Posts Tagged ‘garden’

September 13, 1987 seems so short ago.

Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

September 13, 1987

Thirty-six years ago today

Nyel and I were married

At Croquet.

Gordon was my Bridesmaid,

Roy was Best Man.

Joel Penoyar did the honors

Much to Willard’s chagrin!

Wedding Picture by Kati Downer

It was a surprise to everyone

Except to my son Charlie

My mother had the vapors

Dad had another drink.

I gave Michelle my bouquet

And she took it to class for sharing,

Proceeds?  To Water Music that year.

It was the best wedding ever!

Wedding Pillow from The Franks

A Surprise Gift from Farmer Nyel!

Friday, September 1st, 2023

Where’s my berry bucket?

I asked the Garden Girls if they’d keep an eye out for blackberries.  They like to hide themselves (the blackberries, not the Garden Girls) among the rhododendrons and other shrubberies and then come twining forth about this time of year. If they aren’t nipped in the bud (or more likely in the berry) they’ll soon be out of control.

But it wasn’t only blackberries that were discovered.  And not among the rhododendrons, either.  “You have quite a crop of potatoes,” they said.  “We’re not sure what kind they are — they might be the red ones.”

One Potato, Two Potato…

And, sure enough, back behind the little tool shed, nestled among the tubs of York Roses… potato plants a-plenty!  And in bloom, too.  They are quite a way away from Nyel’s old kitchen garden but close enough that I’m sure that’s where they came from.  I couldn’t be more pleased!

As a matter of fact, I’ve been hungry for potatoes lately, but every time I think of them, I’m at Jack’s and I have my choice — a gazillion-pound bag of russets or a by-the-each baking potato that would easily accommodate a family of four.  Once I mentioned it to Mark Bolden who was working in that area and he handily slashed open a bag of russets and said, “Take however many you want.”  But I haven’t had such an opportunity lately.

So, thank you, Farmer Nyel!  It’s been at least three years since you planted even a postage stamp garden, but the bounty lingers on.  I wish I could tell you in person.  I’d give anything to see that smile of pleasure.  You can be sure, it’s reciprocated many fold!

And, if you were here, I’d probably launch into the Josef Marais song, “Pity the Poor Patat.”  Do you remember it?  It begins:

The tree he has a bark,

A bark that’s thick or thin.

Pity the poor patat,

He’s only got a skin.

But it’s the last verse that’s best.  I hope readers will look it up and realize the depths of my gratitude to my ever-thoughtful Farmer Nyel!

At long last! It’s Dahlia Season in Oysterville!

Tuesday, August 29th, 2023

White and Spikey

It’s been a weird year garden-wise here at my place.  Almost all the flowers came late and began to fade away almost as soon as they had time to say “hello.”  At first I thought it was because summer took its time to arrive and then gave us too much wind and very little rain but my friends say it’s been “a great summer” and look at me as if I’ve been on another planet.

Perfect in Pink!

I guess it’s one of those eye-of-the-beholder things and my garden and I have mostly been beholding mole hills and bird nests.  But, now the dahlias have come out in full force and I am in my usual quandary — to pick or not to pick.  I so love seeing them brightening the garden that I hesitate to approach with my snippety-snips.

On the other hand… there’s nothing like bringing a bit of the outside in!  I do so enjoy seeing their stately blossoms and gorgeous colors as I move around the house throughout the day.  They make me think of my father — he always had dahlias, every place we lived, and usually had “a cutting garden” so he could leave the decorative bedding plants alone.  He often spoke of his mother’s dahlia garden in Boston when he was a boy and how she would stop at homes of perfect strangers to ask for bulbs.

Color, Color Everywhere!

I’m not even close to being that cheeky — and, thanks to my friend Patricia, I don’t need to be.  Her Long Beach garden is a dahlia lover’s Paradise and she is generous about sharing.  In fact, I wonder how many of my current plants came from her,  And, come to think of it, some of hers originally came from here many years back.  (My dad and Nana would be proud!)

All of A Sudden!

Monday, June 12th, 2023

York Roses

I’m sure it was just yesterday — but maybe the day before —  that I looked out our bedroom window at the tubs of York Roses and there wasn’t a blossom to be seen.  It’s been that kind of a Spring, all the way around.

But today I looked and there they were, almost bursting at their seams or whatever the equivalent of seams are for roses.  AND, I was amazed to find that they are right on schedule.   I looked back in my past blogs and saw that on June 16, 2012 I wrote:
This year the roses are finally back in full force.  They are blossoming like crazy in their tubs, their distinctive red, white, and variegated blossoms brightening our gray June days.  Three cheers and pip pip!

Dorothy Perkins Rosebuds

Apparently, my concern had been our losing battle with the Deer People.  But then I had discovered “Liquid Fence” which smells REALLY bad (but fortunately only for a few minutes to humans and more like two weeks to the deer and rabbit folks) and allows roses and hydrangeas and camelias and geraniums to flourish.

Nyel’s Peony Buds

This year my concern was just the lateness of things.  As in will we have any roses to put up at the cemetery when Charlie and Marta come and we take Nyel’s ashes up to tuck him into his place for eternity.  Traditionally — or at least for my mother and father — we took the Dorothy Perkins roses with us.  But those buds are hardly visible right now.

We  have a couple of weeks yet … and the peonies are still coming on!  Wouldn’t they be perfect?!


“That old lady in Oysterville…”

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

Along Our Northern Border

In the great scheme of things, or at least in the world of tourism on the Peninsula, I am thankful that seven ayem is pretty early in the day.  There usually isn’t much activity over at the church or in the road in front of our house.  At least, I hope not.

The rhododendrons along most of the south, east and west garden borders are now so large that I am unaware of folks who might be walking along the lane toward the bay or stopping along their way to take pictures.  And so it is that I am often out walking the garden perimeter and having a righteous conversation with my beautiful co-residents, happily under the illusion that no one but the flowers can hear me!

Mother Lilac and Jean Marues by the east Oircg

This morning I apologized profusely to the camellias for neglecting them a few weeks back, somehow forgetting to spray them with Deer and Rabbit Fence, the surest protection I know of against our voracious local ungulates.  Sadly, therefore, from knees to bellies (theirs) they have been chomped and chewed to an unsightly, extremely un-camellia-like display of shorn leaves.  “I’m so sorry!” I said over and over.  “But you’re doing a great job at recovery!  You’ll soon look good as new!”

And then there are the lilacs — back again for the umpty-umpth year and nearby their “babies” that Nyel had dug up and planted hither and thither beginning to bloom for the first time!    “How I wish Nyel could see you,” I said.  “He would be so proud of you!”

Mrs. G.W. Leal! A force to be reckoned with!

Then there are the overwhelming Mrs. G.W. Leaks who must be over thirty feet tall now:  “OMG, Mrs. Leak!  You have outdone yourselves this year!  You are beyond gorgeous!  Thank you so much!”

And on I went… It wasn’t until well after I came indoors that I wondered if there were listeners — perhaps dog-walkers and their four-legged companionswondering who the old nit-wit is that wanders the garden praising and scolding and carrying on, apparently all by herself.  Oh well!  I know the flowers love our morning conversations — they show me their appreciation every single day!  Bless them for making the world seem so simple — at least within my garden fence.

Degree by Degree — Spring is on her way!

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

I can’t remember when I last looked at the outdoor thermometer but it wasn’t all that long ago.  It said 44º and it felt like 20 below.  I know I shouldn’t complain (and I don’t think I did) but this morning at 6:30 a.m. I looked and it was 50º!!  WOOT!  WOOT!

Not that I went outside and sat in my lounge chair, you understand.  It was, after all, raining.  But, the daffodils were looking daffy and the primroses were acting prim and I could tell they could feel Spring right in their very bones (read: roots and stems.)

On the other hand, the camellias are still totally confused.  It is three months beyond their usual blooming time and still they are bursting forth.  And after forth, they burst all over the ground below!  Colorful, but not quite what our bargain was to begin with.

Right now at 5:15 p.m. the outdoor temperature is 51º — down 4º from when I looked at noon.  So basically, we’ve had a day in the 50s!  Amazing!  And never mind that I won’t really feel like gamboling and cavorting outside until it’s 20º or 25º warmer.  We are on our way!  Though my friend Ardell says we’re in for some colder nights soon.  She knows those things because she’s a cranberry grower and now that the flowers are budding out, everyone in the cranberry biz is on high alert.  It’s easier these days than it was a few generations ago, though.  Those sprinklers are automated and go on when the temps get below a certain point — did she say 46º at this time of year?

Sounds like a great idea to me — but the water would have to be steamy  for this hot-house-flower to be completely happy.  And for once, I can’t blame old age.  I’ve always been cold-blooded.  So come on Springtime!  Crank up those sunbeams and aim them at Oysterville!  I am ready for the Warm Times to arrive!

On being as brave as the daffodils…

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

They’re a hearty bunch, those daffodils.  Never mind that the weather has kept most of us two-legged folks indoors if given a choice.  Those stalwart harbingers of Spring are right on time, poking up through the soggy soil and winter blow-down everywhere I look! And not even bundled up in winter togs.

The camellias, though… not so much.  We have two camellia bushes — one in her thirties and one in her sixties.  The elder of the two began blooming in December last year; the other one, a month or so later.  December was way early, so I didn’t expect a repeat performance this year.

Evidence of a Visit by the Deer People

But, even though plentiful,  the camellia buds are still small and tight.  Traditionally, my mother gave me a bouquet of “the first camellia blossoms of the year” on my birthday, February 28th, and I “measure” our progress toward Spring by those memories.  This year, I’d say we have quite some time to wait.

But, in my walk-about yesterday, I noticed that the Deer People haven’t been waiting.  When those lovely camellia blossoms do decide to burst forth, they will be surrounded by raggedy-taggedy leaves.  Those pesky deer have made certain of that.  And as for the York Roses which have been stripped bare of any visible life… I’m counting on their usual hardiness to bring them back by summer.

York Roses? We can but hope.

I guess I should have been more diligent with the applications of “Deer Fence” but, somehow, the weather outside plus the coziness inside equalled inertia for Sydney-the-Recalcitrant-Gardener. I console myself that the Deer People had some tasty treats.   And I’m ever-hopeful that those daffodils will inspire me to get outside and do a little bit of Spring Welcome for the other garden denizens — the stationary ones, not the four-legged visitors. (Or the slithery ones, either, for that matter!)


Remembering what Ratty said…

Saturday, September 17th, 2022

“Believe me my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats,” said Ratty to Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s classic 1908 novel The Wind in the Willows.

Oh how I wish Mole had listened and had spread the word to all his kith and kin years ago.  Then, perhaps, I wouldn’t be traveling, once again, in this Land of Lament that is my otherwise marvelous looking lawn.  Perhaps the Mole People would have messed about right on out to sea.  After all, Mole never did go back underground.  He liked it along the riverbank with Rat and there he stayed.  It could as well have been the banks of Willapa Bay… and beyond.

In Our SE Corner

I’m not sure where, exactly, the Mole People  have been all Spring and Summer.  But now, all of a sudden, I know exactly where they are.  At least some of them.  Right in the southeast corner of our garden.  To be fair, it’s probably the best place they could have chosen — mostly out-of-the-way and not immediately apparent.  But still…   And, I do know that all those mole hills are probably the work of one Mr. Mole.  Only one.  Which gives me a Case of the Dreads.  What will tomorrow bring?  Or more specifically, how many more moles and where?


And in my garden — a merry minuet!!

Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

Dying Daisies

Do you remember the Kingston Trio’s song, “The Merry Minuet” — better known as  “They’re rioting in Africa,” the first line of the song’s lyrics?  I can’t get the tune out of my head this summer, but the words in my head have nothing to do with the status of our world.  They’re rioting in Africa, They’re starving in Spain, There’s hurricanes in Florida, And Texas needs rain.

No,  In fact the words in my head are totally unclear and the tune drowns out my real world only when I’m in my garden.  I think it has something to do with the status of my flowers.  The dahlias have finally bloomed, but some of them have turned dwarf-like — not their normal height at all.  And the daisies came all at once, grew taller than ever and are already dying by the dozens.  They’re blooming in Seaview, But not the North End… 

Stunted Dahlias

The lilies, bless them, are finally thinking about blooming.  I believe they are late this year, though the entire garden is so off on its own rant that I’m no longer sure what to expect… or  when.  And those nasturtiums that Ann Gaddy gave me a month or so ago — still there, still looking healthy, still not giving the appearance of growing.  They can’t hold their heads up, Their stems bow and bend.

So is it the weather — the wicked Climate Change?  Is it the pollinators — or more correctly, the lack of same?  Or is it my increasingly faulty memory — as in perhaps it has always been thus?  They’re still making roundup, and killing the bugs,

One thing for sure… I need not stress over the final lines. They can stay pretty much as they are:  What nature doesn’t do to us, Will be done by our fellow thugs.

Finally! Spring AND Summer Have Arrived!

Friday, July 15th, 2022

Spring & Summer 2022 in Oysterville!

It’s not often that two seasons arrive at the same time, but I truly think that Spring waited this year until she was certain that Summer was underway.  Finally, the pollinators are arriving — too late for our Jean Marie rhododendrons in May but I’m relieved to see them here, no matter what we missed out on earlier.

Yes, the bees and mosquitoes are finally putting in an appearance.  Flies (and even a moth) lurk around waiting for chances to sneak into the house. Our hummingbird feeder is beginning to attract a few more hummers.  A pesky ant or two and a gang of slugs have been seen prowling around the garden beds…  Yes, Spring has definitely arrived!

A Profusion of Dorothy Perkins Roses, 2022

And so has Summer.  The Dorothy Perkins roses on the west fence have never been prettier — and that on the good authority of my neighbor Carol Wachsmuth!  The Shasta Daisies are profusing all over the place and I suddenly realized that I’d forgotten all about planting nasturtiums this year.  That’s what happens when Spring doesn’t come nudging at my toes in March and April!  I wonder if it’s too late?

I guess the one positive occurrence in galloping right from winter into summer is that we skipped the Spring Fever part.  And (some of us)) the Spring Cleaning part.  But it’s going to make summer seem all the shorter, I’m afraid.  I’m determined to get up early and stay up late to take advantage of every glorious hour and vista!  Hope to see you on the trails and byways revelling in the glorious bounty of two seasons in one!