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Posts Tagged ‘volunteering’

Today we went to one of the thrice yearly volunteer beach clean up events organized by the Grassroots Garbage Gang. We decided that instead of going to our usual spot on the Seaview approach or our second usual choice, Benson Beach, we would start at Beard’s Hollow. It’s the very south end of the beach that runs for (I think) 18 miles north and is a bit of a walk from the parking lot so is not as frequently cleaned. It used to be my beach walking destination when I lived in Seaview in 1993.

near the parking lot

near the parking lot

The trail used to be underwater until well into spring, causing me a lot of frustration after I moved to Ilwaco. I then found a trail up and over the big hill between me and the beach, crossing over where Discovery Heights is now, only to find that after about half an hour, when I got as far as Beard’s Hollow I could get no further without hip waders.

Since then, the Discovery Trail has been built and provides access to walkers and bicyclists year round.

Discovery Trail

Discovery Trail

beside the trail

beside the trail

licorice fern in tree

licorice fern in tree

Salmonberry

Salmonberry

still pool reflections

still pool reflections

skunk cabbage

skunk cabbage

I have read that in the UK, our native skunk cabbage is sold at a pretty price as an ornamental plant and is called “swamp lantern”. I don’t want to Google and find out it is not true. It is a gorgeous bog plant, but difficult to tranplant.

swamp lantern

swamp lantern

sword fern

sword fern (unpruned!)

When one gets to the really big rock, one is almost at the beach. The trees have grown considerably since I used to walk here.

the big rock

the big rock

Here is what the trail used to be like in winter; this is one of the roads through the dunes.

road around the rock

road around the rock

the rock

the rock

native stonecrop and blackberries

native stonecrop and blackberries

the rock

a small part of the rock

nature's moss garden

nature’s moss garden

At last, the beach…

to the beach

to the beach

The Coast Guard helicopter flew by.

Beard's Hollow fishing rocks

Beard’s Hollow fishing rocks

Someone had lost a bouquet, or tossed it overboard in a memorial service perhaps.

mystery flowers

mystery flowers

flowers

 

flowers and fishing rocks

flowers and fishing rocks

The Beard’s Hollow fishing rocks have witnessed many dramatic scenes. When the tide comes in, human explorers are taken by surprise on the outer rocks and many have been rescued over the years.

rock full of birds

rock full of birds

rockscape

rockscape

clues that the tide does come in

clues that the tide does come in

rocks

We found enough garbage in the next hour and a quarter to fill three large bags. People who drive down the beach to have a campfire…(and the beach is a legal highway, and in my opinion that is very regrettable) don’t even have to pack their garbage out on foot, so why do they leave it behind like this? Just throw it in the truck bed, folks!

campfire debris

campfire debris

They did at least put it all back in the packaging.

the south end of the long beach

the south end of the long beach

While it is satisfying to fill a bag with larger items, the tiny little bits of coloured plastic are especially bad for birds. They think it is food and fill themselves up and then starve.

It would take days to fill a back with these tiny pieces

It would take days to fill a back with these tiny pieces

I become obsessed with picking up each one but I know that many more are tumbled under the sand.

Far in the distance with the telephoto I could see folks in groups cleaning to the north.

cleaning crew

cleaning crew

People enter at each of the major beach approaches or walk out from their own streets. Most start at 9:30 AM but we usually manage to roll in at about 10:15. Today about 325 signed in.

We walked down as far as this shallow seasonal stream.

stream

stream

The one time I do like to see vehicles on the beach “highway” is when the volunteers come along to take our bags.

loaded with debris

loaded with debris

And then, back through the green along the beautiful trail.

a side trail around the big rock

a side trail around the big rock

bicyclists

passing the big rock

passing the big rock

more licorice ferns

licorice fern, a tree dweller

licorice fern, a tree dweller

Sambucus racemosa (red elderberry) has a tropical look.

Sambucus racemosa (red elderberry) has a tropical look.

elderberry grove

elderberry grove

moss and mushrooms

moss and mushrooms

The trail is a draw for bicyclists as it goes all the way from Ilwaco to north of Long Beach.

discovering the trail

discovering the trail

Discovery trail map

Discovery Trail map

We were just down at the Beard’s Hollow section. Click here for a larger view.

Next on our agenda: the volunteer soup feed reward halfway up the Peninsula at the Senior Center. Because we start late, and go late, we have been known to arrive for the very last bowls of soup, but today we arrived in time to have two choices, and we both chose clam chowder made by Steve of The Great Day Café.

soup reward for volunteers

soup reward for volunteers

The Senior Center is right next door to Golden Sands Assisted Living so we found it handy to check on all the new plants starts we planted yesterday, and I am happy to report they are all standing up tall…no wilting. Allan found this very nice monthly newsletter that shows how much they appreciate the courtyard garden.

from Golden Sands newsletter

from Golden Sands newsletter

Thus we segued into the work day and after going north past Nahcotta on the bay to pick up a free plastic pond (more on this later), we checked on Marilyn’s garden. My intention was to do nothing but deadhead the narcissi and move on, but oh dear…horsetail was on the march and had to be dealt with…and then my eye fell on a problem that had been bothering me for some time.

This giant Miscanthus had ended up in the foreground of the garden where it blocks the view of the Helianthus behind it. It bothers me every year.

This ornamental grass will get taller than me, and is in the wrong place.

This ornamental grass will get taller than me, and is in the wrong place.

I worried at it with the pick for a short while. Its roots are like iron. Allan decided to have a go so I went back to the horsetail, and returned to this satisfying result.

what an accomplishment

what an accomplishment!

It’s a challenge to find anything evergreen and tall to block the view of the neighbours’ driveway and garage because deer practically live in this garden…so I rely on tall deciduous plants.

Marilyn's today, looking north from back porch

Marilyn’s today, looking north from back porch

There is much to do here, especially since the plan is for this garden to be on the Peninsula garden tour in July of this year…but we had to move on to have time to check three more gardens.

At the Wiegardt Gallery, the lilac is close to bloom:

Wiegardt lilac

Wiegardt lilac

Tulip 'Lilac Wonder' opens wide in the faint sunshine.

Tulip ‘Lilac Wonder’ opens wide in the faint sunshine.

The narcissi are still looking fine, but how did scilla get into the garden? I most certainly did not plant it.

narcissi...and scilla

narcissi…and scilla

This thug will be bad news. I wonder if someone else planted some bulbs to be nice? Because they are so pretty.

the dreaded scilla invasion

the dreaded scilla invasion

I have three other thugs in this garden: sweet woodruff and the bad aster that came from who knows where, and geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’ that I once thought a very fine plant indeed.

Eric’s brother sometimes plants a very choice treasure, and I am hoping that these Eremurus that he put in two years ago might flower this year.

Here's hoping for some foxtail lilies

Here’s hoping for some foxtail lilies…

We still have lots more to do at Wiegardt’s (sounds so familiar) but we had to get on to Klipsan Beach Cottages. On the way, we did a quick check up at Oman Builders Supply in Ocean Park.

There is the exciting new ‘Green Star’ tulip. Have I been calling it ‘Green Ice’?

You have to get Green Star against a dark background or it does not show up well.

You have to get Green Star against a dark background or it does not show up well.

It's a lily flowering tulip and a green tulip all at once.

It’s a lily flowering tulip and a green tulip all at once.

There were three but someone swiped one, and the finger blight evidence of twisted stem shows the person did not even have clippers but just worried the stem till the stolen tulip was theirs.

The shattered star shape of the stem is evidence...

The shattered star shape of the stem is evidence…

At Klipsan Beach Cottages, we had delegated a rhododendron removal job to another landscape business, and had not expected the end result to be a bed all askew and us with no time to fix it. My fantasy was that we would find the job all done. Silly. Realistically I probably should not have hoped that a backhoe would be brought in, huge rhododendrons pulled, and then the edging put back all nicey nice (by whom?) All we could do today was deadhead the narcissi and check for weeds. Next weekend we can deal with the other problem, maybe.

narcissi in cottage windowbox

narcissi in cottage windowbox

Tulip clusiana 'Lady Jane'

Tulip clusiana ‘Lady Jane’

in the garden

in the garden

In a pot I had six Tulip ‘Green Star’ and in this safe haven, no one had picked any.

Green Stars

Green Stars

Green Star

Green Star

The first year I saw this in the Van Engelen catalog, I waited too long to order and they had sold out. So it was a year and a half before I had it in bloom, and I am a little obsessed with it this month.

Green Star

Green Star

in the garden...

in the garden…

two matching pots

two matching pots

and some Blushing Ladies

and some Blushing Ladies

I wonder if this year at long last the Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal [not very] Giant’ will get the size I have seen it elsewhere. It has been sulking for three years.

still only as tall as a daylily

still only as tall as a daylily

sword fern...I like our pruned ones better than mother nature's messy ones!

sword fern…I like our pruned ones better than mother nature’s messy ones!

Lathyrus vernus from Joy Creek Nursery

at KBC: Lathyrus vernus from Joy Creek Nursery

A rain squall decided our stop time at KBC but by the time we got home, the sky had cleared again. I thought I was too cold, and extra tired from getting up “early” for beach clean up, and that all I had the oomph to do was look out the window.

back garden window view

back garden window view

Then I remembered the pond form and had to go think about where it might go.

It probably won't look very real...

It probably won’t look very real…

pondering

pondering

We decided to install it next to the boat. Because of my upcoming mini-vacation (why???) we won’t have time for awhile.

While I uploaded photos to the Grassroots Garbage Gang Facebook page, Allan mowed the lawn. He reports that it takes an hour and a quarter. Less than it did last year because of my winter expansion of the garden beds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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The City of Long Beach had long had an Adopt-a-Planter program for its more than 30 street planters.  I recall the planters being installed in the early or mid 90s.  Volunteers came and went.  Some were summer people whose planters therefore looked terrible all winter.  Some planted with enthusiasm in May and then did not weed or water on a regular basis.  Each planter had water piped in but the watering had to be done manually.

I had started out at the beginning with four volunteer planters, two of which lacked water due to a serious under-the-sidewalk plumbing problem so I planted them in drought tolerant fashion (santolinas, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, lavender) and they were not especially showy with annuals.  However then city administrator Nabiel called them “magnificent” and as a result we got the job planting flowers in the city parks.

In July 2008 some of the planters looked like this:

left: a very few plants, lots of tiny weeds; right, dried up

left and middle: a sea of chickweed; right: sparsely planted and more chickweed

Meanwhile during the same weeks the planters that we were doing looked like this:

some of our planters

Each volunteer was given $50 per year for plants and some of the planters were clearly not having that amount spent on them.  And yet some volunteers did continue to do a superlative job:

good volunteer planter

Before every festival, part of our job would be to clean up the weedy planters, and often even the good ones were unweeded, undeadheaded and ungroomed because the volunteers were simply not in town enough to keep up.  Long Beach, due to the daily efforts of the wonderful city crew (they have a fan club!), is probably the cleanest town next to Disneyland and the inconsistency and weediness of some the planters was bringing down the tone. We were backing up the efforts of the good volunteers by doing additional watering as well.  By the end of 2008, more planters would be turned over to our care leaving less than half of them as a volunteer project.

The last planter we redid for the year was one of the two furthest north.  The volunteer, who in my opinion had quite let it go, stormed up to us a bit later furious that we had redone it.  Fortunately, I had taken a photo showing the state it had gotten into.  But how can you tell a volunteer that they are not doing a good enough job.  I sent her off to city hall where I suppose she was gently told that some planters were passing back into the care of the city.

before: old woody lavenders arise from a lawn of weed grass; after: planted with a few fall things and lots of bulbs for spring

With less conflict we redid another old one down by the credit union.

before: it had woody, gone to seed ornamental cabbage from the previous fall!; after: a bit of autumn colour and planted with spring bulbs

I also had my eye on the planter by Sand Dollar Deli.  I called it the ivy monster and urgently wanted to remove the ivy, a noxious weed which set a bad example for novice gardeners.  Because the awning to the adjacent shop needed repairing over the winter, we would wait till the city crew pulled out the ivy.

autumn 2008……spring 2011

Later, that became one of our prettiest planters…above, in spring of 2011:

[2012 note:  We now take care of all of them.  Some of them still have good plants in them that were planted by the diligent volunteers of yesteryear.]

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Springtime weather returned during the first week of April.  All the creatures rejoiced in it.

Moony, Dewey, Pinta and Elé

Laurie’s garden remained one of our favourites.  Her horse herd had grown and now included golden Moony, the Peruvian Pasos Pinta and Elé, grey Kachina (not pictured above) and the newest, the miniature Dewey, rescued from dire circumstances, nurtured back to health, and in possession of a dire temper.  The presence of horses required a bag of carrot and apple pieces (offered to Dewey with a toss from a safe distance).

At Klipsan Beach Cottages our idea of a couple of years back had been to use plastic window boxes as inserts in the wooden ones, thus making it possible to seasonally change out the 20 windowboxes on the cottages, A Frame, and office windows.  Each one is slightly different planted with the smallest of narcissi and the species tulips, the snowdrops, the Fritillaria meleagris, that bloom between February and Mother’s Day…Mother’s Day being the time when KBC owner Mary plants up the summer annual window boxes.

April windowboxes

In the woodland swale at KBC, we outwitted the deer by planting sweeps of Narcissi.  At Andersen’s RV Park deer had not yet discovered the tulips.  2008 would be the last year we got away with planting them in that garden; a deer herd must have increased or been displaced by housing development because nowadays they amble through regularly and have limited our planting choices.

narcissi at KBC, tulips at Andersen’s

In another garden rampant with ravenous deer we planted hundreds of a white narcissi mix.  Everything in the Discovery Heights garden has to pass the deer test.  Hellebore foetidus seems to thoroughly repel them and joins pale yellow new foliage to echo the touches of yellow on the assorted narcissi.

middle garden, Discovery Heights, 17 April

You can just get a glimpse of the ocean to the right of that treed hill.  On a grey day like this one, it blends with the sky.

Oman Builders Supply, 18 April

By mid April that new garden bed at Oman Builders Supply had enough colour to satisfy but in future I planned to have that colour come from bulbs rather than primroses.  They’d have to be moved for later flowering plants to settle in whereas bulbs can stay in place as their foliage dies down.

26 April, west end of beach approach garden

On the Bolstadt beach approach Armeria (sea thrift) flowered brightly in the windblown sandy outer garden.  In the thirteen sections of this garden there is a big difference between what thrives in section one, sheltered down by the arch, and section thirteen out by the buoy where drifts of sand come in over the garden in winter storms.

Arbour Day volunteer work party: Allan Fritz, Kathleen Sayce, Diane Carter

The end of April brought of the Ilwaco Tree Committee to plant some conifers into the Discovery Garden by the museum.

I felt ever increasing urge to shop for plants and we planned our yearly trip to Cistus and Joy Creek nurseries, but meanwhile…

…an adorable viola face at The Basket Case Greenhouse

…and tables full of spring flowers at Seven Dees, Seaside.

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South Pacific County Humane Society Brunch

We knew from the news that the storm was coming: Hurricane force winds bearing down on us from across the Pacific.  Saturday, December 1st, was windless but snowy and sleety…Not the sort of day on which I usually venture forth as I’ve an intense dislike of walking around on slippery snow.  However, since our friends the Grey Sisters, J9 and Jill, had organized the wonderful Humane Society Brunch, off we went.

J9 (Jeannine) put her decorating expertise to making the Senior Center seasonally festive. (Her party helper business is called Have Tux, Will Travel, and indeed, she wore her tux for the occasion.)  The food, donated and prepared by local chefs, was outstanding and lavishly generous.

beautiful table decorations

I’ll take credit for the spray painted twigs idea.  Later we put these same twigs in the windows boxes at Klipsan Beach Cottages.  Allan helped set up for the brunch the day before while I did some late fall clean up at the Shelburne.

The big topic of conversation was the storm, and whether or not to take the warnings seriously.  I called Denny at Klipsan Beach Cottages to warn him and he laughed it off.  We did think it might be a big one so on the way home we bought more batteries, lots of candles, and a tank full of gas.  Had I known the severity of the next three days, I would have purchased a lot more chocolate.

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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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Friday we checked on a number of different gardens from Long Beach to Discovery Heights and weeded and cleaned up some of the streetside gardens along Howerton Way at the Ilwaco Harbour Village: the port gardens, the Port Bistro restaurant, and Time Enough Books.

(left) at the McD drivethrough in Long Beach, yellow Tulip ‘Big Smile’ has stood up well to all the recent storms. Note to self: plant them more thickly next year for a more vivid display.

(right) The same Tulip giving us a big smile from the boat in the Time Enough Books garden.

When we went into the bookstore to get Allan’s present for his sister Pam, we found something more exciting even than plants:  The owners are fostering a Boston Terrier puppy. Their sweet golden lab, Harper, loves the puppy and particularly enjoys trying to share the bottle, then carefully licks all the milk off of the well-fed sleepy puppy’s face.

Saturday morning Allan and I joined the Grassroots Garbage Gang’s beach clean up session.  The rain had slowed from an early morning storm and it did not occur to me to suit up in rain pants, a decision which I later regretted (as did Allan, who made the same ill-fated choice.) Indeed, the rain returned in force.  I had two winter scarves wrapped around my head because I do find hoods so uncomfortable and lacking in clear visibility.

Allan hauling soggy garbage…and a landscape design by mother nature

Because the beach between the Seaview approach and the creek had been well cleaned, we walked back via the Discovery Trail, where Allan pointed out the sort of naturescape that inspires the driftwood decoration of gardens.

We arrived at the Senior Center almost too late for the thank you lunch provided for the beach clean up volunteers; it had become quite absorbing to go just a little bit further up the beach for another cluster of bottles and cans. Then home, warmth and dry clothes and some email time and later a delicious dinner  at the Depot Restaurant.

At home the next morning I had a very slow start involving sitting in a chair by the pond for at least an hour, counting the new fish babies (fifteen or more!)  Later I pruned a large and overly rampant honeysuckle.  I found a baby offshoot of my Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’, just about my favourite plant of the year, which caused a greater shout of glee than even the baby fish because a Tetrapanax ‘SG’ costs about $30 to buy. A few more brief pond chair sitting sessions were necessary to get through the day, but I finally got my birthday present from Allan (five bales of compost!) spread in my new raised garden bed.

Allan pruning the last sword fern on the Big Rock

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Does it always rain on volunteer days?

Two years ago we planted ten street trees (a columnar ornamental pear called ‘Cleveland Select’) with a group of volunteers.  Last summer two trees were broken off at the base by evil vandals, and we have now planted eleven more.  The first planting day was accompanied by driving rain and gale force winds which made it hard to even hold the last couple of trees upright while staking.  This year we planted in a light rain (and two weeks ago, when Allan and I did a small volunteer project at Sea Resources, we were drenched…does this have something to do with volunteering?).

(left)  Three groups along the curbside planting three trees.

(right) Six volunteers to plant a tree: one to hold the tree, one to shove in the native soil, one to mix in mulch from a bale of Gardner and Bloom Soil Building Compost, one to tromp down the soil to remove air pockets, one to sight whether or not the tree is straight from all angles, and one (not shown) to take a photo.

Kathleen Sayce (in green hat, above) was our expert adviser. Other than the two trees on First Street to replace the vandalized ones, the remaining nine (an odd number as the order came up one short) were installed along Howerton Way at Ilwaco Harbour Village: two by Time Enough Books, two by the Port Bistro, one by Nautical Brass, and others by the art galleries, all in the curbside plantings.

After all trees were staked and top dressed with more mulch, Kathleen took us to lunch at the Port Bistro, where I had delectable fish tacos…and then the lovely owners treated us to our entrees in thanks for planting two trees for them!

After lunch and a quick change to dry clothes, Allan and I got back to work (no slacking at this time of year) and fertilized with Dr. Earth at the Shelburne Inn where the tulips are showing off in warm colours.

springtime: tulips and bunnies!

Then off to The Planter Box garden center to buy three more large bags of Dr. Earth fertilizer to set us up for tomorrow’s work.  I realized that it makes more sense to stock up than to stop there before each job, although we enjoy the social time, and the visit with shop cat Cassius, and even more lately the little bunnies (“compost makers”, owner Teresa calls them).  The grey one is ever so friendly and each time I visit I have to carry him/her around the store tucked under my chin. And a final stop at Mom’s garden to transplant two roses, replacing them with new ‘Joseph’s Coat’ climbers, which she prefers to pink thornless ‘Zepherine Drouhin’.  Poor Zepherine was banished to “the woods”, which despite her ability to bloom in part shade, I doubt she will enjoy.

(Next day):  WHY must it rain on my day off while my poor neglected garden languishes?  It is all very well to promise myself Sundays off, but if it rains every Sunday….Yes, I do enjoy a day reading and being online, yet my garden is beginning to suffer with its triumvirate of evil weeds: bindweed, horsetail, and creeping buttercup.  I will have to do something in the rain, but it is not a pleasant light rain.  And Stacey was going to help me in the garden today…my first time ever of hiring help….and was going to bring our friend J9’s dog, Sophie, a particular canine favourite of mine. The rain perhaps makes it a better day for Stacey’s dog Jonah (one of three), who can enjoy Sophie’s company; he would not be a good garden helper dog, whereas Sophie is well behaved in the garden.

Sophie and Jonah; Sophie is sitting on some narcissi only because I asked her to “sit”!

Sophie, a good garden dog, is seated in the narcissi patch only because I put her there.  Jonah might be just that little bit too rambunctious in the garden.

Now…out into the damp world…there are weeds to pull and newly flowering plants to admire.

[2012 note:  The Port Bistro is gone, and I still miss it.  Since 2007, we have had one tree per year vandalized up until 2010; in 2012, I’m happy to report that all were left alone.]

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Saturday, 24 March 2007    Volunteering in Rain Gear

Today we needed to acquire my new mobile phone (“Give me a bell on my mobile!” as they say in the UK) but first we had obligated ourselves to plant some sword ferns at the Chinook Sea Resources Fish Hatchery where a wonderful new nature trail is being made.  Ray Millner of The Planter Box has been spearheading this project.  Yesterday evening in a chill driving rain we dug the sword ferns from a private woods where we have permission to occasionally forage, so this morning on went the rain suits and off we drove to the hatchery.  Ray met us at the greenhouse and introduced us to arborist Earl Miller….so delightful to meet a true arborist who is opposed to topping trees. I trimmed the old fern fronds in the relative comfort of the greenhouse while Allan planted them in the prepared bed near the stream.  Does it sound like he does all the hard work?

The hatchery’s trail will be a good walk for birders and plant lovers, and I am especially interested in volunteering now that I know that not all the plants featured on the trail MUST be natives.  A garden of horticultural diversity grips my imagination and my volunteer time.

Why is it that even in a rain suit, moisture wicks up the arms of one’s shirt? Somewhat damp but not disgruntled, we went on to Astoria on the mission to get my new phone (it flips! and takes photos!) and then to the two nurseries we  bypassed yesterday, Lewis and Clark and Brim’s Farm and Garden.  Lewis and Clark has a grand new concrete planter running along the front, but a serious sideways rain gale kept me out of the buying field. At Brim’s a sheltered area thrilled me with a great price on DOUBLE hellebores in pinks and white…and a dark almost black single one called ‘Blue Lady’.  $8.50 for double hellebores? Unheard of but a joyous discovery.

And there were chicks! Chicks all soft and fluffy in the side room of the feed store.  Why is it illegal to have chickens in Ilwaco when in Portland or Seattle, chickens are allowed, and Seattle even has tours of the choicest and prettiest chicken coops? Something must be done… I wanted chickens badly till I learned that after a few years they stop laying and then one supposedly eats them.  Not MY pet chickens!!

After the plant shopping (and a hardware store stop for Allan) we dined at the new Peruvian restaurant, the Andes café.  My goodness, what a feast….a dish of chicken (but not pet chicken) in milk gravy for Allan and for me spicy ceviche which gave me that intoxicating hot food rush.  When we arrived  home, I was so glad to be in the cozy indoors. Then while making a nice hot cuppa tea, I looked out the back window and there was Allan still gardening, planting some ferns under the Salix magnifica. Still in the torrential ceaseless cold rain.  Has he gone mad? Perhaps not, but he has been struck hard by the passionate addiction of gardening.

[8 Feb 2012 note:  Something changed at Sea Resources so we never got involved in further volunteering.  I don’t remember the details.  Lewis and Clark Nursery seems to be permanently closed now, but Brim’s is still there and still has excellent plants.  Just yesterday I got a double file Viburnum and a Cox’s Orange Pippin apple tree there.]

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