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6 Feb: ponding

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

The pond materials arrived from The Pond Guy a day early.

Allan’s photo

We were determined to get the small pond done.

Snow had melted in Allan’s garden on the east side of the house.

Some plants have been laid flat.

Between the house and shed, snow still lingered, blanketing some of my plant sale plants. Even the plants without the protective white blanket appear to have survived the cold, down to 26 F at night.

I’d feel more secure if I had been able to fit all of them into the greenhouse.

I recently learned from Gardeners’ World that I could have put winter dormant plants under the greenhouse shelving. Too late for this year. Next year, that will make more room.

Snow still lay firmly over the back garden, despite sunshine.

I was pleased to find that my special Dan Hinkley plant that I bought at last summer’s Hardy Plant Weekend, now in a pot too heavy to move, seems ok with the cold. I had asked him what plant I should buy that would make other gardeners envy me and he said this one. (I should look up the name. The pond is distracting me.)

Also on the patio

I eagerly went to the little pond, only to find that the ground was frozen solid so that the edge could not be sculpted. Happily, after an hour indoors, the temperature warmed enough so that we were able to carve out the plant shelf edge in a different spot (the thawed side!) than I had planned. The frozen side will be the gentle slope that frogs (and I hope not raccoons) are said to like.

I almost forgot to be like Monty Don and use a board and level.

It was perfect.

I raked the snow from around the pond to avoid working on a mat of ice.

Allan was glad to have the Nora House driveway for laying out the underlayment and liner. Later, I saw a hint on Gardeners’ World: Monty said to lay out the liner in the sun for an hour to warm up. I don’t think that would have helped today. He uses a butyl liner. Our is heavy but not that heavy. (I think we could have bought butyl liner from Firestone…but Pond Guy has a good reputation so we went with his, which is, by the way, heavier and cheaper than Home Depot’s liners).

I was glad the underlayment is dark, not white.

Skooter helped (Allan’s photo)

We were able to run hoses from two faceted water barrels to fill it up.

After helping

I wanted to put rocks all around…but the temperature had dropped so much and dusk was fast approaching.

That’s as far as we got today.

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We begin with two guest photos by Steve McCormick of the Bayside Garden, probably taken on February 4.

Stunning!

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

I stayed in all day watching Gardeners’ World on youtube, a treasure trove of old episodes from 1991, when Geoff Hamilton was the amiable host. Allan took a walkabout when he got the mail.

A small snowperson at Thandi’s house:

Remnants of a snow angel:

A new garden on Spruce Street! Deer stroll throughout our town so the boxes are probably to keep them out.

His walkabout continued in our garden:

Ice gauges

He had company.

….And an audience.

I wondered if the snow would melt enough for us to install our pond. The liner was scheduled to arrive on Thursday. With more cold weather predicted, we might have a frustrating wait. Meanwhile, I was perfectly happy immersing myself in British gardens.

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By January 1989 I had discovered mail order plant catalogs from ads in the back of my new subscription to Horticulture magazine.  I had just got an order from Wayside or White Flower farm when it started to snow on March 1st!

March 1st snow

March 1st snow

parking strip in snow

parking strip in snow

hydrangea by front steps

hydrangea by front steps

Neither Chris nor I were handy with tools, so the greenhouse had fallen into disrepair.

Neither Chris nor I were handy with tools, so the greenhouse had fallen into disrepair.

Below, rosemary bush almost buried in the rockery. Within the year I would be removing this huge rosemary (grown from a cutting from one of my cleaning client’s gardens!) as it had gotten too big and I needed room for my cool new mail order plants.

rosemary in snow

rosemary in snow

Another box of mail order plants arrived from plantsman Herb Senft’s Skyline Nursery. I was amazed when I opened it and he had thrown in an extra plant, some sort of species iris in bloom.  This mail order gardening was better than Christmas: unwrapping each little healthy plant and deciding where it should go (when the snow melted!).

patio chair

patio chair

wisteria vine, back door, and ladder to attic

wisteria vine, back door, and ladder to attic

Even into the mid-1970s, my grandmother used to climb that ladder in winter with a basket of clothes laundered in a wringer washer in the half-basement (also accessed from an outdoor stairway) to hang them on clothelines in the attic.

Gladys Corinne Walker gate in snow

Gladys Corinne Walker gate in snow

Later in March: springtime at last!

Later in March: springtime at last!

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Snow is rare here by the ocean and the river, which is one of the reasons I love living here.  Even Seattle had too much snow for me.

Over the winter of 2011-12 we had one small snowfall.  It is always best to arrange one’s patio in the most attractively fashion for snow pictures, and we definitely had not done so.

back garden

back garden

new arbour under construction

new arbour under construction

south window view

south window view

front path

front path

primroses

primroses

Allan's garden

Allan’s garden

front garden

front garden

cat bench

cat bench

lamp post in snow

lamp post in snow

My favourite snow picture of the winter was this one, taken during a midnight snow flurry that did not even stick until dawn.  It reminds me of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  What might have happened had I walked out into this beautiful scene and said “Narnia, Narnia, Narnia”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today is closing day for the buyer of the former Tangly Cottage.  (The business name moves with us, but I will probably think of that house as Tangly until the new residents give it a name of their own!)  Any minute now the papers will be filed at the courthouse up in South Bend and Jon will be the new owner.

The change is not as poignant as I thought it would be because I could not be happier with the sale.  In 1993, a year before I bought the little cottage, I was invited into a tiny house in Seaview, where I saw the most cunning and beautiful built in storage areas and wood inlays from driftwood collected on the beach.  The brilliant carpentry work was by a man named Jon, and after I acquired my own tiny house, I often thought that if I did not spend ALL my money on the garden, I would love to have him come and make the inside of the tiny house perfect.

So, many years later, who should be the buyer of my little house but the very same Jon!  It is a gift to the house, which was well loved by me, but whose potential has never been realized.  Jon already has plans brewing, and the lack of extreme poignancy in the sale is the fact that I will get to see the results.

We had a walk through the garden before the sale closed and he showed a great interest in the plants and mentioned that he would have to learn Latin names now.  True, a lot of the plants I left behind don’t even have common names.  Jon’s partner, and a friend of theirs, are good gardeners, so the garden will be well loved also.   I thought I would have to do a last farewell walk around and say goodbye to the plants left behind, but I feel no need because I know they are going into good hands. Jon’s a civic minded chap, so I also think his residency here will be a gift to Ilwaco.

Allan kept an eye on the house for the last week because of freezing cold weather.  One day when he went over to make sure no pipes had frozen, he took some photos of the house and garden in snow.  So here’s a farewell slideshow:

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It certainly is going to take awhile before our new garden has the kind of quirky character that 16 years brought to the old one.  We almost tried to take those two big lower arbours to New Garden, but when I asked our real estate agent, Cheri Diehl of Discovery Coast Real Estate, if she thought it would make a difference, she said “Wait a week!”, with an air of mystery that let me know someone who appreciated the garden as it was might be thinking of buying.  I had told her I hoped for the perfect buyer, and her agent, Warren, certainly found me one.

When we went in to Discovery Coast Real Estate Friday to sign the final papers, there were hugs all around…between Jon and I, realtor Warren and I, glowing happy faces.  Would that all  home sales had such swift and happy outcomes. I picture the little green, purple and blue house  eagerly waiting for someone who will lavish lots of love and skill on the inside.  Little house, today is the day that your new life begins!

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Snow is an unusual event here at the beach and one that has us out with our cameras recording every snow flake and drift.  On December 19th, Ilwaco and our garden were transformed.  Allan and I each walked around and around the garden taking photos from every angle while the huge falling snowflakes obliterated our footsteps.

Snow here is so much less stressful than when I worked in the city.  I don’t have to deal with getting to work because snow comes in our off season, and I certainly don’t have to suffer during the traffic problems that hilly Seattle has in any snowstorm.

 Someday, should I live so long, I will sit in my home (no longer this cottage home) or in my room at Golden Sands Assisted Living and be able to relive this snowy afternoon in our garden.

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The gardening tasks repeat from year to year.  I’d think no one would want to read the same story over and over, yet as a gardener I find it endlessly fascinating to watch the cycles repeat on Moosey’s Country Garden.

The hydrangea jobslowed the beginning of our rounds of spring clean up.  At last, at the beginning of March, we got to Klipsan Beach Cottages to cut back the many sword and deer ferns.

Don’t fall in!

Allan, being the agile one, balanced over the island pond to trim the fronds that dangle gracefully over the waterfalls.  This same task would be repeated at Discovery Heights, our own garden, Laurie’s garden, The Boreas Inn, and on a smaller scale at each job that had just a few ferns to clip.  The new fronds unfurling are a sure sign of spring and if one does not cut the old ones while the new are still dormant, it’s a tricky and finicky job that takes much longer.

Animals large and small can be a welcome distraction in chilly weather.

at the Red Barn Arena

George, in Suzanne’s garden

The Red Barn Arena always provided us with some equine entertainment.

And here’s the elusive George, so large and attractive but so practices at skittering out of the way whenever I got within hands-width of petting him.

I’m trying to firmly implement the revelation of June 2007 and only take on new jobs with CPNs (certified plant nuts) or with clients who will give me free reign.  Oman Builder’s Supply in Ocean Park hired us to do a little garden in front of their new store.  Opening day would honour the late David Fritts, longtime hardware store employee who had had a strong vision of the Ocean Park store remodel and longtime Ilwaco city councilman.  We had one day to get the new garden together and to fulfill the “lots of colour” request planted runs of primroses and violas from the Basket Case Greenhouse along with fresh little lavenders.

In late winter I fret about getting the clean-ups done especially since so many of our jobs are in the public eye.  Just when we thought we might have work under control, weather intervened.  In late March a surprise snow fall caught us while working at Klipsan Beach Cottages (here, light snow at the A Frame) and as we drove home we stopped at several jobs to take photos of whitened gardens.

increasing snow: (left) Mary’s new garden; (center) Andersen’s RV Park, halfway home (right) Jo’s garden in Long Beach

By the time we got to Long Beach, the snow had become thick enough to be photogenic.

(left) Jo’s garden (middle) Mom’s garden (right) Boreas Inn

Photographing the  Bolstadt Beach approach gave me a sharp, windy chill.

looking back toward Long Beach arch

The weeding of this long garden loomed ahead of us but we found it hard to imagine doing it anytime soon.

Giant snowflakes fell on the Shelburne garden in Seaview.  The bright fresh Hyacinth flowers looked well hunkered down as if their shoulders were cold.

Shelburne garden in snow

In Ilwaco the yellow narcissi we had planted to echo the exterior of the Portside Café barely showed under their heavy white burden.

the planter by the Portside Café always planted with yellow colour echoes

Usually a late snow melts before I can get home to photograph my own garden all white and pretty.  On this occasion, we made it home in good time.  Our lower entry garden was a study in brown and white.

(left) outside the lower gate (center) contorted filbert traced with snow (right) Phormium at the stream arbour entrance

By 2010 the Phormium by the entrance to the stream path had grown so large we had to remove it; the above photo reminds me of why I once loved Phormiums so.  This particular one had blades of a rich smoky hue.

Corylopsis pauciflora

the spring-fed pond

I still remember the cold pure smell of the spring water surrounded by snow.

Inside the house the temperature was perhaps even more bitter than outside.  After the removal in 2006 of a faulty and scary propane heat stove, we rarely managed to get the temperature above fifty in the winter and spent many a foul weather hour in front of the parabolic heater.  One step away from its arc and we might as well have been in a tent.  Only the earliest morning to early afternoon sun fell upon the house and shade drew in by two in the afternoon. But oh, the view from that arched window.

the pond…the boxwood balls…Paul’s Himalayan Musk over the old trailer…the spruce tree…and looking straight down from the attic window

From the loft window where Allan had his desk we could see over the spruce tree and the Ilwaco boatyard to the working end of town blanketed with snow.  Then with the heater pointed right at me, layered in softer clothes than for outside but just as many layers and with the fingerless gloves on, I settled into a welcome indoor afternoon of reading and the social internet (and probably some games of Scrabulous).

Ilwaco’s west end in snow

By the next day, spring had returned.

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