Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pruning azaleas’

Thursday, 17 October, 2013

I was ever so thrilled as we were driving up Sandridge Road in the fog, heading for the hydrangea job and thinking that the fog over the bay would be a great visual drama like yesterday!

11:14 AM: fog along Sandridge Road

11:14 AM: fog along Sandridge Road

But the sun beat us to the bay and the Willapa Hills were already making an appearance as we carried our tools around the house to the field.

11:29 AM

11:29 AM

11:29 AM

11:29 AM

Returning to the van for a forgotten water bottle, I looked for that Eucalyptus on the neighbouring property (the one with the very old farmhouse) and realized I can see it from the parking area near the stone wall. It is huge, towering far overhead.

the eucalyptus next door

the eucalyptus next door

With tools gathered, we headed to the guest house area of the hydrangea field to finish the pruning. I don’t think I had ever seen the lights on in the covered walkway between garage and guesthouse. But, oh, that ivy has got to go…What a heavy weight it adds to the feeling of the walkway.

bad ivy, beautiful lights

bad ivy, beautiful lights

I picture a combination of hellebores and maybe hardy fuchsias (for summer colour) where the sheet of ivy is now between main house and garage:

ivy

ivy bed must go!

Ivy removal is the only design change I would dream of making to the garden as it is now.

11:47 AM: view from the deck

11:47 AM: view from the deck with a mountain of clippings…one of four such piles.

Noon:  Sadly, Allan's iPhone camera did not get this little frog in focus as it appeared to watch the house from atop a pruned hydrangea.

Noon: Sadly, Allan’s iPhone camera did not get this little frog in focus as it appeared to watch the house from atop a pruned hydrangea.

snake

Allan also found a garter snake sunning on the deck right next to his pile of tools!

12:33 PM:  view from below the guest house deck

12:33 PM: view from below the guest house deck

Baby Island appears but without the clear definition of yesterday.

12:33 PM Baby Island appears but without the clear definition of yesterday.

Just after 12:30, I felt I could not take the hot blazing sun anymore on the work area near the guest house.

64 degrees Farenheit!!

64 degrees Fahrenheit!!

I found four hydrangeas to prune in the shade, and then abandoned Allan an hour later, hoping that he could finish what looked like about five more from my vantage point (and rake up the debris), and I fled to the cool azalea patch on the west side of the house.

1:24 PM: azalea entry garden

1:24 PM: azalea entry garden

I had every intention of getting the azalea patch pruned immediately. However, one glance lured me in to the enclosed courtyard where, on the first day, Lisa had reminded me of a water feature that had become hidden.

1:31 PM and 2:44 PM

1:31 PM and 2:44 PM

I lightened up a leatherleaf viburnum behind the gate

I lightened up a leatherleaf viburnum behind the gate

before and after

There was a bad maple sprout coming from the trunk of the Japanese maple.

And salal was creeping under the fence and muddying the definition of the garden.

The little Japanese style cover protects the workings of the bamboo fountain and there is a tank underground to store the water that drips into the bowl. I look forward to seeing it in action.

water bowl and fountain

water bowl and fountain

Bill Clearman, who had originally designed this area, arrived when I was about to start pruning the golden weeping maple and I asked him how far back it was intended to go. I don’t think I would have had the gumption to take it as far back as I did without his input. Now the water bowl shows off better. Lisa herself arrived just as I was pouring water in the bowl; it had not shown at all before. She asked me out of curiosity how long the pruning had taken; I said half an hour. Time had moved quickly because iPhoto tells me it was a little over an hour instead!

I entered the kitchen to refill my water bottles and take some proffered chocolate treats. Bill came in his full regalia to show Lisa a design plan for the mailbox. Nothing could suit the builder of this Japanese house more…

Bill and Lisa

Bill and Lisa

I could see trouble from the kitchen window: Allan still had far too many hydrangeas to prune, and since some of them were now in shade, I returned to help him.

3:11 PM:  Oh NO, still to do!!

3:11 PM: Oh NO, still to do!!

I pruned them in a frenzy, finishing at 4:12, and had my sandwich as a reward. Earlier, Maddy had found Allan’s sandwich and consumed a third of it before I had heard Lisa shouting “No! No no no no NO!” (Lisa made Allan a very nice ham and cheese sandwich after that.) Maddy clearly was hoping for more from MY lunch…and I gave her a couple of small animal cookies because I do like her so very much.

4:15: Maddy, hoping

4:15: Maddy, hoping

view from below the guest house, 4:17 PM

view from below the guest house, 4:17 PM

And the hydrangeas are done! Allan did the last of the raking up and I returned to the azaleas. First, I had to walk around to enjoy the view of the south end of the field of 275 pruned hydrangeas.

done!

done!

Earlier this week, I got a message from Sydney Stevens, local historian, author and daily blogger at Oysterville Daybook:

“I was so glad to read that you are working on the hydrangea garden. Betty Schmidt was a good friend of my mother’s and we visited her many times during the construction *yay Bill Clearman!) of the house and later when all was said and done. She spent hours and hours among her beloved hydrangeas. Somehere I have one off her Christmas cards with the hydrangeas at their height. It warms my cockles to know that they are getting some TLC from you!”

At 4:30, I got started at last on the azalea patch and was joined shortly before 5:00 by Allan. I’ll regale you with some befores and afters:

4:30 and 6:14 PM

4:30 and 6:14 PM

before and after

before and after

before and after

The idea is to cloud prune it so that it flows in the mounded naturalistic fashion with no poky bits coming up.

5:58 PM:  While we worked, Maddy was Zen Dog in the Zen Garden.

5:58 PM: While we worked, Maddy was Zen Dog in the Zen Garden.

The azalea pruning is a persnickety job that could go on and on for hours, grabbing uppy bits and pruning them down to tight green foliage so no stub shows, but not too low because it is dark and dead looking underneath, and one has to bend at an odd angle to do it. I could just fuss over them for far longer, but what we did will do till after they bloom with a haze of bright red flowers next spring.

azalea foliage

azalea foliage

I had also done some pruning on the path running east to the hydrangea field, next to the little fenced courtyard, lightening up some rhodo and redwood and cherry tree branches that were poking into the path.

1:25 and 6:15

1:25 and 6:15

We loaded the trailer with all the azalea debris. Maddy trotted around trying to understand what was up! The four huge piles of hydrangea debris on the other side of the house will be removed by someone with a truck that can get down there.

loading

6:10 PM loading

I gathered a few tools and took a gander at the moonrise.

6:10 PM

6:10 PM

low tide

low tide

face

And then….the pruning job was done. And we went to sit with Lisa on the deck for some beer and chips.

I have worked at a number of jobs along the bay over the last twenty years, starting with a garden at the end of the Harborview Motel street just north of Nahcotta, with a view of the Port of Nahcotta to the south…and just down from that, the Schisler garden, and a few blocks north of that, a garden on a high bank over the bay. I’ve worked at two bay view gardens almost as far north as Oysterville, and one in Oysterville itself. And I spent many an hour at Laurie’s garden not terribly far north of the hydrangea field. But none of them had a view that I like as well as the view from Lisa and Buzz’s new home. What makes it for me is the frame of big trees, Long Island to the north, the hydrangeas (of course!) in the foreground, the long plank walk out to a little dock, the many and varied birds on the tideflats, and most especially that darling Baby Island right across the bay.

6:33 PM from a deck chair...

6:33 PM from a deck chair…

6:40 PM

6:40 PM

7:03 PM:  moon path on the water

7:03 PM: moon path on the water

Tomorrow: Work life gets back to normal and we will try to do a check on all of the resort gardens…and if we don’t make it to all, we will finish on Saturday.

Read Full Post »