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Posts Tagged ‘Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’’

Monday, 3 July, part two

Karen and Steve’s garden

On the way south from working in Long Beach, we took a side road so that I could sneak a peak at a project whose progress I’ve been watching on occasional drive-bys: the building of a rock wall and resulting raised front garden at the home of landscaper Steve Clarke.  As we tried to subtly drive past while craning our necks, we were spotted and hailed by Steve’s spouse, Karen, and were delighted to be invited to tour the inner sanctum of the garden.

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We’ve been watching this front garden appear.

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The distortions of  (cheap) digital photography make it hard to show that this wall is perfectly level.

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well cut and fitted rocks (Allan’s photo)

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Steve’s plush carpet of new lawn (Allan’s photo)

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established bed on south wall of the house

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south wall garden

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the joy of garden touring

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Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’

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south wall sit spot

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geranium (bee) and Erysimum ‘Wenlock Beauty’, we think

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One of Karen’s artful containers

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and another

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more container combos

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containers and ingredients (new plants)

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stacked blue pots

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Allan’s photo

We walked between garage and house to Karen’s floriferous back garden.

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a mosaiced step up

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Allan’s photo

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the back garden….The house dates to the mid 1920s.

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photo

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I was commenting how Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’ tends to revert to green in one year.

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in the back garden

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detail

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These tall eryngiums in the foreground will soon be turning steely blue.

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Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ is already at is peak of blue.

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Allan’s photo

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detail and textures

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astilbes (love them)

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blue hydrangea

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Hedge is on the north side.

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Allan’s photo.  I think that’s ‘Orange Rocket’ barberry, which I am still trying (and failing) to successfully grow.

I briefly mistook these monkshood for delphiniums and had a pang of delphinium envy!

Colorful oxalis

Backlit continus (smokebush)

An agastache centerpiece

An exclamation point as you go from the back to the front garden.

Walking back around to the southwest side, we admired the kitchen garden.  I’d love to have something this organized.

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The lattice enclosure (right) hides the wheelie bin and so forth.

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on the lattice enclosure: a display of ‘Pretty Much Picasso’ petunias

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This kitty in the shop window was a guest for the day.

It was fortuitous to get invited into this garden created by true plantspeople.  Karen is good friends with Our Lorna, former owner of the site of our former longtime job, Andersen’s RV Park, and it may be that a campfire with Lorna and Karen at our garden just might be in the works.  I hope so!

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When the Long Beach planters were installed years ago, no plan had been made for their planting and maintenance.  A volunteer “adopt a planter” program began with enthusiastic participants.  Unfortunately, because the enthusiasm tended to not last through the summers, the planters became weedy and unwatered by June.  Finally, a few years ago, we were asked to take over the planting and maintenance of all of them (36 on the main street, and maybe 20 more out on the beach approaches).  Because volunteers chose different plants, some of the planters still have full sized shrubs including non-dwarf barberries, escallonia, variegated euonymous, azaleas, and other too-large choices.  Each year, we re-do a couple of the planters.  In 2016, our mission is to make the planters on the two beach approaches better.  We experience more wind and salt out there, much more vandalism,  and a need, on the Bolstadt approach, to be completely drought tolerant, so wish us luck!

All of the hanging baskets are by Nancy Aust of the Basket Case Greenhouse.

Here are some photos of the planters through 2015.  If you click on a photo to embiggen it, you will get back and forth navigation arrows.

 

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On the way out of town this morning, we stopped by the new ROOTS Juice, Salad, and Java Bar drive-through to get some photos for Discover Ilwaco.  People are raving about their smoothies and salads.

Roots

Roots

I wish the new owners great success so they can maybe expand to a sit down place!

I wish the new owners great success so they can maybe expand to a sit down place!  I would love that!

It's across the street from city hall, where we checked on our two planters.

It’s across the street from city hall, where we checked on our two planters.

The city hall planters are thriving so well because the staff gives them supplemental water.

The Depot Restaurant

The weekly deadheading session....

The weekly deadheading session….

north side of dining deck

north side of dining deck

east wall

east wall

As I deadheaded the two Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ in the barrel by the window, I reflected cheerfully on no longer having to deadhead the 20 Butterfly at Andersen’s RV Park!  I bet the new owners plant something lower maintenance there next year.

Long Beach

deadheading and supplemental water for the welcome sign

deadheading and supplemental water for the welcome sign

still wondering if echibeckia is too dark; it does pick up a bit of orange in the sun

still wondering if echibeckia is too dark; it does pick up a bit of orange in the sun

the back, mostly cosmos

the back, mostly cosmos

front and back

front and back

Veterans Field: deadheading while the lawn gets mowed

Veterans Field: deadheading while the lawn gets mowed

Gaura 'Whirling Butterflies' is the star now.

Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ is the star now.

The second weekly watering of the planters....

The second weekly watering of the planters….

The planters are a big hit with all sorts of bees, and even damsel flies.

The planters are a big hit with all sorts of bees.

The city crew was hard at work on the parks today.

The city crew was hard at work on the parks today.

Some of the sprinkler heads are not popping up due to a low water pressure problem, so the lawns are not the uniform perfection of green as usual; there is nothing to be done about it this summer.  The sheer amount of green is still impressive.

I found some finger blight by Funland.

I found some finger blight by Funland.

Anything along the edge of Funland gets sat upon. I will put some Cape Blanco sedum in here.

Anything along the edge of Funland gets sat upon. I will put some Cape Blanco sedum in here.

cottage

My favourite planter this year, the one by Dennis Co

My favourite planter this year, the one by Dennis Co

Agastache 'Acapulco Salmon and Pink': what a great do-er!

Agastache ‘Acapulco Salmon and Pink’: what a great do-er!

Here it is from the other side of the street.

Here it is from the other side of the street.

Knautia 'Thunder and Lightning'

Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’

Some of the planters still have the plaques from volunteers, but with one exception, they are all cared for by us now.  The exception is the bright happy planter of annuals at the far west end of Sid Snyder beach approach which is still adopted by Back Country Horse Rides.

Geranium 'Rozanne' and golden marjoram, a bit of cosmos, and two agastaches which have been swallowed by Rozanne.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and golden marjoram, a bit of cosmos, and two agastaches which have been swallowed by Rozanne.

I like the angularity of Oregano 'Hopley's Purple'.

I like the angularity of Oregano ‘Hopley’s Purple’.

I went into the Long Beach Pharmacy for a candy bar to give me the energy to finish, and saw this, which reminded me of Joey Ramone:

joey

For those who don’t know: When Joey recorded that, he was battling the cancer that eventually took his life at age 49.

It was a finger-blighty day.  Allan found one of the Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ plants completely missing from the planter by the smoke shop.

all off balance now (Allan's photo, before deadheading the remaining one)

all off balance now (Allan’s photo, before deadheading the remaining one)

(Allan's photo) The symmetry is gone.

(Allan’s photo) The symmetry is gone.  He did a comb-over.

Allan's photo, bench in use by Malai Thai restaurant

Allan’s photo, bench in use by Malai Thai restaurant

Allan got done with his share of the planters before me (he had fewer) and so he deadheaded alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle) in Fifth Street Park.  His photos:

before and after, southeast quadrant of park

before and after, southeast quadrant of park

before and after, southwest quadrant, with Sambucus 'Black Lace'

before and after, southwest quadrant, with Sambucus ‘Black Lace’

Toward the end of the work day, we went out to Sid Snyder beach approach, where we had had the soaker hoses in the planters turned on for 24 hours.  It was to no avail, as they were still powder dry.  The hoses are too deep, have too little coverage, and are pretty much useless.

painfully dry (ivy left over from a volunteer)

painfully dry (ivy left over from a volunteer)

We checked up on the kite museum’s tiny entry garden, gave it some Fox Farms Tiger Bloom fertilizer, and headed out to check on the Bolstad beach approach garden and planters.  At the westernmost planter, I saw wilted santolinas and said “OH! They are not as drought tolerant as I thought!” and then saw they were pulled up and left to sit on the planter and die.

why?

why?

Allan thought it might be deer.  I think it is a human.  This stretch of three westernmost planters is repeatedly vandalized with plants pulled up that deer don’t like, and pulled up with force.  The way they are left sitting on the soil is too uniform for deer, in my opinion.  This is why those planters are so empty: plants keep on being destroyed.

Dang BLAST it.

Dang BLAST it.

further inland; it is extra frustrating because santolinas are one of the few plants that will survive out here with just about no water.

further inland; it is extra frustrating because santolinas are one of the few plants that will survive out here with just about no water.

The Lisa Bonney memorial planter has had many plants pulled out.

The Lisa Bonney memorial planter has had many plants pulled out.

So we had time to do some on the main stretch of the beach approach here with hoses hooked up to the in ground faucets…if we could find them all.  (They don’t reach the westernmost five planters.)  We did not look, though, because when we checked the first one, the water was still turned off.

dry under there

dry under there

Adjacent planter remains dry.

Adjacent planter remains dry.

looking southeast

looking southeast

On a happier note, our weeding had held up well.  We cut back two very drought-stressed ground level santolinas and then left because there is not much else we can do out here.  Bravo to the rugosa roses and escallonia! for holding up in this drought, which is serious and unusual.

from The Chinook Observer

from The Chinook Observer

Allan wanted to spend the remainder of our work time on the “big pop out” on Ocean Beach Boulevard, so we did.

big pop out, before

big pop out, before

after

after

Again, bravo to Rosa rugosa alba for blooming with no water, even though its running nature maddens me as I would like to plant more cool stuff in this planter.  Everything gets invaded by the rose.

A gentleman who was staying in the adjacent vacation rental came out to retrieve with his little dog, Sunny, who had squeezed under the fence.

Sunny

Sunny

making friends

making friends

The Cove Restaurant

Sondra's garden

Sondra’s garden

We met Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Landscape Maintenance) for our weekly dinner.

Some of the yummy items.

Some of the yummy items.

the stir fry

the stir fry  and a fish taco (they were out of ahi tuna tonight)

The Mayan Pork Conchinita

The Mayan Pork Conchinita

Melissa got duck with sauce made from Starvation Alley Farm organic cranberries.

Melissa got duck with sauce made from Starvation Alley Farm organic cranberries.

chocolate lava cake, cannoli, lemon mascarone cake

chocolate lava cake, cannoli, lemon mascarone cake

Or, as Ann Amato-Zorich told me, one cannolo!

It is very good to have jobbing gardener friends to share gardening stories with at the end of the week (although it is not the end of their week, as they work at least five days a week and we have cut down to four).  Melissa and I are in agreement that it is our favourite part of the week.

 

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Aug 22, 2013

On our compost-bucket-switch stop at Olde Towne, we walked right in, noticed the nice sign for lentil stew, switched buckets and were leaving when Luanne asked if we had seen the new sign.

inside

inside

outside

outside

I hadn’t looked up! (If you look to the right above, you will see our new van next to Chester and Allan.)

by local signpainter Chris Jacobsen

by local signpainter Chris Jacobsen

And then….Andersen’s, since we had not gotten there yesterday.

Payson Hall at Andersen's

Payson Hall at Andersen’s

still some poppies

still some poppies

Staffer Al was giving Chewie a bath in nice warm water from the outdoor shower hose.

Chewie

Chewie

such a face!

such a face!

Next, back down to north Long Beach to the Anchorage Cottages garden. I re-thought a thought that I had had the previous week there. For some reason I had got it into my head that we would cut down the Virburnums under the window of cottage 8 . Had I been mad? I had not liked it when the rhodo was cut down by the cottage window to the left, and have said it must be allowed to grow up and make a green dappled light inside that room again. Surely the guests prefer to look our their window and see green Virbunum instead of the car park!

What was I thinking?

What was I thinking?

I still like my new idea I had of putting ferns on the right side of the walk where there is a mishmash of plants. The problem of overwork means we often just weed and prune and water without having time to really think about the less important areas of various gardens. I’m having a little more time to think now that it is the slightly slower time of August.

I think limbing up the viburnums is a better idea than taking them down and letting them grow back thicker and short!

I would much rather be behind rhododendron foliage than have a view out  one of these windows...(unless it were a window facing toward the sea.)

I would much rather be behind rhododendron foliage than have a view out one of these windows…(unless it were a window facing toward the sea. Which is not the case here.)

green is better...

green is better…although the number 8 has gotten hidden again!

Anchorage window boxes

Anchorage window boxes

Next, we watered some of the Long Beach planters…

a clear yellow Tigridia (Mexican Shell Flower)

a clear yellow Tigridia (Mexican Shell Flower)

and walked briefly out to the kite festival booths. By the time we got there, the kites were all down from the sky so we didn’t go all the way to the beach. I was hoping to find the vendor from last year who had very inexpensive reading spectacles. Did not find her but did find total confirmation that the Rugosa rose takeover of the Bolstadt beach approach garden is indeed about the only thing that would hold up to kite festival foot traffic.

looking west

looking west

space

a newly worn path

a newly worn path

This wasn't bare last week.

This wasn’t bare last week.

That's what happens.

That’s what happens.

What happened here?

What happened here?

Rugosa roses standing up for themselves.

Rugosa roses standing up for themselves.

Gaura lindheimeri 'Whirling Butterflies'

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’

When we work on the beach approach garden in late summer, we often get asked if the rose hips are tomatoes. One of the common names for Rugosa rose is the Tomato Rose.

good for rose hip tea, rich in Vitamin C

good for rose hip tea, rich in Vitamin C

just a very few flowers left

just a very few flowers left…The leaves are rugose (wrinkled, corrugated)

While walking through the vendor area, not only did I meet our friend Donna M, but I also got a thrilling phone call from Golden Sands, informing me that the courtyard garden sprinkler system had been repaired: Raymond Millner from The Planter Box had found and fixed the leak!

To the east of the arch, I admired the signs for the new coffee shop which will feature treats by the delectable Pink Poppy Bakery.

It just occurred to me to Google the meaning of Akari:  "light" or "glimmer"

It just occurred to me to Google the meaning of Akari: “light” or “glimmer”

The Starvation Alley folks live next door to us and produce organic cranberry juice from their cranberry bog (which is not next door to us!). Pink Poppy Bakery is associated with the gorgoeus Pink Poppy Farm. The new place will be a pleasant stop on Long Beach workdays if I follow my resolve to actually take breaks.

Back downtown, I returned to watering. I admired one of the four Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’ planted in two planters near the Cottage Bakery and Funland. Four Knautia in all, two on the outer edge of each planter….

Knautia 'Thunder and Lightning'

Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’

But wait!! Where one of the four should be, there is nought but a creeping succulent…

NOOOOOO!

NOOOOOO!

Finger blight has struck and I did not even notice the theft till the sedum had filled back in. (I have to plant low things on the inner edge of this particular planter because, being next to Funland, it gets seriously sat upon.) I cannot even find more of the Knautia to plant a replacement this fall, and that makes me mad.

One of the remaining Knautias mingling nicely with a California poppy.

One of the remaining Knautias mingling nicely with a California poppy.

After watering, home….

I tried to get a good photo of the mysterious looking hardy gladiolus papilio…

looking up from underneath

looking up from underneath in the garden boat

further back by the bogsy wood...pink turtlehead

further back by the bogsy wood…pink turtlehead

My Nicotiana langsdorfii is still going strong!

My Nicotiana langsdorfii is still going strong!

At almost all my jobs, the Nicotiana is dried and not blooming much….I credit my high water table, great soil, and lots of supplemental water because of being on a garden tour…

August 23, 2013

First thing the next morning: Because I thought Larry and Robert’s garden had gotten a bit too dry earlier, Allan went down the block to water it while I tried to get me arse in gear for work. I followed him down there after awhile and had the pleasure of walking past Tom and Judy’s garden.

¯

Hornbuckle garden, looking west along the fence

Hornbuckle garden, looking west along the fence

and further west

and further west

Judy's poppies

Judy’s poppies

When I joined Allan, I told him something had happened to my resolve about work. The previous day I had noticed on Facebook that Jane and Dirk of the English Nursery were off to the county fair…

Hmmm...

Hmmm…

And then this morning, our client Ann had posted “Heading out to the Pacific County Fair and just found out it is Senior Citizen Day!! I get in FREE!!” Huh. Could we be missing something? The fair was an annual event in the town of Menlo about 26 miles away. We had a nice new van for a comfortable drive. I had never been to it and started to think we should go, and Allan agreed. But we would have to hustle to get some work done first.

At the Depot Restaurant garden, I finally got around to planting the rosemaries and garlic chives in the herb garden behind the kitchen. Allan went down the block to give Crank’s Roost garden another splash of water to hold it till its (soon to be former) owner returned home.

The Depot flower garden

The Depot flower garden

Depot:  Cosmos backed with hops

Depot: Cosmos backed with hops

The garden idea is to attract people’s attention from the main highway half a block west to the Depot…

More bright dahlias would be good at the Depot.

More bright dahlias would be good at the Depot.

Solidago (goldenrod) "Fireworks' is just starting to explode behind the Cosmos.

Solidago (goldenrod) “Fireworks’ is just starting to explode behind the Cosmos.

We deadheaded the Long Beach welcome sign and then went back to Ilwaco to weed Ann’s garden. I had planned for us to spend several hours there, but instead we spent an hour and a half.

Butch's nice new entry arbour dressed up with bamboo

Butch’s nice new entry arbour dressed up with bamboo

As I entered the back garden, a hustle and bustle of swiftly moving animals skittered from Ann’s garden into the yard of the neighbours to the west.

next door

next door

baby

next door

Before I pulled the bindweed, I just had to photograph more wildlife:

tiny baby Pacific tree frogs

two tiny baby Pacific tree frogs

small

so very small

looking over Ann's veg garden, deer proof

looking over Ann’s veg garden, deer proof

sunflowers

sunflowers

While the veg and raspberries are protected from deer, we must choose deer resistant plants for the open flower beds. I intend to bring some starts of Shasta daisies to add to the bed below, and run the golden marjoram all along the edge.

bed

The clay soil has been vastly improved with Soil Energy mulch and dairy manure but needs another application of a couple more inches of mulch to help new plants along.

After removing three wheelbarrows of weeds from Ann’s front and back flower beds, I left her a note on her porch saying that, sadly, SOMEONE had influenced us to go to the fair. I added that we would be back next week (little knowing that stormy weather would intervene)…. and in the midafternoon, we skived off work and headed north to Menlo.

Next: evening at The Pacific County Fair!

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I wandered the garden for a bit in the morning, but will make a post of those photos later. This is (almost) all about work. We began at the Ilwaco boatyard garden.

We were not the only ones working.

We were not the only ones working.

I had faith we could get the boatyard all weeded by Saturday (Ilwaco's big fireworks and market day).

I had faith we could get the boatyard all weeded by Saturday (Ilwaco’s big fireworks and market day).

A continuing problem there:  Bindweed climbs the Stipa gigantea.

A continuing problem there: Bindweed climbs the Stipa gigantea.

mixed flowers

mixed flowers

Get enough flowers in there and people might not notice the horsetail. But I am sure other gardeners do. I hope they feel sympathetic rather than critical.

looking north, showing about one fourth of the garden

looking north, showing about one fourth of the garden

looking south

looking south

While we were weeding, down the street came a man with an African Grey Parrot and a standard poodle.

by the boatyard

by the boatyard

He talked through the fence with another man, and I learned his name is Harvey. I’m happy to report that he has a boat, because he looks like he should have a boat.

Harvey

Harvey (photos by Allan)

Some flowers:

poppy and rose campion

poppy and rose campion

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

annual poppy

annual poppy

and more

and more

One of the main places I get poppy seeds, by the way, is the One Stop Poppy Shoppe.

burnished

burnished

dusky

dusky

crinkly

crinkly

pinkly

pinkly

red times two

red times two

Most of the Alliums survived the wind but we did take a particularly nice but broken stemmed one to Olde Towne…

Allium albopilosum

Allium albopilosum

Olde Towne was our next stop to take an early afternoon break and visit with Patt Doyle, a beloved former resident who was passing through town. Judy and Donna, Donna’s spouse M.R., and art historian Pat Moss joined us. (I thought perhaps we would get back to weeding the boatyard after other jobs, at the end of the day.)

an excellent coffee klatsch

an excellent coffee klatsch

This mid day break seemed to start a trend for the week as on Wednesday and Thursday we also had events small or large occurring during the work day. This one, however, showed us having considerable lack of discipline. I had sworn to myself we would only stay an hour, but I believe it was more like three….

When we left, a bee was on our windshield, clinging despite wind, making for an interesting photo opportunity.

It reminded Allan of the Coast Guard helicopter.

It reminded Allan of the Coast Guard helicopter. I hope it is ok. It looks a little battered but seemed to fly off all right.

Before leaving Ilwaco, we checked that Brunnera that we had planted a few days before in the mayor’s garden. I felt it calling to me from blocks away, and, indeed, it needed watering.

thirsty

We checked the Depot for deadheading because of course we had noticed some when we had gone there for dinner the previous evening.

Depot Restaurant wall o- hops

Depot Restaurant wall o’ hops

Last year the Fort Georger brewery (I think) harvested those hops and incorporated them into a “Co-hoperative” ale with other local hops.

The obligatory Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue' at the Depot

The obligatory Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ at the Depot

Then, on to water the Long Beach planters. I’ll share some flower details:

crazy about the new Knautia

crazy about the new Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’

petunia and ornamental oregano

petunia and ornamental oregano

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

I’ve kind of gone off Lucifer, having at one time planted way too much of it in LB. The stands that are left are excellent and just about the right amount.

lavender and curry plant overtaking a bench

lavender and curry plant overtaking a bench

They look so good I cannot bear to cut them back.

Coreopsis 'Jive'

Coreopsis ‘Jive’

Diascia and "the pink one'

Diascia and “the pink one’

I will never forget how in the first wonderful lecture I heard by Ann Lovejoy, she showed a slide of Oenothera and said “just go to the nursery and say you want evening primrose, the pink one.” I was spelling it out phonetically in my notes and never would have guessed it started with an O.

At 7 PM, I wanted so much to stop and have dinner at Captain Bob’s Chowder…but we still had work to do on the Long Beach welcome sign.

Captain Bob's Chowder

Captain Bob’s Chowder

At the welcome sign, we found a man who was intently examining the planter. I thought he was taking a photo, but he turned out to be looking for a geocache. He was such an intense geocacher that he has a nickname: The Shark, and a tattoo to go with it.

The Shark

The Shark

geocache finder

geocache finder (photos by Allan)

Hey, maybe the people who “took a great photo” had the flowers and sign in it. I sure hope the horsetail was weeded that day.

Back of Welcome Sign

Back of Welcome Sign

By the time the sign garden was deadheaded and the horsetail temporarily deleted, we of course did not have time to get back to the boatyard…But we still had three days to find time get it done before the weekend.

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Our day started promisingly with a quick walk through our back garden to pick a bouquet for Queen La De Da’s Art Night event. I took a little time to admire some of the flowers.

I'm pleased to report that my California poppies reseeded in a nice mix of colours instead of reverting to plain orange.

I’m pleased to report that my California poppies reseeded in a nice mix of colours instead of reverting to plain orange.

California poppies

This tiny jewel of a Pacific tree frog on a rose made my morning happy.

tiny perfection

tiny perfection

(As I write this, I can hear the evening chorus of frogs that tells me many more are out there.)

"Maxine's rose" rambling

“Maxine’s rose” rambling

I even have a very few Eremurus (foxtail lilies) that, while not a patch on my friend Sheila’s, are the best I’ve ever managed to grow. (A thought: They would look excellent in the front garden where I like tall plants, so I must plant some there this fall.)

Eremurus

Eremurus

And Mary was looking cute and silly. (She came to us with that name.)

my Mary

my Mary

Next we checked the Ilwaco boatyard garden and saw some beautiful flowers and interesting boats.

a pleasant name

a pleasant name

Condor II

Condor II

Janice Ann

Janice Ann from Newport

boatyard garden

boatyard garden, looking north

toadflax

toadflax

looking south

looking south

reseeded California poppies

reseeded California poppies

a cheerful mix for a cheerful morning

a cheerful mix for a cheerful morning

We then weeded and removed dead bulb foliage from the garden by Queen La De Da’s Art Castle and Don Nisbett Art Gallery and the Port office to make sure they looked good for the art night scheduled for that evening.

looking west on Howerton

looking west on Howerton

Knautia 'Thunder and Lightning' at the Port office

Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’ at the Port office

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue', of course.

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’, of course.

I pondered why two out of three of the Eryngiums from last year bloomed beautifully while one just sat there.

a non flowering year

a non flowering year

That was the only annoying bit of a pleasant morning, but the day would soon turn difficult.

At 12:30, we went up to Discovery Heights with the intention of spending seven hours on the gardens there, and so we did. But what a horrible mess they were. We simply have too many clients and this job, being one we do not drive by on our regular route, tends to get neglected during planting season. It consists of two very large and three medium sized planting areas, all of which require getting up onto a rock wall either high or low.

middle garden

middle garden

west end of middle garden

west end of middle garden

We both weeded along the front of the middle garden for awhile and then Allan went down to the lower garden while I tried to at least finish the front of the middle one. I took a before photo but did not have the heart to take an after.

before

before

The gardens are basically gorgeous, if I do say so, having planted them in late 2004 and then with Allan when he first moved here in 2005. The selections are deer resistant and have grown well together. The weeds in middle garden have always been a problem because bad soil was brought in (not my choice) containing much horsetail and rush. We were laid off for eight months or so in 2009 and during that year the weeds moved in fiercely. By the time we took the job back, the large time slot it had had was lost to other jobs, and we have never really managed to find time get the garden the way we like it to be. But that is not the main issue. I just am finding the job terribly hard as I get older, and I finally had a revelation that was right up there with the Great Revelation of 2007: to only do jobs that bring joy. I may only have another twenty years of active gardening IF I am as lucky in health as my mother. (She was able to retire at age 55, and that may have contributed to her being able to work in her garden till age 82.)

But it is hard to give up a garden that one has planted. I walked down to join Allan at the lower garden and sat for a moment in the car to eat a snack, gazing up into the garden where the sight of still more thick weeds met my eyes.

grass obscuring the garden

grass obscuring the garden

Did I weep? If I did, it would be unusual. Did we go up into this garden and weed for an hour? We most certainly did. Did I make a final decision? Yes. Before we even got back into the zone of cell phone coverage, I was composing a email of gradual resignation on my phone. I’ve tried to back off from this job before but have always been talked out of it by the owners. They deserve better, someone who has the time to weed thoroughly. I explained that the cities of Long Beach and Ilwaco and the Port of Ilwaco gardens have gotten more expansive every year and that those public gardens are my priority, but I think that one particular point that I made finally got the owners to agree to ask another local gardening business to begin to take over the weeding. I wrote that “the city jobs, to be quite frank, are MUCH more comfortable to do being on level ground and with, well, bathrooms! Climbing down off the rock wall and trekking off into the woods is no fun for a middle aged lady, let me tell you!” Ha! I should have used that VERY accurate reason for resigning before. Later when I told my friend Judy that I need jobs with three amenities: some shade, a chair or bench to sit on at lunchtime, and a bathroom, she said “No chair, no shade, no bathrooms, no Skyler!”

When we got home, I had to recover from all the emotion before going out again, so we did not get to Art Night till the last hour and missed the crowd of over sixty people who had attended. I was thrilled that the event had done so well and regret that I only got photos after the biggest crowd had gone.

Marie Powell's gallery

Marie Powell’s gallery

floral monotype in Marie's gallery

floral monotype in Marie’s gallery

Don Nisbett's gallery

Don Nisbett’s gallery

 

a Basket Case basket from inside Don's gallery

a Basket Case basket from inside Don’s gallery

outside Queen La De Da's

outside Queen La De Da’s Art Castle

evening music

art night guests outside the Port office

art night guests outside the Port office

From inside Queen La De Da’s, this piece of art spoke to me about the big decision of the day:

follow your heart

My heart says to only do jobs that bring us joy and to NOT do so many jobs that we have no time to spend in our own garden during spring through autumn. My perfectionism says that fewer jobs done well are better for our own satisfaction and that of the clients. My social conscience tells me that the most important jobs to me are the ones that benefit the most people: resorts, city gardens, art gallery gardens. The very most important jobs are the ones whose gardens benefit passersby of all classes and economic status, i.e. the city gardens. The very good sleep that I got that night told me that I had made the right decision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It kind of bothers me that local gardeners are missing out on the wonderful collection of perennials offered by The Basket Case Greenhouse at 12106 Sandridge Road.  Maybe because a lot of them are not yet blooming, people do not realize how beautiful they will be.  Basket Case owners Fred and Nancy try to close the nursery each year sometime in July (reopening in very early spring), so get them while you can! I would not even reveal the secrets of this outstanding collection if it were not for the fact that I have already bought mine!

Here are some of my favourites.  Get ’em while you can!

Lobelia tupa

The tag says “Devil’s cardinal flower”.  This perennial might not come through a cold wet winter, but with good sized plants like these, you should get a good show the first year.

Lobelia tupa

Lobelia tupa

It has been a plant of great desirability for me ever since I saw it almost in bloom at Joy Creek nursery some years back.

in bud

in bud

It was so hard to find that I searched for it in Seattle nurseries and was able, at the time, to find only three!  Yet here they are at the Basket Case just waiting for you….Unless I decide I have to have them all.  (I think I have already purchased almost a full flat!)   My great gardening friend Sheila says she has killed it twice, and I have heard other tales of woe, but if one has it for one season it would be worth it.  Check out the gallery of images.

Perovskia ‘Lacey Blue’

There is only ONE of these left.  I bought all the others or talked clients into buying them.  This Russian sage is worthwhile for the gorgeous foliage alone.

Perovskia 'Lacey Blue'

Perovskia ‘Lacey Blue’

It is supposed to be compact, so might be good for containers.

Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’

I have these in almost every one of my gardens.  It has the usual coreopsis flowers but on stems that get up to eight feet tall.  I just find it so very fun and amusing to grow!  One you have a good clump of it, you can divide it and give it to friends.  That’s the only reason I have not purchased many more of these plants this year.

Coreopsis 'Flower Tower'

Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’

Protect it from slugs;  they seem to like the new shoots, but I have not lost a plant of this to slugs OR weather in three years.

Here it is blooming as tall as the greenhouse at Klipsan Beach Cottages in October 2012.

fun!

fun!

Sanguisorbas

Nobody but me seems to “get” the burnets!   The sanguisorba collection at The Basket case is not your usual herby burnet that seeds around and has small flowers.  These have assorted big feathery plumes that I love and have sought out every since I saw a seminar slideshow by Piet Oudolf at the Seattle garden show years ago.

Sanguisorba 'Red Thunder' and another

Sanguisorba ‘Red Thunder’ and another

The “Red Thunder’ one is new to me this year.  I have forgotten which is the one on the right, above, but there is only one of it left.  I bought all the others!  You will see an assortment of three or four kinds in the park in front of Captain Bob’s Chowder and Marsh’s in Long Beach this summer, and in my own garden I have as many kinds as I have been able to find over the years.  The only thing that has prevented me from buying all of those ‘Red Thunder’ ones is that the deer do eat sanguisorbas so that limits the gardens I can plant them in.

Chelone obliqua

It used to be most unusual to find this in a nursery.  I had to mail order mine before this year when Basket Case started to carry them.  The “turtlehead” flowers bloom in the late summer.  The only reason there is still a batch of these at Basket Case is that I have not got around to buying them yet, but I will, if someone does not beat me to it.  It likes part shade and moisty soil.  It bloomed for me last year in dry shade but the foliage did not look happy so I have moved mine into a wetter area.

Chelone obliqua...pink turtlehead

Chelone obliqua…pink turtlehead

I had one in my former, dampish garden along a stream that was spectacular in late summer, but I didn’t have a digital camera during most of my time there so I don’t have a record of its glory.

Scrophularia variegata

With a name like that, no wonder the tag says variegated figwort.  This is another plant that is still at the Basket Case only because we have a small car and can’t fit everything in that we want.

variegated figwort

Rene Eisenbart wrote in the Oregonian:  “one of the choicest variegated foliage plants the perennial world has to offer. Extremely bright and full of optimism, with conspicuously large and crinkled leaves, it has a rigid upright habit that makes it a beacon in the garden.”

I had better get back there and buy all the rest of these, unless someone beats me to it.  I need them!

Penstemons

I have found penstemons to be drought resistant and so far the deer have left them alone except for the occasional experimental nibble.  Basket Case has a good selection, including this one new to me:

Penstemon 'Burgundy Brew'

Penstemon ‘Burgundy Brew’

There are not very many of these left, and I just thought of how a client of ours who likes wine really should have one of these.  And now I can think of two clients who are wine connoiseurs.  Make that three.   Are there even enough of these left for me?  Basket Case has also had ‘Apple Blossom’ and ‘Thorn’ this year and I have bought some of each.  Burgundy Brew is said to have unusually large flowers.  Good thing I am going back to Basket Case within two days so I can snag at least one more of these.

Verbascum ‘Jackie in Yellow’

Verbascum ‘Clementine’ was a big hit earlier this season at the Basket Case and I think it is sold out, but there is still perhaps only ONE plant of the gorgeous, drought tolerant, sunny border plant ‘Jackie in Yellow’ left.

Verbascum 'Jackie in Yellow'

Verbascum ‘Jackie in Yellow’

I have never tried these as cut flowers but Google tells me they are good in bouquets.

Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’

Fred tells me I am the only one who has bought this plant, and I am astonished.  The foliage is striking.

Knautia 'Thunder and Lightning'

Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’

But when it blooms, it should be a knock out.  The plain green leafed Knautia macedonica is one of the most admired plants in our garden at the Wiegardt Gallery.  Looks like this one will have the same dark flowers.

Knautia at Wiegardt Gallery

Knautia at Wiegardt Gallery (the tall burgundy one)

I just bought six more ‘Thunder and Lightnings’ today but there are a few left.  For now.  I have decided they might look spiffing in some of the Long Beach planters!

Phygelius

There are at least three cultivars of this available. They are all good, deer resistant and sun loving, drought tolerant plants.  Hummingbirds love them.  They can be runners but I have never found them to be a problem because I like getting the offshoots.  The one that really struck my fancy this year was the white one (I think it is called ‘Snow White’) because it is unusual.

Phygelius

Phygelius

I do not understand why these are not being bought up!  Note on the left of the photos, you can just see the one (I forget the name) with gorgeous gold foliage.

Rosa mutabilis

This rose was spectacular in my old garden.  I think there are three left of the six that Basket Case got in this year.  I bought the other three.  Don’t miss out!

Rosa mutabilis

Rosa mutabilis

Here it is in my old garden:

Rose

Agastache (Hyssop)

The Agastaches that I planted from Basket Case last year were the hit of my garden when it was on the garden tour and through the summer whenever someone visited.

Agastaches

Agastaches

I think I bought all the Golden Jubilee and the apricot and salmon coloured one might be gone, but there are still some Acapulco Orange and some with the very amusing name ‘Black Adder’ and possibly some violet-blue ones.

The leaves often smell deliciously of licorice.  I am in love with all of these.

an Agastache from Basket Case last summer in my garden

an Agastache from Basket Case last summer in my garden

Eryngiums

Finally, my favourite perennials, the Eryngiums.  The Basket Case has two on offer, the first being one that was introduced just a few years ago and cost about $30 a gallon then.

Eryngium 'Jade Frost'

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’

Because I collect them, I had to have it then.   I have found that the pretty foliage tends to want to revert to green after a year or two, but the flower is so spectacular that I love it anyway.  Now that Basket Case has them for a reasonable price, I will just get new ones each year for the foliage colour.

There are still four left!

There are still four left!

Here it is flowering, with blue thistle-like balls, in my garden last year on tour day:

Eryngium 'Jade Frost' in flower

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ in flower

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ is probably THE most asked about flower in any of my gardens.  I use it in every single one.  The deer leave it alone, the flowers are an incredible blue, and they dry on the plant in an attractive way.

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

People go into businesses, even the Port Office, and ask what this plant is.  The Basket Case is on its second shipment of these and has a few left.

Here it is in the Hornbuckle garden on May 8th this year:

green buds

green buds

Here it is yesterday in my friend Nancy’s garden:

just colouring up, 5-23-13

just colouring up, 5-23-13

June 2012, a bee magnet

June 2012, a bee magnet

2011, at the Wiegardt Gallery

2011, at the Wiegardt Gallery

It’s a wonderful plant that never fails to get attention and compliments.

So when you visit the Basket Case, don’t just look at their wonderful selection of annuals.  Look closely at the tags in the perennials house, because all those plants that just look green and maybe not very exciting now will do great things in the garden, and they long to get out of their pots and into the ground.

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