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Posts Tagged ‘Phormiums’

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

On our way to work, we stopped at Olde Towne Café as I had some current issues of Hipfish Newspaper to drop off there. As we procured snacks for later and then departed, Luanne called out “Don’t get wet!” I wondered what she meant. I had not checked the weather report, and had assumed last week’s projection of good weather all week had held, and that my big plan of getting topsoil for Nellie’s garden was a go. By the time we began our drive north, drizzle had begun. Clearly, Luanne was more in tune with the weather than I. We debated continuing our plan, then decided it would be too miserable to move soil and that we would just go to Long Beach city hall to pick up our cheque.

On our way through town, I saw the shocking sight of tall dwarf fireweeds in one of the planters; we pulled over to address the emergency.

We parked right behind this cute RV (caravan).

We parked right behind this cute RV (caravan).

The planter that had caught my eye also had some unsightly bulb foliage.

not at all nice

not at all nice

and some good things, too:

Primrose 'Drumcliff' (I think)

Primrose ‘Drumcliff’ (I think)

parrot tulip bud

parrot tulip bud

and more buds

and more buds

We then had to address the issue of weeds under one of the street trees. Weather, and too much work on our plate, has prevented a thorough weeding under all the trees. Most of them look much better than this one.

a veritable lawn of small grass

a veritable lawn of small grass

Could that be because it is the tree closest to The Cottage Bakery and that we get distracted by pastries at this point in our rounds of Long Beach town?

looking better

looking better

back in the van; city hall is through the intersection and one block to the left.

back in the van; city hall is through the intersection and one block to the left.

north side garden, Long Beach city hall

north side garden, Long Beach city hall

white narcissi with a delightfully small cup, and pulmonaria

white narcissi with a delightfully small cup, and pulmonaria

more white narcissi

more white narcissi

and more

and more

Even though I had not even put on a raincoat, we started weeding and deadheading, first the north side and then “Peggy’s Park”, a little memorial garden to Peggy Miles that is on the east side of the building. She and her husband Gene planted it a few years ago. There, a blue perennial Brunnera (forget me not) blooms just about one year after her death, a present from the office staff to her husband, Gene.

Brunnera 'Looking Glass'

Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’

We then did a lot of weeding on the west side. I still did not take the (not cold) rain seriously enough to put on a raincoat and due to weather discomfort did not bother with before and after photos. Just as we got the job done fairly well and were ready to dump our debris, the rain increased. I was so glad that we got most of the weeds out before becoming truly miserable.

looking west toward the Bolstadt beach approach.

looking west toward the Bolstadt beach approach.

a lovely sight by the baseball field as we drove to the city works yard (and stopped to deadhead some narcissi)

a lovely sight by the baseball field as we drove to the city works yard (and stopped to deadhead some narcissi)

I had forgotten to return yesterday’s call from our accountant; when the memory surfaced, I was thrilled that she could complete our tax return (have us sign it) during this rainy spell. As we drove back to Ilwaco, Allan commented, “Just think, we could have a trailer full of dirt right now!” Whew.

fierce rain outside Jennifer's office

fierce rain outside Jennifer’s office

Who can feel sad about paying taxes with Helen offering comfort?

Who can feel sad about paying taxes with Helen offering comfort?

And then…lunch at Olde Towne Café. I announced our imminent arrival on Facebook, hoping that our friend Jamie could join us. We found out later than she had just left! Nellie, whose garden we’ve been working on lately, arrived with her lunch bunch and I was thus able to tell her that her mulching day would not be till tomorrow. This, because of the weather, came as no surprise.

That's Nellie approaching the table

That’s Nellie in the background, approaching the table, with a white coffee mug and a blue sweater

We deposited our cheque, to the sight of even harder rain.

I do love banking at "Bank of the Pacific".

I do love banking at “Bank of the Pacific”.

My plan for the rest of the day was to read…and at home, just as I began to sink into my comfy chair, the phone rang. Nancy from the Port Office was asking for a firm ID on the plants that were to be removed from the entrance to Time Enough Books. Yes, two phormiums, of course, the ones with the big, messy, strappy leaves. I looked out our south window and saw the port backhoe already at work. This I had to see, so off we went to the bookstore, two blocks away. By the time we got there, the two big plants had been pulled out with the claw end of the backhoe. Allan started to take photos, as I was on the phone talking with Ed Strange about sources for the ‘Wilma Goldcrest’ trees that Allan and I are going to plant here to replace the phormiums.

Mark rolls one of the Phormiums into the scoop.

Mark rolls one of the Phormiums into the scoop.

loaded

loaded

Before I got out of the van, I saw the backhoe heading down the street with the first plant in its maw. I cheered, “Goodbye, you #*^*#@%!” Really, my glee was almost unseemly.

Pulled out

Mark examining the second corpse

scooping the second plant; Allan's photo

scooping the second plant; Allan’s photo

rolling the second one into the scoop

rolling the second one into the scoop: Allan’s photo

and mine

and mine

The crew probably does not get photographed from two angles during most of their jobs.

I have to savor this moment (all photos by Allan because by then I was raking):

one two three four

There go the very last of the portside phormiums, and good riddance!

I had not put on a coat or even changed back into outdoor shoes, but we had to fix the holes.

hole

making it nice

making it nice

I am so glad we got that call so I could revel in machine assisted phormium destruction. Also, I had been looking every morning from my window to see if they had been removed yet, and if I had seen them gone tomorrow morning, our work schedule would have been thrown off from getting that soil for Nellie’s garden.

at home again, I know just where to look in this south window view to see that the phormiums are gone.

At home again, I know just where to look in the distance of this south window view to see that the phormiums are gone.

Now, at last, my book, which arrived today via interlibrary loan, a great service of the Ilwaco Timberland Library system. I’ve gotten books from libraries all around the country this way.

one of Hornby's series about books he's read

The introduction of the book, one of a series in which Hornby writes about books he has read, already had me adding a new author to my books to read list. She starts with the words “I like to like things.”

by Sarah Vowell

 

Mary was determined to help me enjoy the book.

Mary was determined to help me enjoy the book.

I’ve been thinking of rereading some old favourite books (Joan Aiken’s Foul Matter and Marge Piercy’s Small Changes and Zoe Fairbairns’ Benefits come to mind). But what if:

Nick Horby on revisiting favourites

Nick Horby on revisiting favourites

Having just, with sadness, finished watching the great New Orleans television show Treme, I think I am going to have to read this book:

new orleans

I often have forgotten the plots all the previous books when I get a new one of a series. I am not alone.

forgetting

I was pleased to read that Nick enjoyed The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer. It’s a novel I loved in my 20s. But I was shocked to read that Mortimer has gone out of print, almost as shocked as when I read recently that many books by my favourite author, Iris Murdoch, have also gone out of print. Fortunately, I own most of the books by both authors, and some winter I may re read them.

mortimer

Hornby devotes two pages to The Road…which I have not read, and still do not much want to read. I like his hint of optimism about human nature:

road

I laughed at this:

cinema

I’m grateful for DVDs.

At the end of the book, a shocking bit of news from the editors of The Believer magazine, from which his writing columns came:

end

Fortunately, he started again…I think…with his Stuff I’ve Been Reading series that saw a new book in 2012.

As usual, I collected (casually typed into Notes) a whole new list of books. I’m baffled about how I’ll ever find the time…

notes

 

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Friday, 31 January 2014

I did not want staycation to end, and yet the garden by Marsh’s Free Museum and Captain Bob’s Chowder in Long Beach had been bugging me lately every time we went to town.  With deep cold predicted for next week and then possible rain, I knew I would feel better about life if we got the park ready for President’s Day weekend (February 15-17) while we had good working weather.  And in the present moment I was not happy about the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’s handsome dried flowers from last year hiding the brand new crocuses and narcissi.

Fifth Street Park before

Fifth Street Park before

Now, that’s better!

after

after2

after3

On the south side of the park by the restroom building, the Miscanthus had begun its usual shedding all over the lawn and another set of Sedums needed clipping.

before

before

after

By the drinking fountain, two of the few remaining Phormiums in Long Beach town looked ghastly (so cleverly chosen by the landscape architect who designed the park to inset poky sharp leaves in the drinking fountain area).  We have gotten rid of most of the Phormiums in town.  One of these was too big for us to eradicate, so Allan cut it back and dug out the small one (the one closest to the drinking fountain) while I walked two blocks worth of street trees and planters doing more clipping and weeding.

phormium

before...hideous Phormium (New Zealand flax)

before…hideous Phormium (New Zealand flax)

after...

after…splendid!

While I walked around the planters, a woman with a strong accent came up to me determinedly proffering a piece of paper from a sheaf in her hands. When she saw I was busy she said “Put in your pocket.”  I had a feeling it was something religious.  Indeed it was, as I discovered upon reading it later.  It seems to be her own personal religion with no attempt to lure me to a certain church!   While the “one male and female” thing makes me wonder suspiciously if there is some anti-gay-marriage subtlety going on here, it otherwise has a certain crazy poetry to it.  You might see her around town and ask her what it all means.

a woman on a mission

a woman on a mission

Cleaning up the park took half a day and gave me a sense of great relief.   On the way home, I found two details to admire in the planters in front of the Ilwaco Timberland Library.

Iris reticulata

Iris reticulata

and some stunning tulip foliage

and some stunning tulip foliage

We were drawn to the marina by some amazing clouds and the workday reward of a good sunset.

sunset reflecting on clouds over the east end of town

sunset reflecting on clouds over the east end of town

sunset

Allan’s photo

a big puff of pink over Cook's Hill (Allan's photo)

a big puff of pink over Cook’s Hill (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo...looking east

Allan’s photo…looking east toward Stringtown Road

Smokey was glad to see me and possibly as sad as I am to see staycation end.

"Where were you all day?"

“Where were you all day?”

Saturday, 1 February 2014

I had no real intention of working on Saturday.  Allan and I had a leisurely breakfast at Olde Towne Café, where Luanne pointed out that the forsythia cuttings I had brought her to force had burst into bloom.

forsythia at Olde Towne

forsythia at Olde Towne

At home, I decided to do just one thing…other than admiring a few plants:

Hamamelis (winter witch hazel)

Hamamelis (winter witch hazel)

crocuses

crocuses

Hellebore

Hellebore

hellebore

hellebore

and hellebore!

and hellebore!

My poor Euphorbia characias wulfenii is blooming even though its tips got blighted by cold.

My poor Euphorbia characias wulfenii is blooming even though its tips got blighted by cold.

A few spires look the way they should look.

A few spires look the way they should look.

some cute little lettuces had reseeded...

some cute little lettuces had reseeded…

a rosemary half killed by cold

a rosemary half killed by cold

It was a relief to walk out into the garden with no danger tree looming.

It was a relief to walk out into the garden with no danger tree looming.

If I accomplished my one task, dumping out some dead hanging baskets and putting the soil back in a newly expanded garden bed, I could then go read…but wait…dang it…the sun came out and the weather warmed up a few degrees.  Drat and blast.  We decided we had to go weed and clip at the Ilwaco Boatyard garden, again with the mission of getting ahead of the public garden clean ups before President’s Day weekend.

Warning: three photos down I am going to post something truly unpleasant.  (Don’t be too afraid to go on.)

looking south from the north end of the boatyard garden

looking south from the north end of the boatyard garden, before…

not just weeds: reseeded California poppies and Iceland and other poppies, too!

not just weeds: reseeded California poppies and Iceland and other poppies, too! (and strawflowers)

Here is the unpleasantness, on a piece of trash.  For those who hoped the cold would kill all the slugs:  It was wishful thinking.

horrid

horrid

Allan weeded while I went all along the boatyard clipping some plants back.

a weeded stretch of garden

a weeded stretch of garden

With the cold weather (20 degrees!) predicted, I did not cut everything back…hoping the old growth will protect the base of the plants.

I left the Artemisia 'Powis Castle' unclipped for now.

I left the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ unclipped for now.

looking south with the garden weeded all the way to the gate

looking south with the garden weeded all the way to the gate

The crocuses look better in a weeded garden!

The crocuses look better in a weeded garden!

in the boatyard...evidence of recent rainy staycation days

in the boatyard…evidence of recent rainy staycation days

boats

I’m looking forward to weeding the south end of the boatyard on the next non-rainy not too cold day.

south end

south end

It really does work to weed in the fall.  At the end of 2013’s work days, we left off at the south end and went on staycation, and even though weeds at the north end came back, they are much thicker down here.

In the evening, we met Jamie and J9 (and introduced these two friends to each other) for a talk at Time Enough Books at the Port of Ilwaco.

timeenough

book discussion

book discussion

Shop dog Scout thought the gathering was all about her.

Shop dog Scout thought the gathering was all about her.

One of the first stories the author spoke of was one in which someone has cut a tree to a twelve foot stump.  Steve Allred expressed much bafflement about why anyone would do that, and I felt much internal amusement because we had so recently done JUST that when having Danger Tree cut down!  We had our reasons, Steve: to provide a snag for birds, and branch to hang our blue bottle decorative thingie from, and I already have a climbing hydrangea attached to the trunk.

An audience member (I think Karla, bookstore owner) said that while reading the book of interconnected stories all set in the same small Oregon town, she imagined which characters would align with certain people on the Long Beach Peninsula.

Even though I was going to purchase it anyway, when Allred’s talk revealed that he is pro choice, pro gay marriage, and liberal in general, I thought to myself:  SOLD!  I look forward to reading it when I have polished off my stack of library books (with their threat of overdue fines).

Several of the audience expressed that they are not much for short stories (me neither), yet the interconnectedness of the stories made it a satisfying read for them.  “Web of life” is my favourite movie genre, and I have fond memories of the interconnected novels and short stories by Canadian author Elizabeth Laurence.  I’ll let you know how I like A Simplified Map of the Real World.

To end the evening on an excellent note, Karla gave us some of her spouse, Peter’s, cookies to take home.  They had been an excellent treat during the reading.  He had made dozens, apparently, so quite a few were left over.

Lucky us, we got a bagful to take home! enough to fill a big that a hardback book would have fit in.

Lucky us, we got a bagful to take home! enough to fill a big that a hardback book would have fit in.

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Stachyurus praecox, January 2005

Stachyurus praecox, January 2005

one of my contorted filberts, with teacups, early spring 2005

one of my contorted filberts, with teacups, early spring 2005

shovel heads

shovel heads

Above:

Allan helped me put up these old shovel heads as pseudo-battlements along the privacy fence. I always felt poignant when looking at the three panels Robert had painted after his heart attack and the building of the fence. He said they meant health, long life, and happiness. I had hope for him finally acquiring those things as around this time he moved out of Andy’s trailer and into the beautiful home of a new significant other, a mutual friend of ours. Her house was actually one of my dream houses and had once belonged to Dale, the garden designer who had long since departed but who had created some of the gardens I still worked in.

Dumbles in the garden

Dumbles in the garden

By May we were having to make a huge decision regarding a new roof. In April we had helped plant some street trees in Ilwaco in a big rainstorm, and upon coming home found water pouring through the bathroom ceiling. The leak soon worked its way over to the living room as well. I would have had to live with buckets, but Allan had enough money from the share he had taken from his Tacoma house equity to arrange for a new metal roof to be installed.  The reason for the leak?  raccoons tearing into the cedar shakes!

So we did very little gardening around the house itself because we knew that roofers would be coming before winter.

Clerodendron in my garden, the best bloom I ever had from it.

Clerodendron in my garden, the best bloom I ever had from it.

Over the course of the summer, Allan had painted the house during whatever scraps of time he could find: dark green, with blue, turquoise and purple trim…You can see the raccoon-compromised roof to the right of the dormer.  How he found the energy to do this on top of work is beyond me, but he did.

house

newly painted house

newly painted house

Below:  Lovely photo by Allan taken after he had finished painting the house. The set of prayer flags of all different religions were given to me by my dear friend Sharon.

after painting

after painting

Finally in autumn, we got our new roof, just in time to not live with buckets and sagging ceilings all winter.  The new metal roof resounded beautifully in the rain.

the only wedding photo....

the only wedding photo….

In late November, 2005, Allan and I got married at a house in Skamakawa. The friend who officiated was one of my cyberfriends (we call each other imaginary friends) from my Seattle email list, which seemed just right as they had been so helpful to me over the years.  Beth officiated with guests Stacey and Jeannine, music by her spouse on guitar; then Jeannine and Stacey and Allan and I had lunch in Astoria. This is only PARTIAL surviving photo which only halfway loaded during the last computer back up from my PC in 2006. Beth’s living room has luscious red walls.

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My old friend Mary (since age 12!) met me at the train in Seattle and the next day we went to the garden open at Heronswood near Kingston. I almost wept when entering the long driveway….It was a pilgrimage onto sacred ground.  I had been mail ordering plants from Dan Hinkley since the nursery first offered them but had never been there.  By the time it had become a tour mecca, I had already moved to the beach.

trees along the Heronswood entry driveway

trees along the Heronswood entry driveway

under the trees

under the trees

A few years before I had heard a lecture by Anne Lovejoy, in Seaside, Oregon, not about gardening but about her trip to the Cloud Forest in Costa Rica (AND she had given me an Edgeworthia chrysantha which she lugged down for me on the train, bless her!). The idea of a cloud forest made me feel way better about my shady Ilwaco garden, and so did the woodsy sections of Heronswood.

Pulmonaria 'Cotton Cool'

Pulmonaria ‘Cotton Cool’

Heronswood

the Gunnera with tiny leaves!

the Gunnera with tiny leaves! magellanica, I think

To be at Heronswood was like a happy dream.  I was thrilled to see in person the famous Heronswood lawn with Hakonechloa macra aureola grass along the edge.

the lawn border that I had seen in many photos

the lawn border that I had seen in many photos

approaching the house garden

approaching the house garden

Mary and I also got to hear Dan Hinkley give a lecture, and she finally experienced first hand how very witty he is.  I was pleased to see that even though she was not at all a gardener obsessed, she laughed and laughed!

the famous (not so) clipped Hornbeam hedge

the famous (not so) clipped Hornbeam hedge

adorable ferns near the house

adorable ferns near the house

In the back of the vegetable garden, you can see the famous hand washing sink created by Little and Lewis.

the vegetable garden

the vegetable garden

Aeonium 'Schwarzkopf'

Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’

details

details

The Little and Lewis pillars in the boggy garden

 Little and Lewis pillars 

the top of more pillars

the top of more pillars

I think you would have to go out on the nearby pond in a boat to photograph this whole glorious structure.

detail at the base of the pillars

detail at the base of the pillars

Blue Himalayan Poppy

Blue Himalayan Poppy

poppy

poppy

After Heronswood, Mary and I had a delicious meal at Molly Ward Gardens restaurant.  The food was wonderful. I seem to recall a cold melon soup. The restaurant was housed in an old barn that had once housed a yard shop.

at Molly Ward gardens

at Molly Ward gardens

Peeking into the Molly Ward courtyard

Peeking into the Molly Ward courtyard

the courtyard

the courtyard

Phormium contained

Phormium contained

The Phormium in a small garbage can is an idea I have used several times since then.

in the Molly Ward garden

in the Molly Ward garden

courtyard seating

courtyard seating

And then….back to Bellevue and Seattle for more garden touring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our plan had been to return to work on Feb 10th.   That seemed like a good time, being right after a Saturday Peninsula Cash Mob event.  Starting the Cash Mob having been one of my staycation projects.  BUT February 9th dawned bright and beautiful.  By midmorning that fact registered with us.  (We are not morning people.)  And we decided we had to work.  I could not think of one more staycation garden project to keep us at home.

Our first job as always was the Long Beach parks and planters.  A go round of all the planters kept me plenty busy for the first day while Allan worked on the Fifth Street Park.  The early crocus rewarded us, but I did not see the snowdrops I had expected.  I wonder if they came and went while we were at home!

in the Long Beach planters

in the Long Beach planters

The day almost ended inauspiciously with a dead battery caused by leaving the lights on, but Allan got a jump from a nearby Active Enterprises truck  (Thanks!!) and we had time to plant two clumps of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ in Nancy’s garden on our way home.

Nancy's new garden bed

Nancy’s new garden bed

February 10th brought another day in Long Beach and the downtown parks got groomed to our satisfaction, still leaving Coulter Park just north of downtown and the dreaded beach approach weeding job for later.  Public gardening can be a joy when friendly happy tourists want to talk about plants, but it has its downside.  Day one in Long Beach had two boozy fellows wanting me to hire them.

cig butts in the park...after I had picked most of them up

cig butts in the park…after I had picked most of them up

Day two in Long Beach had a barmaid from a tavern getting quite shirty with me because I dumped a pile of ten cigarette butts from the adjoining park next to but not into their butt bucket, as I often do.  As always, I would walk around the fence later and deposit them with other butts.  (Usually I have my own bucket, but that day I had a wheelbarrow for hydrangea prunings.)  When I tried to exercise diplomacy by saying my name and that I do the Long Beach parks and planters, she called me a “lying bitch” and informed me that she knows the planters are all done by volunteers because “signs on the planters say so”.  I remained  calm and diplomatic so as not to disturb the nearby tourists. Finally, possibly frustrated by my refusal to engage in a heated argument, she stormed back inside, leaving me pondering whether or not it was be nicer to toddle into old age doing only private gardens.  It’s an idle thought because I’d find the Long Beach planters very hard to abandon.  Nevertheless, it was surely the worst start to a work year that I’ve ever had.

On February 12th, we turned our attention to the Port of Ilwaco.  (Plenty of rain days make for a choppy schedule at this time of year.)

Allan cutting ornamental grass down at the Powell Gallery.

Allan cutting ornamental grass down at the Powell Gallery.

In  the Marie Powell Gallery garden and on either side of the nearby Time Enough Books entrance are some of the few remaining Phormiums in any of the gardens we care for.  How I have gone off them!  Their tatty old side blades need to be trimmed off, but we will deal with that later.

messy Phormiums

messy Phormiums

At Time Enough’s garden I averted my eyes from the Phormiums and enjoyed the crocuses while pulling dandelions and little weedy grasses.

Time Enough Books garden

Time Enough Books garden

On February 13th we tackled the big ornamental grasses at the Depot Restaurant.  Our luscious coating of washed dairy manure on the new section of the ornamental border had promising spears of bulbs coming through.

north side of deck at Depot

north side of deck at Depot

chopping the Depot grasses....Allan found a tiny tree frog.

chopping the Depot grasses….Allan found a tiny tree frog.

next up on the south side of the Depot deck

next up on the south side of the Depot deck

As soon as we make the wake up call to all the other gardens, I want to get back to the Depot and dig out all the weed grass and Crocosmia bulbs from this area and turn it into a proper herb garden for chef Michael.  We didn’t plant the Crocosmia and it has quite taken over and seems like a useless plant for outside a kitchen door.

I picture a lot more rosemary, chives and oregano.  It will be wonderful and fragrant and so much more attractive than a plant which, nice though it is, blooms for only two weeks out of the year.

Another mission I had that day in Seaview was taking some photos for a local real estate page.

Just around the corner from the Depot, the local florist’s building is a garden in itself.

Artistic Bouquets

Artistic Bouquets

Near the Seaview beach approach, Allan photographed a quintessentially beach garden boat.

washed into a garden

washed into a garden

We got some photos for the Long Beach real estate page as well, including this garden-y one with rose hips.

in south Long Beach

in south Long Beach

Oh, the garden I would have around that old house!

Next:   We head up North to wake up some more gardens.

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(as one does)

As usual, our favourite job was Klipsan Beach Cottages.

Klipsan Beach Cottages

Not only are we given pretty much a free rein in terms of what plants to add, but there is a large fenced in area where we can plant roses and fuchsias and lilies and tulips and not have to worry about the deer.  Many more photos of the KBC gardens are in albums at their Facebook page.

We continued to do the Long Beach parks and Ilwaco planters.

Long Beach planter

Long Beach planter

Ilwaco planter

Ilwaco planter

(I didn’t used to be much of a fan of petunias.  In fact, I was anti-petunia.  But some of the new ones are pretty fantastic.)

Also in Ilwaco, the port manager hired us to recreate part of the old boatyard garden, a project I had done many years ago as a volunteer, back when I had more free time.  It had gone away when a new electric line and fence were installed, and now we have brought the garden partway back and are planning to expand it a little more in 2012.

Ilwaco boatyard garden

Ilwaco boatyard garden revived!

We did our usual planting of cosmos in the new, and slightly smaller than before, garden boat at Time Enough Books and felt flattered when owner Karla had our name painted on it by local iconic artist Don Nisbett.

“Plant Vessel” Skyler

Because some of the older plantings along the port street consisted of tall grasses and messy old Phormiums that blocked traffic sightlines, we redid several of the gardens with a smaller palette of hardy plants.

new port garden during Slow Drag

new port garden during Slow Drag in mid-September

Most of our jobs do seem to be about resorts and tourism.  Other than the Port, City of Ilwaco, Long Beach, and Klipsan Beach Cottages we continued to care for the Anchorage Cottages, Andersen’s RV Park, and the Wiegardt Gallery.

Anchorage...

Anchorage…

Andersen's...revamped planters

Andersen’s…

Wiegardt Gallery

Wiegardt Gallery…

At Golden Sands Assisted Living, we expanded into two new areas of the courtyard garden, a completely enclosed space where the residents can sit and admire the flowers.  Not a single deer can get in there.  The biggest challenge is to improve the soil on a budget, and we wheelbarrowed  many a bucket of horse manure (from another job of ours, the Red Barn Arena) carefully through the long carpeted hallway to the interior entry door to the garden.

Golden Sands

Golden Sands, one of four quadrants

I think I will have remembered all of our public garden jobs if I add this photo of the Depot Restaurant (our favourite), where owner Nancy asked us for more colour in 2011.

Depot

colour! at the Depot, mid September

Oh, and bear with me while I boast a little about how great the park in Long Beach by Marsh’s Free Museum looked this year…so much better than a couple of years ago when it had the monstrous big Phormium in the back.

LB park, 27 July

LB park, 27 July

LB Park, 5 October

LB Park, 5 October

Roundabout the autumnal season in the garden, we were gobsmacked to get recognized as Ilwaco Merchant’s Association/Pacific County Economic Development Council 2010 business of the year…not only for our gardening, but for our work on the Discover Ilwaco Facebook page.  We got to ride a bus up to South Bend for an official banquet and award presentation.  Mary Caldwell of our beloved Klipsan Beach Cottages job took the photo that the awards group requested, in front of the KBC greenhouse, with one of my favourite plants of all time, Melianthus major ‘Antenow’s Blue’.

Skyler (Flora) and Allan

Skyler (Flora) and Allan

Next, a peek into the secret world of our private garden clients!

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Finally, we took a day to start (yes, start, how pitiful!) the spring clean up in our garden.  I am so grateful that Allan weeded out a big patch of the horrid yellow archangel weed (Lamiastrum galeobdolon: NEVER plant it).  And then, with his usual tireless energy, he helped prune and haul all afternoon and thus we got ALL the hard tasks done. Now what is left is weeding and tidying. I’m surprised when people say they hate weeding; I love it because I get up close with the plants and it helps me focus on all that is going on in the garden.  I do hate hauling the loads of weeds OUT of the garden, though.  Years of soil improvement have made most of my garden beds so fluffy that even the creeping buttercup pulls right out. I do have the triumverate of annoying northwest weeds: buttercup, horsetail, and the heartbreaking bindweed, with Himalayan blackberries lurking around the edges.

before, old Phormium and Clematis

before, old Phormium and Clematis

In an early blog post this year I inserted a photo of the above bed, and here it was this morning looking just as nasty with an autumn-blooming clematis and a once-attractive Phormium whose leaves had been a particularly nice smoky colour.  But as you know, I am done with Phormiums in the ground, so out it went, and down came the Clematis…a bit late for such a hard pruning, but too bad.

so much better

after: so much better!

Now I look forward to getting into that bed and removing horsetail and buttercup.  I hope my precious ‘Amy Doncaster’ geranium will revive; it looks pretty peaky and it is an ever so special one I got from Heronswood nursery after hearing Dan Hinkley, in a lecture, speak of how he visited Amy at a nursing home and  even though she had Alzheimers, she could remember and speak of plants, and how the geranium is as blue as her eyes.

Why, Dan, why?

Why, Dan, why?

Speaking of Dan Hinkley, I bought this shrub from Heronswood (back in its pre-Burpee days) because something about the way he described it in the old catalog made it sound wonderful. I hate the darn thing now and have no idea what it is. This is a close up of the foliage, whiteish stems and also note the mean little thorns. It seems to do very little other than grow 8 feet tall and put out suckers in every direction. Chopped it to the ground today and will start trying to get rid of the whole thing this year. Does it look familiar to anyone?  I was SO pleased when Mr. Hinkley (who does not know me except perhaps as a face who appeared in the crowd at every lecture of his that I could attend) accepted my Facebook friend request.  That didn’t last long, as of course it would be tedious to read a stranger’s status updates about scrabulous and other daily details, but if only he hadn’t defriended me, perhaps he could tell me WHY in the world this is supposed to be a good shrub?? (I really do understand the defriending…He could end up with thousands of fan/friends, and that would be exhausting.)

A large part of the afternoon was spent dealing with that nasty shrub and hauling it out to the trailer, with much poking of those thorns right through the heavy gloves.  Allan also helped by chainsawing back the wonderful old trunks of hardy fuchsias, winter-killed to the base.  I like my fuchsias to be like trees, so that’s a shame, but their basal growth is strong.

Allan pruning

Allan pruning on the island

island fuchsia, after

island fuchsia, after

We don’t really have an island in our pond, but this gravel patio does have an island feel.

You can see to the right the ONLY way I will grown phormiums now…in rustic garbage cans. They make a good strong statement raised up in the air, but after our cold December even these look iffy. (Cut back after this photo was taken.)

Fuchsia magellanica

Fuchsia magellanica

An example of the power of microclimates: All the Fuchsias on the south side of the garden were killed back to the ground (and are resprouting); the ones in the center and the north side are leafing out all the way up and even blooming, as in the above photo taken today.

mess

still a mess

I still have quite a lot of mess to deal with, like the center area of the garden which should be a lovely sitting area but is full of STUFF I should have dealt with when I brought it home from my mother’s moving sale in October.  Or I should have  dealt with it in January.  And here it still is.  But that is so much more enjoyable a task than heavy pruning and hauling. (We have more than a trailer load to go to the dump tomorrow!)

pond with Darmera Peltata flowers

Darmera peltata flowers, pond, big rock

The next day that I can steal away from work in order to garden at home can’t come soon enough…but it might be a while from now.

Also, I miss my Lumix camera.  Borrowing Allan’s Casio camera…ordered new Lumix…waiting.

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