Posts Tagged ‘Long Beach planters’

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Frosty joins me for breakfast

As does Calvin.


After a rainy and windy Friday, we got back to work on Saturday.

The rain gauge had a goodly amount. (Allan’s photo)

Chopping and changing is English slang for constantly changing one’s mind.  That is the kind of workday we had, not at all what we had planned.


We had intended to begin with the spring clean up at the J’s and the Norwood gardens, both nearby neighbours of ours.  But when we saw smoke from the J’s chimney, we decided not to disturb their peaceful weekend.  I changed my mind and said we would go straight to the Ilwaco boatyard garden.  But when  we got there, we saw this ominous and frightening sight:

Orange marking paint all along the garden!!

Allan’s photo

aaaaaaahhhhhhhh! (anxious cry)

and red squares!

Last time this happened, the whole garden got torn out for a new electrical line and new fence.  Even though I knew it couldn’t be that serious, I decided we had to know what it meant before we worked on the garden.  (And when we do work on it, we will have to not disturb those marks.)

I emailed the port manager. We checked to see if the port office was open (which it sometimes is on summer Saturdays).  Nope.

a sunny day at the port (Allan’s photo)

We went on down to CoHo Charters to see if we could find out friend and port commissioner Butch to see if he had any info. No joy, but we did plant a white heather in his curbside garden, to match the ones at its other end.  I had told him I was awfully bored weeding plain red lava rock.  We also added some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ divisions recently.

Allan’s photo

I was having a mild anxiety attack about the boatyard garden.  It was frustrating to discover the marks on a Saturday with the port office closed.  Fortunately, I soon heard back from the alert port manager who said it is to do with revamping the washing station…where they wash the boats…to update the part that catches any paint flakes and other stuff that can’t go into the marina water.  So it should not be too bad of a digging in the garden. I hope.

Still, I was not comfortable working there till I knew for sure.  (You would have thought I’d have sought  more information on Monday, but by then I felt less worried and put off the quest for info in favour of going to another job.)

We went on to tidy up the Ilwaco street trees and planters, starting with the one at Peninsula Sanitation.

The trailing rosemary had gotten tired and yellow and way too big for the pot.

after (Allan’s photos). It needs to come out, but not today.  It is just silly, don’t you think?. I guess I’ll take off that piece to the left next time.

The first thing I saw on First Avenue was that one of the planters was gone!

But then I saw the drag marks on the sidewalk, and there it is, on the other side of a street tree, actually a much better spot.

I was still fretting about the boatyard garden.

street tree tidy, before

after (Allan’s photos)

Another crisis: The planter by the Portside Café has stopped draining and all the soil will have to be dug out.  I removed the sodden and sick plants, but we must let it dry out a bit before digging out the soupy soil.

Allan’s photo


a happy and floriferous planter

There is one missing street tree because someone drove over it last winter.


I was told (by someone who knew the drive-over person) that this would be taken care of with no worries to me.  I think it’s getting time to start asking what progress has been made.

Near Roots drive through juice and sandwich bar, we found a planter inundated with coffee grounds.

Allan’s photo

Allan scraped it off.  Although coffee grounds are ok in a compost bin or in moderation in the garden (some think they repel slugs), this is ridiculous and unhealthy.  Subsequent investigation proved that the grounds are not being applied by anyone from Roots nor by the owner of an adjacent building, but apparently by a short individual, unknown to us by name, who collects free grounds that are left for gardeners to take from Roots and who apparently think this is good for the plants (including the garden bed at Roots!)  We all want her stop.  I think we will put a sign in the planter asking to please not put grounds in it.

another planter with some early colour

The little metal planter is an odd one that just appeared a few years back.

City Hall planters; one center agastache made it through the winter, and one (front planter) did not.

On the way out of town, we paused at Black Lake.

WWII memorial at Black Lake

This used to be cared for by a garden club and back then it had some flowers.

I would love to know who was in that club.

Long Beach

Onward.  My next big plan was to get all the planters tidied, and some ornamental grasses in the garden cut back, on the Bolstad beach approach, and then to do the Sid Snyder Drive beach approach planters and the kite museum garden.  We started at the west end of Bolstad.

satellite view of both beach approach roads, Bolstad (top) and Sid Snyder (bottom)

santolinas to trim

santolinas and rosemary

The Bolstad planters get very little summer water as there is no plumbing out here.

The Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ I planted last year have gone missing again.

seasonal ponds in the dunes

a gentleman feeds the gulls

Allan’s photo (telephoto; the building is actually blocks away)

a bath after dinner

I decided that two big old grass-infested armeria (sea thrift) finally must go.  I have never thought of sea thrift as a dividable plant.  But if I replace it with new ones, they will probably be stolen.


I did end up with little rooted bits, so stuck them back in to see if they take.  They won’t, I hope, look as irresistible as fresh round new plants.

Wish them luck.

With five planters done, and many more to go, suddenly the sky darkened and a cold and heavy rain began.  Drat!

heading for home….

But then, I decided to stop at the Shelburne garden just to see how it looked, and to pop in a few bulbs that I had dug up at home to add there.

planting some little narcissi

But wait, we saw a definite problem.  In order to hang the new pub open sign, staff had to walk into the garden.

Oh dear.

Uh oh, a lily-bulb-protecting tipi!

Why hadn’t I thought about this before?  Oh…because I think in olden days, a permanent sign hung there, not one that was put up every day at opening time.

Allan found and moved the lily bulbs. Instead of whinging about it, we scr0unged around and found some materials to make a walking place for the sign hangeruppers.

Allan fixing the problem, after I moved dormant plants out of that area.

As people strolled into the pub, I remembered the first time Robert and I planted bulbs at the Shelburne, probably 20 years ago.  It was a pleasant Thanksgiving, early afternoon, when I tossed the bulbs all over the garden in patterns and clumps.  We would, I thought, get them planted before the Shoalwater Restaurant opened for its famous Thanksgiving dinner.  And then the skies suddenly opened and we were planting in the pouring rain, looking drenched, muddy and bedraggled…and people started arriving for dinner, because it started in early afternoon.  The diners had to walk by the most pitiful looking pair of gardeners.  It gave me much to ponder about the best ways to work in public places.

emergency fixing

The following day, I remembered where a few more bricks could be had, to add to this next time.

Allan found this photo from 2007 showing the permanent sign that hung there.

back in our heyday of caring for this garden, 2007 (Allan’s photo)

after our work today

I am still pondering the fate of the tatty old Helmond Pillar barberry.

not at its best

The entry signs have been beautifully redone by the new owners.  This hotel did not used to have king beds, and now it will.



I will trim that rosemary before the hotel itself reopens!

At home, as Allan unhooked the trailer, he saw a spectacular sunset down at the end of the street.

I was able to erase “Ilwaco trees and planters” from the work board.

The cats are thrilled with a new toy that Allan ordered for them.  The balls go round and round and round when swatted.



Read Full Post »

Saturday, 18 November 2017

At the post office, we got an extra special sympathy card about my extra good cat, Smoky.  This one came from all the way from Montana.  Look at the cute envelope, addressed to us and to the remaining cats by name, and at how the PO Box is left blank yet it still got to us.  I looked at the return address (a town an hour an a quarter from where my pal Montana Mary lives) and was mystified.

Inside, I was touched and amazed to find the sender is a blog reader.

Thank you, Penny, so much.  And Mrs. Purrsnickitty (I love your name, Mrs. P.) It means the world to me that my dear kitty touched your hearts.  (I am reminded of how I wept when I learned that Chess, then the dog-voice of The Miserable Gardener blog, had passed. He was as real to me as any friend of mine.)  I also appreciate having all the other kitties’ names on the card.  They all got extra pets from you, Penny and Mrs. P.

This is the kind of card that you put under your pillow for comfort.

I managed to refocus my mind on work.  Work is the time I cope best with losing my best little friend, because he did not come to work with me so I have no work memories of him.

Port of Ilwaco

We started by applying a bale of Gardner and Bloome mulch to the port office garden.  Water seems to pool on the deck above the garden and drip through in a way that batters down the soil.

Cars were parked in the port office parking spots.  We dared to park in a Nisbett Gallery spot.

Gardner and Bloome Soil Conditioner (Allan’s photo)

mulching (Allan’s photo)

nicely mulched

Allan agreed that next spring, we will remove the old lavenders, which have gone woody in the centers, and replace with new ones.

high tide and summery weather

There was some excitement as the port manager and another man set off in a hurry from the office because “a boat is sinking on D dock.”

the bridge to D Dock

We then clipped and tidied two blocks worth of Ilwaco planters and street trees, starting at the north end of the boatyard.

an abandoned jack o lantern across from the boatyard

same in Waterlogue

First and Eagle planters before (with garbage)

and after

in the boatyard (Allan’s photo)

shiny (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

before and after, annoying patch of badaster that has taken over this tree garden (Allan’s photo)

schlepping a bucket full of clippings

My big plan was to finish the Ilwaco trees and planters—which we did—and then do another intersection of Long Beach planters and one little park, and then get on to the fall clean up at Diane’s garden and the Red Barn.  I very much wanted to get those last two done by Thanksgiving, and this could be the last good weather day for a week.

Long Beach

We parked at the police station and were pleased to see our friends Judy and Larry, out for some lunch and Christmas shopping in town.  We chatted while I started clipping in the big Lewis and Clark Square planter and Allan started cleaning up the little park behind the square.

After our friends went on their way, I suddenly decided to not break the day into three parts and to just plain finish the Long Beach parks and planters.  It always feels intrusive to me to show up at a private garden on a weekend, although I am sure Diane would not mind.  I hope now for just one more decent weather day, even just three hours of dry not too windy weather before Thanksgiving.

clipping curly teucrium

It was the right decision, because of course it took way longer to do that intersection of five planters than I had thought it would.  I walked one block north and back and found that the two planters by the stoplight created a lot of debris once I was done with them.

There are now two empty storefronts for rent (or sale?) by the stoplight. 

Plants like the bright yellow chrysanthemum, above, that are left standing for now, will require a post-frost clean up later on.  At the police station planter, below, I could not bring myself to cut the Geranium ‘Rozanne’.  It was vandalized twice earlier this summer, and thus got cut all the way back then, so it now still looks fresh and new.

I like the “British Bobby” Christmas decoration. “Well, well, well, what do we have here?”

Meanwhile, Allan found some fungi behind the Lewis and Clark Square wall.

Despite having taken a mushroom lecture, I have no idea what these are.

Allan’s project in L&C Square park, before


Lewis and Clark Square, lower right

He also clipped back the rugosa roses along the south side of the police station.  They look too pretty with their fall colour to chop down all the way yet.  Next weekend, folks will be walking by here for a Christmas tree lighting event in Veterans Field.


just a light chop


We went down to Fifth Street Park to clean up two messy planters there, and to plant the very last two little batches of tulips.  I’ve been holding on to those tulips in case the city crew got four escallonias dug out of two planters.  I woke up today deciding to put them in the ground instead, as the crew’s focus right now is on Christmas decorations and frequent storm clean up.

I asked Allan to trim back mildewy, weak old Dorothy Perkins rose from in front of Captain Bob’s Chowder.


after (Allan’s photos)

Two hours before, I thought for sure we would be done with the planters in time to pull Crocosmia at Coulter Park.  Nope.  We were stressfully racing daylight by the time we got to the two northernmost blocks.

Allan tidied under a messy street tree (catmint and a stand of the BadAster, which likes to appear everywhere).  I also asked him to clip a double stand of purple chrysanthemum that was on its last gasp.

chrysanthemum, before

Allan’s photo (They look deceptively good, but most of the flowers are browning off when you look close.)

Chrysanths are very tough to clip. (Allan’s photo)

I had gone down to the planter by NIVA green to chop more mums and tatty old lambs ears.  Heather was putting up her holiday garland and icicle lights.  I took just about three minutes to pop into the shop and snap some photos for the NIVA green Facebook page.

new lamps by Heather Ramsay

a flock of fairies

pencils for my black cat, Calvin

As the sun set, Allan got a telephoto from next to the Dennis Company building.

And another telephoto of me hauling back the last bucket of debris, with Heather in the background working on her lights:

We had time to dump our heaping load of debris at City Works before it was too dark to see. And Heather finished her project:

our favourite shop, photo courtesy NIVA green

At home, I was able to erase three things from the work board and rewrite the remaining list in a more legible fashion.

I later remembered to add Mike’s garden to the post-frost clean up.

I sat myself down and had a good long phone conversation with a local friend who just broke her arm in a fall.

Tomorrow does not look like it will be a work day.

45 mph? That’s nothin’ around here.  It will be a good day to catch up on blog posts and finish Cannery Row.  I have also been saving a vintage garden gift book for the perfect rainy day.

Read Full Post »

Friday, 17 November 201

At the post office, I got another meaningful and tender card about my Smoky cat, from our friend Jan Bono (author of the excellent local Sylvia Avery mystery series).

My main goal today was to get to Klipsan Beach Cottages, because I had promised Mary that we’d be there on the next workable day.  I couldn’t resist working on some Long Beach planters on the way.  I had made a list of block by block work on my iPhone notes that I would take pleasure in erasing as each task was done.

Long Beach

We finished the “Shelly block”, as I had called the southernmost block that we had not completed in yesterday’s storm.

I found two very worn rocks hidden in one of the planters.

Moving on, I cleaned up the planter by the Herb N’ Legend Smoke Shop, cutting back the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ even though it still had flowers.  I want the work to be done rather than going back and dealing with mushy, icy cold plants later on.  If the winter is mild, Rozanne might even throw out some more foliage and flowers.  However, forecasters are predicting a cold and even snowy winter.


after; I do feel bad about cutting perennials that are still flowering.

navigating puddles

I wanted to do two more planter intersections.  Fortunately, I realized that if we did, we would run out of time up at KBC.

I still have not been sleeping well, averaging six hours a night.  I needed coffee, and we found our favourite Great Escape barista on duty.

Great Escape espresso drive through

Klipsan Beach Cottages

We vigorously attacked the fall clean up.

honeysuckle arbor at 2:15

Before cutting the honeysuckle and rose way way back so that Denny can repair the fence panels, Allan chopped two big patches of shasta daisies.


after (Allan’s photos)

I think of a passage I read about Christopher Lloyd in which that great gardener would criticize any worker who left stubs on a plant like daisies, stubs that would be sharp and painful the next year when one weeded among the new growth.  Christo would approve of Allan’s work.

I also remember reading that leaving stubs of woody hollow stemmed plants, like Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed), encourages beneficial little pollinators to nest.

Allan then turned his attention to the arbor.


He also tidied up a bit out by the road sign, an area that we don’t often work on.


after (Allan’s photos, and he thinks the vacancy sign should be raised up higher).

At three o clock, I became deeply worried that we should not have done any Long Beach work today, and that we were going to run out of daylight before the job was done.  Fortunately, by working at a maniacal pace for three hours and a bit, we got ‘er done by the time the twinkling garden lights came on at dusk.

clipping perennials (a mushy agapanthus)

An hour before dusk, the sky darkened and it felt like we were going to get squalled on.  All we had was a rainbow without rain.

rainbow over Mary and Denny’s house (Allan’s photo)

5:24 PM

I took some final garden photos for the album on the KBC Facebook page. (I may get more in December when we deliver holiday gifts.)

Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’

Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’ flower buds

Frost or nights too cold will probably come before the white tetrapanax flowers come out.   I have never seen them fully open here.  Here is a photo of what the flowers would look like.

black currant

autumn colour on blueberries (right)

Iris foetidissima

birdbath view

Mary had come out to work with us and had laid down a couple of bales of Gardner and Bloome Soil Conditioner mulch.

looking in the east gate

east gate

pink snowberry

south of the fenced garden

the pond

the fenced garden

Mary showed us a photo she had taken while walking her dog, Bella, to the beach.  This is a bear print, next to the paw of a very large Great Pyrenees dog.

bear paw print and Great Pyrenees paw, photo by Mary Caldwell

Mary had to answer an important phone call in the house just as we were finishing up, so we did not get to put out the winter garden signs.  (We don’t know where she keeps them.)  Here they are from a previous year.

Earlier in the day, while dumping debris at Long Beach City Works, one of the crew had told us they would be turning on the holiday lights in town tonight to test that all are working.  As we drove home, we saw that almost all are (except for a few of the lamp post garland lights that did not go on).

Long Beach town; I love the banner over the street.

At home, I was able to erase just one thing off the work board.

Tomorrow, good weather should continue and I hope to erase several things.

We have been binge watching This Is Us all week, after Allan suggested we get season one from the library.  I had thought I would find it schlocky and unlikeable.  How wrong I was.  Tonight, we streamed five episodes and are now caught up to the present in season two.  And I finished The Grapes of Wrath and embarked upon Cannery Row.

Read Full Post »

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The forecast was for so much rain that we probably would not have tried to work, had we not  an appointment to see Shelly Pollock at NW Insurance and Financial to sort out my health insurance.  This drew me out of the house and away from reading The Grapes of Wrath.

First, in a dry hour, we tidied up a block worth of Ilwaco planters.

street tree, before (Allan’s photos)


after clipping lavenders and oregano

cleaning up a block worth of Ilwaco planters (telephoto)

also did three more planters near the stoplight intersection (Allan cut down that Sedum and pulled the nasturtiums)

A local fellow walked by and said how much he liked the nasturtiums and that he had picked up the fallen seeds and planted them around town.  I hope they all come up!  Allan refers to the seeds as “little brains”, which is what they look like.

Long Beach

Shelly’s office is in Long Beach.  We bracketed the appointment with some attempts to further tidy Long Beach planters and street tree gardens.  We did get two on the nearest corner done, mostly in the rain, before time to see her.

Bella in Shelly’s waiting room

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The books on the table, Starfish and Bottom Feeders, are from an excellent cozy mystery series by our friend Jan Bono.

on Shelly’s desk

As we got started on our health insurance, the Washington State Affordable Care Act website locked us out of our account as we tried to change the password because we had forgotten to bring ours.  (It has to be long and complicated, and the site makes Allan change it frequently.)  Because we’d be locked out of it for half an hour, we went off to try to work again and agreed to return in an hour.

We got a bit more planter work done.


and after (Allan’s photos)

Work soon became impossible.

So we went to Abbracci Coffee Bar, two blocks north, for a treat.

We got a window table.

Tony and Bernardo (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Mexican hot chocolate and cookies

We got to see our friend, Sophie (Allan’s photo)

Back at Shelly’s office an hour later, Allan was outside trying to tidy under the street tree while I waited for Shelly’s previous appointment to end.  As it did, Allan took shelter from pelting hail.

I knocked on the window for him to come in.

This time, we were able to access the website.  I am so grateful to Shelly for her expert help.  I got signed up for a plan I can afford, with the ACA tax rebate.  Without it, my plan would cost about $800 a month, or approximately half my annual income.  The greed and fear of the insurance companies (and pharmaceutical industry and the Republican party) may be the downfall of the ACA, but not yet.  Two and a half years for me before the relative safely of Medicare…  Shelly says that people used to be sad to get older, but that now people are rejoicing in her office to have turned 65 (Medicare age).  Medicare will also cost us about 1/4 of our eventual Social Security income, so even that is not a pretty picture for old age.

Continuing with work was futile, as the day turned as dark as dusk at 4 PM.

On the way home, we stopped at the library to pick up a film I had ordered.

The library garden had drifts of hail:

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Next: the rest of our day, including a mushroom lecture.  It was too long a day to write about in one post, despite us not getting much done.







Read Full Post »

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


sun on dogwood leaves outside our kitchen window


We started by pulling the rest of the now wind-battered sweet peas off of the fence at the Ilwaco boatyard and trimmed some more Stipa gigantea.

The boatyard garden is all greens and silvers now.

Long Beach

We continued to whittle down the fall clean up of the Long Beach planters, starting with taking down the last of the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ at the welcome sign.

windblown geraniums

There’s no after photo.  Just imagine it pretty much empty.

In town, we could tell the weather was about to be variable.

I had decided to clip back Geranium ‘Rozanne’ even if it still had some blue flowers.  My memory was strong of how miserable it is to do an extensive post-frost clean up in cold weather with cold hands.


planter in front of the Coastal Inn and Suites

Allan cleaned up under two trees just to the north of my project.

before (with Pacicum ‘Heavy Metal’ and some badasters

Panicum “Heavy Metal’ is a kind of greyish green grass in summer.


It is better to wait to prune down ornamental grasses in late winter.  However, sometimes I just realize that passersby do not GET this grass and probably think it looks weedy in the winter (or anytime).

The first big rain squall came.  I got into the van.  Allan was stuck under an awning (in yellow vest by the white pillars).

I had found a couple of rocks in the planter.

I am now finding painted rocks that have been hidden in the planters all summer, not very effective because they were so lost that some of their designs have worn off.  Mr. Tootlepedal asked about the painted rocks.  It’s a hobby that has caught on around here, and towns all over Washington State and Oregon, too, have groups of folks who paint and hide pretty rocks.  When you find one, you can keep it or re-hide it.  You can join the Facebook group associated with whatever group logo is (usually) painted onto the back of the rock and post a photo of it.

From one of the local groups, Ocean Park and Long Beach Rocks:

We paint rocks and hide them all over town for others to find. On the back of the rocks write Ocean Park/Long Beach Rocks and a Facebook symbol. If you find a rock, you can keep it or re-hide it for others to enjoy. You can also post pictures here of the rocks you hide, as well as the rocks you find.

This is a family friendly activity, so please don’t decorate rocks with profanity or obscenities. Always remember that this activity is about community and spreading joy, happiness and love.

They do bring me a lot of enjoyment as I find them and can brighten up a hard work day.

After the squall, finishing up the planter by Coastal Inn:

We moved on to another intersection, skipping a couple of blocks to get to the planters that I felt needed tidying the most.  The one in front of Hungry Harbor Grille, with its tired California poppies, had been on my mind.

before, with the planter by the carousel in foreground

I left this one for Allan.

Allan clipped the catmint in the near one, and I tackled the diagonal one.


creating a big mess

I needed the wheelbarrow!



The Hungry Harbor was getting its doors painted for Christmas. She got one door outlined in the time it took to clean the planter.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan also cleaned up the planter in front of Sweet Phees snack and pizza shop.

before cutting back the golden marjoram


Cutting the perennials now prevents the cutting of bulb foliage of those that come up early, and lets the flowers of the small spring bulbs show off better.  The grape hyacinths foliage is already up, which is normal.

Another tree garden cleaned up by Allan:

before, near Castaways Bar and Grille.

We had once tried to make this tree garden special, with some hardy fuchsias and fewer badaster and hesperantha.  But people park their dogs in it, and bikes, too, I suppose, and the good new plants got smashed so it went back to badaster and hesperantha.

after (Allan’s photos)

At 4:30, 45 minutes before dusk, the rain came back in earnest so we went home.

I’m spending some of my evening time reading The Grapes of Wrath, which continues to be both stressful and satisfying.  Satisfying because I so agree with John Steinbeck.

About a rich man with a vast acreage who is “mean, lonely, old, disappointed, and scared of dying.”:

How times have not changed:

The desperately hungry, who cannot find work despite daily questing for work, dream of just a small piece of land where they could grow food to eat:

Is a different time coming?

In his review of the film of The Grapes of Wrath, Roger Ebert wrote, “Of course Tom [Joad] didn’t know the end of the story, about how the Okies would go to work in war industries and their children would prosper more in California than they would have in Oklahoma, and their grandchildren would star in Beach Boys songs. It is easy to forget that for many, “The Grapes of Wrath” had a happy, unwritten, fourth act.”  Fortunately, I did not read the review till after I’d finished the book; it has a big spoiler about the book’s final scene.

Roger Ebert was not entirely optimistic about the fate of the workers:

 “The story, which seems to be about the resiliency and courage of “the people,” is built on a foundation of fear: Fear of losing jobs, land, self-respect. To those who had felt that fear, who had gone hungry or been homeless, it would never become dated. And its sense of injustice, I believe, is still relevant. The banks and land agents of the 1930s have been replaced by financial pyramids so huge and so chummy with the government that Enron, for example, had to tractor itself off its own land.”





Read Full Post »

Monday, 23 October 2017

Long Beach

My brain was so bulbed out today that I took not a single photo, so all of them are by Allan.

We started planting up the planters, and some of the street tree pocket gardens, on Pacific Way in Long Beach, working south to north.  I did not expect to get all 36 planters and 18 trees done today.

In the middle of the first block, I decided the escallonia in one of the planters, formerly planted by a volunteer, had to be be chopped to the base for traffic sight lines.  It wants to be at least eight feet tall and wide, and is too firmly entrenched for us to dig it out without being afraid of hurting the plumbing and electrical works in the planter.  Later in the day, I saw Parks Manager Mike in town and asked him if the city crew could remove the four escallonias, in two planters, and he agreed; not sure when this will happen.

Meanwhile, we pruned these two, as we do about once a year.  What you see is one season’s growth, already pruned many times.


I was a bit miserable for awhile because I’d dressed for autumnal weather with my warm pants, and it was like a summer day.

The other menace in the above planter is the vicious barberry ‘Rose Glow’ that the volunteer shoved in between lamp post and street.  It wants to be the size of a VW bug.  Allan cut it to the base, knowing it would soon come back.  When I noticed it was rocking slightly, I asked him to dig out the whole thing, and it popped out pretty easily.


barberry and escallonia chopped


barberry out

I’m sure someone would have liked to adopt the barberry.  I did not have the mental energy to find it a new home.


escallonia planter after

While planting bulbs, we sheared back some of the wind battered perennials and pulled almost all of the Cosmos ‘Sonata’ and painted sage.


Geranium ‘Rozanne’ before a haircut


and after

I appreciated the sight of Zauschneria californica and wished that it did not take so long to bloom; it would like more heat than our weather offers.


Zauschneria californica


Zauschneria californica

We digressed from planters at the end of the second block to plant some bulbs on the west and east sides of Fifth Street park.


east side, before


tulip bulbs and bulb food




tulip bulbs set up on a planter bench

I walked to all four planters on this intersection, placing two sets of yellow tulips (‘Strong Gold’) on the planter benches, while some park bench sitters idly watched.  Then I looked at the restroom building’s blue green trim and took the yellow tulip bag back around, bagged them up, and did the whole routine again with Tulip ‘Palestrina’.  I’m glad I had that thought before planting.


Tulip Palestrina from Van Engelen bulbs

Most of the planters get 10-12 tulips bulbs.  Some that are thickly planted with shrubs, from volunteer days, don’t have soil room to jam more than 3 tulips in.


Allan found a rock.

Fifth Street west side got some camassia and some narcissus.  Tulips do not do well in the ground there, possibly because it is too wet and heavy.

In the fourth block, I sicced Allan on the wire plant in the planter by Stormin’ Norman’s.  Last year, we dug out the two original plants that had taken over the whole planter.  I had a feeling then that we should dig out every bit of soil, which goes halfway down into the planter before meeting landscape fabric and rocks.  We did not, hoping instead that we could pull every scrap that came back.  (The roots had even gone under the fabric.

That did not work!


little scrim of wire plant all through the planter

Before we dug it out, the wire plant (which I had foolishly thought was a tender houseplant) had made huge mounds on either side, enveloping two big lavenders.


It’s a pernicious little thing.

He dug and pulled and got most of it, and did not take an “after”.  We worked until almost dark.  There is still a section of the wire plant to pull, and I am sure it will come back.

We still had two blocks of trees and planters left to do.

I tried something new this year which I now fear will not make for as exciting a tulip display.  I decided to use, in the first and third blocks, a continuing theme of a 100 of a varied tulip bulb, just because i would like to see all the variations it has.  Now I think it won’t be as interesting to people as a lot of different kinds of tulips.  (On alternating blocks, I used assorted colours.)  I also love this tulip’s name, Silverstream.


Tulip ‘Silverstream’ from Van Engelen

“A magical sport of Jewel of Spring, fragrant Silverstream ranges from creamy-yellow to deep yellow with red feathering, to red with every combination in between. But the surprise garden party doesn’t stop there: it has showy, attractive foliage with silver-white margins. (Did you know that the phenomena of marginated foliage occurs due to a lack of or insufficient pigmentation and chlorophyll in the plant cells on the outer petal edges?) Tulip Class: Giant Darwin Hybrid”

On the other hand, for people driving through, it might make a beautiful impact.  I did the same on the fourth block with a tulip called ‘Rhapsody of Smiles’.


Tulip ‘Rhapsody of Smiles’ from Van Engelen

“New! Registered by W. van Lierop & Zonen in 2011, this shapely Big Smile sport is a luscious blend of yellows and reds with variable flames, flushes and stripes. Tulip Class: Single Late.”

I have always found Big Smile to be a very strong yellow tulip.  After years of preferring pink and purple tulips (Angelique was a big favourite of mine), I now prefer yellows and oranges…except for the viridiflora (green) tulips, which are still my favourites.  It is a real shocker that I did not add my favourite, Green Wave, this year.

15 May, Tulip 'Green Wave'

weird and wonderful Tulip ‘Green Wave’

In planters on alternate blocks, I have some of my usual favourites: Only three green tulips this year instead of a dozen (China Town, Palestrina, Night Rider), and also Black Hero, Cool Crystal, Sensual Touch, Strong Gold, Akebono, Madonna, Rococo, Texas Gold, Formosa, Cummins.  If springtime has heavy rain, I’ll regret planting the fancy fringed and double tulips. 

I use a lot of late blooming ones in hope that they will be in bloom for the early May parade.   I use many and many of the late blooming Narcissus ‘Baby Moon’ for the same reason. Last year, a warm early spring had them all bloomed out by parade day (first weekend in May).    One of these years, if the warm weather trend continues as it has for the past two springs, I might just use all tulips that are shorter and supposed to bloom in April rather than May.  Being cheered by tulips earlier would not be a bad thing, and the parade can stand on its own without tuliperous enhancement. 

This year, I am adding more species tulips to each planter, as well, for (mostly) earlier bloom. The species tulips will often multiply and reliably return.  The big tulips dwindle after the first year, which is why we replant them annually.

Tomorrow: onward with the Long Beach planters and more bulbing beyond that.




Read Full Post »

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Skooter had spent the night in Allan’s laundry hamper. (Allan’s photo)

We made a quick check on Mayor Mike’s garden and then tidied and deadheaded at…

The Depot Restaurant

The rain has been enough to make ground level watering unnecessary.

north side flowers by Basket Case Greenhouse

The Red Barn

We met an absolutely darling little dog named Delly or Deli…I think.

the most perfect little dog

And I found an appropriately painted rock for a horse barn.

And met another lovely dog, Junior.

Junior’s person had just been attending to a horse stall and said to his dog, “Ok, horse time is over, now it’s dog time!”

Junior and his guy’s truck with our small garden in the background

We then went next door to

Diane’s garden

where Misty got a belly rub.

Diane agreed that the small strip of lawn outside the new fence can be removed for easier maintenance.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Someday very soon, that will be our project along with replanting the roadside garden.

Long Beach

deadheading the welcome sign

Veterans Field

While watering the containers by the Vet Field stage, I noticed something new:

I admired the rhododendron leaves in the mini park behind Lewis and Clark Square, where Allan pulled some of the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.

Allan’s photos, before


Before watering the planters, we dumped our debris and then picked up our repaired lawn mower at Bailey’s Saw Shop, where I was amused by this sign (the basic labor rate is $70 per hour):

In downtown Long Beach, I went north, watering planters, while Allan went south.

City Crew member pressure washing in Fifth Street Park

I found a painted rock.

a sign for sale at The Wooden Horse gift shop

While watering outside Funland, I kept hearing a robotic voice saying “Space Invaders”.  For some reason, I was tempted to go in and play. (I did not.)


Funland planter

The planters were definitely thirsty, and just a few cosmos had gotten crispy.

Cosmos (Allan’s photo)

California poppies and hesperantha (Allan’s photo)

hesperantha and asters (Allan’s photo)

santolina before (Allan’s photos)

and after

Coreopsis ‘Star Cluster’ (Allan’s photo)

Allan found a rock.

The week had been somber because of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, as attested to by the half mast flags.

We finished Long Beach with a tidying of Fifth Street Park.

butterfly on aster in Fifth Street Park


I walked around and checked most of the planters and street tree pocket gardens while Allan watered them.

Allan’s photos while filling the water tank at the boatyard:


…was low because my foot hurt, so I did not make it to all of the planters.

Acidanthera in a mostly shady planter

I was mightily annoyed to find, in a planter outside the pharmacy, that a special diascia had been stolen….again.  I don’t know when it happened because Allan is usually the one to care for these planters.

Just a hole left, with the protective label dropped into the hole.

a plea ignored by the plant thief

The water trailer (Allan’s photo)

A photo of the missing tree spot (victim of a bad driver) turned into a before and after when I decided to do some pruning on a tree a block away.


My foot was hurting a lot, so I asked Allan to take a break from watering and drive me home before I did the final intersection.  It can wait till tomorrow.  Meanwhile, I cut some lower limbs off one of the street trees.  These are supposed to be columnar pears, but I find them anything but columnar.

Allan helping with my spontaneous mess

after (a bit more of the Portside Café now shows in the distance)

On the way home, we had noted a handsome stand of corn on Second Avenue.

New homeowners have made a new garden.

At home, a harvest:




Read Full Post »

Older Posts »