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Thursday, 21 December 2017

The night had been just below freezing.  I woke early to a white frosty world, poked my camera out the south cat door for an unscreened photo of frost on the grass…

…and went back to sleep for three more hours.  When I awoke, I suggested that we go do the post-frost clean up, in hope that finally the frost had put the gardens to sleep.

We began a few blocks east at

Mike’s garden,

which we have referred to till now as Mayor Mike’s garden.  He is retiring as mayor at the end of 2017.

The sun was bright, the air cold, and the ground just lightly frozen.

Pieris promising spring

pale pink hesperantha blooming on the west side

salmon pink hesperantha blooming on the north side

pulling spent hesperantha along the front path

Allan raked.

Anchorage Cottages

Some days back, we drove in and right back out of the Anchorage parking lot because I could see the chrysanthemums by the office were still blooming.  And today they were STILL blooming.

Chrysanths that will not quit.

Today, I showed Jody, the housekeeper, who also does some gardening, how to just cut them to the ground when and if they ever brown off (which they will…).  We are not going to keep returning to check on two chrysanthemums.  I also showed her that she could cut the Melianthus if we have a hard enough freeze to make it ugly.

Melianthus major in the center courtyard

frozen birdbath (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo: In early spring, we will cut back this sprawling plant even if it does not get frozen, just to shape it up.

Long Beach

My mind had been on the one big Geranium ‘Rozanne’ that I had left untrimmed.  Surely it would be frozen by now? But no.

Allan’s photos

Frost could make the California poppies ugly, too. At least they are small.

It has been so mild that the Rozannes we cut back early this year have put out rosettes of new leaves.

It got cut back anyway, because we are not going to keep checking on it through January and I don’t want to think about a potential blackened heap of frozen leaves later on.

An anemone was already blooming in Veterans Field.

Allan’s photo

a wreath in Veterans Field (Allan’s photo)

We did some cutting back in Fifth Street Park, of a pineapple sage, some Verbena bonariensis, and a bit of the sprawling Melianthus.

pulling some spent hesperantha flowers

as tidy as its going to get till at least late January

Once upon a time, the scrim of unclipped catmint along the front, above, would have greatly bothered me.  For some reason, this year I think it looks interesting against the dry flower heads of the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’…or maybe it was just that my hands were so cold.

Primroses (cowslips) were already blooming under a street tree.

I can feel exactly how it will feel to go back to work in late January or early February, and the prospect feels ok.  My only problem is that I have gotten pretty much nowhere on my indoor winter projects.

We celebrated the true end of the work year with coffee, warmth, and Pink Poppy Bakery treats at Abbracci Coffee Bar.

Abbracci co-owner Tony

We and another regular customer each got to take home one of the Christmas centerpieces.. very nice, since we never got around to putting up a tree, and later the flowers can go in my wonderful compost bins.

Abbracci tree and centerpieces

Ilwaco Timberland Library

We had some books to pick up.

at the library entrance

deep shade behind the wall

In the library

As expected, I got quite a pile of books, despite my original staycation plan for re-reading books on my own bookshelves.  Maybe that will wait till sometime when I am homebound for one reason or another.

a new batch, and the previous batch is not done yet

We had brought home a bucket of Abbracci coffee grounds and enough clean compost to add a wheelbarrow’s worth to my bins.  As I chopped it into small pieces and turned some from one bin to another at dusk, I did not mind the cold at all.

I have a compost obsession.

All the work got erased from the work side of the board, as did “Call Accountant”.  I had found an email address for the accountant we want, so I emailed her on the way home this afternoon.  I won’t have to call unless we don’t hear back in my preferred medium for anything business related (email, text, Facebook messaging, anything but a business phone call!).  (Carol, this does not mean you and Bill!)

a joyous sight

Salt Pub

After dark, we attended a Salty Talk at Salt Pub.

“Join Jim Sayce, historian and Executive Director of the Pacific County Economic Development Council, in a SALTY Talks presentation, “Reading the Land: Forensic Ecology” exploring the changes in the local landscape over time. Jim will show us how to recognize the subtle clues that can help find the original or historic landscape of a site within the bones of the built environment.”

Allan’s photo

delicious burger with salad subbed for fried (Allan’s photo)

window reflection

night marina

More boats than one used to decorate with lights.  The winter storms and wet weather caused too many electrical problems and so that pretty tradition ended just a few years back. We were happy to see one or two boats still carrying it on.

The Salt holiday tree

The lecture was well attended for one so close to the holidays.

Museum director Betsy Millard introduces the lecture (Allan’s photo)

Jim has a good collection of photos to illustrate how you can see the underlay of history.  For example, a line of trees representing old fence lines (where the trees grew up under the fence and the fence eventually disappeared):

He showed our changing views due to accretion of the beach (in some places half a mile wider than it used to be) and the growth of beach pines, which were not there a century ago.   Many beach trails were begun over 100 years ago and have simply been lengthened by trodding feet as the beach itself moved westward.

Allan captured some of the interesting old photos:

The “elephant rocks” used to be out in the surf, as an old photo showed, and are now well inland of Waikiki Beach.

rocks once out in the surf…

and now on land

An old highway has gone back to nature by the new highway 101.  Through a layer of grass and moss, the yellow line of the old highway occasionally shows through.

Jim Sayce

Jim’s laser pointer was not working.

The old and new photos pleased and fascinated us.

Jim’s blog, circa 2011 and before, is here.

It is now time for five weeks of true staycation.

 

 

 

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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Long Beach

I had big plans to get four things crossed off the work list.  We started with the tree that has pesky rugosa roses and with the planter nearest to it.

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planter yesterday

After cutting out the poky thing by the bench, I felt inspired to remove as much hesperantha and tired old ornamental grass as possible.

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Allan helping with the biggest grass

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during

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after

Meanwhile, Allan went after the annoying patch of volunteer rugosa roses, roots and all.  (Because they are pesky and the roots run like fury, we will have to watch for returning sprouts.)

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before

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a thuggish rose

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after

Next, we wanted to polish off the first spring clean up of Fifth Street Park.

Allan started with the hydrangea in the southeast corner.

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before

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Allan’s photos: before

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after

I wanted the right hand one a little more upright.  Easy to fix later.

It was a busy day because of a three day weekend.

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photo

My first project was the patch of hesperantha (formerly schizostylis) by the restroom.

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before

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after

By pulling a lot of the hesperantha, and getting its annoying self out of the other plants (like Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, which Allan clipped after the above photo), we will still have plenty for next fall while having a tidier garden bed now.

I did the same to the nearby street tree garden:

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before

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after

In a nearby planter, I found…

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a tiny painted rock

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and emerging tulip foliage.

The northwest quadrant of the park also got a hesperantha going-over.

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before

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after

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Here’s what it looks like on a good summer day. (This was in 2014.)

Allan had joined me before I finished.  We’d got caught in a torrent of rain but had an escape at hand.

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inside Captain Bob’s  Chowder

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looking out: clean up abandoned for half an hour

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delicious fish tacos (before applying a yummy creamy tequila sauce)

As the rain intensity decreased, my Dark Sky app was accurate about it stopping in 15 minutes.  The prediction of drizzle for the following hour was, happily, inaccurate.

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By the end of the rain squall, I knew we would only get two out of four planned projects done today.  The temperature had dropped and a chilly wind kicked up.  We went to the two northernmost blocks and finished the planters and street trees.

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crocuses and iris reticulata (Allan’s photo)

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Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’

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Iris reticulata

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crocuses

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more crocuses

In the last planter of the day, we cut back the escallonia. Why a volunteer, back in the day, planted Escallonia ‘Pink Princess’ in two of the planters is beyond me.  It would like to be at least 15 feet tall.  By chopping it hard now, I won’t have to be clipping it all summer long.

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halfway done

and I did NOT see that piece of trash till I looked at this photo!  (Later: Allan says he saw it and disposed of it.)

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done… The green santolina on each end also got clipped.

Before we dumped our full load of debris, I popped into NIVA green (my favourite shop).  Almost a month ago I had taken some photos for its Facebook page.  Every time I chose photos to post, I could not bear to post one of a copper clad “stump” because I wanted it for myself.  It was a bit pricey and yet it had haunted me. Would it still be there a month later?

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in mid January

Yes! Twice,  people had put holds on it and then not come back to pick it up.

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It is mine now!  (It’s hollow copper clad aluminium, I’m told, so probably not for outdoors.)

Just after we dumped our debris, as Allan was locking the gate of the city works yard, the rain returned.  Perfect timing.

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At home, I got to erase two items but not the pond and popouts.  Maybe tomorrow, or maybe not with wind and rain predicted.

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Friday, 17 February 2017

Skooter likes to turn on Allan’s computer, so Allan found something for him to watch.

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Ilwaco

Because Karla at Time Enough Books had a book to lend me, we started the workday at the port.  Allan did a bit of clipping:

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before clipping one tatty old Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’

I picked up the book and had a chat with Karla.  She’s noticed that I read a lot of non fiction on social justice topics.

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the book in question, an advance reading copy

I will get to it as soon as I finish reading Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.

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Bookstore staff member Scout looks more worried that she is.

Depot Restaurant

Our first big work mission was the clipping of ornamental grasses around the dining deck of the Depot.

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before, south and east sides of deck

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giant miscanthus (Allan’s photo)

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before (Allan’s photos)

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after

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after

We also got the one miscanthus at the house next door (which is the office for the restaurant).

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Allan’s photos: before

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after

Just as we were about to leave, Todd showed up to work on the garden of the Hobbit Haven.

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I love the Depot’s next door neighbours’ sign.

Long Beach

Allan and I devoted the rest of the day to Long Beach.

First, City Hall, before and after (all Allan’s photos):

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west side, before

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after

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passersby

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I decided this hebe needed clipping because the office staff likes to see out.

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just starting…took it 2/3 of the way down.

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after

Next came the southwest quadrant of Fifth Street Park.  Allan did all of that project for today.

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before

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before

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after

I asked Allan to leave the hesperantha (used to be schizostylis; Todd reminded me of the name change when we saw him earlier in the day) for me to clean up, because I know there are some delicate sprouts of Camassia in there.  Last year they almost got clipped; Melissa was helping that day and is the one who saved them.  I’ll get to this area tomorrow.

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after. We’ll prune the roses soon.

Meanwhile, I took the green wheelie bin around two blocks worth of planters.

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Iris reticulata…’Eye Catcher’, I think

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crocuses and a couple of iris

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more crocuses

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and more crocuses

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an annoying amount of HESPERANTHA in a planter.  No time for pulling today.

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same planter.  Poky nasty yucca?? thing? keeps coming up by the sitting bench.  Its roots go deep.  Will clip back later, need big loppers to get the trunk way down low.  Why??  Planted by original volunteer, as is all of this particular planter.

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skipped this tree till tomorrow.  I have much regret for not yanking out the very first bit of rugosa rose that volunteered in here.

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I was cutting back santolinas to the new growth at the base.  Had skipped the ones across the street so as not to overwhelm wheelie bin with debris.

For the same reason, I had skipped a tree near Fifth Street.  When I rejoined Allan, his park project was done.  He tidied under this tree while I addressed some dead gaura stems in the northeast quadrant of Fifth Street Park.

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tree garden before.

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after, with hesperantha still to tidy up

Hesperantha spreads like fury.  It’s best to just yank out a lot of it, and you’ll still have enough.

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me, gaura debris, and the wheelie bin

Together, after moving the van and trailer, Allan and I tackled one more tree garden and the planter I had skipped because of debris hauling limitations.

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Allan’s tree project, with Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’, before

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after

In the planter, I was going to do patient santolina clipping to the new growth.

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Then I saw a tuft way down at soil level.

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That particular santolina might be 15 years old.  I decided to cut off all the big stems and see what happens!

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did the same thing to one of three on the other side….

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I might be sorry later.

On the way home, we drove past the Port of Ilwaco curbside gardens.  I reflected on the many grasses and sedums needing to be cut back.  Our last task, at sunset, was to pick up a piece of litter.

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Allan’s photo, looking west down Howerton

At home: Still can’t cross off Fifth Street till the hesperantha and one big hydrangea are dealt with. Can’t cross off street trees and planters because we have more to do.  However, I had the pleasure of erasing City Hall and the Depot.

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Goal for tomorrow, if weather allows: Finish Fifth Street and the street trees and planters and the pop outs and the pond.  Much glorious erasing could end a day like that.

 

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