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Posts Tagged ‘spring clean up’

Thursday, 14 March 2019

During the cloudy morning, the species tulips in the scree garden stayed closed.

Skooter captained the good ship Ann Lovejoy.

When we arrived at the post office, I remembered that the quilt show at the museum would mean lots of extra foot traffic Friday through Sunday, so we spent about an hour spiffing up our volunteer garden. A before photo is lacking and would have shown that Allan dug out a big self sown red grass that was right by the sidewalk. The garden shows off better now.

The grass was just past the fifth stepping stone.

Then we could get on to our paid work, taking up where we had left off on Monday with the trimming of santolinas, vastly speeded up with The Toy. We worked from Salt Hotel to the Freedom Market.

Almost all the photos today are Allan’s.

I had been eager to get the Salt sword ferns trimmed before they started to unfurl.

Allan strimmed the grassy verge by the Freedom Market because no one else does. (It’s port property next to a sidewalk between businesses.)

Almost to the west end:

Some Hermodactylus iris in the curbside garden:

The Van Engelen bulb catalog says, “Commonly referred to as the Snakes Head Iris, this graceful 1597 Mediterranean heirloom has lightly scented flowers comprised of taupe standards with yellowish-green striations and taupe-edged purplish-brown falls. A terrific garden variety, its finger-shaped tubers can multiply underground, yielding more flowering shoots as it matures over time.”

We took a load of clipped santolina home to our compost bins. The tulips had opened more as the day has brightened.

Frosty told Allan which bin to use.

Our neighbours got their daily biscuits.

The entire front garden smelled of apricots from the hamamelis.

When we arrived at the boatyard garden, the free wood bin across the street (where last week’s dozens of pallets had been taken by someone) had a cool piece of driftwood that Allan snagged and took back to our place.

We trimmed the many santolinas and did some weeding all along the boatyard.

I planted some phlomis and some tall yellow achillea, dug up from my garden, at the boatyard and the curbside gardens.

I had had an absurd fantasy that we might also have time to plant Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ starts in all of the Ilwaco Street planters. Ha. Didn’t happen. Maybe tomorrow or Saturday.

Back at home, while Allan offloaded our compostable debris and went off to dump the weeds, I unpacked an exciting box from Annie’s Annuals. The packing from Annie’s is the best and easiest to unpack of any mail order nursery of my experience.

Box of healthy plants…

Each of the three plants has its own removable box…

And that box easily deconstructs to reveal the potted plants.

So easy, especially compared to that nursery whose order last year was packed in so much shredded paper that it was hard to not damage the plants while unpacking.

The Annie’s plants are beautiful. She sells perennials as well as annuals.

Here’s what I got. I am showing you the prices, too, because they are competitive with buying in person at nurseries, and the plants are such a good size.

I got the rose ‘Grandmother’s Hat’ because of the name. The rose I want most is ‘Special Grandma’, which I have seen in the Tootlepedal blog and which seems to only be available in the U.K.

I had an exceptionally special grandma.

I was able to erase two santolina tasks from the work board. My hope is to get Long Beach santolinas done by the end of this week. I’m trying to remember if there are any left at the Boreas Inn that might need doing.

Soon (I hope) nothing will stand in the way of starting the beach approach weeding.

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Sunday, 10 March 2019

Again, the night had been just below freezing. The front garden still had a vestige of Friday’s snow.

DSC03596.JPG

Allan reset the sundial an hour ahead

We began next door but one (two doors down) at The Norwood Garden.

Before (Allan’s photo)

The north bed felt cold on working hands. At least the ground was not frozen and so we could accomplish our weeding.

I’m thinking that small hardy fuchsias would be good in here between the hydrangeas. Must wait till warmer weather before planting them.

On the east side:

Next, we went several blocks east to Mike’s garden.

Allen trimmed the pampas grass… I have only planted one pampas grass in all my years of gardening, in my first year on the peninsula. We have, however, had to care for many. They have now made it to the noxious weed list.

After (Allan’s photo)

The front garden’s variegated buddleia needed a trim (another noxious weed plant I do not plant, except for the new sterile cultivars on rare occasion, but I take care of some that are already established and make sure that they do not reseed).

The front garden then got a good tidy up and path raking.

Allan’s photo

The gorgeous red flowering pieris might win someone over to pieris who has so far resisted them.

The ground on the shady north side was frozen.

That was the last of the garden wake up calls for this spring.

We went on to Seaview, to weed and tidy at The Shelburne Hotel.

Allan went up to the second floor decks to check on the planters.

Old planting of fennel, not by us, before and after.

He tidied the little bog garden on the north side of the building. I wonder if the canna will come back; I doubt it.

I learned this winter on Gardeners’ World that one should remove old figs from a fig tree to get better new fruits. I had forgotten to do so.

It is done now.

I thought the hardy jasmine had plotzed…

…but a closer look gave me some hope of new buds. I just clipped off some of the dead leaves.

The front garden has lots of small bulbs blooming already, and more exciting bulb foliage coming on.

The rapidly dropping temperature in the late afternoon inspired Allan to ask if we were going into the pub after work. Yes. We enjoyed hot toddies….

…a special of fried calamari…

…comfort food of mac and cheese…

…and a smoked salmon Reuben.

At home, the wake up calls are now all erased from the work board.

I enjoyed the look of that for a moment before creating the new work list with the sometimes dreaded beach approach weeding.

I don’t feel the dread of it as much this year, perhaps because I feel well caught up with work so far.

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Monday, 4 March 2019

I felt the need to work despite the morning being so chilly that we discussed taking the day off.

The water boxes were frozen…

As were the ponds.

…so frozen that tossed pebbles just sat on the ice.

Cota and Bentley next door enjoyed an icy apple each.

We mulched the rose beds at the J’s garden across the street. The first bed is empty and needs a new rose.

And it needs a trellis to match the one at the other end.

Fortunately, there is a trellis going spare behind the flowering quince on the west fence.

Now we have a tiny future project, to move a trellis (Allan) and find a red or pink climbing rose (me).

The J’s garden front garden has plenty of crocuses.

To further test out the weather, we tidied the Ilwaco planters and street tree pocket gardens. Fortunately, lack of wind made 45 degrees workable. All but two of the tatty old erysimums came out of the planters today. (The two least tatty ones get a reprieve for now.)

Allan’s photo

Tatty (Allan’s photo)

I will wait till the nights are above freezing to add some Sedums. It would be great to have some hens and chickens and even echeverias, but the cooler the plant is, the more likely it will be stolen, so I must stick with something as basic as Autumn Joy that I can replace without expense.

As the day felt a bit balmier, we went on to Long Beach, first to Fifth Street Park to finish a bit of trimming in the northeast quadrant.

Allan trimmed a rudbeckia and a lavender…

…and was asked by the owners of the new barbershop to trim a rhododendron. He referred that to me. It was full of buds so I did the barest of trimming so that it does not dare to actually touch the building. It was enough to make the new business happy and feel welcomed.

You probably can’t even see a difference. Most of the pruning was at the back. People like to be listened to, and they saw me carry off several branches. I’ll try to remember to continue to leave an inch of space between the shrub and the building.

Allan had a look inside the spiffing new barber shop.

In a planter by the park, Allan saw this sorry sight in an ash tray by a planter.

Other than the rhododendron, I further pruned a row of Super Dorothy roses that had looked too thick in Allan’s after photo from last week:

After, today:

We went on to the Bolstad beach approach to check the planters. A plant thief has indeed helped themselves to some of our new sea thrifts. I think it must have happened before someone added primroses to the Lisa Bonney memorial planter, or surely there would be two holes instead of one.

We worked our way all along the beach approach garden, trimming ornamental grasses and pulling crocosmia. The weeding will come later.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I was pleased to find that The Toy made quick work of most of the small stems of rugosa roses along the edge.

A hellebore at city Hall:

Allan’s photo

The planters on the Sud Snyder Drive beach approach got their late winter tidy.

The planter furthest east has become a smoking lounge.

I left the smokers a wee notice.

The next planter to the west is also a smoking lounge, but those smokers have thoughtfully put a bucket by the planter for their cigarette butts.

We had time to tidy up the World Kite Museum garden at four o clock, as the temperature began to fall quickly.

It’s a shame I had not put the beach approach trimming on the work board, as I did not get the pleasure of erasing it. At least I could erase three things, leaving a short list of late winter garden check ups still to do.

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Friday, 1 March 2019

With midmorning weather a bit warmer than predicted, we headed out for a big rose pruning job in Long Beach.

On the way, I requested a sudden parking stop so I could pull a lopsided woody old Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ from an Ilwaco planter.

In Fifth Street Park, Allan pruned the good, healthy, floriferous Super Dorothy climbing rose in the SW quadrant while I pruned the pitiful, mildew-prune Dorothy Perkins in the NW quadrant.

Before

After

Before

Allan kindly wheeled the trailer over as if it were a wheelbarrow and picked up my pile of rose canes while I went on to pull loads of hesperantha (new name for schizostylis), a roving perennial that I loathe in spring and love when it blooms well into autumn.

After pulling loads of hesperantha, a tiresome task

Allan’s photos from his pruning:

Before dumping our full load of thorny debris, we took a break for delicious crab rolls at Captain Bob’s Chowder, conveniently located right behind the park.

At City Works, Allan bucketed up some river rocks to finish off the edge of the Heron Pond.

On the way home, we parked at Ilwaco’s First and Main intersection, where Allan yanked out four more old Erysimum.

Ilwaco planter clean up is on the work list. I am waiting to trim back the small perennials because we are supposed to have nights down to 28 degrees through early next week.

My great big plan is to replace the Erysimums with plants so drought tolerant that Allan will only have to water them once a week instead of every three days. Because of a limited budget, I am thinking of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Strawberries and Cream’, which I can get for free out of my own garden. I am a bit concerned that the deer will graze on them and that they will look bad for a little while after I give them their Chelsea Chop. A bonus is that they won’t need deadheading.

Perhaps some citizens will be grumpy that the planters might be less interesting than they were with purple-spiked Erysimum. I am reminded of the time when a local group (of ladies) informed me they would like to take on the Ilwaco planters so that all would match with the same plants (tricky when plants get stolen. Or chomped by deer). I responded sincerely that I would be thrilled to pass the planters on to them, and that they would need to take on watering them as well, with thirty five gallon buckets of water every three days. (This was before we had the water trailer.) I never heard another word about that volunteer plan.

I myself was grumpy (again) earlier this week when I heard that someone who had offered to “volunteer” on the Long Beach planters had been overheard to say that the planters did not “look nice.” To be honest, it hurts me feelers.

He was probably referring to the beach approach planters. We have already had a quick look at them in February (a drive by) during which I saw some empty holes where we had planted sea thrifts last autumn.

I look forward to three years from now seeing what someone else (whoever replaces us when we semi-retire) does with those planters. Meanwhile, I have little patience for the complainers because we are doing our absolute best with the situation. It is not my place to organize the bureaucratic rigamarole involved with allowing volunteer work, but it would be interesting even now to see how long a volunteer would take to become disheartened out on the beach approach.

When we got home, I was able to erase two items from the work board.

I opened a package that had come in the mail from old Seattle friends Maggie and Susan and found a lovely edition of a book, which I happily perused over my cup of Builders Tea. They had been thinning out their books and had thought of me.

We look forward to taking the weekend off. I hope that by next week the nights warm up to above freezing; as soon as that happens, the private gardens that need clipping back will each get a visit.

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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Last night at about two AM I saw that a houseplant that had been given me by a friend had flowered and was indeed a plant I had always wanted. I carried it to the porch to get a clearer photo this morning.

I asked Ann Amato, houseplant expert (and seedstress) what in the world I had. It is a Queen of Tears bromeliad, Billbergia nutans.

Despite cold weather, I had a list of smallish work projects to accomplish. I hoped that the strong wind gusting through our garden would not follow us to Seaview and Long Beach.

The Depot Restaurant

We had one more grass and a few perennials standing between me and erasing Depot from the spring clean up list.

Allan’s photos:

Because of the night temperatures still being around 30F this week, I then decided we should change my plan and prune the Dorothy Perkins and Super Dorothy roses in Long Beach rather than trim back perennials in Diane’s more exposed garden. As we drove up to the park, we saw traffic cones and then the dreaded pressure washer sitting on its own during lunch break. Our plan changed (although the ideal rose pruning time is said to be Presidents Day to March 1st, which is coming fast).

We paused in Long Beach to cut two little grasses in a tiny pop out.

I was pleased to see lots of poppy seedlings.

Boreas Inn

Allan trimmed the ferns by the Yett Cottage, a vacation rental next door to the Boreas.

I trimmed the sword ferns on the northwest corner and the east entry garden at the Boreas. In order to save oodles of time trimming ferns with The Toy, it has to be done now-ish before the tight knuckles of new fronds start to uncurl.

The Boreas is a former job of ours that we passed on to another gardening outfit which did not have time to care for it properly, and so, with a gap in our schedule that was left when we departed the Klipsan Beach Cottages garden, we are taking it back. We had intended to spend that extra time on ourselves…but the Boreas called out to me.

I saw that in the west gardens, we need mulch and to get a rampant ground cover (moneywort) back under control.

That is for another day. At the end of the lawn beds, a path goes all the way to the beach.

The Garden Suite ferns, before and after:

Of course, the before photo is much prettier, but left without trimming, the ferns would have many brown fronds by midsummer. Soon the beautiful sequence of unfurling fronds will be visible.

Allan helped clean up the entry garden.

I had also pruned some hardy fuchsias that were almost into the path.

The icy wind managed to get into the courtyard, making for a rather miserable time of it. I longed for home and tea but decided we should do one more thing, get some mulch and apply it to the Port Office garden.

Allan saw this bundled up dog while acquiring the mulch.

The weather forecast showed why our work day was rather miserable.

Felt more like 32 than 39, if you ask me.

Port of Ilwaco

I found the cold wind just about unbearable at the port. Fortunately, the job was quick.

At home…

The work board tonight:

A nice of Builders, a bit of dark chocolate, and my comfy chair soon put things to right.

I watched the last episode of Monty Don’s Around the World in 80 Gardens…with a slightly curtailed view.

Better yet, I discovered a new garden show….

…featuring Monty, Joe, and Carol from Gardeners’ World and Charlie Dimmock. Even better, someone has put all of Season One up on youtube so that I don’t have to go questing about for each episode. I have already watched one. It was pure heaven. My head (or brain) was so happy that I felt like it was floating around the room.

The first video set is almost ten hours long. It is a darn good thing the weather forecast looks like this…

The rose pruning can wait till Friday or Saturday. Meanwhile, I’ll be watching telly in my comfy chair.

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Monday, 25 February 2019

The hellebore that was a birthday present a year or two ago from Our Kathleen:

Perhaps she can remind us of its name.

A bird family is making a nest outside our kitchen window.

Allan’s photo

 

Last night I had assured Allan that we would probably have today off because the weather forecast suggested the temperature would stay below 42 degrees (F). I need to stop making assurances that I cannot keep. By midmorning, a 46 degree temperature called for at least cutting back the grasses and some perennials at the Ilwaco boatyard…just when Allan was making himself a list of other things to accomplish.

I am still using my phone to take photos because I want to sit in my lazy comfy chair when I get home and type on my pad rather than at my desk with my computer. This despite the arrival of a new (used) camera whose photos would be much crisper.

Lots of crocuses and iris in the post office garden:

Boatyard, before, looking south, with Panicum ‘Northwind’, which I intend to divide into three later in the spring:

I found that The Toy (shown above at the edge of the sidewalk) made quick work of the grass, and, to my great job, also is strong enough to trim the santolinas…

…although I am going to wait till the nights are above 30 degrees before I trim them. The experience of trimming them with The Toy was such a delight that it was hard to resist doing them all today.

Looking north

Lots of little poppy seeds:

Allan’s photo

The Toy also works great at trimming the new growth of Ceanothus back from the sidewalk edge.

Across the street from the boatyard was the biggest pile of free pallets I have ever seen. I found myself pondering more compost bins.

You might want to read up on the supposed residual toxicity of some pallets vs others and how to allegedly tell the difference. I haven’t bothered…but there might be something to it.

We met a pleasant tourist, who stopped his car to ask us where he and his mother would enjoy visiting here. I suggested the two lighthouses at Cape D; he said his mother collects lighthouses and had never actually seen one! And I suggested the Ilwaco marina, with Time Enough Books and the Don Nisbett Gallery, and the Long Beach boardwalk, and Oysterville. Awhile later he drive by, now heading from the marina to the lighthouses, and told us how much they had enjoyed meeting Don and that they had bought a painting. Don later gave Allan and I a chocolate candy each and told us the painting had been one of clammers.

The boat that sank and is now being worked on:

Allan’s photo

Befores and afters (Allan’s photos):

The view from the south end of the boatyard garden:

Allan’s (tele)photo

Finishing up:

It took us only three and a half hours to weed and trim the whole boatyard garden (except for santolinas), a speed unheard of before, thanks to us each wielding The Toy. We bought two so have invested over $200 in working faster and therefore making less money, a bit of a conundrum.

During our boatyard session, Amy and April of the Port Office staff had walked by on their lunch break. We were able to find out that the former garden by the south wall of the office is indeed to be a garden again and so we went to weed it.

My view while weeding there:

Allan’s photos:

Our good friend Ernie walked by with his human.

Allan’s photo

Afterward, we hauled a large quantity of non-weedy compost to our home compost bins, which are now heaped high with unchopped debris.

The work board tonight :

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23 Feb: ferny

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Around the garden:

Dark clouds to the south boded ill for a work day.

The cats accompanied me while I opened the greenhouse.

Bentley and Cota each got a biscuit. Cota (whose name I have now learned to spell) is most likely a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog.

The day became brighter.

Clematis ‘Freckles’

The ficaria (celandine) is definitely winning in my garden. I am pretty sure it arrived with some plants from my mother’s old garden and has now spread itself all over. While I will still remove some now and then, I don’t think it is worth the all out battle than I once thought of waging. It is a pretty thing, goes dormant in summer, and is, I think, considered a nice plant in the UK (maybe).

When the forecast of rain had not materialized yet, we went across the street to do the spring clean up in the J’s little garden.

Before:

Our audience was shy little cat with whom I want to be friends.

When I took a load of fern and grass clipping across the street to my compost bins, Allan took some more photos from five feet away. Neither of us could get close…although there was a moment when kitty did almost sniff my hand.

Before and after Allan removed some shotweed:

After:

We just got done in time to get only somewhat drenched when the rain arrived.

Allan’s photo

I do like the Lake Street puddle for reflections.

I settled down to write a blog post. From the garage, I kept hearing a steady dull roar and wondered if Allan was vacuuming, or sanding something. Finally, I realized it was the Pencil Sharpener chipper!

The rest of the Shelburne wisteria…

turned into this. (Allan’s photos)

I checked on last fall’s chipping and saw they had not decomposed much all on their ownsome….

…so the new batch went into the compost bins, joining another new ingredient. Allan acquired a paper shredder and went on a shredding frenzy. The shreddings have already been added to the bins. I know this will work, because my mother successfully composted reams of shredded paper.

Between rain storms, Allan went to the Ilwaco boatyard and hung the flower protection signs, to have them in place when the narcissi bloom.

The rest of my day was devoted to British gardening shows. I discovered a delightful series about Christopher Lloyd, Garden Provocateur , followed by a tribute to Gardeners’ World presenter Geoff Hamilton. It is simply wonderful and also explains something about how the show was made. Both of these shows feature the lovely Alan Titchmarsh and both made me ever so happy.

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