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Posts Tagged ‘mulching’

Saturday, 19 March 2016

I would rather have stayed home and sorted photos of Mary the cat.  (In fact, as our regular readers know, I did do the sorting and posting over the next couple of days.) However good weather, a charitable event, and work called.

Empty Bowls

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Local potter Karen Brownlee devoted weeks of energy to this event, organizing, helping with the making of the bowls, and publicizing.

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We got there at 10:45 to get a good chance at the bowls I’d seen on Facebook!

(Don’t anyone tell the little ones, but I always go for a bowl by a grown up potter!)

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There was a plug for the quilt show in the window…we still hadn’t made it to the quilts.  (Allan’s photo)


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crowds gather around the bowls


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Our Kathleen arrived shortly after us.


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Allan’s photo


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Allan’s first choice was the large tan bowl on the left. Our Kathleen also had an eye for its functional beauty and nabbed it later. He went for an octopus design.


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Allan’s photo


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Allan’s photo


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our friend Robbie and her bowls

Robbie had been holding her bowls right in front, but moved them when I said they looked like a reverse coconut bra.

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live entertainment


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an assortment of soups on offer


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Allan’s photo

My very favourite soup, smokey tomato and bleu cheese from the 42nd Street Café, was one of the options.

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Robbie’s bowls


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Allan’s and my bowls (later at home)


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Allan’s photo


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Robbie’s photo: me and Our Kathleen.  (You eat out of plain bowls, not the ones you buy.)

Then, without lingering quite as long as we would have liked, Allan and I left for the Planter Box to get some mulch for Jo’s garden.

On the way north, we stopped for photos when we saw that the Long Beach carousel  being assembled for the season.

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Allan’s photo


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Installing the fabric roof in the wind


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in a planter across the street (Allan’s photo)

The Planter Box

Our goal was the dairy manure mulch, now known by a zippy new name:

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Cow WOW!


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Raymond loads our little trailer

While Allan reloaded the buckets and wheelbarrow, I took some plant photos for the Planter Box Facebook page.

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heucheras


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epimediums


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double primroses pink…


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…and white


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an early blooming white clematis that I acquired for myself a coulpe of years ago

Jo’s garden

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trailer load, one yard of Cow WOW

At Jo’s, the mulch has to be bucketed into the garden because of a few steps at the east end and just one step at the west end.

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ahead: the steps


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entry bed, mulched


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and the shade bed


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and the bed by the east deck

back to the Planter Box

Last year, we scraped the bottom of the cow mulch pile and were only able to apply one yard.  This year, the lavish pile allowed us to return to get a second yard to make the garden extra fluffy.

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Planter Box: The Next Generation


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Allan’s photo


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second load


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white bleeding heart


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calceolaria


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some poppy plants for Jo (Allan’s photo)

back to Jo’s

This time we parked at the end of the west lawn and Allan wheelbarrowed the buckets up three at a time.

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It’s a long way.

I did the dumping and spreading of mulch.  I am thankful to report that the Really Bad leg pain of a few days ago went back to just the ordinary amount…thank goodness.

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the west end entry step

One could put a ramp on that little step.  However, the brick paths are narrow and the garden full of plants, making it actually easier to bucket.

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Allan’s photo


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Allan’s photo


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center courtyard mulched


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Allan’s photos: Jo’s sword fern yesterday…


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and today


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northwest bed mulched


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NW corner


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west bed, where we ran out last year, nicely mulched

Ilwaco

On the way home, we drove by the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum and I remembered I had wanted to pull the chickweed from one of their planters before the quilt show, which had started yesterday.  Kitty Mary’s death had changed our plan to attend the quilt show on Friday and I had forgotten the weed.  We don’t take care of those two planters; the chickweed just bugs me.

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museum planter, before


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after

While weeding here, I had a brainstorm.  The small amount of mulch we had left would be just perfect to mulch our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Post Office, so with a slight sense of reluctance I decided to donate it to that good cause instead of applying it to a few needy plants at home.

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leftover mulch (Allan’s photo)

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after??

In taking the after photo, I had another brainstorm: Those two grasses have seen their last good days and have to go!  So out they came.  You can see to the far left that they have made some nice new starts.

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the new after

Maddeningly, I thought of removing the grasses after using up all the mulch so had none to nicely fill in the empty spot.

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post office looking more colorful


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at home: akebia blooming

We had time to rest for a short while and then turned around to meet Our Kathleen for dinner at Salt Pub on the waterfront.

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‘Twas a belated birthday occasion as Kathleen was in her workaday world on my birthday.  (Allan’s photo)

She gave me a fabulous plant, knowing I love green flowers:

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Hellebore ‘Jade Dragon’..or is it ‘Jade Tiger’?  It’s outside in the dark as I write this.


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I had a much needed Gibson


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Todd’s birthday flowers from Thursday are still looking fine


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flowers, Laila, and Annika


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the work board with all the spring clean up done except for Long Beach!


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which did not last long, because Penttila’s chapel (misspelled on the board) emailed back that they would love a spring garden cleanup.

Guest photos:

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Nancy Gorshe sent me this photo of my friend Scooter in Marilyn’s (her mom’s) garden


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from Todd Wiegardt:  Ipheion ‘Albert Costillo’

Ginger’s Garden Diaries

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from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

1998 (age 73):

March 19th:  Beautiful day.  I took Tabby to the vet to get her booster shot and nail clipping.  I didn’t get outside but got started on seed planting.  I got the ones planted that had to be put in the shop refrig.  I got labels to make for tomatoes but if it’s as nice outside I’ll work in the garden tomorrow.

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Tuesday, 17 February 2014

When I woke, the first word and image that popped into my mind was “Chess”.  As you know from the end of yesterday’s blog, I am mourning the loss of Chess the purebred border collie of the Miserable Gardener blog.  Throughout the day, my thoughts were with the guy Chess lived with.

Allan and I had the day off because of my midday lunch date which would take too much of a chunk out of our workday, since it gets dark around five and we are Not Morning People.  Before Jenna arrived to pick me up, I took some photos of the garden.

view from front door

view from front door

Euphorbia wulfenii in back garden; not the most beautiful as its rather an old plant.

Euphorbia wulfenii in back garden; not the most beautiful as its rather an old plant.

We got the design for our high tech sprinkler system from Pink Poppy Farm.

drifts of purple crocuses in the center of the back garden beds

drifts of purple crocuses in the center of the back garden beds

the stunning tree one lot over to the east

the stunning tree one lot over to the east

crocus tomassianus n the front garden

crocus tomassianus in the front garden

I know I planted crocus tomassianus, and some photos of Crocus tomassianus in The Miserable Gardener blog look just like these, so I think I have the ID right.  I am terrible about remembering which bulb is which.

more of the big purple ones

more of the big purple ones

I sure wish my snowdrops had clumped up like that.

the ornamental cherry by the front gate

the ornamental cherry by the front gate

Jenna (Queen La De Da) arrived as I took that photo and we were off for a long lunch at the Cove Restaurant.  I told her all about Chess and story of the Miserable Gardener blog, and shed a few tears even though I had planned not to.  This is not to imply I was entirely morose lunch company as I do believe we had a good time and covered a number of topics.

When I returned from lunch at 2:30, I frittered away some time.  Allan had mowed the lawn, and I took the last unscreened photos from the south window before he inserted the screen.  We have been having summer-in-winter weather and may be deluding ourselves into thinking winter is over.

south view

south view

slightly SW (with the camera unfondly known as "Spot")

slightly SW (with the camera unfondly known as “Spot”)

SE view

SE view

A couple of cute dogs were visiting next door so I hung over the fence and talked to them.  They were not interested.

dogs

Rudder made himself comfy in the middle of our quiet street.

Rudder made himself comfy in the middle of our quiet street.

I frittered away more time looking at flowers. Actually, that’s a great use of time.  However, I did have mulch to move and was putting it off.

tulips

tulips

hellebore, double white

hellebore, double white

That hellebore that fell open....

That hellebore that fell open….

has good leaves in the center.  I wonder if it would bloom again if I cut it back?

has good leaves in the center. I wonder if it would bloom again if I cut it back?

more crocus admiration, coming up in that hellebore

more crocus admiration, coming up in that hellebore

Hellebore, double pink

Hellebore, double pink

Hellebore, a dramatic single "black"

Hellebore, a dramatic single “black”

in Allan's garden

in Allan’s garden

such a refreshing white hellebore in the front garden

such a refreshing white hellebore in the front garden, with evergreen candytuft to the side

I further put off the mulch moving by asking Allan to help me with a little project: making room to put a table and two chairs against the east house wall.

before

before

after

after

Something about having the wall on one side looks cozy to me.  The fence boards we salvaged from a debris pile at the city works dump and I was going to use them along part of the wire fence, but…I really did have to get that mulch moved.

The "cow fiber" from The Planter Box had to be moved so we'd get our trailer back for the next work day.

The “cow fiber” from The Planter Box had to be moved so we’d get our trailer back for the next work day.

I figure that is about a yard, as we got a yard and a third and probably applied one third of a yard to the post office garden yesterday evening.  I’d left it till one and a half hours before dark-thirty.

I set Map My Walk because I was curious about the mileage and time to wheelbarrow this much from outside the back gate to points in the back garden.  Map My Walk said it took an hour and twenty minutes and a mile of walking.  The circuitous route includes going into the house to get a cooler shirt, and then back for a warmer shirt when a wind came up.

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The time also included stopping to take some photos of the dramatic sky, and raking the barrow loads of mulch out once they were dumped.

sky to the east

sky to the east

a panorama

a panorama

Allan returned from an errand just as I finished the mulch project, and he suggested we have a campfire.

sky to the west

sky to the west

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fire time

fire time

He had brought buns and dogs for an early campfire dinner.  (We usually dine at home at about nine o clock!)

He had brought buns and spicy sausages for an early campfire dinner. (We usually dine at home at about nine o clock!)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

As we sat around the campfire, geese flew over head and then…the space station.  Allan googled and found out it really had been the space station we unexpectedly saw pass over.  Next:  back to work at the Boreas Inn…or a stay at home reading day if it rains.  You can guess which one I would prefer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

We left the house in frosty weather.  Even at 11 AM, the driveway was so icy that Allan had to move the van onto the street in order to hook up our trailer.

iced driveway

iced driveway

frosty front garden

frosty front garden

Our mission today:  To finish mulching Andersen’s RV Park, thus ending the list of jobs to mulch AND removing one more job from the list of gardens to put to bed.

The mulch pile (cow fiber) had been delivered to Andersen’s some time ago, so we did not have to pick a load up on the way.  There it sat waiting for us, in the cold shade.

at about 34 degrees F

at about 34 degrees F

I had chosen to mulch along the picket fence garden.  That turned out to be in the total shade and never got over being frosty.

before and after

before and after

I managed to get some weeds out, left over from when darkness overtook last week’s weeding session, and…buried the rest.  That’s not unheard of, and will at least make the soil looser and richer so that the weeds will be easier to pull when they poke their heads back out.

One area, at the south end of the picket fence, inside, is just horrid with asters and creeping buttercup.  I want to pick it all out, but with air so cold that any dampness to my gloves became bitterly uncomfortable, and with a lack of time, I will leave this hideous area till February.

a big patch of Bad Aster that I have never got round to eliminating

a big patch of Bad Aster that I have never got round to eliminating

the better part of that garden bed

the better part of that garden bed

My grandma would have been horrified that I walked on the frosty lawn, but what could I do?  The weather will be even colder later this week and by next week, I hope to be done with work for the season.

picket fence garden put to bed

picket fence garden put to bed

Allan did the remaining mulching of the west side beds.

before

before

after

after

after2

I debated whether or not to pull Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ out of the Payson Hall planters.  (Payson Hall is where RV clubs have their get togethers.)

passable? or bad?

passable? or bad?

They still had some yellow daisies.  Maybe the winter RVers would enjoy that, even though I have no intention of deadheading any of the spent flowers.  Later this week, weather in the mid 20s might turn them black, and I don’t want to have to come back again to check on them.  When Allan said “They don’t look very good NOW,” I was glad to say “PULL THEM ALL!”

Payson hall planters put to bed

Payson hall planters put to bed

The difficult corner behind the office had thawed enough to be weeded…ineffectually, as usual.  It is deeply infested with couch grass.  Mulch covered its sins, for now.

The couch grass always laughs last.

The couch grass always laughs last.

All day on my mind was the knowledge that a dear friend had started chemo again today.  Join me for a moment in saying:  “Shrink, you damn tumors, shrink and disappear.”  Please make it so.

mulch pile tucked up for the winter

mulch pile tucked up for the winter

On the way home, I could see to my right the most amazing sunset.  I saw it after we had passed the beach access road at Cranberry and by the time we got to Long Beach, all that was left was:

Imagine all those clouds lit with pink.  DANG it.

Imagine all those clouds lit with pink. DANG it.

A stop at the Timberland Regional Library inspired me to put two more planters to bed by cutting back an Agyranthemum in one; the other had died from not being watered (!!!!) so having just one threw the whole scene off balance.

library lights and planters

library lights and planters

It is very difficult to convince people that planters need water even when it rains!  Especially when they are partly tucked under a roof!!

At home, I erased Andersen’s from the mulch list, which is now done!  And from the “last”, as in last visit and put to bed list.

what remains

what remains

Tomorrow, we will walk the city of Ilwaco planters are take down any remaining annuals and any perennials that will be battered with a cold frost.  And we are going to jump ahead on the “after frost” list and walk around Long Beach and take down any plants in the planters that I believe WILL be damaged, if they have not been already by the cold temp predicted for tonight.

Other than Long Beach, the remaining after frost checks will be very brief.

There is a garden clean up at Marilyn’s that could take a long or a short while, depending on how much I decide to cut back.  There may or may not be some more to cut back and weed at the boatyard, depending on whether the ground thaws before I decided to pack it in for the season.  And there is still a big question mark on whether we are going to make a big garden bed for Erin now-ish, or in February.  Still leaning toward February but collecting underlay newspapers just in case I get a burst of ambition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday, 25 November, 2013

As the weather continues to be bright and warm, I am not envious of the sleeping cats when I leave the house for work.

Smokey and his mom Mary are awfully cute.

Smokey and his mom Mary are awfully cute.

I had looked hopefully on the porch for the delayed shipment of 200 tulips that had been supposed to arrive on Friday, and without which the three last bulb planting jobs and the happy end of bulb time was frustratingly delayed. No bulbs! My back up plan, to mulch instead, would depend on whether or not Raymond was available at the Planter Box to load us with cow manure. Yes, he was!

First we had to unload yesterday’s debris from the trailer. The clean debris went into one of the piles in the back garden, giving me a chance to check on it; I had not had much free daylight time lately.

back garden today

back garden today

The last glorious dahlia is done.

The last glorious dahlia is done.

All the hardy Fuchsias have their leaves crisped by frost. This makes me sad as they usually last much longer.

Fuchsias and Verbascum

Fuchsias and Verbascum

With an empty trailer, we went straight to The Planter Box. While getting ready to load the “Bovine Fiber Digest” (their official name for the processed dairy manure), Raymond told me that we are one of the two warmest spots in the country today: Florida at 70 something degrees and SW Washington Coast in the 60s. I had already changed to my summer shirt.

first load of cow fiber

11:30 AM: first load of cow fiber

Our first target: The Anchorage Cottages.

Anchorage, garden near office, before

Anchorage, garden near office, before

after

after

lovely cow poo

lovely cow poo

Courtyard garden, before, with more of the low glaring sun we are having daily.

Courtyard garden, before, with more of the low glaring sun we are having daily.

courtyard after

courtyard after

I kept the mulch a bit back from the edge so the little, well, turdlets, won’t roll out onto the nice clean courtyard. So the contrast between old sandy soil and the new rich look shows well here:

contrast

contrast

We had enough mulch to do part of the beds by the south end of the cottage complex, as well. Then, back to The Planter Box. I was determined to get as much mulching done as possible since Raymond was there all day long; when he is off on a landscaping job, there is no one to load the fiber.

12:44 PM:  second load

12:44 PM: second load

We had a problem when leaving the Planter Box: The speedometer, tachometer, and gas tank, er, thingie (how much gas is left) all went to zero. It was not the alternator, as the radio and the indicator that shows our miles per gallon still worked. It added considerable worry, in my mind at least. The day had been going so well and I hoped to get three loads of mulch distributed without mechanical problems bringing us to a halt. I especially dread a breakdown with a heavy trailer of mulch attached.

When we got to Long Beach, the second load (which I decided to not refer to as “load number two”) went here:

the newly redone bed in frying pan park, Fifth Street in Long Beach

the newly redone bed in frying pan park, Fifth Street in Long Beach

Hmm, I think that garbage can brings down the tone. It is a cute enough garbage can, but having the bag showing is not quite right. However, it is Not My Problem, and it will not show as much when a bench gets put back next to it. [Next day I learned that it is going to be removed.]

We also added a nice layer of cow poo to the small garden bed on the south side of Summer House, the yellow house you can see in the background of the above photo. And joy! When Allan turned the van back on, all the meters worked as they should. I had been hoping that turning if off and on again would do the trick.

Next we added a nice layer of Cow Fiber at the welcome sign. (Last week we had mulched all three of these areas with Soil Energy from Peninsula Landscape Supply.)

welcome sign with a double whammy of two kinds of mulch

welcome sign with a double whammy of two kinds of mulch

To my delight, the four scoops of cow fiber extended far enough to put a thick layer on the north and east side beds at the Depot Restaurant.

lusciousness at the Depot

lusciousness at the Depot (north side of deck)

east side of dining room

east side of dining room

Back to The Planter Box for load number three!

2:20 PM: Raymond tidies up the Cow Fiber pile after loading our trailer.

2:20 PM: Raymond tidies up the Cow Fiber pile after loading our trailer.

By the way, The Planter Box has a nice selection of bulbs for those who might still need some. It is not too late to plant; around here, you can plant bulbs well into December.

bulbs

bulbs

Just to keep the suspense strong about whether or not we would accomplish offloading three loads of mulch today, the engine light came on in the van. My heart sank when I came back outside from paying and saw Allan with his head under the hood. Whatever he did worked. The light went off and all was well as we drove to the Port of Ilwaco.

and at the Port of Ilwaco

at the Port of Ilwaco

We mulched the end of the bed where we had weeded and planted new plants last week.

bed, with empty wheelbarrow

bed, with empty wheelbarrow

And we mulched down at the Port Office on the new-this-past-year south side bed.

3:07 PM:  Oh, how I wanted the glaring blinding sun to go behind Cape Disappointment!

3:07 PM: Oh, how I wanted the glaring blinding sun to go behind Cape Disappointment!

Then we headed over to Mayor Mike’s garden at the south end of Lake Street. There, we used much less mulch than I had thought the garden would need. The beds are quite narrow. I forgot to take a picture, but I did take one of two of my canine friends walking by.

Dwight walking Larry and Big River.

Dwight walking Larry and Big River.

The dogs had had a great time at the riverside park on the east end of town.

With plenty of cow fiber left, we unexpectedly had enough to do more mulching down at the port along Howerton Street.

beds along Howerton north of the Port Office

beds along Howerton north of the Port Office

I do hope to find time Friday or even on Thanksgiving day to do some trimming of the plants here, as this weekend is the first day of the Saturday Christmas Market in a storefront just at the end of these beds (next to Time Enough Books, where the red Christmas Market sign is on the left).

More luscious mulch should help hold moisture next summer.

More luscious mulch should help hold moisture next summer.

We had just enough left to add a smattering of mulch by Queen La De Da’s Art Castle and The Imperial Schooner restaurant at the west end of Howerton.

a Jade Frost Eryngium still blooming, albeit sideways

a Jade Frost Eryngium still blooming, albeit sideways

looking east

looking east

and north

and north

more jet trails

pots ready for crabbing

On the drive down to Ilwaco, I had seen a disconcerting sight in the Fifth Street park’s waterfall quadrant: The Gunnera was DOWN. We did not stop for fear we would not have gotten the manure offloaded before dark, but now we went back to Long Beach to deal with the problem.

unsightly frosted Gunnera

unsightly frosted Gunnera by Benson’s By The Beach Restaurant

I saw a Little Brown Bird dining on the Gunnera seeds!

very busy

very busy

Little Brown Bird

Little Brown Bird

bird

At the back of the park, the lacecap Hydrangea had also been hit hard by unseasonal frost. It is a darn shame because the frost was followed by such summery weather and warmer nights.

a limp hydrangea

a limp hydrangea

We cut back the dead leaves of the Gunnera and tucked some of them over the crown in hope of protecting it from future frost. The seeds are still there for the Little Brown Bird.

Gunnera tucked in for winter

Gunnera tucked in for winter

Here’s something ever so satisfying: The white board in the kitchen tonight.

Today's accomplishment! before and after

Today’s accomplishment! before and after

Also satisfying: the last bulbs came and are now sorted and ready to plant tomorrow. We have one large and one medium bulb batch to plant and two little afterthought batches of fifteen each. When that is done, and The Boreas Inn and Andersen’s RV Park are mulched, one side of the project board will be blank. I am going to shift mulching Jo’s over to the planned work for next February! Then we just have to deal with the list of last clean ups (weeding and cutting plants back) for each garden:

here they all are

here they all are

Jo’s is a big one, as is Long Beach.

And then staycation will begin! Unless….unless….we decide to put in a big garden bed at Erin’s place before our winter break.

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Monday, 21 October 2013

We did it!  Got a difficult job out of the way.  But not without difficulty.  At least on my part.

But first: a cute kitty next door to the Ilwaco Post Office (where we pick up our mail six days a week as this little town has no mail delivery).

an Ilwaco cat

an Ilwaco cat

Followed by a cute cat at The Planter Box

Planter Box cat

Planter Box cat

…where we went to get a load of “cow fiber” for the Golden Sands Assisted Living courtyard garden.

Raymond loads us up.

Raymond loads us up.

There is still a “guess the weight” contest going on for the giant pumpkin.

Allan and I both guessed wrong.

Allan and I both guessed wrong.

And lots of small pumpkins and other gourds for sale…

in colourful array

a colourful array

And some ornamental grasses, which will be handy because we need some for Andersen’s RV Park:

just what I need, soon

just what I need, soon

The Planter Box has two kinds of chocolate cosmos in excellent condition.  Oddly, the new one has a tag that says “annual”, and the classic old Cosmos atrosanguineus has a tag that says “perennial”.

two kinds...and they do smell like chocolate.

two kinds…and they do smell like chocolate.

At Golden Sands, we parked by the back fire door and I shuffled through a long line of fallen leaves to the front entry, to get someone official to open the locked fire door for us.  It reminded me so much of olden days in Seattle.  I miss long crunchy drifts of fallen leaves.   Around here we mostly have conifers.

so autumnal

so autumnal

typical treeline of the peninsula

typical tree line of the peninsula, to the north of Golden Sands

And so we begin the job…

with the fire door open

with the fire door open

and the long, rather surreal trek down the carpeted hallway to the courtyard door...

and the long, rather surreal trek down the carpeted hallway to the courtyard door…

A dry day like today is perfect for the job because any dampness in the soil leads to a track of mud.  Something about having to wheelbarrow down that hallway makes any mulching at this job daunting to me and something to worry about and dread.  Maybe because of having read this excellent young adult suspense novel a couple of times?

hall

In the courtyard, I’m pleased to report that after our pruning talk, the maintenance man did a much nicer job on the rhododendrons.

an improvement in pruning technique

an improvement in pruning technique

He spoke last time of removing the two big conifers outside the dining room doors.  If he would not be allowed to remove them, he will limb them up.  I agree they are too heavy and ponderous and severely block a view that might inspire residents to actually go out into the courtyard.

These trees are too ponderous.

These trees are too ponderous.

I was thrilled to get the NW quadrant mulched at last and applied a thick and luscious layer of manure.  It was fresher than usual and smelled rather strong in the building till I propped the courtyard door open to get a cross breeze in the hallway!  If any of the residents grew up on a farm, the smell would bring back memories.

NW quadrant, happy at last

NW quadrant, happy at last

What a difference from the sunken, rubbly look of two weeks ago.

today!

two weeks ago

That quadrant consumed quite a lot of our three big scoops of cow poo, and soon I was pondering what to do about the frustration of, as usual, not having enough to finish.  The budget probably did not include two loads of mulch, and yet I just could not bear to think , “Oh well, we will finish it next spring.”

I wanted enough to mulch the back edges of the southern two quadrants and to fluff up the northeast one (although it started with the best soil because my mother spent some money on soil amendments when she lived in a room overlooking that area).

two areas hungry for mulch

two areas hungry for mulch

Forget waiting.  I decided I could divide the bill between October and November and sent Allan back to The Planter Box for another load.  Meanwhile, I weeded out more beach strawberry.  By now, the weather had me feeling truly miserable.

too hot!!

too hot!! inside the courtyard

It really was too hot…74 degrees outside, and who knows how hot in the heat-holding courtyard.  I reflected I might be the only person on the Long Beach Peninsula who was hating the “lovely” weather.

When Allan returned, I tried switching with him for awhile and getting the manure from the trailer.  It was in partial shade….

just a bit shady

just a bit shady

An aside: just south of where we park is something interesting:  a long grass runway which is kept mowed, and must be kept that way (we have been told) for airplanes.  Why, I do not know!  Perhaps it is there for emergency landing needs of small aircraft.

the runway of mystery

the runway of mystery

I did not do well on wheelbarrowing…still seem to be recovering from the hydrangea job, so we switched tasks again.   Finally, we had all the quadrants deeply mulched.

Southeast and Southwest

Southeast and Southwest

Just because I am so darned pleased, let me reprise that before and after, but bigger:

southeast before

southeast before

southeast after

southeast after

It is luscious.   We could have used even more on mom’s old quadrant, but a third load would have truly done us (and the budget) in.

me mum's former garden

me mum’s former garden

This project all started in 2009 when my mother moved in to the room behind the righthand window, above.  Each quadrant was just scrubby grass (formerly lawn) and weeds and a few California poppies of the plain orange variety.  She wanted a garden and the director at the time, Linda, said we could dig up the quadrant outside her window and make one for her.  Over time, this segued into remaking all four quadrants of lawn.

As we left, so glad to get out of the heat, Allan saw some mushrooms at the west side of the building and stopped to photograph them.

I have no idea what kind...

I have no idea what kind…

shrooms

I can tell he was pleased with the mulching job.  He went back into the courtyard to get something, and when I downloaded my photos tonight, I found these:

mulch

mulch

mulch...so beautiful...gardeners will know what I mean...

mulch…so fragrantly beautiful…gardeners will know what I mean…

Driving south, I saw a lovely fog ahead as we approached Long Beach…but it stayed just ahead of us.

beautifully grey in the distance

beautifully grey in the distance

I had an ominous feeling that the Long Beach planters might have their water turned off “for the winter” and indeed they do.  We tested them.  Fortunately, the soil feels slightly damp, I suppose from evening dew…as there is no respite in sight from this weather.

makes everyone ecstatic but me!

makes everyone ecstatic but me!

We did some fall clean up around Long Beach city hall (the only place I could think of to work for an hour in the shade!) and bought some H blocks for a project.  By the time we got to Ilwaco, the mist had eluded us.

home in time to do a little project

home in time to do a little project

I needed to retrieve milk crates that were holding up plant shelves by the greenhouse.  I’ll need the crates soon for sorting bulbs.

little project before

little project before

and after

and after

I will be so glad to get the plants into the ground at Golden Sands.  Some were donated by Sheila and some by Kathleen Shaw and have been waiting since July for the sprinkler system to be fixed, and for the mulch to be applied, and now for the rain to return.  (I must remember to try not to complain too much when eventually we may have to work in rain and wind again.)

I did a little bit of at home gardening till dark and enjoyed my own personal sunset (from the garden, and the street, not with a fancy port/boats/water backdrop).

hops in evening light

hops in evening light

from the garden

from the garden, looking west

looking south to the port from our back garden

looking southwest to the port from Nora’s back yard

How I love seeing the western sky; our old house backed onto a hill and we never saw a sunset from there.

sunset sky over the Tom/Judy and Larry/Robert houses just down the block

sunset sky over the Tom/Judy and Larry/Robert houses just down the block

birds and clouds

birds and clouds over Nora’s roof

sunset over Lake Street

sunset over Lake Street

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I awoke early after the usual frustratingly short sleep with the thought that we MUST mulch Golden Sands Assisted Living courtyard garden with cow manure today! Last year the garden disappointed me, and I had big plans that never came to fruition of mulching in January….but could not tear myself away from staycation. Only if Raymond is at The Planter Box garden centre can the mulch be loaded into our trailer, and yes! a phone call ascertained that he would be available to load in the midmorning.

Upon our arrival at the Planter Box, I browsed the plants while Raymond helped another customer.

potted spring bulbs at The Planter Box

potted spring bulbs at The Planter Box

at The Planter Box

at The Planter Box

There are only four baby ducklings left!

There are only four baby ducklings left!

sedums in a colander

sedums in a colander

I could not buy ducklings but I did succumb to a small flock of metal chickens. Photos later in my garden.

I admired the selection of Japanese maples and wondered if my maple-crazy friend Judy could fit in just one more.

This would look very fine in Judy's garden...and I could visit hims.

This would look very fine in Judy’s garden…and I could visit hims.

Acer palmatum viridis...another angle

Acer palmatum viridis…another angle

maple corner at Planter Box

maple corner at Planter Box

Enough pandering to my regular reader(s). I peeked in the first greenhouse…

first sales greenhouse

first sales greenhouse

Choisya backed with Clematis

Choisya backed with Clematis in the first greenhouse

and if you like cute little cacti...

and if you like cute little cacti…

This is the time when it is hard to make the big bucks in our business. Especially if the job has a smallish budget (as many of our clients do), how do we charge for hanging around waiting to get to the front of the queue and get the product to the job? I have never quite figured that out.

I heard the rumble of the loader and got outside just in time to get a photo.

Raymond loading the cow fiber

Raymond loading the cow fiber

3 scoops with the Kubota

3 scoops with the Kubota

Raymond explained to us the difference between plain old washed dairy manure and cow fiber: Cow fiber is actually steamed, killing weed seeds and pathogens. So from now on I will specifically refer to this excellent product by its real name.

[Note: In the course of writing this, I sent Judy a sneak preview of that Acer viridis and she is already planning where to put him!]

At Golden Sands Assisted Living, we asked that the back corner fire door be opened so that we could get the soil into the courtyard. Usually, we go down this long hallway with our wheelbarrow, but not with loads of manure!

our usual route down a long hall and around a corner and another half hallway

our usual route down a long hall and around a corner and another half hallway

Now, if I had designed the place I would have had a door right out the back of the building for quick access to the completely enclosed central courtyard building. But instead, we need to wheelbarrow down this carpeted hallway, being careful not to track or spill the mulch.

back hallway, Golden Sands

back hallway, Golden Sands

turning...

turning…

and through the door

and through the inner door

into the courtyard

into the courtyard

There are four quadrants of garden, one on each corner, that used to be a thin sad lawn til my mother moved in and we started turning them into gardens. The soil, if you can call it that, is terrible. Mom initially bought some bags of soil amendment for the northeast quadrant, the one she could see from her window, and Golden Sands provided a budget for some more bales of mulch (Gardner and Bloom Soil Building Compost) but it was nowhere near enough for the grey sandy rubbly dirt. We schlepped buckets of free horse manure from The Red Barn a couple of summers ago. Horse manure is weedy and highly inferior to Cow Fiber.

sad quadrant, before

sad southeast quadrant, before

and after

and after

Using two barrows so that I could work carefully on where to dump the piles, Allan moved sixteen not too full wheelbarrows in (being cautious in the amount so as not to spill on the carpet).

southwest quadrant

southwest quadrant

The northeast quadrant (near my mom's old room) before

The northeast quadrant (near my mom’s old room) before

and after

and after

Sadly, three scoops (over a cubic yard) was not enough to complete the coverage of much of the fourth (northwest) quadrant. We need more…. at least two more scoops to finish the northwest quadrant and all the way to the back of the four quadrants. I would love to get ALL the wild beach strawberry out; it jumps the edging right into the cultivated garden, but for now at least three of the main planted areas are better.

sadly lacking northwest quadrant

sadly lacking northwest quadrant

We will probably wait till very early May to finish the mulching so as to spread the financial shock into the next month…

I do so want to mulch all the way to the back edge

I do so want to mulch all the way to the back edge (and get those danged strawberries out)

The tulips already look better against the dark background:

Golden Sands tulips

Golden Sands tulips

This could be the most amazing deerproof, wind protected, tropicalismo exotic colourful oasis if only I had the time and money.

Then we went south again to check on the garden at Seanest, a vacation rental house. I knew it would need a good weeding as we had not made it there since the first spring cleanup.

Seanest entry garden

Seanest entry garden

When the septic system was redone a few years ago, this entry garden was designed by a Seattle gardening company. I’ve gotten rid of a couple of Phormiums since then and am finding this year, as last year, that the Cotinus is shockingly late to leaf out.

slowpoke!

slowpoke!

parking spot planter

parking spot planter

in the old days

in the old days

The garden used to be owned by artist Phyllis Ray and back then we did a much more floriferous garden. The new owner of the past few years would rather have a low maintenance garden, and that has worked out fine for us because it is hard to find time to water here. Nevertheless, it is not as interesting to me as it used to be and I have been considering passing it on to someone else.

When we walked around to the west side today, we saw a sad sight. At long last, and not unexpectedly, the driftwood temple that Robert had built in 2002 had irrevocably been damaged by wind. Allan had repaired it after the Big Blow of 2007, but this time new driftwood would be required, and we simply do not have time for that sort of project here.

askew

askew

and badly broken

and badly broken

While I weeded and Allan improvised a barrier to keep guests out of the danger zone, I decided this is the job on the chopping block. I won’t quit suddenly, but I will email the owner and tell her that we will keep the garden weeded through this year, but not in 2014…and that it would be wonderful if she (or the property manager) could find someone to take it over sooner. It is time to let it go…

improvised safety barrier

improvised safety barrier

I am sad! However, we are overbooked and the hour and a half spent weeding here would have much more satisfyingly spent at the far more creative job of Andersen’s RV Park. Andersen’s was our last stop of the day and we wished we had had more time there.

At Andersen's, cow fiber mulch still looks great

At Andersen’s, cow fiber mulch still looks great (and has baby poppies coming up)

Those big narcissi are lasting a very long time.

Owner Lorna did get to the park over the weekend to see her tulip pots:

tulips by office door

tulips by office door

This row is not quite open:

tulips coming on

tulips coming on

in bud

in bud

And at last we planted about twenty different plants in various parts of the garden. I had almost suggest that we drive on home after deadheading the narcissi in the box by the highway. I felt I had truly hit the wall. And then I thought how frustrating it would be for the poor plants to go for a car ride again, like they did yesterday, and again go back home without getting their feet into the ground, so I conjured up that last hour of work strength and we got it done.

new planting

new planting

Now that there is a deer fence, I could plant a Rosa mutabilis in the bed above, an area which up till now has not been much used. One of the park workers, Al, had more energy than ten men put together and last fall he got the three raised beds at this end of the garden all cleared out and filled with good soil. He had returned this week from winter vacation and said he would be disappointed if we did not plant it up with something after all his work. Lorna likes peachy and apricot plants so along with the rose I planted two Agastaches whose colours will please her.

The three little raised beds are at the end of the picket fence garden:

picket fence

Only with the new tall fence at the south end has that area at the far end become civilized, not browsed by deer from the woods and not encroached on by tall meadow grass.

The narcissi outside the fence are deerproof:

fence

These are more of the really big flowered cultivars that Lorna (inspired by Martha Stewart) bought by the hundreds last fall.

daffs

daffs

very showy

very showy

As we loaded our gear a predicted drizzle began. That will be good for the sweet peas at my garden and the Ilwaco post office…

As Allan shopped at the grocery store on the way home (we’ve been so busy we were even out of bread) and I checked my email in the car I relished the sight of rain….

raindrops on 45th Street

raindrops on 45th Street

Even though I had big plans to do lots of Port of Ilwaco and Discovery Heights weeding tomorrow, a really rainy day would mean some pleasant hours of reading back entries in the Tootlepedal blog.

just a blur!

just a blur!

That reminds me, I tried to take a photo of a bird in flight for Mr. Tootlepedal, who features glorious bird photos daily on his blog.

How does he do it?? Without an SLR, I might have to try a sports photo setting.

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2012 was not the year to be able to start Staycation in early December.  Bulb hell lasted extra long because the bulbs were shipped late, thus sorted late and planted later than usual.  We extricated ourselves from work, with a couple of winter work projects still undone and postponed till February, by mid-December.

On lovely winter afternoons after heavy frost had melted, I expanded many of the garden beds, increasing the width of the side beds and the length of two of the three big flower beds.   The before and during photos are gone, as are the heavy frost from my window photos, in the horrid (but not unexpected, so I should have backed up those January photos) computer crash of late January.  If I ever insert them here, you’ll know some wonderful techie person retrieved them for me.

winter project "after": expanded east and middle bed to the south

winter project “after”: expanded east and middle bed to the south

middle bed lengthened

middle bed lengthened

I expanded the beds along the front of the bogsy woods.  My main idea was to make for less mowing.  My old garden had no lawn, and while I love the green paths (which would be just moss if I had my way), the mowing takes a long time.  Tom Hornbuckle got me so obsessed with the look of a nice short lawn that late last summer, I started to follow his example and mow every three days.  There is no way I can keep that up with such a large grass area, so some more lawn had to go, while still leaving a big enough area for the fire circle.

east side of bogsy wood shade bed expaned

east side of bogsy wood shade bed expanded

west side of bogsy wood shade bed expanded

west side of bogsy wood shade bed expanded

The above was a clean debris pile for the autumn, so here I just gave soil thrown over some of the debris with a planting area in front.  I moved hydrangeas into it a bit later.

Along the west side fence, I made the bed wider and longer and also widened the west side of the flower bed along the green path.

to the left: 1-23-12; to the right: 2-1-13

to the left: 1-23-12; to the right: 2-1-13

The lawn path is narrower but still comfortable for two people.

garden widened on both sides

garden widened on both sides

The purple paint has held up well on the old camellia bush.

The purple paint has held up well on the old camellia bush.

Meanwhile, the old boxes in which glass had been delivered to Long Beach City Works, and which had served as raised bed veg planters:

winter 2011

January 2011

got moved and Allan lined them with pond liner, built a shelf around them and turned them into a water feature.

1 Feb 2012

1 Feb 2012

This had actually been my first thought for the boxes, inspired by these at Cistus Nursery on Sauvie Island:

Cistus water boxes

Cistus water boxes

I like the way that their two boxes are a little bit staggered, but that did not work out in our small patio space.

Where our boxes had been, I had expanded the bed in fall and used it to pile clean yard waste from jobs, and now finished it as an herb bed, as theoretically the deer will not eat them.

new bed (with some old pumpkins)

new bed (with some old pumpkins)

On the left you can see the big pile of sod from expanded beds; we are gradually feeding it into the garbage can every week, as I have nowhere that I want to make a new sod pile for breaking down.

Now the area by the garden boat, where the herbs used to be, is empty and available for edible crops that need protection from deer.

empty space by garden boat

empty space by garden boat

I still have a vague idea of getting more into edible gardening and being on the Edible Garden Tour.   As I had said to my touring companion after visiting one of the gardens on that tour, “I’m two raised planters away from qualifying for this tour.”  But my problem is that I keep filling every empty spot up with ornamentals. And my other big problem is that most of the edible crops I do manage to grow, I rarely get around to eating because I am too busy to harvest.   I WOULD like to show that an edible garden can be combined with an ornamental one….and that an edible garden can be quirky and artistic which was something that was, in my opinion, really missing from the edible tour.

All of the garden bed expansions were finished with Soil Energy and Cow Fiber.

I kept planning to get Soil Energy in December and postponing it, so did not get the seven yard pile delivered from Peninsula Landscape Supply till January 21st.

Soil Energy delivery, 21 January

Soil Energy delivery, 21 January

You can see, above, the handy new divided truck that they have for deliveries to two different things at once, say a load of river rock and a load of of mulch.  (You can also see who got a new collage-making app.)

Allan went to Seattle for his brother’s wedding and during the five days he was gone, I got the whole eight yards moved to all the new areas of the garden.

Seven yards never looks very big when delivered.

Seven yards never looks very big when delivered.

Allan returned with a photo of a lovely planting at the King Street Train Station.  (He had a fun train ride to Leavenworth.)

interlude: a planting in Seattle

interlude: a planting in Seattle

On the evening January 26th, I got four yards of washed dairy manure (cow fiber) delivered from The Planter Box.

early evening delivery of cow fiber

early evening delivery of cow fiber

A week of rain ensued and the pile just sat, blocking our entrance to the garage.  We could not go back to work till I got it moved because it made it too difficult to load our tools into the car!

Rain filled the ditches in the bogsy woods.

Rain filled the ditches in the bogsy woods.

water under the bridge

water under the bridge

rainwater in the bogsy wood swale

rainwater in the bogsy wood swale

and in the big ditch between us and the Port parking lots.

and in the big ditch between us and the Port parking lots.

When the rain broke, I got busy mulching.  I had enough for the front yard garden beds and the east and west big flower beds in the back yard.

front bed between our driveway and Nora's driveway

front bed between our driveway and Nora’s driveway

front garden mulched

front garden mulched, 3 February…with track in lawn from much wheelbarrowing

east flower bed, back garden

east flower bed, back garden

It looks so lovely mulched with cow fiber!

window view

window view, 3 February

the west bed, 3 February

the west bed, 4 February

When I ran out of steam, Allan helped me move the last yard.  Then we had some more rain and thus a further excuse to not return to work till February 10th.  Our staycation had lasted six weeks.  (I figured out once that considering how much we work, a six week break ends up being two weeks less per year than people who have a five day a week job with weekends, holidays, and a two week vacation.)  I found it hard to believe that in a mere eight weeks off over the time between Nov 2010 and February 2012, I had created the whole garden AND Allan and I had made the patio and other gravel areas.  I must have had a much bigger head of energy during that winter.

Next, back to work, and the flowers of early February.

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