Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Phormium’

Monday, 2 March 2015

Just when I’d been rejoicing to have three fewer jobs (one of which I had just finalized quitting over the weekend!), I got a call from a former client, Dan from Penttila’s mortuary.  He asked if we could do a clean up on the garden.  How could I resist?  We had helped install it in 2010, coincidentally at the same time my mother died.  Dan had been so helpful and thoughtful with all the arrangements, so I told him that even though my new policy is to (try to) say no to all extra work, we would make an exception for him.  Besides, we are fond of him and his partner Wayne, and used to garden for them when they owned Anthony’s Home Court, a resort just north of Long Beach.

We had planned to spend the day pruning the Long Beach berms and perhaps clipping ferns over at the Yett Cottage.  I added Penttila’s to the work list, just to have the pleasure of erasing it later.

the work list of first spring clean-ups

the work list of first spring clean-ups

in our front garden

in our front garden

at the Ilwaco post office

at the Ilwaco post office

variegated tulip foliage at the post office

variegated tulip foliage at the post office

We had an errand to run on our way to work, by choice:  We had decided to give a framed boat photograph to the new owners of the Portside Café, because we so admire how they are improving the little breakfast and lunch spot.  We chatted with new owners Laurie and Debbie who told us how they are providing delicious fresh food, for example, replacing processed frozen hash browns with real baby red potatoes.

They are going to add to their decorating theme by redoing the plain table tops with some nautical charts.

inside the Portside before the table transformation

inside the Portside before the table transformation

Portside Café

Portside Café

a dining counter with terrarium and view

a dining counter with terrarium and view

schmoozing at the Portside (Allan's photo)

schmoozing at the Portside (Allan’s photo)

On the way out, I was amused to see some narcissi blooming on the edge of the vacant lot to the south, because I know that happened when a planter was vandalized and dumped out last summer.  That annoying event resulted in this pretty vignette.

"wild" daffodils

“wild” daffodils

a glimpse of the boatyard garden, one block south, then on to work

a glimpse of the boatyard garden, one block south, then on to work

Penttila’s Chapel by the Sea

before

before

I had one other reason for taking on the Penttila’s clean up:  Every time we drove by there, which is almost every work day, I itched to cut back the four sword ferns which had not been done for two years.

sword fern, before

sword fern, before

before

before

before: two more sword ferns that had been making me twitchy.

before: two more sword ferns that had been making me twitchy.

The Santolina 'Lemon Fizz' had half reverted to green.

The Santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’ had half reverted to green.

All the santolinas needed cutting back.

All the santolinas needed cutting back.

I did not completely realize how much creeping sorrel and little weed grasses were in the garden till we got right down to it after doing all the clipping.  The weeding needed to be carefully done around many California poppy seedlings.

weeds

weeds

I got panicky partway through, thinking about Jo’s garden and Casa Pacifica that still need their first clean up, and worrying, and thinking fond thoughts of partial retirement, and disliking not being caught up.  I know that we did not get every little weed because we just plain ran out of time.  It did look pretty spiffing afterwards.

after

after

after

after

after...I added some 'Dusky Rose', 'Buttercream' and other mixed colour California poppy seeds.

after…I added some ‘Dusky Rose’, ‘Buttercream’ and other mixed colour California poppy seeds.

after

after

after

after

the dry stream

the dry stream

I wish the dry stream was edged with blue Geranium ‘Rozanne’ instead of the loathed (by me) lithodora, which is just starting to bloom so I couldn’t cut its tatty self back.  It does have the benefit of covering the plastic liner which otherwise would show along the edge of the rocks.

after

after

It was just after three, the garden looked pretty good, and my anxiety was mounting when we departed for the Long Beach parking lot berms.

Long Beach

At Penttila’s, the weather had been such that it was a jacket on, off, and then on again sort of day.  When we got out of the van at the south berm garden, I was horrified to feel an icy cold and misery-producing strong wind had kicked up.

Stipa gigantea waiting to be cut back.

Stipa gigantea waiting to be cut back.

rugosa roses needing pruning

rugosa roses needing pruning

santolina awaiting the clippers

santolina awaiting the clippers

tatty spirea ready for the chop

tatty spirea ready for the chop

The soil was so cold that it would have been unpleasant to weed, and we did not have time.  The weeds felt like they would have come out easily.  I hope to get back to them before the soil turns dry and rock hard, as last year’s mid-June weeding was a misery.  Speaking of misery, the cutting wind went right through four layers of shirts and jacket.

23 mph and so cold

23 mph and so cold

my piles of debris

my piles of debris

Allan's berm project, before (Allan's photo)

Allan’s berm project, before (Allan’s photos)

and after trimming a Phormium

and after trimming a Phormium

On the way home, even though the sun was in my eyes as we passed Penttila’s Chapel.  I reflected how pleasant it was to see the ferns cut back.

Penttila's garden will no longer bug me on a drive by!

Penttila’s garden will no longer bug me on a drive by!

I was ever so glad to be home and indoors.

view to the north from my nice warm living room

view to the north from my nice warm living room

The first clean up list is short now!

The first clean up list is short now!

But the Projects list is growing.

But the Projects list is growing.

As I closed the curtains, I reflected on how much I already miss the early darkness of winter and the cozy feeling of night closing in with nothing to do but read or watch a favourite show or a movie.  Another Kate Llewellyn book arrived today from Australia…

not enough reading time these days

not enough reading time these days

Next: a slide show of Long Beach’s Fifth Street Park

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Friday, 14 February 2014

Where is the storm? We have been expecting it for the past three days. I’m in the middle of a good book and looking forward to a couple of windy, rainy reading days, and yet here came another work day. The up side? I think we got ALL the public gardens checked on before the three day weekend! We started at Andersen’s RV Park, pruning hydrangeas and cutting back perennials. I tackled the garden on the east side of the house.

hydrangeas on east side of house, before

hydrangeas on east side of house, before

after...

after…

Inside the hydrangeas some clumps of moss adhered to the trunks.

nest

and were more than just mysterious mossy growths:

precious bird nest!

precious bird nest!

nest

nest

The picket fence garden had held up well after its end of season weeding and mulching except for one messy section by the birdbath.

picket fence garden...Wait, what's wrong with the birdbath?

picket fence garden…Wait, what’s wrong with the birdbath?

The birdbath had cracked some years ago and I had planted sedums in it. Now it is truly a goner. We could put a big terra cotta saucer on the base, perhaps.

tidied up a bit

tidied up a bit

I was so pleased that owner Lorna’s one patch of Hellebore is about to bloom…

fat hellebore buds

fat hellebore buds (left and right)

Yesterday at Anchorage Cottages and the day before at Klipsan Beach Cottages I found Hellebores turned to mush by the freeze.

In the raised bed on the east wall, those tall…snowdroppy things are blooming. They are not Galanthus. Are they Leucojum?

Too tall to be Galanthus....

Too tall to be Galanthus….

If Leucojum blooms in February, why the heck is its common name “Summer Snowflake”??

Meanwhile, Allan worked on the west side garden, clipping Sedum ‘Autumn Joy. and ornamental grasses.

west side garden

west side garden

After seeing how quiet the park is and learning there is no big club due in until March, we decided not to do a deep weeding yet. The weeds would be back by mid March and we feel that would just waste our client’s money when few are there to see it. So a light tidying up was the order of the day.

after...still a bit weedy with the so accursed couch grass!

after…still a bit weedy with the so accursed couch grass!

One of the staff had been looking for a project and was happy to take on the cutting back of the rugosa roses!

Rob pitches in to the rose patch!

A helper pitches in to the rose patch!

He got a lot done while we were there, including digging some roses out from the sidewalk edge…and he learned how easy it is to crack an old shovel on those darn roses.

partway through.  Why must rugosa roses be such runners!!?

partway through. Why must rugosa roses be such runners!!?

There is little in bloom yet here, mainly because I can’t grow crocus well in this garden due to pesky voles. The Narcissi are impervious to voles and are coming on strong with a few about to bloom.

one freakishly early anemone in the Payson Hall planters...

one freakishly early anemone in the Payson Hall planters…

and many narcissi by Payson Hall

and narcissi getting started by Payson Hall

Astounded to get done at Andersen’s by mid afternoon, we decided to go do some clean up at Long Beach City Hall. First, I remembered two tatty looking escallonias to cut down in a planter by Scooper’s ice cream shop.

before and after

before and after

Back when the planters were done by volunteers, several of them were planted with full sized escallonia ‘Pink Princess’! (WHY?) They would like to be 18 feet tall and I am tired of the constant clipping, so am hoping by cutting them down HARD they will give me a year’s respite. I believe they will come back nice and low, even though ultimately they will still want to be huge.

Before we started on city hall, I was irresistably drawn to Pink Poppy Bakery, now located just across the street.

bakery

inside the bakery

inside the bakery

Then Allan tackled the west side of City Hall and I went to trim plants in a street planter and on the other side of City Hall.

before

before (one escallonia, to the right, was cut hard last fall)

I have no one but myself to blame for the two escallonias there that want to get too big. At least they will have space, after being cut down, to grow for about three years before they need cutting again! Both looked severely frost and wind blasted..and the ornamental grasses needed a trim.

after

after

Allan said that while he was working on the west side, someone introduced herself as a “secret admirer” and reader of this blog. She gave him a cookie from Pink Poppy Bakery asked for a plant ID! If you are reading this, I can tell you that the plant you asked about is Echinops (blue globe thistle).

On the north side of city hall bloomed two sets of flowers:

a Hellebore, looking almost artificial

a Hellebore, looking almost artificial…I wish there were three of these!

and a dusky pale rose double primrose

and a dusky pale rose double primrose

We also cleaned up “Peggy’s Park”, a small memorial garden on the east side of the building.

Peggy's Park

Peggy’s Park

Amazingly, we got our load of Long Beach debris dumped and still had more than an hour of daylight. What to do? I had to look at my list of jobs to refresh my memory. Ah…The Boreas Inn could use a cleanup, especially since I knew that the Inn was full for the three day weekend. It still looked quite good from last fall and just needed some frost-dead lavenders pulled (those Spanish lavenders are not very hardy) and of course the Autumn Joy cut.

Boreas, looking west from next to the hot tub hut.

Boreas, looking west from next to the hot tub hut.

Oh, that Phormium! It looks awful close up…

Every single blade looks awful!

Every single blade looks awful!

Gah!

Gah!

Have I ever mentioned how leathery and hard to cut each blade of Phormium is? The peninsula dump does not even want it mixed with yard waste because it binds up their giant chipper-shredder. I do hope this is the year I can convince Susie to get rid of this plant, and that she can find someone young and strong to pull it out.

Boreas Inn, looking east from the beach path

Boreas Inn, looking east from the beach path

Again, where is the storm? The Port flagpole has two storm flags flying, the forecast calls for strong wind, and has called for rain and wind for the past three days, and yet it has been pleasant and almost windless working weather.

gale warning...but when??

gale warning…but when??

I missed the sunset. Allan saw it while unhooking the utility trailer and took this photo looking west on Lake Street.

photo (3)_2

Read Full Post »

We have a new ongoing project of fixing up Jena’s garden.  What a wonderful secret place to live, up a private road, surrounded by bogs (yes, there are mosquitos in summer) and willows…with a driveway circle, one of my favourite design features in a garden.  I forgot to take before pictures, unfortunately.  Originally designed by a now-gone landscaper called Beachscapes and Beyond, the garden has some good plants which needed some shifting around and an overgrowth of the dreaded orange montbretia which had been a gift to Jena and which she has taken against as much as I have.  So out it came, leaving room for the enjoyable task of adding some new plants and some species narcissi bulbs.

not before, but during………………………..and after.

The goal: turn the Wiegela into an arched shrub instead of a rangy partly dead tree. Two variegated boxwoods were shifted from being irksomely clumped together into a more elegant spacing.

(above left) a side view, quite overgrown…note deer fence of crabbing rope; I like it. (above right) cleared of too much white yarrow, and mulched with “Soil Energy” mix from Sandridge Topsoil.

On the day when we did the mulching, we had the Soil Energy loaded into our trailer in the rain, with blue sky just to the north  from whence a light wind blew.  Sure that the blue would reach us, we drove on to Jena’s, where the blue sat agonizingly out of reach and the skies opened with torrential rain.  Her spouse arrived as we were shoveling and inquired of our sanity.  The blue finally arrived overhead when we got to our next job.

(above, left) entrance view, before, with Allan weeding (above right) after, with the pretty weeping Japanese maple more clearly defined. No one seem to realize how big New Zealand Flax will get; the Phormiums look so charming in one gallon pots.

Happily, this will become an ongoing job, not one of those clean ups where one revives a  secret garden but then never sees it again.

[2012 note:  We did keep this job on a monthly basis through 2010, but in 2011 Jena hired someone else because we had never succeeded in making the garden low maintenance.  As usual, my plant lust got in the way.  The deer were a constant trial and chowed down on pretty much everything; the rope fence was nothing to them.  This, and maybe the bayside garden, were the only jobs we’ve ever been laid off from because the client was not happy.  And at the bayside garden, the wife was happy, but not the husband, and he was very much in charge..and even though he did not want to spend the money to have regular gardeners, he asked us back every February to prune the 300 hydrangeas.]

Read Full Post »