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Posts Tagged ‘hydrangea house’

Friday, 26 December 2014

When our friend Lisa of the Hydrangea House (and previously from Crank’s Roost, a longtime job of ours back when she owned that little Seaview cottage) invited us to her Boxing Day open house, I went back and forth a dizzying number of times. On Christmas Day, I made what I thought was a final decision to let social anxiety rule and not go.  And then, on Boxing Day itself, I changed my mind again and Lisa was kind enough to not let the backing and forthing bother her.

She assured me that the open house hosted by her and her spouse Buzz could be blog fodder, so here we go.

The house has now been named, in Japanese letters, after our dear friend Bill Clearman.

The house has now been named, in Japanese letters, after our dear friend Bill Clearman.

The house is of special interest to me not only because we used to prune the hydrangeas but because Bill Clearman, working with a Japanese architect, was the builder.

corner of garage, approaching the walkway

corner of garage, approaching the walkway

One of the house’s significant features is the blue tile roof on the garage, the walkway, and the house itself.  Here are daylight photos from an earlier visit.

The approach to the house that we walked tonight after dark.

The approach to the house that we walked tonight after dark.

house

a small part of the field of 275 blue hydrangeas

walkway to guest house

walkway to guest house

Bill painstakingly fit together the posts and beams using Japanese tools.

Bill painstakingly fit together the posts and beams using Japanese tools.

The left side of the walkway is planted with noxious and firmly entrenched English Ivy.  It would be hell to remove, but I’d replace it with a collection of hellebores and, say, epimidiums.

to the front door

to the front door

to the right of the steps, the sand garden had Maddy's footprints and a rubber dog toy.

to the right of the steps, the sand garden had Maddy’s footprints and a rubber dog toy. (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo with Maddy's "kong" chew toy.

Allan’s photo with Maddy’s “kong” chew toy.

a waterlogue of the sand garden from a gardening day of the past

a waterlogue of the sand garden from a gardening day of the past

by the front door (Allan's photo, for Garden Tour Nancy)

by the front door (Allan’s photo, for Garden Tour Nancy)

the massive fireplace in the living room

Inside:  the massive fireplace in the living room

and the obligatory Waterlogue

and the obligatory Waterlogue

detail

detail

There is an art theme shared by the two parties we attended this season, as there is also a photo or painting of a water tower in Debbie’s house, and I meant to ask her the significance but I forgot.

A new wooden floor was recently laid by Bill, replacing (I think) carpeting from the previous homeowners.

A new mahogany floor was recently laid by Bill, replacing carpeting from the previous homeowners.

lr

To the right, I parked myself in the cozy seating spot for much of the party….

after taking a plate of snacks from the first wave of food in the dining room.

after taking a plate of snacks from the first wave of food in the dining room.

the tree, which was purchased from the Ilwaco High School Music Boosters annual Christmas tree sale

the tree, which was purchased from the Ilwaco High School Music Boosters annual Christmas tree sale

My good friend Maddy, living in hope of someone dropping good food.

My good friend Maddy, living in hope of someone dropping good food.

I made an excursion onto the east side deck to have a look at the hydrangeas.

the hydrangeas with old papery flowers hanging on

the hydrangeas with old papery flowers hanging on

The vast hydrangea field extends all along the front of the guest house.

The vast hydrangea field extends all along the front of the guest house.  I was pleased to see that pavers have now been set into the river rock for better access.  I used to find that so hard to walk on.

from the deck, Allan's photo; in the daytime, you would be able to view Willapa Bay's changing tides.

from the deck, Allan’s photo; in the daytime, you would be able to view Willapa Bay’s changing tides.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan checked on the fairy door.

Allan checked on the fairy door.

Patti J was there and sat with us.

our Patti

our Patti

Maddy settled down with us for awhile.

Maddy settled down with us for awhile.

my sit spot haven

my sit spot haven

the view from my seat

the view from my seat

and another view from my sit spot

and another view from my sit spot

I looked up and marveled at Bill's work on the high ceiling.  (Note the high windows that bring in much daylight)

I looked up and marveled at Bill’s work on the high ceiling. (Note the high windows that bring in much daylight)

up

If I am not mistaken the beams are all fitted together with the use of Japanese woodworking tools and with no nails or screws.

up2

The main course of food appeared, with brioches made by Pink Poppy Bakery.

mains

note the blue calico plates; I love them (and have a few myself)

Desserts included Pink Poppy cookies and some of the Pink Poppy pecan pie that I had read of and was pleased to get to sample.

desserts, with Ray from Astoria in a festive tie

desserts, with Ray from Astoria in a festive tie

one of the desserts

another of the desserts

One of Buzz’s sons kept the fire going; the fireplace is large enough to take a big log.  From where I sat, I admired the built in storage for firewood.

fire

 

detail

Buzz was a consummate host, circulating and making sure everyone was well supplied with food and drink.

buzz

Painted in Waterlogue

Having read Buzz’s book, Father’s Day, I was especially pleased to meet his son Zach.  Zach asked me what day Allan and I had been married.  I told him the date ten years ago and he immediately told me what day of the week that date had fallen on.  I had read of this, but hearing it in person boggles the mind.

Zach in red

Zach in red

Sometimes I am nostalgic about gardening here. When I looked out the window in the dark and saw the stems of the hydrangeas they called to me but not loudly enough to really want to prune them again.  It’s a job for younger gardeners with good knees.

stems, through the window, telephoto from where I sat

stems, through the window, telephoto from where I sat

Later in the party, Allan had a long schmooze with Buzz on the topic of motorcycling.

Allan and Buzz discussing a fascinating subject

Allan and Buzz discussing a fascinating subject

I met Cynthia from Astoria and I was surprised, as always, to learn that she reads this blog.  While suffering at times from the usual social anxiety, I practiced asking questions.  It’s an easy solution at times, as I am interested in the answers.  The sometimes impossible part is making the approach or sitting down in a group, especially a group of elegant looking people while feeling like a peasant (and like someone with a very, very small life).  I wandered around a bit taking photos of objects, which behavior might have looked a little weird, and then Waterlogued some in order to look serenely occupied.

amaryllis

I well remember typing on an LC Smith typewriter like that.

I well remember typing on an LC Smith typewriter like that.

Painted in Waterlogue

vase

 

Painted in Waterlogue

lamps

As we departed, the evergreen smell from the small grove of redwoods by driveway filled the air with the essence of winter.  I was glad we had rousted ourselves out of the lazy comforts of home.  Thanks, Lisa and Buzz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, 10 November, 2013

A still, calm day awaited so no bulb sorting would be done during daylight hours.  Any early morning rain that may have left droplets on the window had passed.

morning window view

morning window view

We took the boxes that had been sorted yesterday and were off…

At our first stop, The Planter Box, we bought five bags of bulb food.

bulb food

bulb food

While I would rather use Dr. Earth bulb fertilizer, or another organic brand, I settle for Lilly Miller because it is the only one we can get in a big bag.  If I ever got it together in time, I would mix my own.  Maybe next year.  Right now, desperate times…

Speaking of bulbs, the Planter Box has paperwhites for sale.

Speaking of bulbs, the Planter Box has paperwhites for sale.

Then we went to Andersen’s with a few bulbs from our collection and were faced, as I knew we would be, with 350 narcissi that Lorna had ordered.

Narcissi King Alfred, Flower Record, Yellow Cheerfulness, and one other

Narcissi King Alfred, Flower Record, Yellow Cheerfulness, and one other

While I placed the bulbs, Allan dismantled the bright annual planters; in these three are always the first of the Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ to finish and dry up because they get rootbound.

3 planted pots, 3 pots used as stands

3 planted pots, 3 pots used as stands

Then Allan planted bulbs on the west side and Payson Hall planters while I worked on the picket fence garden, an area that needed a lot of weeding as well.  We both finished up at the blissfully weed free garden shed border, the one we had dug lots of old perennials out of and freshly mulched a few days ago.  That was easy; the other parts were hard work.  I was miserable for awhile as I had dressed for autumn and the temperature was a sweltering sixty degrees F!

I realized I call this time bulb hell not just because it used to be a hassle to sort in a small space, or to fit the bulb boxes in our former, tiny car.  It can be hellish because it comes at a time of year when we are just so tired.  So very tired.  And it would be nice to whack through the fall clean up and  be done and on staycation.

I originally got into the bulbing habit when clients, especially Long Beach, would want to lay me off at the end of October, even before the gardens were nicely cleaned up.  If I still had bulbs to plant, they couldn’t get rid of me for the year till the bulbs were in and that gave me time to do a proper fall cleanup!  I simply could not afford, back then, to be laid off for the winter so soon.  Now I could, but I would miss the spectacular spring shows provided from all the bulbs we plant at this time of year.

After Andersen’s, we had time to spend till almost sundown at the hydrangea job house on the bay.  I did not have many bulbs to plant there as I want to see how well it works out to plant in such shady, rooty soil.  My plan to plant some darling little bulbs in the tiny zen courtyard got thwarted by rootiness and landscape fabric, so I took some of those little early Iris reticulata and species crocus and put them around the edges of some pots on the deck.

With that done, I checked out our friend Ed Strange’s mowing of the green road.

from where we park...much more walkable.  Driveable, even!

looking east from where we park…much more walkable. Driveable, even!

around the bend, now looking north

around the bend, now looking north

very nicely mown

very nicely mown

If regular mowings follow this first rough one, it will become a green road again by next spring.

holly

holly

A gardening guy was there cutting down the big holly at the side of the house.  He had also been working on the old kitchen garden and was pleased to hear about the newspaper method that could save him hours of digging sod there.

In my perfect world, next on the agenda would be getting the grass out of the hydrangea field and laying lots of new bark down over the exposed landscape fabric.  NOT RED BARK!

grass and fabric

grass and fabric

The hydrangea beds used to be weeded all the way out to the sprinklers, one of which you can see at lower left.

encroaching grass

encroaching grass

It is clear now what needs to be done.  Someone hauled off the four huge mountains of hydrangea clippings, one of which we had piled right here, so the encroaching lawn shows clearly.

Below, the white sprinkler uprights mark where the edge of the bed used to be.

sprinklers

 

I would also tackle where salal has erupted in the center of the field:

a salal grove

a salal grove

and where salal has seriously encroached on the north end of the hydrangea field.

the salal menace

the salal menace

Fortunately for me, I don’t have to do this because it will be one heck of a job.  It is certainly satisfying to see the 250 pruned hydrangeas, our big accomplishment last month.

Ed has mowed and strimmed and revealed the beautiful boardwalk going out into the bay.

a widened path

a widened path

a walk of boards

a walk of boards

rose hips by the bay

rose hips by the bay

Then, after picking up the load of bamboo that we had chopped at The Depot Restaurant two days ago, I got back to bulb central in the garage and sorted out enough bulbs to keep us going tomorrow…predicted to be another nice day.

It is so very good to get the planting done on nice days.  It would be so very much better if I could do all the sorting on three rainy days and THEN plant on several nice days in a row.

At 7:30 I felt I had hit the wall.  I pushed on for another 45 minutes to finish the box of bulbs for a private home and then….GAH! realized that tomorrow is a holiday so it would have better to sort for a business.  We try not to go to working people’s private homes on weekends or holidays.

Too tired to think of a spiffing closing line.  More bulbs tomorrow.  Oh, that’s a pretty good one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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