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Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

Friday, 16 October 2015

Although I felt a distinct lack of energy on the first day off, I did apply myself to removing some salmonberry roots from the bogsy woods.  You probably won’t even be able to tell the difference between before and after unless you look quite carefully.

before

before

after

after

Some of the salmonberry removal is just the cheating of cutting it to ground level as it is so wrapped around the roots of the alder trees.

Allan went out to Roots to acquire a salad for our evening meal.

at Roots Juice, Salad and Java Bar in downtown Ilwaco

at Roots Juice, Salad and Java Bar in downtown Ilwaco

After more mostly ineffectual garden puttering, evening arrived and we had a campfire.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Gazing into the fire can mesmerize us for an evening.

Gazing into the fire can mesmerize us for an evening.

I just love poking the fire with a stick.

I just love poking the fire with a stick.

Smokey sitting on his own chair. (Allan's photo)

Smokey sitting on his own chair. (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

After sausages cooked on campfire forks comes the ritual roasting of buttered, salted corn wrapped in foil.

After sausages cooked on campfire forks comes the ritual roasting of buttered, salted corn wrapped in foil.

the lights of the port buildings, foggy lights from boats, and to the far right the bright windows of Salt Hotel

the lights of the port buildings, foggy glow from boats’ lights, and to the far right the bright windows of Salt Hotel

Then Allan kindly did the paperwork for me for the sale of a photo to Rodale Press.  An author found said photo on this very blog.  I said to Allan I would give him half the money if he would just sort out the paperwork for me, and he brought it to me all ready to sign, even marked with a sticky note and an arrow in the signature place, and he walked to the post office so it would go out in tomorrow morning’s mail.

With our 11 PM viewing of The Amazing Race on telly, we had our salad from Roots.  The generous portion filled two dinner plates.

Peaches, apples, pears, feta, and slivered almonds on spring and Romaine lettuce with pear gorgonzola dressing

Peaches, apples, pears, feta, and slivered almonds on spring and Romaine lettuce with pear gorgonzola dressing

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Saturday turned out to be a social day, a good excuse for not doing much weeding.  Our Kathleen arrived first for a visit.  Allan brought in a salamander to show us.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

A bit later, Steve of the Bayside Garden arrived to collect some of the alstroemeria that I had dug up last week.  (Kathleen and I both warned him of its aggressive nature.  He has room for such a thug.)  Of course, we all took a garden tour.

Kathleen, Steve, and me

Kathleen, Steve, and me

Smokey kept close to us. (Allan's photo)

Smokey kept close to us. (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Onyx came to visit from the Starvation Alley house next door. (Allan's photo)

Onyx came to visit from the Starvation Alley house next door. (Allan’s photo)

I demonstrated that the berries of Leycesteria formosa taste like burnt caramel. Steve agreed.

I demonstrated that the berries of Leycesteria formosa taste like burnt caramel. Steve agreed.

I told him how hard it is to edit salmonberries out of the bogsy woods.  He said he and John prevailed in his garden by going well down into the ground with a pick.  I’m just not sure I can find the energy so I always use the excuse that I like to leave part of the garden wild (even though I would really love to cultivate every last inch).

sorting out some alstromeria roots for Steve

sorting out some alstroemeria roots for Steve

I asked the usual question of our guests on whether or not I should turn the paths outside the fence to gravel instead of lawn.  Steve likes the lawn.  The dilemma continues.  I may dither well through winter, or even for years.

Allan had his own project for the late afternoon:

Allan's photo: He was working on a trellis project but ran out of purple paint.

Allan’s photo: He was working on a trellis project but ran out of purple paint. It will be sawed out of this broken fence piece we were given by Denny of Klipsan Beach Cottages.

We decided it was time to start lighting our Halloween lights.

We decided it was time to start lighting our Halloween lights. (Allan’s photo)

In the evening, we left the property (!!) to go to a concert at the Sou’wester Lodge.  There may be more of this with the shorter days of autumn and winter.  I feel that having had a couple of almost completely successful, long, not-leaving-the-property weekends, I am more open now to short excursions.

On the way, we photographed the Halloween display at Griffin Gallery.

downtown Ilwaco

downtown Ilwaco

At The Sou’wester

vintage rental trailers at the Sou'wester

vintage rental trailers at the Sou’wester

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo: The trailer on the left is the one I lived in from late December ’92 to April ’93

south side of the lodge and one of the trailers

south side of the lodge and one of the trailers

in the living room: LPs and a display rack showing which one is playing

in the living room: LPs and a display rack showing which one is playing

chatting with owner Thandi Rosenbaum (Allan's photo)

chatting with owner Thandi Rosenbaum (Allan’s photo)

trailer photos on the wall (Allan's photo)

trailer photos on the wall (Allan’s photo)

the quiet, introspective music of Vikesh Kapoor (Allan's photo)

the quiet, introspective music of Vikesh Kapoor (Allan’s photo)

Vivek’s music was extra quiet and sad that night; he said he usually stands to play and is not perhaps quite as somber.  At one point he asked, “Are you ok with this kind of mood?” and an audience member responded, “Yeah, go darker!”

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Allan went shopping across the river.  I embarked on the project of shifting the debris pile outside the deer fence.  It’s not the most necessary project.  Yesterday, I could only explain to Steve and Kathleen that the big messy pile is a throwback to my grandmother’s compost pile; she composted all plant material and the humusy smell of her compost pile was a pleasure to me as a child.  I end up with lots more debris and am selective, avoiding most weeds and any diseased foliage.

the work area of the garden, next to Nora's driveway

the work area of the garden, next to Nora’s driveway

While Nora was alive, I made this a flower area for her to enjoy.  Now there is no one to see it most of the time but me and Allan.  This is the area where I keep dithering about whether or not to turn the paths to gravel.  Guests and readers mostly vote for lawn (even though it is brown and dormant in summer in this spot).

before

before

after, with two wheelbarrows of good soil moved to the inner garden.

after, the pile shifted to one end, with two wheelbarrows of good soil moved to the inner garden.

I disturbed several frogs.

I disturbed several frogs.

Growing potatoes in the debris pile proved to be successful, with more left to harvest from the bottom layer.

today's harvest

today’s harvest: red fingerling and Yukon Gold

I had way too many potatoes for us but over the following few days, gave some to our neighbour to the east, Jessika, and our neighbour across the street, Terry, and will be delivering some to Garden Tour Nancy and to Melissa and Dave. While giving away potatoes to the neighbors we heard that there had been a mother bear and her two cubs next door in their tree. A porcupine had also been sighted on the lawn across the street.

Allan returned with purple paint (and a necessary cord for a computer problem he’d been having) and finished his trellis project.

Allan's photo: He completed filling in the empty space on the west garage wall.

Allan’s photo: He completed filling in the empty space on the west garage wall.

Monday, 19 October 2015

I had so been hoping for the predicted rainy reading day, as I wished to simply sit and read Anne Hillerman’s Rock with Wings, a Navajo mystery in the style of her father, Tony Hillerman.  That was not to be.  The weather was misty, dampish, but gardenable.

The garden looked autumnal again, even though Allan had mowed on Friday.

The garden looked autumnal again, even though Allan had mowed on Friday.

Today’s project, after some light weeding here and there: Move much of the strawberry bed to enable an extension of the scree garden all around the boat.

before

before: 1:50 PM.

I discarded the center strawberries with big thick roots...

I discarded the center strawberries with big thick roots…

and transplanted the offshoots into containers behind the garage and along an edge of the newly cleared debris pile

and transplanted the offshoots into containers behind the garage and along an edge of the newly cleared debris pile

I also made a planter of strawberry plants for neighbour Jessika (of Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm) to plant in her garden, even heeling them into the long narrow plastic container with some soil.  That’s significantly nicer than giving away plants because I am something of a soil hoarder.

3:30 PM

3:30 PM

This segued into cleaning out the tomato and pepper plants from the greenhouse and dumping the old potting soil into the future scree bed.

5:20 PM

5:20 PM

the last of the tomatoes and peppers

the last of the tomatoes and peppers

THAT segued into moving some potted tender plants into the greenhouse: scented geraniums, a Salvia laciniatum, a couple of agaves, and more.  Allan helped me shift the biggest ones.  With the mild winter predicted, quite possibly they all could have stayed outdoors.

a possibly unnecessary move into the greenhouse

a possibly unnecessary move into the greenhouse

Several passion flowers still bloom on the arbour near the greenhouse.

Several passion flowers still bloom on the arbour near the greenhouse.

the very last sweet pea pickings

the very last sweet pea pickings

The drizzly day had not even required the putting on of a rain jacket.  At the end, I walked back to the bogsy woods.

lots of good shade garden colour for late October

lots of good shade garden colour for late October (pulmonaria and hardy fuchsias)

a hardy fuchsia with delicate flowers

a hardy fuchsia with delicate flowers

creeping buttercup creeping back on the edge of the swale!

creeping buttercup creeping back on the edge of the swale!

ten minutes later

ten minutes later

a welcome sight: some water in the meander line ditch

a welcome sight: some water in the meander line ditch

In the last two hours before dark, Allan went to the Ilwaco Community Building to plant some hellebore and cyclamen starts given us by Our Kathleen.  They were slated for Golden Sands but I decided to divide them among our two jobs where we have little budget for plants.

little babies going into the ground

little babies going into the ground

and some more Sedum 'Autumn Joy' added

and some more Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ added

and then he made cookies! (Allan's photos)

and then he made cookies! (Allan’s photos)

Tomorrow: back to work, because we are taking Wednesday off for a garden lecture (me) and boating (Allan).

 

 

 

 

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The perfect day off during gardening season for me is either a wonderful garden tour or a day when I do not leave my own property.  Allan is more adventurous and on Sunday he went overseas (to north Oregon) to buy us a gas lawnmower.  We have been so ecologically good with our rechargeable electric mower (formerly my mother’s) but it does not cut as low as I would like, and has a very narrow cutting width so takes a very long time to mow our big lawn.  Lately the charge does not even last long enough to do the lawn; it dies after one hour with perhaps half an hour of mowing left to go.

I might have been tempted to accompany him in order to go the Back Alley Gardens, but as you can see, there would not have been room for me coming home.

lawnmower in passenger seat

lawnmower in passenger seat

Meanwhile, I continued working on cleaning up the patio so I could put the chairs and tables back on it thus clearing the lawn for the mower’s first run!

The biggest patio change took place on Saturday, when we put two water tubs (for bog plants) at right angles instead of parallel to the house, creating much better access to the plant containers against the south wall.

a big improvement to the flow of the patio

a big improvement to the flow of the patio

My other big idea for while Allan was off on the mower quest was to change the lawn edge at the stern of the garden boat.  My waves of broken blue pottery on the port side of the boat had disappeared behind strawberries, and I had never been satisfied with the logic of how the waves ran between gravel “beach” and the garden bed on the starboard of the boat.

before and after

before and after

Now not only are the waves breaking sensibly behind the boat, pushing it ashore, but also the curve is more friendly to the mower.

I used the sod to widen the path into the bogsy wood where we unwisely planted a Gunnera too close to the original path.

oops

oops

I also found time not only to search for and actually find my Hello Kitty battery toothbrush, which I had stored in an obscure cupboard, but to use it to buzz my tomato plants.

greenhouse tomato pollenization

greenhouse tomato pollenization

Last year, what with being on the garden tour, I got too busy to do this and did not have as many tomatoes as I had the year before, when I buzzed the tomato blossoms frequently.  Along with touching the flowers, as above, you do the whole cluster of blossoms, and the pollen is distributed the way the bees make it happen.  Read more about it here.

I have the tomatoes on stands (upturned pots and buckets) so that they are below the height of the greenhouse shelves.  The shelf is removable, and the edge it fits in helps support the plants, but I still need to to stake them.

below the shelf

below the shelf

greenhouse with tomatoes and peppers

greenhouse with tomatoes and peppers

I wonder if I should close the back door to make it hotter?  I don’t want it to get TOO hot.

Part of this tomato effort is because we are going to be  one of the gardens on the Edible Garden tour on August 11th.  This is slightly laughable because my garden is so much more ornamental than edible, but it has as many edibles as a couple of the gardens that were on the tour last year.  It is nothing at all on Ray Millner’s fabulous garden or the many edible plants at Homewood.    But since the owner of Homewood is the one who asked me to be on the tour, I feel okay about it.  We do have, in the ground or greenhouse,  strawberries, potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, edible flowers and lots of herbs, and peas and beans growing on the fence.  For salads and so on, my angle is going to be this:  I am such an ornamental gardener that whenever I create a new garden  bed, thinking it will be my veg bed, I fill it with ornamentals before I ever get a veg planted.  So like people who live in an apartment with just a balcony, I have to grow my veg in containers!

I did think of an idea to keep the cats from ruching up anyplace where I plant seeds in the ground.  This may work: an upside down plant flat, poked down with the metal sign holders than my friend Kathleen Sayce gave me for garden use, until seeds sprout enough to declare that the area is not for scratching.

possible protection

possible protection

one of the culprits

one of the culprits

Gracie came by for pets and to look for cats to bother.

my friend from across the street

my friend from across the street

cat hunting

cat hunting

Gracie lives with a cat so the thrill is in the chase; I am sure she would not hurt one, and she is more likely to get a swat on the nose.

Allan and the new mower were back by late afternoon.  He waited for the cool of the evening to mow.   We are pleased that the new mower cuts lower and probably cut half an hour off of the time it takes to mow the lawn.  Cutting short may not be as good for the grass, but I am not that into the lawn; in fact, I would rather the moss won.   It will now need to be mowed less often.

nice and short

nice and short

While he mowed, I cut the tunnels and view windows back into the salmonberry groves in the bogsy woods.

before and after

before and after

This year I decided to shove the considerable pile of clipping from the sides of this and other paths into the southeast corner of the bogsy woods, a slightly sunken area where I have never seen anyone go even when I had it perfectly weeded for the garden tour.  I have read that a brush pile is beneficial to birds and insects, so that is my excuse.  (I hope it is not beneficial to river rats!)  If it bothers me too much to think of a pile there, we can haul it away later when we are less busy.

In the evening, Devery stopped by and we shared some strawberries.  What an edible garden!

strawberry harvest

strawberry harvest

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