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Posts Tagged ‘Nellie’s garden’

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

As Annuals Planting Time fast approaches, we managed to fit in a garden clean up for Nellie, an Ilwaco oldtimer.  I remembered that she wanted some shasta daisies, especially one I got from Jo years ago that is sort of an odd double (whose name I never seem to remember).

daisy

This one, a bit past its prime.

daisy

Of course, with the clumps still just green, I could not remember for sure which one was THAT one, so I dug a piece from several clumps (some of which are the plain regular one).  In walking around with Allan to do that, I enjoyed some scenes in our garden.

Golden oregono has arranged itself under the round table on the still messy patio.

Golden oregono has arranged itself under the round table on the still messy patio.

I admired my weekend weeding...

I admired my weekend weeding…

and more of my weekend weeding

and more of my weekend weeding

and despaired over the areas undone...

and despaired over the areas undone…

a bright red geum kind of throwing off the balance in the center bed

a bright red geum kind of throwing off the balance in the center bed

In walking around looking for daisy clumps, we went up the narrow east path and came upon a sight I would have missed otherwise:  this gorgeous red shrub in bloom.  (The only reason I can tell you the name is because Todd told me several days later; all I could remember was it started with a C!)

It's a calycanthus.

It’s a calycanthus.

Calycanthus flowers

Calycanthus flowers

Lovely, yes?

Lovely, yes?

I wish I had planted it somewhere more visible.

Next to it, my enkianthus.

Next to it, my enkianthus.

Next to the enkianthus was a sick looking lily near many healthy lilies.  I broke it right off and got rid of it.

I can't afford mercy for anything that looks like this.

I can’t afford mercy for anything that looks like this.  What if it’s contagious?

Further up the path, a Clematis is throwing all its flowers to Jared and Jessika’s side of the fence.  I hope they’ve noticed it!

not my side

not my side

This one gave me one flower on my side.

This one gave me one flower on my side.

Allan divided the clumps of daisies to make sure there was no annoying Lysimachia punctata roots in the clumps (something I am trying to eliminate from one area).  The roots of the yellow Lysimachia are pink and easy to see.

a careful operation

a careful operation

My double file viburnum nearby called for some admiration.

My double file viburnum nearby called for some admiration.

Finally, we were off to Nellie’s garden with one little stop on the way:

Planting an Eryngium and a  Agastache. both with blue flowers,  in front of Azure salon.

Planting an Eryngium and a Agastache. both with blue flowers, in front of Azure salon.

Nellie’s garden

Nellie plants out tulips in pots sunk in the ground.  Our first mission was to remove the pots, cut off the tulip seedpods, and put them by the side of the garage.

south wall of house, before

south wall of house, before

I planted the daisies against the south wall; because of transplanting them rather late, they got cut back by half so will take awhile to bloom.

Allan started by cleaning up the outside edge.

Allan started by cleaning up the outside edge.

Allan's photo, before

Allan’s photo, before

Allan's photo, after

Allan’s photo, after

I’d forgotten to bring a cooler shirt and was sweltering in flannel.  The job is only two blocks from home so I took a break and nipped home for a cotton shirt…and soon after that:

sitting out a heavy squall in the van!

sitting out a heavy squall in the van!

light around the edges....Allan back to work

light around the edges….Allan back to work

I ended up knocking a good half an hour off the cost of the job for time spent waiting out squalls…and 15 minutes for the wasted walk home for a cooler shirt which was only needed for a few minutes.

Allan ran home during the second or third squall for better rain clothes.  Our garden in rain...

Allan ran home during the second or third squall for better rain clothes. Our garden in rain…

and lots of it

and lots of it

We had expected “showers”, not a pelting torrent.

I was struggling and feeling slow as I began to plant up some geraniums for Nellie in some pots she has us put out each year…when I suddenly realized that Allan could plant the geraniums and I could do weeding and trimming.

Allan's photo: Nellie and I discuss where the geraniums go, before I delegate.

Allan’s photo: Nellie and I discuss where the geraniums go, before I delegate.  We load debris into buckets in the truck, and her son dumps it on his property.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo after he took over the geranium project

Nellie and her husband created this whole landscape, and she would much rather be able to do it herself.  Her husband still does all the mowing and weedeating; we’re glad to help with the rest a few times a year.

Allan's photo: I far prefer weeding to planting.

Allan’s photo: I far prefer weeding to planting.

A little project I’d been looking forward to:

trimming sword ferns by the front steps, before...

trimming sword ferns by the front steps, before…

after

after

Nellie’s family home is one of the two prettiest houses in town.

rhodo

nellie2

LB Williams House (1899)

This is the other one, up on School Hill: LB Williams House (1899)

I had developed a new appreciation for rhododendrons after the recent Peninsula Rhodie Tour, so I photographed all of Nellie’s collection.

 

in the west garden

in the west garden

a deep handsome red

a deep handsome red backed with a pink

just down the street at the Masonic Lodge

just down the street at the Masonic Lodge

After getting the rest of the garden tidied up and weeded, we did a little bit of work in the west side garden.

Allan pruned a lot of dead out of a lilac.

Allan pruned a lot of dead out of a lilac.  Before…

after

after

We’ll have to come back after annuals planting time to weed under the shrubbery in this part of the garden.

We had mostly worked on the south garden.

looking at the south garden, before

looking at the south garden, before

the south garden, after

the south garden, after

Allan's photo, before

Allan’s photo, before

Allan's photo, after

Allan’s photo, after

Allan tackled the messy brick paths.  (Allan's photo)

Allan tackled the messy brick paths. (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan reminds me that I found the sound of his metal hand tool scraping on the bricks to be painfully akin to chalk on a blackboard.  (Cue much whinging and a move to another area of the garden.)

before

before

after

after

also weeded shade garden against neighbour's garage

also weeded shade garden against neighbour’s garage

Tomorrow, Annuals Planting Time begins at Jo’s.

As always at this time of year, it helps to go home and watch Deadliest Catch on a Tuesday evening and be reminded that our work is not so hard in comparison to crab fishing on the Bering Sea.

deadliestcatch_77ccb52a

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

new growth on Pieris at Bank of the Pacific

new growth on Pieris at Bank of the Pacific

After a stop at The Bank of the Pacific (and some admiration of their patch of Pieris) and at Olde Towne Café to switch compost buckets, we headed on up the Peninsula to get a yard of Soil Energy for Nellie’s Ilwaco garden.

Near the bank, someone had placed a ball as a fence finial.

Near the bank, someone had placed a ball as a fence finial.

In order to make the trip be more productive, we worked at Klipsan Beach Cottages first. We usually try to include a north end job when picking up Soil Energy so that the recipient does not have to pay for our time on the whole trip there and back.

fenced garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

fenced garden at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Denny, manager and one of the owners at KBC, has been having endless trouble with the lady fountain leaking. Allan helped him dismantle it and replace it with new one. Meanwhile, I weeded out a large amount of dead aster and did some further pruning of damaged tips on hydrangeas and roses. This made me think that the 250 or so hydrangeas at the bayside hydrangea job probably need tip pruning also, after the winter’s hard frosts. The thought did not make me at all inclined do go do so (for lack of time), but I hoped maybe someone else would.

new fountain....Only a few narcissi were casualties.

new fountain….Only a few narcissi were casualties.

The lady fountain is now by the driveway and will become a planter.

The lady fountain is now by the driveway and will become a planter.

Mary of KBC asked what she could do about that electrical box below the deck lattice; I suggested painting it the same grey as the wall. Genius (and simple).

KBC: viridflora tulips

KBC: viridflora tulips

sunny day tulip

sunny day tulip

more tulips

more tulips

These tulips have returned for at least five years.

These tulips have returned for at least five years.

I think the Tetrapanax papyrifer 'Steroidal Giant' is finally going to do something this year.

I think the Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’ is finally going to do something this year.

sword ferns unfurling

sword ferns unfurling

sword fern and deer fern

sword fern and deer fern

I love the slow reward for all the fern pruning we did earlier this year.

The A Frame garden and the wooded garden surrounded it are showing the reward for the planting of hundreds of narcissi last fall.

A frame garden

A frame garden

narcissi

pink cupped narcissus

pink cupped narcissus

bright orange cup

bright orange cup

Almost all of the narcissi are from the Van Engelen catalog. I deadheaded the ones that were done, and only got one large zombie bride bouquet of dead flowers, as most of them are at their peak of beauty or just coming on.

entry road woods

entry road woods with cottages in background

A Frame woods

A Frame woods

After two PM, we went over to Sandridge Road and Peninsula Landscape Supply and got our yard of Soil Energy mulch.

At Peninsula Landscape Supply

At Peninsula Landscape Supply

One of the former workers for Long Beach, now retired, was there to get a yard of mulch for his garden. We chatted a bit about the job, retirement, and our dilemma that we could afford to cut back on work but can’t bear to let go of any of our beloved gardens (and clients). I overheard him say to Allan, in a kind way, “She’s going to wear herself out.” It feels like a possibility some days.

As we were leaving for Ilwaco, I checked my email on my phone. If any of you were as moved by Bill Dale’s song, “Happiest Man Alive”, about which I wrote on Saturday, you may like to know that I wrote him a fan letter and entered an email correspondence in which I learned that the man in the song is, indeed, Bill’s father. Bill wrote,

“Yes, as you suspected, the song is about my own father with some poetic license thrown in. He never worked for the railroad but was the parts manager at a Pontiac/Cadillac in Asheville for almost fifty years. He died in 1999 but not before hearing “Luckiest Man Alive”. I think he was quietly proud. The song has been kicking about for a while now, and about once a year I hear from a bluegrass band who wants permission to put it on a cd. A North Carolina friend told me last Memorial Weekend he had heard on a radio program playing songs on the theme of vets.” I was all choked up and almost weeping all the way south. (I added that, and a better transcript of the lyrics, and a bit more from Bill Dale to my original blog post.)

I had tried to express why the song affects me so much. I am still trying to figure that out.

from an email to Bill Dale: I know one factor is the verse where you wrote “he did a lot of overtime” (and graveyard shift) and then says he’s lucky. I love that.

I also love the way you subtly make clear what a great dad he is. The fact that his son, returning from Vietnam, holds a sign with his dad’s saying gets that across perfectly.

Maybe it gets to me because I wish I had a dad like that. Or because he values happiness without riches. Or because I wish my friends who got PTSD from Vietnam had been so happy. Or because I believe a study that says we are all born with a certain level of happiness that we return to no matter what and some of us just have a higher level of being able to appreciate life. Anyway, I keep thinking about the song while I am working.

Yesterday we gardened for a man in his late 80s, and I thought he’d be the right age for the protagonist of that song.

That is one thing that gets to me: that WWII generation is almost gone.

Who knew a song could be so thought provoking?

You can listen to the song here.

But I digress (again) from gardening.

I got all weepy and just managed to get unweepy enough to make a dignified stop at The Basket Case Greenhouse to get some violas for the Anchorage Cottages windowboxes (to be planted tomorrow).

in the annuals house

in the annuals house

Then, back to Ilwaco and Nellie’s garden. I did some last minute detailed weeding while Allan scooped the mulch into buckets and the wheelbarrow and then we fluffed up the whole garden.

mulched

main garden mulched

with a bit left over for the west side of the house

with a bit left over for the west side of the house

some of Nellie's tulips

some of Nellie’s tulips

A chilly wind had come up. I found just enough energy to get us down to the port to add five santolinas to the Howerton Street gardens by the port office, to replace five that died by too-early clipping. The little garden on the west side of the office had some narcissi deadheads and some bright tulips.

port office garden

port office garden

Some had scattered birdseed for the crows. I think it was Don Nisbett as it was outside his gallery.

happy crows at the marina

happy crows at the marina

Back at home, I was almost out of steam. I managed to cut back the old, dead growth from some scented geraniums in the greenhouse. Seems like only one survived. I know where I can get more: The Basket Case.

in the garden:  I'd forgotten this bergenia would colour up so nicely

in the garden: I’d forgotten this bergenia would colour up so nicely

I disturbed a Pacific Tree Frog

I disturbed a Pacific Tree Frog

Allan found much more energy than I did, or perhaps had more determination. He mowed the entire lawn.

before...and it will look great for an "after" tomorrow

before…and it will look great for an “after” tomorrow

on my way back indoors: the old rhodo in Allan's garden

on my way back indoors: the old rhodo in Allan’s garden

and from my window...just before I plop down into my desk chair...

and from my window…just before I plop down into my desk chair…

My rhubarb plant, one of the few plants original to this yard (it was in a whiskey barrel) has put on massive growth in the past two weeks. Does anyone want to make a rhubarb pie?

We closed our day considerably later with a lovely tasty piece of fish from our neighbour, Jeff, two doors down.

20140410-000738.jpg

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Monday, 7 April 2014

I do like an all Ilwaco work day.  If only we did not have several well loved gardens up past 220th Street, I would like to keep all the work to Long Beach and Ilwaco.

We began just down the block at Larry and Robert’s garden.  Seeing the old grass covered garden bed along the west wall of the house reminded me that clearing it was supposed to be one of our spring projects.  Oops.  We had not budgeted that much time.  While I weeded the rest of the garden, Allan got halfway through that neglected task.

beforeafter

before (noon) and after (1:15)

revealed:  gravel and a nice brick edge

revealed: gravel and a nice brick edge

Possibly the gravel area that Allan discovered is supposed to be a spot for the wheelie bin!

Meanwhile, I weeded.

east side corner

east side corner

I do hope that tree, Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia. at the back of this sheltered area, comes back from the winter okay.  It looks a little peaked and lost two small lower branches. I’m worried.

I added a few violas and an Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’…so fragrant!…to the garden boat.

boat

Erysimum 'Winter Orchid'

Erysimum ‘Winter Orchid’

Before departing, I had to take a few photos of Tom and Judy’s “back forty”, the little sunny spot by their driveway.

Hornbuckle back forty

Hornbuckle back forty, across Pearl to the east of Larry and Robert’s garden

Judy's tulips

Judy’s tulips

one of their 30? or so Japanese maples

one of their 30? or so Japanese maples

artful rocks and driftwood

artful rocks and driftwood

more tulips

more tulips

The day, as you can see, had turned bright, sunny and warm.  When I went home (just half a block’s walk) to get some violas for the boat, I had to change into cooler clothes.   And yet, the whole time we were at Larry and Robert’s garden, we could hear the foghorns blowing and could see, between the port buildings two blocks away, white fog hanging low over the Columbia River.

We moved on to Don and Nellie’s garden just two blocks away.  Our goal was to get the rest of the garden weeded so that we can get a yard of soil for it later this week, and then move on to the boatyard garden.  It look longer than we thought.

tulips still blooming

tulips still blooming

shady bed against neighbour's fence, before and after

shady bed against neighbour’s fence, before and after

enclosed garden, west side of house, weeded and raked

enclosed garden, west side of house, weeded and raked

I also weeded on the shrub bed on the north side of the house and a couple of pocket gardens here and there.  The boatyard garden would have to wait for another day.

We did get to the Howerton Way garden, at the Port of Ilwaco, next to the Powell Gallery and Pelicano Restaurant.  While driving home Sunday after helping Jenna move, I had noticed some shockingly large shotweeds in there.  And then, pulling the shotweed Monday evening, I became increasingly irked by the last of the Howerton Way phormiums.

phormium (New Zealand flax)

phormium (New Zealand flax)

So ugly!  So beat up by winter.  And planted right next to the sidewalk, where it will want to get big as a bus and poke everyone in the eye.  We did not do any of the original plantings along Howerton.  It seems no thought was given to pokiness of certain plants, or to sight lines for people pulling out of driveways.  Over the course of time, we have removed all but this one of the flax.  Last fall, we got the port crew with a backhoe to pull a huge one out of this very garden, along with a pampas grass and, further down Howerton, two other giant grasses.

I poke around the phormium with our best shovel, saying to Allan that NEXT time we weeded here, it had to go.  Imagine my delight when he went after it with the pick.

triumph!

triumph!

Now there are only two horrible Phormiums at the port.  Ironically, they are ones we moved, with great difficulty, from the Time Enough Books parking strip garden to stand on either side of the bookstore entrance.  Back in the day, people could not bear to throw the darn things out, and always wanted us to reposition them somewhere else. Now they are each the size of a garden hut and we’ve called upon the port crew to remove them.  I no longer let myself get talked into saving any of that accursed plant.

As we gardened, fog rolled into the port parking lots.

looking west over the boat storage yard

looking west over the boat storage yard

We did a bit more weeding in the gardens by Don Nisbett Gallery and the Port Office.  I found four dead as can be santolinas, and I think I know why.  I had pruned four of them in the fall, since they had the most lovely rosettes of silver foliage down low.  I believe that exposed them to the frost, with no old foliage to protect them, and so they plotzed.  The ones I pruned in late winter all look fine…

I did not think to photograph the corpses.

Tulip 'The First' cheered me up.

Tulip ‘The First’ cheered me up.

We urgently need to get back to all of the Howerton (and the boatyard) gardens for more weeding.  I’m trying not to get all stressed out about work, and spring clean up is easier since we quit one big, one medium, and one little job since last year (and then took on two new medium jobs….but still….)

The rain has put us behind, and yet I have cherished all the good reading weather.

the lovely view to the east from where we dump our port debris

the lovely view to the east from where we dump our port debris

Tomorrow, we hope to do one north end job and then pick up a yard of Soil Energy and mulch Nellie’s garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

We added an Ilwaco job, after saying many times that we need fewer jobs, mainly because the spring clean up will be the biggest part of it, and because it is a garden at one of the town’s prettiest houses, and because I like the owners, Nellie and Don, and because the garden is all on level ground.

such a grand old house!

such a grand old house!

Allan immediately cut back the sword ferns on either side of the front steps.

Allan immediately cut back the sword ferns on either side of the front steps.

The back yard and west side of Nellie’s home hold the precious cottage garden.  We worked all day to get it back into good form.

sunny bed on south wall of house...before

sunny bed on south wall of house…before, at 11:20 AM

(Yes, all day for us starts at about 11.  That’s just the way it is!)

Clumps of narcissi edge that little bed...

Clumps of narcissi edge that little bed…

Here, we reveal that truth!

Here, we reveal that truth!

The narcissi are planted in pots, which we removed now that their bloom time is over.  Later, Nellie will insert pots of annuals in that little garden.

after:  1: 20 PM

after: 1: 20 PM; the stakes mark where I found four good dahlias.

Meanwhile, Allan had tackled the central part of the back garden.

before

before

11:20 AM

11:20 AM

progress: 1:20 PM

progress: 1:20 PM

Nellie did not like the moss on that circle of pavers, so Allan scraped it off.  I like moss of that sort.  I strongly defended keeping the rayed circled of pavers.  Only toward the end of the day did I remember when walking on them that my former partner, Robert, and I had come up with that paver design on one of the occasions we worked in Nellie’s garden pre-2003; no wonder I felt so loathe to remove them.  (Nellie thought maybe they should go, but I think I talked her into letting them stay.  I’m not the most cooperative employee, I suppose!)

Allan hard at work at 1:20 PM

Allan hard at work at 1:20 PM

We had all of Don and Nellie’s buckets to fill with weeds, and to then put in their truck.  Their son will haul away the debris later this week.

Of course, there were more weeds than that, so we filled our buckets, too.

Of course, there were more weeds than that, so we filled our buckets, too.

I limbed up and weeding under a Cistus on the southeast corner of the house; its lower branches had died over the winter.  Mowing the corner will be easier now.

Ilwaco Fire Station in background

Ilwaco Fire Station in background

While Allan continued to weed the big central bed, I worked along the outside of the garden.

before

before

before

before

after

after

after

after

Returning from an outing, Nellie was pleased that she could see the edges and underneath the primulas.

I did just a bit of work in the side garden, pruning a large Buddleia back to knee height and cutting the fronds off of three sword ferns.

tulips by gate to the side yard

tulips by gate to the side yard

shady west side garden...for next time.

shady west side garden…for next time.

trilliums planted by Nellie and Don's son....54 years ago!

trilliums planted by Nellie and Don’s son….54 years ago!

A reprise of the before photo of the main garden bed:

11:20 AM

11:20 AM

and at 5 PM:

after

after

There are severals clumps of hardy fuchsias, all of which had died back to the base and needed to be chopped.

Below:  The back of the main bed, where Allan and I both weeded at the end of the day:

11:20 AM

11:20 AM

4:50 PM

4:50 PM, not quite done but we will return next week.

Note that the Buddliea (behind the circular yellow shovel handle) was pruned quite low.

Nellie (and also our client Cheri) is tired of the profligate reseeding of Aquilegia (columbines) so Allan dug out quite a few with that neat narrow shovel that we got last year from Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart.  Last year, someone hired to remove the columbines removed chrysanthemums instead.  It does help to be fairly good at plant identification.

view of tulips through east side hedge

view of tulips through east side hedge

Like the narcissi, Nellie's tulips are grown in removable pots.

Like the narcissi, Nellie’s tulips are grown in removable pots.

The tulip and narcissi pots sit out the summer on a bench between the garage and the garden shed.  Bulbs like summer dryness so it suits them well.

tulips

Early next week, we will return with a yard of soil to fluff up this part of the garden, and will finish the areas that we did not weed today.  We got more done today than I thought we would.  Afterward, I admit I went home and lay down for a little awhile.  Nellie’s pleasure in seeing the garden coming along made it worthwhile.  She told us that so many different shrubs and trees were given to her by friends that she calls some of them by the friends’ names and that she calls her garden a friendship garden.

 

 

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