Posts Tagged ‘spring clean up’

Saturday, 21 April 2018

I actually do think that weeding, in my own garden, among plants that I like and  therefore enjoy a close look at, is fun.  Sort of. I don’t mind it, if I have time to keep up with it.  I started in on the west front garden (between our driveway and our neighbour’s driveway) while awaiting my social engagement.

MaryBeth came by with a gift of a generous clump of her Kerria japonica (with pompon-like flowers), and we walked into my back garden and I got her a clump of my single-flowered Kerra japonica.  She also brought me a book written by the husband of Margaret Drabble, one of my favourite authors.

Allan will enjoy it, too: “Michael Holroyd confronts an army of automobiles in this charming book. Weaving together memoir and historical anecdote, he traces his relationship with cars through a lifetime of biography.”

Soon after, Our Kathleen arrived for our lunch date at the Shelburne Pub.  She had picked up some violas for me and helped me, by un-potting them, while I bunged them into the edge of the front garden (for edible flower garnish).

Shelburne front garden, looking north

and south

This may have been Kathleen’s first time dining in the pub, at least in its new incarnation.  We had good food and a good long talk; it has been awhile since our schedules coordinated.  I look forward to her living here full time after retirement.

I am working my way through all the non-oyster items on the menu, so this time I tried the crispy, crunchy, and satisfying fried chicken sandwich, an unusual idea that I have never seen anywhere else.  The “Fisherman’s potato salad” has smoked herring in it, also innovative and delicious.

Kathleen had the pub burger.

Followed by bread pudding:

A musician played mellifluous guitar in the living room.  We were there at the quiet hour before the early dinner crowd.

I put some money in his hat.

Back at home, I finished my weeding project:

before (from a couple of days ago)

this evening

The back garden at 7 PM:

two cats


window box detail

In the window boxes, the redtwig dogwood twigs that I put in for winter interest have rooted and will go into the garden when I change the boxes to annuals. The tulip is ‘Princess Irene’.

It would have been a good day for boating had Allan not been still recuperating from his cold.

Because the chill wind prevented weeding till dusk, I had time to finish In the Eye of the Garden by Mirabel Osler.  After watching the harrowing film, Detroit, I returned to peaceful garden reading at bedtime with Osler’s A Breath from Elsewhere.

Guest photos:

I thought you would enjoy these photos from a neighbour’s walk in Beards Hollow, a woodsy trail to the beach about a mile west of us.

photo by Missy Lucy Dagger Bageant

photo by Missy Lucy Dagger Bageant

Beards Hollow, via google

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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

a calendula by our driveway (Allan’s photo)

Fritillaria meleagris (Allan’s photo)

Shelburne Hotel

I had a few plant starts ( cyclamens from MaryBeth and Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ from Klipsan Beach Cottages) to plant in the Shelburne front garden.  It had been on my mind to get back there and see how the garden is doing.  I wish it would “do” faster.  I miss having lots of spring bulbs in it.  Next year!  I took some narcissi from my garden  and left them by the kitchen sink, hoping someone could find it useful.

Outside, the only especially maddening weed I found was the dratted Aegopodium, which is thick at the south end and, unfortunately, popping up elsewhere as well.

a horde horrendous little aegepodium leaves at the south end (among the scilla)

in the center of the garden….nooooo!

looking north

looking south

I was most pleased when one of my most admired local gardeners came round the corner for lunch in the pub and said that the garden HAD gone to weeds but was now looking much better.  He had brought two little friends with him.

One had hopped into the garden and was gently removed.

I am feeling so eager for the plants to start to show.


and March 11. Some progress.

I planted my baby Sansuisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’ with Allan’s protective teepee.  I found that mine at home is finally leafing out so I could put my new one in here.

Long Beach, Bolstad Beach Approach

We returned to the all consuming task of weeding the beach approach, after doing a small bit of deadheading downtown.

in a downtown planter (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Before driving to the approach, we dumped Sunday’s debris and gathered some mulch.

our low tech method

on the approach garden (Allan’s photo)

mulch added to a couple of sections

We began weeding where we had left off.  The red buoy is at the end of the gardens.

six sections to go

Befores and afters (mostly Allan’s photos):

We finished one section in two and a half hours and started the next.

second section, before

I enjoy the parade of delightful dogs all day.

Our neighbour Jared strolled by with his good dogs:

Rudder and Yarrow

Below, see those holes in the weeds? That is where I had planted some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, of which I have plenty, to try to fill in with something free.  Every one has been stolen and I am so exasperated.  And furious. This is why, other than shrubs and roses, the gardens look so empty.  This is why we can’t have nice things.

I also find much evidence of the theft by digging of narcissi bulbs.  Below, evidence that was discarded on the ground after some fool took the bulb and no foliage, apparently.  Or someone just pulled the plant apart for fun.  Deer do not do this to narcissi.

I placed it on the post for your examination.

I am just going to encourage more wild beach lupine.  I can’t have anything fancier here.

Sometimes I think about writing a letter to the editor or speaking at Long Beach city council.  Then I think that would just alert people to where to find good plants for free.

willows, by where we dump weeds

When I got this far in the second section, I did not think I would make it to the planter.  Allan put a cookie on the rock to keep me going.  I was not amused, so he placed it where I could reach it. Three ibuprofens later, I did make it to the end.

The afters, (all by Allan), section one:

section two:

Now we have this far to go to the buoy:

at home

In picking narcissi for the Shelburne this morning, I had noticed that a depressing number were tattered by snails, so I had to find enough evening energy to totter around the garden tossing out some Sluggo pellets.

Narcissus ‘Frosty Snow’, cat memorial garden

Narcissus ‘Frosty Snow’

center bed (with loads of shotweed)

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’!

gunnera and rain puddles

I must divide this Japanese iris soon!

bogsy wood after rain

Oh dear, I may have coppiced my golden leycesterias and my smokebush too hard and too soon:

looks ominous

akebia by the driveway

Four beach approach sections to go and then I MUST get the rest of the sweet peas planted.

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Sunday, 25 March 2018

I am sometimes amazed at how wildly weather can differ from day to day.  After yesterday’s cold rain almost made me weep, today ignored the weather forecast and became a lovely spring day.  Instead of reading as planned, we went out to continue with the beach approach weeding.

before, looking west. The red buoy is our goal.

The rest of the photos are Allan’s today.


Occasionally, we find narcissi and crocuses in the long grass where we dump weeds.  (All rose clippings go to city works).

Mary and Denny of Klipsan Beach Cottages  delivered birthday presents for me and our cheque.

Mary and me

A gentleman came by and as we talked gardening, I learned that he is the one who does the garden at the Astoria Senior Center, a job that requires being tied in on a rope.  I was ever so pleased to meet him.  He’s a gardening hero of mine.

Here, from last summer, are a couple of photos of his senior center garden.

hero worship

He is 12 years older than me.  I should perhaps stop complaining about how hard it is to weed the beach approach.

In grumpy news of the day, I was annoyed that so many narcissi had been picked.

fuming over picked stems

Someone mentioned trying to visualize the flowerjacker really enjoying and needing a stolen bouquet.  That does not work for me.  I want the flowers there for everyone, and I feel that EVERYONE who walks by there deserves to see ALL of them.  (Not to mention that bulb planting in November is not the easiest of gardening tasks.)


To think that I resolved that this year, I would not let finger blight annoy me so much.

Afters of our first section of today:

We went on to the next section; the first one today had only taken two and a half hours instead of three.  We had now come to one of the worst sections.  The eastern half of it is full of swampy rush and sedge.  I can only think it was a boggy spot originally.  There is no getting rid of the rush, whose long ropy roots are all entwined with the roses.


in battle


We made it all the way to the next planter and thus got two sections done today.

Now we have this far to go to the buoy.

Six sections left to go!  I was so excited that I made a list of the week’s work, each day having a small project to begin with and then a section of the beach approach.  We could get it done by April 1st, I thought, and then I will be free to do work that I enjoy more.  And then….I looked at the weather.

NOOO!  Last I’d looked, the whole week was supposed to be nice.  Oh, how very much I wanted to get this project done by the end of March.

Six sections left to go!

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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The worst insomnia kept me awake till 5 AM, partly from a cat fight outside, partly being cold but too sleepy to put on another blanket.  It would not matter, I thought, because the forecast of rain would let me sleep till afternoon if I needed to do so for at least six hours of sleep.

From seven to eleven, I had dreams that it was raining, and every time I felt such joy and relief, mixed with other dreams that the day was sunny and clear, but I’d realize I was dreaming and would be so relieved that the sun was just a dream, until finally I woke after five hours of fitful sleep and found that there really was no rain.  My dream of another two-book day flew away.  All my weather apps insisted that we could go to work, so we did, an hour later than usual.  (Allan was disappointed, as well, because he’d wanted to go shopping across the river.)

at home, near the driveway

The second best thing to a reading day would be an at home weeding day.  I had had many long thoughts last Saturday about what it would be like to be retired and just read and putter in the garden.  Putting aside the question of money, it would be easier to imagine a contented retirement if I knew someone better would be taking over all our public gardens.  I can’t bear to think of the gardens going to ruin, but where is our successor?

Long Beach, Bolstad beach approach 

I figured we could beat the 5 PM rain easily, as each section of the beach approach takes about three hours mininum.  Today’s section, with fewer roses but a solid blanket of winter weeds, took three and a half long, painful, tedious, slogging hours (not counting debris dumping afterward).

before, looking east

and looking west (yesterday’s photo when we left off)


The sheet of weeds peeled off fairly easily.

Trimming a big old santolina, Allan found a birds nest.

I found a fasciated rugosa rose stem.

Round about the time I found that curly rose stem, I looked ahead and had the crazy thought that we could get part of the next section done, as well.  I often have overly optimistic thoughts like that. Didn’t happen.

Partway through the day, the manager of the Akari Bungalows (a half block east of the arch) walked up and gave us a tip, by which I mean cash (phrased kindly as “I want to buy you dinner”), not advice.  After a long friendly argument with a would-be tipper last year, who finally stuck his $20 into a rose bush and walked away, I decided to not say no.  This job is sort of beyond the call of duty, especially remembering the year when I told the city we were too old and could not do the beach approach clean up anymore…and ended up doing it in June because there was no one else who would tackle this.  (We’ve occasionally tried hiring helpers for this task, but they don’t last more than a few hours and don’t do a good enough job.)



Rain began as we were finishing the last three feet.  Two folks paused their vehicles to chat; I kept my head down, desperately weeding, trying to be pleasant and also trying to beat the pouring rain that I could feel was about to begin.


Now we have this far to go before the buoy:

We do work with a cone out in the road for protection.  We find that the bigger the truck, the less likely it is to slow down.

We beat the hard rain (except for dumping debris).

If the rain had held off for just half an hour, we’d have gathered buckets to mulch yesterday’s and today’s battered, sandy sections of approach garden.

pussy willows by our parking spot

On the way to and from work, I saw narcissi needing deadheading at the welcome sign, a couple of planters, and city hall.  No time for that now.  Nor have I found the energy to pick a bouquet of pussy willows from my own willow trees.  Now the buds have opened up. Too late again.

Allan went into the grocery store across from Sid’s for milk and tea.  I had planned to check on the Shelburne garden during that time.  Not today.

Shelburne in cold rain.

Tomorrow, although it might be rainy, is a day to visit our accountant rather than a reading day. Because of needing to make the hour round trip north, we also hope to plant some sweet peas at Klipsan Beach Cottages.

eight more sections

Eight more sections means 24+ hours of work before we can fully get back to work that we enjoy.  I wish that meant just three days; I can’t manage a full day on this hard task anymore without seizing up, so it probably means eight more partial days mixed in with other tasks.

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Saturday, 17 March 2018

Just walking around the quilt show in the late morning made my legs hurt (not my knee) to the point where I wondered if I would get any at home gardening done today.  But I must try!  I do not know why I was so sore at the show….maybe too much standing in one place while gazing admiringly at the quilts.

When we got home, Skooter was on my go bag again….

Calvin and Skooter

Allan had agreed to help me with two difficult digging tasks, part of making room for two of my four new roses.

First was to move a Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’ that was blocking a view into one of the garden beds in summer.  Moving it further back will also give room for a new rose.

chopping into sections with an axe before digging

after with smaller piece of the grass further back

Meanwhile, I dug out a tatty columnar evergreen (some sort of Juniper, which eventually was given another chance near the fence in Allan’s garden.  He said it looked like a “Grandma tree”, as in a boring arborvitae.  I said it had been a special tree, once.  I think it might green up again.  Or not.


a pitiful specimen

In the same large bed, both of my apple trees and a Calycanthus are leaning dramatically because of wind.

Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’; I later put some more soil on there.

Two apple trees leaning at the same angle, from the winter wind off the port.

Allan also got a side runner piece pried off of my Lonicera fragrantissima.  I would like the whole thing out of the spot it’s in but that is just sooooo difficult.  (If someone wants it enough to dig it out, please…it is yours!)  I love it, just not in that spot, and I have been starting others in better places.  I want that garden bed opened up.

fragrant winter Lonicera (honeysuckle) in bloom in the winter…The hummingbirds were feasting from this.

It is this big now and I want it gone.

I admired a late winter bloomer:


and another pulmonaria

We had a visitor, Judy of Ocean Park, with a birthday gift! (And Larry, who stayed in their vehicle because he had the sniffles and knows I am a hypochondriac.)

I just had to finish planting a second start of silver santolina in my cat memoiral garden to be.

Judy made me a beautiful birthday corsage, as she had done for Allan on his birthday.

and cute socks from my favourite shop, NIVA green!

Allan remembered one other plant I had asked him to remove, a big tatty libertia in the front garden.  It was starting to put out all sorts of side plants, including on the other side of the entry sidewalk, so I decided it must all go.  It did not look right in this spot:

Allan’s photo, before


after I dug out all the small pieces and transplanted a Pacific coast iris there.

Some of the small pieces will be planted in the port curbside gardens.  It is beautiful in bloom.

Libertia grandiflora in my garden, 5-14-13, back when it was well behaved

It had been given me by someone who likes to plant salal in gardens, so perhaps I should not have been surprised when it turned out to be a runner.

I cannot put a rose there because deer tend to work their way into the front garden over the low fence and through my bamboo and wire barrier.

As we were finishing up that project, we had a visit from our new neighbour….

and Yarrow

Allan went away to buy a piece of iron to mend the work trailer.  Before dinner, I opened some birthday presents.

3-D kitty card from Allan

yummies and a promising looking book from Montana Mary

a garden fairy from Shaz

Birthday dinner had started out as a tiny plan when it looked like Melissa was going to be out of town for family reasons.  I had made a small reservation for four at the Depot (not a place I would think of trying to have a big DO on a Saturday St Patrick’s Day).  Then Melissa and Dave were available so we upped it to six and then to seven with Ed.  The Depot was patient and accommodating with all the changes.  I brought some libertia starts and was able to give some away to Ed.

The Depot Restaurant

Corsage going back on for dinnertime.

J9’s artichoke fritos

wilted spinach salad

surveying the first course

Southern Comfort Pork for Our Kathleen

Chef Michael’s delicious shepherd’s pie

flourless chocolate torte

apple cobbler dessert (Allan’s photo)

Nancy presented me with a birthday candle in my vanilla bean flan, and I got my wish that no one sang happy birthday.

I look forward to reading this book from Melissa and Dave (and to planting the Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel that Mel found for me at Plant Nerd Night in Portland!):

….And to trying out this mason bee home from Our Kathleen.

As part of a birthday celebration, and because rain is expected, we will take tomorrow off, as well.







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Thursday, 15 March 2018

When woken up for work from a deep sleep, I was not happy to find wind and rain.  It had been nice enough when Allan decided work was a go; soon after I awoke from not enough sleep, the rain began.  All the weather apps told us that now it would rain until three…after Allan had the trailer all hooked up and ready to go.

I decided to accomplish one thing, I hoped, from the indoor task list: find my passport!  I went through two baskets and a box of papers and in the third place, I succeeded.  We can’t skip the country till we get our passports renewed, so I cannot erase “Passports” from the work board yet.  I need to follow through with renewing it in case someone gives us tickets to the UK.

I found in one of the baskets of paper an old article (1997 or so) from the Chinook Observer about when I first created the boatyard garden.  (I did not save the photo, which was taken by a kneeling photographer from below, not a flattering angle.)  Well behaved ornamental grasses were the ones I planted back then, including my favourite, Stipa gigantea.

After the passport triumph, I read the first chapter in an interlibrary loan book, an autobiography of Nina Bawden, an author I love.

I found a passage that spoke to me, about Nina’s mother at the village fair and a boy who had a bad case of unrequited desire:

Back then, a thousand pounds was a great deal of money.

The story speaks to me because I had an almost identical experience at age 18, although it did not include a marriage proposal.  I had broken up with one boyfriend for another (a regrettable one, but that is another story).  Former boyfriend  was supposedly teaching me to drive when he pulled a handgun and said he was going to kill himself and the new boyfriend.  (I don’t remember myself being on the list.)  I said he had the deaths in the wrong order and asked where he had gotten the gun. When he replied that it was his father’s, I said he had better put it in the trunk of the car because if the cops came to check on our parked car, he would be in big trouble and his dad would be furious.  He got out and put it in the trunk.  (And the driving lesson ended.)  A therapist later believed that this was why I never learned to drive.  I do not think so; I was truly a naturally terrible driver.

Calvin was not best pleased when Skooter decided to join us in the reading chair.

Finally, at three o clock, the sun came out.

I had three nicely rooted starts of santolina to plant at the post office, ones I had found at the boatyard from sideways stems that had gotten buried when we mulched there last fall.  When I went to plant them, I found to my delight that little santolina cuttings I stuck in are doing well, so I will save my three santolinas for the silver-grey garden that I want to make at home, my grey and tabby cat memorial garden.  The post office garden was again not going to get weeded before the quilt show, unless we got done with the boatyard garden in time.

Ilwaco boatyard garden

looking north when we arrived

and looking south (the steam is from a boat engine that just got put in the water)

We returned to where we had left off at the south end.  The tatty old lavender from yesterday had come out…

old lavender where pennisetum had been trimmed

Allan dug  out the equally old and woody green santolina….

and started in on the patch of Pennisetum macrourum which has decided to become a delinquent instead of the well behaved plant that it was for years.

Below: We got to meet a sweet and shy dog named Hershey, who wagged and wagged and would not quite let herself be petted even though she wanted to.

shy Hershey

I was not very successful when I tried digging the pennisetum, and quite unsuccessful at shearing them (because sometimes my right hand feels arthritis-y, and it is a tough grass to cut).  Fortunately for me, there was plenty of weeding and santolina clipping in between my grass digging.  Allan did the brunt of the digging and shearing.  Two enormous clumps got removed, and the roots came home with us to go in the garbage.  (Some are waiting in a tarp because the garbage is full.  They are yours if you want them.)

Local fisherman John came by toward the end of our day.  I should have asked him how often he has worked in rain and wind in the Bering Sea.

John and Ernie

Good dog Ernie (Allan’s photo)

We got the weeding done, all the grasses sheared, and will dig up one more really big clump some other time.  Doing so is not part of the official spring clean up.

That big messy clump is next to go.

Allan’s photo

end of workday, looking south

At home:

Spring clean up is done and off the board!

I am thrilled that we have this to watch tonight, after Rachel Maddow.

Later: It is perfection. Thanks to Lynn of CinefilesComic for telling me about it.

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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

After a rainy Tuesday of working on my blog posts about reading, I had woken up today thinking about the Shelburne garden and how much better recent photos of it would look if it had spring flowering bulbs, especially my favourite kinds of narcissi.  Next year!  I thought about digging some up from my own garden to put there.  But I am too selfish with my own flowers for that.  I can barely pick bouquets sometimes.

I hope that next spring, the Shelburne garden will look more like mine (and the gardens of our other clients) does right now (by which I mean my flowers, not my weeds):

When we got our mail, I briefly pondered weeding the wild garlic out of the post office garden so that it would look better for people attending this weekend’s quilt show at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum across the street. No, not yet; I decided that we might finish the boatyard garden and return to the post office at the end of the day.  Allan was rightly skeptical.

Ilwaco boatyard garden

looking south from the north end

We still do not know if some of this garden is going to be dug up for a water project.  It needed cleaning up either way.  We carefully did not disturb the orange and red spray paint marks, already almost washed away by rain.

Allan’s photo, Pennisetum macrourum, before

and after removing it

Pennisetum macrourum is described on some garden sites as being slowly spreading, and that is the impression I had for years, until suddenly a couple of years ago it decided to run.  I no longer wanted any of it at the north end of the boatyard garden, where I had transplanted a clump before it showed its true nature.  I used to think it might be a grass I had brought down with me from my Seattle friend Pat’s garden.  If that were true, I would have had it in all my other gardens over the years, because it is quite beautiful.  Now I think it was introduced to the boatyard during the years between when I started it as a volunteer and then it got torn up for an electrical project, and when I came back to work on it as a paid job.  During that time, a nice old man provided the port with some pampas grass, which they planted along the narrow strip and which eventually covered half the sidewalk.  The pennisetum may have also been donated at that time.  It is misbehaving now.

Here is what it looks like in bloom:

Pennisetum macrourum, (which as you can see is going a bit too strong), Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’

Pennisetum macrourum at the boatyard

We were not very far along today before this happened.


With the rain pelting down and a 20 mile an hour wind kicking up, we drove home to put the pennisetum roots in our garbage can and, I assumed, to give up on work for the day.  Even Allan’s mentioning The Deadliest Catch TV show…

…did not inspire me to want to work in the rain and wind.

In the rain, we (well, Allan) did one more thing on the way home, deadheading these narcissi in front of Azure Salon.

Allan’s photo

Ten minutes later, we had this:

looking west from our driveway

…so we went back to work.

trimming well behaved grasses (Allan’s photos)

We also sheared many santolinas (Allan’s photos)

Sheared santolinas will stay rounded instead of falling open.

We crossed over the boatyard gate, meaning we were more than halfway done in distance.  Allan trimmed another pennisetum that can stay because we don’t want to be digging around the light pole:

He trimmed another….and I decided the tatty old lavender had to go.


later, before he hoiked the lavender out

I then decided that whole darn pennisetum had to go, a job for tomorrow.  I do not want this many of them!

Pennisetum nightmare


This was more than we would be able to deal with today.

It did not rain again until 4 PM:

And even then it did not last and we were able to keep weeding, trimming, and digging until the temperature dropped to discomfort in the early evening.

Allan’s photo

At home, I was thrilled to finally finish my last blog post about thirty five years of reading, from 1982 to 2016!

Even though I was not able to erase any gardening tasks from the work board, I did erase from the at home rainy day tasks “Goodreads”, which was the reading blog project.

All the indoor jobs were supposed to be done in winter, till shingles put an end to my staycation energy.


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