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Posts Tagged ‘volunteer gardening’

Monday, 8 April 2019

Long Beach

All but two photos today are by Allan.

Before we even got to Long Beach, I felt that the weather was too windy for weeding on the beach approach. We kept going because of a cheque awaiting us at city hall. While we were there, we deadheaded the city hall garden.

Even though I had every intention of just dumping debris left over from our previous beach approach session and then going home, I suddenly decided that we simply must do one section of the approach garden. And so we did, despite the pushy, cold wind.

It was good that we’d finished this part last time; it would have been sloshy work today:

Weeding this “end cap” was our goal:

We met two darling dogs. The eight month old shepherd is Athena.

Some narcissi has appeared at the edge of the beach grass.

We did meet our goal.

We now have this far to go.

Ilwaco Fire Dept volunteer garden

As we neared home, Allan suggested we check on one of our two volunteer gardens.

An early poppy:

Dutch iris buds:

Tulip greigii foliage:

A fancy tulip:

At home, in the evening, we watched a film that I had learned about in a Gardeners’ World special about allotments. We rented it from YouTube.

It is a complete delight and well worth seeking out.

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After a rainy day off allowed my iPhoto organization project, I have put together a slide show of our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco Post Office.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Monday, 10 February 2014

I had expected a day of wind and rain. By noon, I realized we actually had a window of working weather, so off we went, but not before a last minute kerfuffle. I happened to look at the Garden Bloggers Fling page on Facebook and saw a notice that only ten spaces remained for the event! We had been putting off deciding whether or not to go. I had hesitated because of an attack of the “shys” and we had both hesitated because of money, as we had already signed up for the Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend in Seattle, just two weeks before the fling. The idea of missing out was a quick decider and we registered. We’re still not sure if we are IN or on the waiting list.

With that taken care of, we made our usual post office stop and I suddenly decided to dig up the sad lavender on the front corner of our volunteer garden there and, just as suddenly, to put an edge on the small patch of lawn.

before

before

after, with room for something quite special on the corner...not sure what it will be

after, with room for something quite special on the corner…not sure what it will be

I think that little triangle of lawn needs to go and be replaced with packed gravel. It can’t be garden because post office patrons WILL cut across there.

Our work goal, to get something done down at the Howerton Way gardens at the port, was easily accomplished, and we were close to home in case the weather changed.

We started at the Powell Gallery.

We started at the Powell Gallery.

during...

during…

after

after

cutting back Sedum 'Autumn Joy' by the Port Office

cutting back Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ by the Port Office

the south side of the Port Office

the south side of the Port Office

One red triangle flag flew on the flagpole, denoting a wind warning of 20 to 38 mph. The breeze kicked up while I weeded along the wall of the garden above, and the sky darkened enough to wash out my attempt to photograph a sweet patch of Iris ‘Katharine Hodgekin’.

Iris histroides 'Katherine Hodgekin'

Iris histroides ‘Katherine Hodgekin’

You can see a much better photo here.

Eryngium 'Jade Frost' for once (so far) not reverting to green.

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ for once (so far) not reverting to green.

We moved on to the garden by Time Enough Books. Once upon a time, we moved (with difficulty) the two big Phormiums from the parking strip to either side of the shop door. Now, owner Karla as well as Allan and I have completely gone off them. She wants them GONE and I am hoping she can get the port crew to dig them out with equipment as we are too old to tackle plants of this size with our hand tools.

Time Enough Books

Time Enough Books with two unwanted Phormiums

time to cut back or comb out the ornamental grasses

time to cut back or comb out the ornamental grasses

I'm waiting to see if the semi-prostrate Ceanothus leafs out again...

I’m waiting to see if the semi-prostrate Ceanothus leafs out again…

In a drizzle that rapidly increased toward driving rain, we tidied up and weeded the gardens by Queen La De Da’s Art Castle and then swung by the boatyard to chop the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ that, last week, I decided to leave standing till after the cold snap. One more plant in town had been plaguing me even though I had not even looked at it yet, so after we dumped our debris out in the field east of the marina, we stopped briefly at Mayor Mike’s garden. As I had known it would, the Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ in the front garden looked ghastly. With it clipped back, I took one last photo of the day of the newly restored to its formal garden look.

Mike's garden

Mike’s garden

When we got home, just ahead of a big rain squall, I saw from my desk window that two flags now flew at the Port Office. Perhaps we’ll have more days off because of rain and wind. I’m awfully glad we got the Fifth Street Park in Long Beach done last week.

warning flags flown at the port office

warning flags flown at the port office

I am happy to report that after being laid almost flat by the recent cold, my Hellebores are standing up again! I was not sure they would, and am very pleased and relieved because I so enjoy the long show they put on in the late winter garden.

revived

revived

 

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We are coming to the end of annuals planting hell.  The dregs of it will drag  into next week with the planting of a few six packs of cosmos here and there but today we finished a couple of jobs that can be crossed off the annuals list now.

First: two six packs of Cosmos, one of painted sage, and a Gaura ‘So White’ went into our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco post office.

post office

cosmos installed

cosmos installed

Ilwaco

Two partial buckets of weeds came out.  Reminder:  do not plant the charming Euphorbia ‘Fen’s Ruby’.  The bits that came in with plants from my mom’s garden, even though I had tried to eliminate every root, had marched halfway back into the post office garden.

beware

beware; nurseries still sell this bad guy

Next we planted Cosmos, painted sage, a Thalictrum ‘Black Stockings’, Phygelius ‘Snow White’ and a new Echinacea (coneflower) called ‘Green Jewel’ in Larry and Robert’s garden.  Green Jewel is supposed to keep its colour without fading the way Green Envy does.

We took the Heucheras and primroses out of the garden boat and planted them under the triangle of trees and put Cosmos ‘Cutesy’ and ‘Happy Ring’ into the boat for summer, along with one Salvia patens.

the boat garden

the boat garden

all cosmosed up

all cosmosed up

front porch

front porch

The tulip viridis is STILL in bloom.   I love the green tulips more than any others and yet this is the first year I have realized that they are also the latest to bloom.

Tulip Chinatown

Tulip Chinatown and Green Wave

watering aprés planting

watering aprés planting

I’m liking the new gold tree (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’).

Here’s how Larry and Robert’s garden relates  to that of our good friends Tom and Judy:

Lake Street sidewalk

Lake Street sidewalk

looking east:  Hornbuckle garden is across Pearl Avenue.

looking east: Hornbuckle garden is across Pearl Avenue.

The Hornbuckles were home and showed me the new improved water feature in their courtyard.  I snuck back to get a photo.  With a wider basin and more rocks around it, bathing birds won’t splash all the water out.

a better bubbler

a better bubbler

Tom and Judy also redid their “back forty” to replace some junipers (I think? nice ones, not hideous “tams”) that passing dogs had sprinkled on.  Lavenders have taken their place.

the back forty

the back forty

Next, we replanted the Ilwaco planter that we had emptied of soil due to bad drainage.  I had emailed city hall to remind them to have a hole drilled in the base.  Turns out the hole HAD been drilled.  It was just so small we did not see it.  I forgot to photograph it from inside before Allan put the soil in, so I stuck my camera under the edge of the planter.  The hole is on the side and so small that Allan could not put his little finger in it.  Hmmm.

I couldn't see where I was aiming the camera under there.

I couldn’t see where I was aiming the camera under there.

newly planted and hoping for adequate drainage

newly planted and hoping for adequate drainage

It now has an Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’center, three painted sage, three Diascia, a Calibrachoa, two Sanvitalia and a trailing rosemary.

Next we went to Nancy’s home in Long Beach to deliver some Cosmos and painted sage to the new flower border we helped install last October.  She organizes the Music in the Gardens tour and we think next year her garden will be ready to be on it.

I am very impressed with her vegetable garden:

Nancy's potager

Nancy’s potager

potager

potager

potager

lilac in bloom

lilac in bloom

looking from the veg garden to the new flower border

looking from the veg garden to the new flower border

Viridiflora tulips still hanging on

Viridiflora tulips still hanging on

Design hint I learned from Ann Lovejoy:  always figure out the flow of your garden.  It was clear a path would be needed to the neighbour’s garden so we left two passages unplanted, one for garden access and one for neighbourliness.

path toward the neighbour

flower garden coming on

flower garden coming on

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

I had been so smitten with Nancy’s veg patch that I forgot to take a long photo of the whole flower border.

Next we went through downtown heading for Jo’s.  As I do every time we drive through town, I eyeballed the planters all the way looking for any problems.   I would be wealthy if paid for the amount of time I spend thinking about work!  The weather did this:

passing through Long Beach

passing through Long Beach

But not for long.  It was fairly pleasant working at Jo’s.  I did the planting while Allan weeded.  In went 18 godetias, 6 or more six packs of snapdragons, a few perennials.  It is a beautiful environment in which to work.

the best use of annual geraniums ever

the best use of annual geraniums ever

While planting in the newly revamped colourful entry area, I had a sudden brainstorm.  I was so excited I forgot to take a before photo, so dredged up this one from earlier this year:

before

before

I suddenly realized that one of the two red flowering azaleas had to go.  We had thought of this earlier but had decided to wait.  Now I was convinced.  Jo and Bob returned from an outing just then and agreed, and by then I already had my loppers and saw and just cut it to the ground.  A big fern came out as well.  It made a wonderful improvement as the focus is now on the new perennials and annuals.  The root mass can come out later or perhaps be kept as a very low shrub.  (I would definitely get rid of the oxalis too; it is very invasive.)

enormously better

enormously better (The blue pot is where the azalea was.)

When we were done…Well, not quite done, as we have more weeding to do that must wait till next week….I walked through and took some photos.

entryway

entryway, container by Basket Case Greenhouse

guest house windowbox

guest house windowbox

middle courtyard

middle courtyard

middle

to west garden

to west garden

wiggly Coco

wiggly Coco

and some birds for you know who:

feeder

bird

With that, we decided to quit work early (seven!) and have dinner at the Depot Restaurant.  On the way we did stop to bung seven plants into a couple of Long Beach planters, and after our delicious dinner (slightly work-related when we realized we must go back tomorrow to deadhead the last of the Depot tulips!!), we loaded the car at home with all the assorted plants we will need to finish the Long Beach planters tomorrow.

Annuals jobs finished today:  Jo, Ilwaco planters, Larry and Robert garden, Ilwaco post office!

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I took more plants with us today than actually got planted, so they rode around for the day and then came back home.

My first thought was that the Ilwaco Post Office garden, a volunteer project I came up with a couple of years ago, desperately needed a half moon edging by the little grass walkway.

Because our town does not have home mail delivery, the Post Office is a six day a week stop for many people. It’s an embarrassment when I get too busy to keep the garden nice.

blurry edge

blurry edge

Over an hour later we had weeded as well as edged, even though we had had no intention of staying that long. We especially removed reseeded Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’ that seems to annoyingly travel around with everything I plant for free. In this case, it had come with some plants from my mother’s garden, along with a much worse thug:

the truly awful Euphorbia 'Fen's Ruby'

the truly awful Euphorbia ‘Fen’s Ruby’

My mother had purchased this from a catalog and I had implored her to get it out of her garden before it ran rampant…but she liked it. For awhile. Then she agreed with me, but by then it had worked its wiles into all the perennials in the border nearest the house. When her house was sold I brought a few perennials from it to the post office…and also, despite much root-cleaning, the nasty little thug. At the post office, I don’t have time to win the battle so I try to keep Fen’s Ruby edited to a small amount and hope no one falls in love with it and wants some.

Post Office garden after weeding

Post Office garden after weeding

I had originally planned to make it a rectangular garden but people do insist on cutting that corner so I gave in and left a triangle of lawn.

I still dream of sweet peas along that picket fence. Some of the ones I planted have come up, but in this dry week I wonder how they will do?

post office

I plant one or three of every special kind of tulip there from my yearly collection.

From the Post Office we headed north to Long Beach, stopping to photograph the new fence around Nancy’s garden. Will it be tall enough to keep the deer out? They could easily hop it, but we share her hope that the deer in Long Beach are less greedy that the Ilwaco deer who try to break through my tallest fence. A couple of wires could be added higher up if need be.

Phil and Nancy's fence

Phil and Nancy’s attractive new fence

That’s something that was so much easier about my Seattle city garden: no deer problems!

In Long Beach, I wanted to get the dwarf pampas grass cut back in the garden we call “the big pop-out” which is just south of Boo Boo’s Putt Putt Golf (I am not making that up) on Boulevard. That is a long block south of city hall.

the big pop out

the big pop out, before

In it, a rugosa rose that had behaved itself for years had gone rampant all the way to the edge over the past two years, making it a real chore to weed out the couch grass which had weaseled its way in from the lawn behind the garden.

After a bit of weeding, extreme energy measures became necessary:

two tiger paws

two tiger paws

The Cottage Bakery is only one block over, and I was tired, so tired! My tiger paw perked me up for hours. I expect that someday I will write about health woes related to this weakness.

Big Pop Out after

Big Pop Out after

So today my not very elaborate plan involved throwing some ‘Mission Bells’ California poppy seeds in here to fight it out with the rose, whose roots still lurk toward the front. It is a lovely white rugosa rose: ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ (the double white one). But it will pop up in any perennial that I plant here, so annuals seem like a better idea.

The job created a surprising amount of debris to be dumped at city works….

dumping

dumping

These dwarf fireweed caught my eye. No wonder I sometimes find it hard to convince people that it is a weed that needs pulling.

a very ornamental weed

a very ornamental weed

During the whole big pop out time I could have been stressing out about the next job, since as all too usual I found more to do at the pop out than I had planned. My new philosophy this year, of not rushing around and leaving things undone but doggedly finishing one thing before moving on, did feel more satisfying. We can’t always do that….For example, when checking on all the resorts gardens we need to make sure each one gets a visit even though they don’t all get everything done each week. Today, though, it felt good to really do the pop out well.

We drove a bit north to the next job only to see someone else weeding the spot that I’d been aiming at. Oops, well, people cannot wait forever for us to turn up…so we’ll go back later with the new plants for that garden.

We finished the day back in Ilwaco at Ann’s garden. I started five minutes later than Allan because I simply had to walk back and take a couple of photographs at the house at the crest of the hill where Ann used to live. It has a fine new fence:

fence with azalea

fence with azalea

And I so admire the way the sidewalk passes between their garden and their hedge.

sidewalk garden

sidewalk garden

Two of the three dogs had something to say about me taking photos.

attentive audience

attentive audience

I joined Allan a block away in Ann’s garden where we mainly worked on the back yard this time.

Ann's back garden upon our arrival

Ann’s back garden upon our arrival

Last fall we got the curved flower bed well weeded and mulch. Today we mainly had to address the return of creeping buttercup and shotweed. Allan dug up a big clump of old Siberian iris to make a spot for a birdbath.

Butch and Allan placing the birdbath

Butch and Allan placing the birdbath

They put a big paver underneath and were making sure it was quite level, although Butch says, correctly, that the ground will shift and it will have to be leveled again.

Meanwhile, I weeded an area along the west side…

west side, buttercups

west side, buttercups

And the iris divisions went in there.

newly planted iris

newly planted iris

The sword ferns caught the slanting early evening light.

ferns

ferns

ferns and trillium

ferns and trillium

Allan particularly liked the green and pink contrast on the fading trillium blooms. (They start out white, then turn to pink.)

pink and green

pink and green

The slanting light made it very difficult to find the hand clippers that I set down….somewhere…so they will stay in the garden till next time. Ann may find them, as she recently found a Ho-mi that Allan had left behind in the fall.

Somehow we lost the start of a perennial sunflower (Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’) that we were going to plant at Ann’s. It is probably in the Long Beach dump pile. Fortunately, I can acquire another piece.

At home, I had time before dark to pull one and a half buckets of weeds and to admire a few flowers.

I love the swirl of petals on this tulip bud.

I love the swirl of petals on this tulip bud.

fringed tulip

fringed tulip

a Euphorbia

a Euphorbia

evening sunshine

evening sunshine

long blooming tulips backed with cardoon

long blooming tulips backed with cardoon

white bleeding heart

white bleeding heart

Finally settling in after dark to write this, I also checked my email. Unusually, I had not done so today. I found a very nice email from Nancy at the port office saying we had left two little plants unplanted in the south side office garden. I immediately knew that they had to be two small santolinas. Argh. She offered to put them in the ground for us but I had not seen the email in time. Allan went down in the dark (only two blocks away) to check on them and they appear to have been planted; we will double check tomorrow. A big oops like that does not feel very professional. Nor does losing the clippers (as usual)…or being so far behind that someone else starts doing the weeding. Or losing a plant (even a free one) along the way. I can’t think of a clever conclusion to that train of thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Long Beach

By autumn of 1996, planters had been installed along the main street in Long Beach, and citizen volunteers adopted them. I had taken four near the Whale’s Tale Motel and the Old Salt Gallery. Below, the bulbs and plants start coming up in spring. That old house to the north is not there anymore.

planter by Whale's Tale; now it's by Home at the Beach, a wonderful shop!

planter by Whale’s Tale; now it’s by Home at the Beach, a wonderful shop!

planter by Whale's Tale bookshop in summer

planter by Whale’s Tale bookshop in summer

my planter across the street from the Whale's Tale

my planter across the street from the Whale’s Tale

Nabiel Shawa, city administrator at the time, said that my four planters were “Magnificent!” and within a year he had hired me to walk around downtown once a week and make sure that the other volunteer planters got watered.  (Each one had to have its faucet turned on and, later, off.)  Thus, in a very small way, began my City of Long Beach job.  By 1998, we were doing more garden work for the city of Long Beach, including planting up this new garden to the north of city hall.

city hall garden

city hall garden

By 2008, the city had decided that the volunteer planter program was not working.  The planters did not look wonderful.  So Allan and I now care for all of them as part of our city job.

Port of Ilwaco

In fall of 1997 I had gotten the idea to imperialize (with permission) a strip of land along the Ilwaco boatyard, one block east of my house, and make a long narrow volunteer flower garden.   Looking back, this seems crazy as I did not even have enough time for my own garden.   Perhaps I wanted a sunny border, or perhaps I just wanted to do good.  I might not have had I know it was infested with bindweed and horsetail, which weren’t visible till I started digging out the grass. Here it is in early spring 1998…

Ilwaco boatyard garden

Ilwaco boatyard garden

The Port provided a big pile of soil, and port worker Jaime helped me move some of it with her backhoe.  I provided all the plants, mostly from divisions from my own garden.

When I first started digging out the beds, assorted would be volunteers popped up, from the then-mayor’s wife to nearby residents.  I was thrilled and pictured a “Friday Tidy” sort of group like Ann Lovejoy had at the Bainbridge Island library.  It was not to be.  In several years of doing this volunteer garden, I had six hours of volunteer help, once from an Oysterville resident named Honor Seed who wheelbarrowed soil for me one day while he waited for a work shift at Jessie’s and once from my client and friend Sharon who helped me weed.

boatyard garden, early summer

boatyard garden, early summer

I spent perhaps two days a month weeding, and shorter times watering and grooming the garden.   It became a blessing when a neighbour went backhoe crazy up the hill from us, as it was a way to escape the incessant noise (trading it in for the more interesting noise of people working on boats).

boatyard flowers

boatyard flowers

The boatyard garden gave much gratification.  Folks walking to Jessie’s Fish Co told me how it brightened their day while they walked to their shifts.

Every Labour Day, the Peninsula hosted “Rod Run to the End of the World.” (Now it is the weekend after Labour Day). 1997, the end of the Rod Run parade of cars went by my boatyard garden.

fall '97, Rod Run
Labour Day ’97, Rod Run
September '97

Labour Day ’97

The boatyard garden continued as my volunteer project through 1992, although as my garden jobs (paid) increased, and as the backhoe frenzy died down near my house so that I enjoyed time at home more, it began to be something of an albatross around my neck.  In 2003, the garden was bulldozed to make room for a new electrical line and fence.  In 2011, we were hired by the Port of Ilwaco to bring the glory of the Boatyard Garden back, and we have done so, so although it took years and years to happen, this project did segue into being a job.

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We continued to plant, groom, and bucket water the Ilwaco planters, as well as two at the library that we took on as a small volunteer project.

2 planters, 21 April

library planters, 9 June

Eagle Street planters, 9 July

(plants: Cosmos ‘Sonata’, Salvia viridis (painted sage), Diascia, Golden Marjoram, Violas)

Main Street, Lake Street, 9 July

But wait, what is THIS?  Some yobbo (walking between the port and the local tavern?) pulled a Cosmos right out and left it to die.  Why?  Not even theft, this is wanton vandalism.

finger blight, 9 July

Thankfully this cosmos was caught in time to be saved by emergency resusciation….Dunk completely into water bucket, fill planting hole with water, replant, water again.

Onward we went with our water buckets (and one watering can), fuming, no doubt.

on First between Lake and Spruce, 9 July

On the east side of First at the stoplight intersection, our planter was joined by the containers cared for by the Café and Antique Store that was there at the time.  That reminds me of a late afternoon when we were watering and an irate and officious man bustled out of the store and accused us of parking in a handicapped zone.  I was hefting a five gallon bucket of water at the time (that’s over 40 pounds of water) and I said to him “I’ll NEED to park in a handicapped zone ALL the time if I have to carry these buckets any further.”  We faced off.  He retreated.  I knew darn well we were NOT in a handicapped zone…confirmed by the store owner when I asked her later.

lots of planters, 9 July 2009

On the 26th of July, a Sunday morning, while on our way to do something else (work, probably),  I saw that the planter nearest the tavern looked very strange…all wilted.  A closer look revealed that someone had ripped all the plants out and thrown them around about a ten foot circle around the planter.  (Evidence: soil on the sidewalk and street.)  Then someone else (or the same person, repentant?) had piled them back into the planter, but just on top of the soil (below left).  We got water, soaked the plants that might be salvageable, replanted them, put the others in a trash bucket, and were left with a planter looking pitiful (below right).

26 July, a finger blight mystery

Why, we wondered, did someone put the plants back on top of the planter.  Did s/he think that would save them?  We’ll never know.  In high dudgeon I took pictures of a couple of planters just up the block to show how they SHOULD look in comparison to the one we had tried to fix that was, really, unfixable.  By the end of July, no more Cosmos ‘Sonata’ was available for sale so I could not acquire healthy plants to match the ones in other planters.

planters as they should be, 26 July

By the 29th of July, I was completely fed up with the finger blight…nay, outright theft…that plagued one particular planter down by the boatyard.  Every time I planted it, the center plant was stolen, leaving a hole.   After the fourth time, I put this sign in (inspired by a sign I had seen at Seattle’s Tilth garden]…and after that the new plant was left alone.

hands off, 29 July

[2012 note:  I learned over the winter that a woman who lived in an RV Park at the east end of the port was the consistent thief of plants from shops as well as the street planters.  When she died, coffee cans each with a dead plant were found in her trailer.  And no, I did not rejoice at her death, but it may explain why thievery has dropped off…nor was any planter completely trashed in 2010 or 2011 so perhaps the worst vandal has also left town, one way or another.]

We also cared for the streetside garden and the garden boat at Time Enough Books, starting with narcissi and tall yellow tulips (“Big Smile”).

garden boat, 5 May

By 2009 the old garden boat had gotten so decrepit that bookstore owner Karla thought it might have to be consigned to the dump.  We repaired the boat with some stakes to make it last for another year or two.  After the tulips, we planted Cosmos, but I seem to have not photographed the summer boat at all.  So I’m cheating and putting it the photo, below, from 2007.  The astute viewer might realize that the Phormium in the bow is smaller and that the stakes holding the boat together were not yet necessary.

2007 garden boat, August

At the beginning of October I decided to broach to the post mistress an idea that had been brewing in my mind for some time: making a volunteer flower garden at the post office.  She gave us the all clear so on a very hot day, when the only thought in my mind came to be “Who’s stupid idea was this, anyway?!”, we dug out the sod.  Fortunately the postmistress, who lived right next door, had some areas in her yard that needed filling in so we did not have to haul it far.

before, after, 4 October

The scrubby lawn was a bugger to dig up and to my horror the subsoil turned out to be heavy clay like my garden over behind the boatyard.  I had imagined easy peasy sand….

Happily for us, a wonderful new espresso place and antique store called Olde Towne Trading Post had opened two doors down so we went down there for a refreshing break. [Foreshadowing: this would become one of my favourite places of all time.]

Olde Towne Coffee Café, autumn 2009

The postmistress’s cat and dogs and her downstairs neighbour’s handsome Rottweiller watched us dig*.

cat and dogs next door

Thank goodness for amusing cat and dog antics during a miserable hot digging session.  Finally, at almost sunset, we got to cooler temperatures and the adding of soil amendments.

next morning, 5 October

The English Nursery in Seaview donated some plants, and we provided a few, and later planted many the bulb.   The garden turned out well….

Post Office Garden, April, May, and August 2010

*[Sad 2012 note:  In 2011, the sweet Rottie who helped us endure that hot digging day died with his beloved human in a small plane crash.  I mention this because Ilwacoans will have probably felt a sad pang at the photo of such a nice dog….and remembered his nice and well-regarded owner, Kevin Dooney.]

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garden show loot

“More of my new plants: a gold leafed and a black leafed phygelius, and a gold leafed and dark leafed Hellebore foetidus were among my haul. And at the show I finally acquired Omphalodes ‘Starry Eyes’. It was too hard to haul plants from the show on the city bus….so did not buy many there. I gather the Yard, Garden and Patio show in Portland has a nifty loading system for purchased plants.”   (The hellebores came with me to my new garden in 2010, but the Omphalodes ‘Starry Eyes’ disappeared somewhere along the way.)
Work vignettes of February through April:
Laurie’s horses Moony and Kachina (two of the herd of five) waited for their horse treats on a cold February morning when we showed up to check on the garden.

Moony and Kat

We pruned the 300 hydrangeas as always in the blue-roofed house halfway up the bay….

part of the hydrangea field before pruning

The grave there of a beloved dog had had its marker freshly and beautifully repainted, probably by the home’s builder and estate caretaker, Bill Clearman, whose skilled attention to detail shows in every task.

Annie’s grave

Through sleet, rain, and hail we pruned for a week.  Our three year pruning plan was progressing well.  Birds had found a use for the ugly candelabras left by a previous “gardener”‘s chainsaw pruning.

hydrangeas with birdnests

On March 2nd the view of our garden from Allan’s desk window in the loft showed off how splendidly the assorted boxwoods carried out winter structure.  (I have never grown boxwoods on the Peninsula as successfully as in my sheltered garden, and in most gardens where they are hit by wind they spend the winters looking orangey-brown and ugly.)  Seeing the old trailer again was a shock, though.  With the glory year of our garden tours being past, we had severely chopped Rose ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ so that Allan could work on building a roof over the trailer.

damaged hedge

Further and unplanned damage in the garden:  the snow storm of December had weighted down and snapped part of the tree hedge planted by the previous owners and I could now see much more of my neighbour’s house and yard.  The trees had originally been planted too far apart so they had never met up and yet had provided a considerable amount of privacy.

In March, we lost an occasional job that had brought me much pleasure.  Annie had decided to sell her house and we made our last visit there on March 14th to clean up the garden for a real estate showing.

Annie’s blue cottage

Established clumps of narcissi along the road made me wonder how she could bear to sell and leave (little knowing that later that same year, my mother would leave her garden and but a year after that in 2010 I would leave mine).

Annie’s narcissi

Had I been house-and-garden hunting I would have found the front garden and the wine-bottle-edged vegetable garden simply irresistable….

Annie’s garden

…as well as the kitchen corner and welcoming side porch.

Annie’s kitchen corner and kitchen door

We stopped by in late March for one peek at the Ocean Park garden we’d created in autumn of 2009.  Some narcissi bloomed; it definitely needed more plants, but was not on our regular job roster.

a project update

Again Allan managed to break our supposedly unbreakable Fiskars shovel. (Again, they sent us a new one for free with their lifetime warrantee!)

Fiskars shovel with extra wide step-upon place.

The Peninsula Quilt Guild held its annual March show at the museum in Ilwaco.  You’d think the flower quilts would always be my favourites…

but I was quite taken with one depicting houses, especially a little red house that reminded my of my Grandma’s little red house in Seattle and with one depicting blue teapots…

…but in 2009 I was most impressed with a couple of quilts of abstract pattern.

In April we twice visited Joanne’s garden for spring clean up and enjoyed seeing the foal basking in spring sunshine.

April 6th and April 23rd

On April 17th our oldest cat Maddy (then aged 9) enjoyed the garden, and I imagined what would be a cat’s eye view.

Maddy…and our garden from cat level?

On April 24th, the Ilwaco tree committee got together and again demonstrated how many of us it takes to plant a tree in honour of arbor day, in this case replacing one that had been vandalized and broken the previous year.

tree committee and helpers

Time to break the narrative flow of month to month and, in our next post, feature the year in Cheri’s garden with flowers, good sit spots, and an audience of cats.

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  Rebuilding Together on the Long Beach Peninsula

Rebuilding Together‘s fairly new Pacific County group had its second 2007 volunteer day in Saturday’s rain.  Allan and I went to a project where nine excellently warm windows were to be installed in a double wide manufactured home.  The owner had once had a pretty garden which several of us brought back to its original shape, while Allan helped tear out the old windows.  Because of the rain and a predicted blustery wind, the window crew started out with the goal of getting one window done but succeeded in getting all but one…and the last one only because a new one of the right size had not arrived.

The garden (left, before) had herbs, dahlias, daisies, annuals… (right) Three of the five or more garden workers, all in colourful rain gear.

(above) The garden, after; happily, a pile of mulch was on the site so we were able to fluff it up, and a pile of driftwood provided edging material.

(Above) the front porch window, before and after (Allan in yellow rain pants)

(above) Window installers swarmed almost every window at once. Eventually, we could only laugh at how drenched we all were..

Allan took a load of debris to the dump whole the last of the windows were installed; it turned out we were the only ones with a hauling trailer, so we will be sure to bring it on future such occasions.

(Above) Installing the last screw, by which time the rest of the crew could only stand and watch (and drip, drip, drip).

(Above) Now the family will be cozy with new rather than old, leaky windows….(one of which was actually stuck open, so you can imagine the wonderful difference the new windows will make). Due to the ghastly weather, the exterior trim will be installed on a future dry day.

One of the crew told me an impressive statistic of how much energy the nation would save if everyone just could have good windows installed.

[2012 note: Rebuilding Together Pacific County now has a Facebook page and its own website.]

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