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Posts Tagged ‘Seanest’

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

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

potted spring bulbs at The Planter Box

potted spring bulbs at The Planter Box

at The Planter Box

at The Planter Box

There are only four baby ducklings left!

There are only four baby ducklings left!

sedums in a colander

sedums in a colander

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

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

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

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

Acer palmatum viridis...another angle

Acer palmatum viridis…another angle

maple corner at Planter Box

maple corner at Planter Box

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

first sales greenhouse

first sales greenhouse

Choisya backed with Clematis

Choisya backed with Clematis in the first greenhouse

and if you like cute little cacti...

and if you like cute little cacti…

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

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

Raymond loading the cow fiber

Raymond loading the cow fiber

3 scoops with the Kubota

3 scoops with the Kubota

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

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

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

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

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

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

back hallway, Golden Sands

back hallway, Golden Sands

turning...

turning…

and through the door

and through the inner door

into the courtyard

into the courtyard

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

sad quadrant, before

sad southeast quadrant, before

and after

and after

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

southwest quadrant

southwest quadrant

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

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

and after

and after

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

sadly lacking northwest quadrant

sadly lacking northwest quadrant

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

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

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

The tulips already look better against the dark background:

Golden Sands tulips

Golden Sands tulips

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

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

Seanest entry garden

Seanest entry garden

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

slowpoke!

slowpoke!

parking spot planter

parking spot planter

in the old days

in the old days

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

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

askew

askew

and badly broken

and badly broken

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

improvised safety barrier

improvised safety barrier

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

At Andersen's, cow fiber mulch still looks great

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

Those big narcissi are lasting a very long time.

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

tulips by office door

tulips by office door

This row is not quite open:

tulips coming on

tulips coming on

in bud

in bud

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

new planting

new planting

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

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

picket fence

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

The narcissi outside the fence are deerproof:

fence

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

daffs

daffs

very showy

very showy

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

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

raindrops on 45th Street

raindrops on 45th Street

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

just a blur!

just a blur!

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

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

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In the fall, we got a call from Phyllis, who owned a vacation house midway up the peninsula.  She wanted a beachy garden and because we immediately, upon meeting her and her spouse Robert, we knew we were sympatico with their artistic sensibilities and agreed to add the job.

She then told us that someone had said to her that she would be lucky if we showed up.  We had always been known as reliable, but apparently someone had been disappointed in our not taking on a new job during the early part of the year when Robert had, excuse me! been suffering from a heart attack!  That was pretty annoying.  But Phyllis soon realized that she could count on us.

We started with a day of prep collecting driftwood for the garden.

collecting driftwood from our best secret place

collecting driftwood from our best secret place (NOT the state park)

Below, a trailer full of driftwood.  We were now using a Jeep because our van had given out.  I liked the Jeep very much.

bounty

bounty

Below:  the entry garden, after digging out the sod:

entry garden

entry garden

Because we wanted to be able to plant bulbs that autumn throughout the garden, we dug it out rather than using the newspaper method.

entry garden day two

entry garden day two

The yard on the west side of the house went up to (and actually was partly on) state park land, so nothing would ever be built to spoil the view over the dunes.  All the way up the peninsula are odd little “piano keys” of park land, sometimes only two lots wide.  This was one of the piano keys.

west side, day one

west side, day one

day one, defining edges with the half moon edger

day one, defining edges with the half moon edger

west side, end of day one

west side, end of day one

the pile of soil for Sea Nest

the pile of soil for Sea Nest

Escallonia hedge going in on north side of the west garden

Escallonia hedge going in on north side of the west garden

Robert’s brilliant idea and creation was the driftwood temple in the corner of the west side garden.

temple

temple

detail of temple entry

detail of temple entry

newly planted west side garden

newly planted west side garden, with grass planted in driftwood

newly planted west side garden, with grass planted in driftwood

We placed a driftwood “treasure bench” by the gate leading in from the dunes path.

treasure bench

treasure bench

We met the nice neghbours to the north, Bobbi and June (who had met playing softball back in the era of World War II and been together ever since).  The invited us up to see the garden from their window.

Bobbi and June's view of the garden

Bobbi and June’s view of the garden

Here’s a window view from inside Seanest of the garden before:

from living room, before

from living room, before

and after

and after

This would be the last garden that Robert and I created together.

Although Phyllis and Robert sold the house a few years, it is still a vacation rental and we care for the (now simplified to need less watering) garden to this day.  I miss Phyllis and Robert.   On my new-at-the-time website, I have a page of Seanest owner Robert’s poetry about the garden and beach life, and beautiful entries by guests who wrote in the house journal.  I am adding the house journal entries here because I am simply in love with journal entries written by vacationers.

The new garden makes us smile. We love the creativity and gentle nurturing and amazing knowledge of beach gardens that Skyler and Robert of Tangly Cottage bring to us. Soon we’ll have our rose covered cottage that I always dreamed of. What wonderful surprises we have ahead!

– (Phyllis Ray)

In Sea Nest we are able to dream with angels, near heaven, at the sea, at the beach.

– (Brad Lee Miller)

Windless night, almost full moon, silent silver seagrass standing still. Short shadows precede us down to the beach. The sea flirts with kissing our feet.

– (Phyllis Ray)

We got such a lovely surprise when we arrived here as we are visiting from the UK and to see such a large beach house, as back home a beach house would be the size of a garden shed.

– (guests from the UK)

A weekend at the beach brings back all the good memories from childhood staying at grandma’s house. Just what I was needing…mission accomplished. I sure do miss her and the days at the beach.

– (Kimberley)

Ag 2 99 Flowers. The flower beds in Long Beach…and meeting Schuyler from Tanglewood Cottage – the master gardener who is responsible for many of the gardens that caught my eye. I began to see her signature…could tell which gardens she does.

– (Phyllis Ray)

“The world today is sick to its thin blood for the lack of elemental things, for fire before the hands, for water welling from the earth, for air, for the dear earth itself underfoot.”   Henry Beston, 1928, from The Outermost House

– (quoted in Sea Nest house diary)

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