a brief look at the front garden

Erythronium

Erythronium

tulips

tulips

Tulips 'White Parrot'

Tulips ‘White Parrot’

Tulip 'Leo'

Tulip ‘Leo’

Dicentra spectabilis alba

Dicentra spectabilis alba

ferns in Allan's garden

ferns in Allan’s garden

Then followed several work days so busy that there was no time to appreciate our own garden except quickly in passing.

April 14, day off

front garden

Arisarum proboscideum (mouse plant) in Allan's garden....flowers like mice diving into the ground

Arisarum proboscideum (mouse plant) in Allan’s garden….flowers like mice with tails!

Tulip 'Leo'...I only have a few of these...love them.

Tulip ‘Leo’…I only have a few of these…love them.

Tulip 'Leo'

Tulip ‘Leo’

a barberry with tiny flowers, from Cistus Nursery

a barberry with tiny flowers, from Cistus Nursery

detail:  hummingbirds love it

detail: hummingbirds love it

path, front garden east

path, front garden east

Tulip

Tulip

Disporum 'Night Heron' in Allan's garden

Disporum ‘Night Heron’ in Allan’s garden

Fatsia japonicia 'Spider's Web' in Allan's garden

Fatsia japonicia ‘Spider’s Web’ in Allan’s garden

Omphalodes 'Starry Eyes' in Allan's garden

Omphalodes ‘Starry Eyes’ in Allan’s garden

Tetrapanax papifer 'Steroidal Giant'

Tetrapanax papifer ‘Steroidal Giant’

back garden

ornamental rhubarb

ornamental rhubarb

ornamental rhubarb

ornamental rhubarb

into the bogsy wood

into the bogsy wood

bogsy wood path

 

scilla planted outside the bogsy wood fence

scilla planted outside the bogsy wood fence

meander line seasonal pond (south edge of property)

meander line seasonal pond (south edge of property)

hellebore

hellebore

Euphorbia and wallflower

Euphorbia and wallflower
looking southwest from patio

looking southwest from patio

Plant Vessel Ann Lovejoy

Plant Vessel Ann Lovejoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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