Life in Bay Center on Willapa Bay

Living in a maritime fishing village in Southwest Washington state on Willapa Bay

June 1, 2005 – Vegetable garden, Flower garden – Garden Journal entry

Posted by pallix on June 21, 2007

June 1, 2005

Where did I leave off in the journal. The vegetable garden seeds are up now and I’m getting a preview of what will grow and what won’t and it looks like the birds have been feasting on some of the seeds, particularly the sunflowers. Only one plant is showing of the 2 packages of sunflower seeds I planted. The lima beans showed plants but they are gone now as something ate them?

Corn is growing, Snap Peas are growing before my eyes, beans are growing, lettuce is up, and radishes are growing. Something is eating the radishes though. Carrots are making a showing and turnips are abundant and I’m not sure how to thin those properly. I transplanted the beets and they seem to be taking hold. The zucchini are popping up and the cucumbers, but a week later it seems something ate those too. No way will the tomato plants have enough growing time at the rate they are appearing. And the green peppers are not showing at all.

It’s off to the nursery then to get starter vegetables for the tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and whatever else piques my interest. My favorite close by nursery is only open in late May through June, so I need to do this within that window of time and create space in our budget to do it.

The Public Market we have here used to be open by April with lots of available plants throughout the season. But they haven’t opened yet this year, cutback in volunteer help seems to be causing shortage problems and less open for business time. I have enjoyed picking up the plants here and there at the Public Market as fillers, but this year it looks like I’m on my own since they aren’t open.

There are very limited places I can go in my area for plants, very limited to 3 places with just a minimum of choices. There are only 2 nurseries within close enough range and both are Mom and Pop kind of operations, with one being very good and the other rather careless. So I need to get my once a year visit into the very good local nursery. There are several nurseries in neighboring towns, but that is some 50 miles away in any direction.

Okay, so I’ve learned some names of plants I need to record here. The wild fushia bush is actually called Fuschia Tree which I learned after lengthy research on internet, as it wasn’t easy to find or learn about this one. The ‘weed’ that volunteers wherever it wants to around the yard and beds is called ‘creeping buttercup’ of the rananculus family. While some people might want to cultivate this one, I don’t as it has it’s creeping way and is invasive and I cannot get rid of it, at best can attempt to contain it.

I had transplanted a plant that was amongst other weeds as it did not appear to me to be a weed. Turns out it isn’t and has sprouted delicate pinkish flowers and it is a ‘Dwarf Blazing Star’ or Liateris family. I learned this on a visit to my daughter’s home in Spokane where we visited Manito Park which has many varieties of gardens. In their butterfly garden I found my plant exactly and wrote down the name as they have the plants labeled. Interesting that in the butterfly garden is also the creeping buttercup and I have no clue how they keep that contained.

An apparant weed was growing at the corner of the iris bed, and I chose to leave it to see what it would develop into as it did not appear to me that it was a weed. Turns out it isn’t and for me, a much desired ‘foxglove’ plant which is flowering now. My mother paid a visit and informed me that one of my varieties of lavender is not lavender but artemis. I spent hours looking that one up on the internet because it was labelled lavender when I bought it. I could find no match of it in artemis. Later my mother remembered that she has same plant in her yard and it is Santolina or lavender cotton. Yes, that is what I have and I knew it was lavender in the lavender family. A moment of confusion. My mother is fairly knowledgeable about plants and gardening, so I am inclined to trust her opinion, but with some reservation as she has been wrong on other plants, like my beloved Harry Lauder Walking Stick which she thought was a sick and dying tree.

Now the Monkey Puzzle Tree is dying, or dead already and I cannot convince my husband that it has died. So it stands tall, towering above all else around here, in it’s brown state glory.

My mother correctly identified my yellow flowering prickly tree as barberry. Since it is small tree size, and meant to be a bush, it has been growing a while. It’s been loose at the root for the 2nd year and more loose this year. My husband has wanted to pull it as it is impractical to mow around in that small area. I don’t want it pulled as I adore the yellow blossoms it puts out. But, in discussing what kind of tree it is with my parents, my husband yanked it out. Gone.

I researched it on the internet only to learn that it is a very medicinal tree with it’s yellow root and trunk, it’s berries and blossoms. I learned also that it is among the endangered species now as there was Government program in place to eradicate these due to some fungus that transmitted to wheat, corn, and other such crops. Seems it wasn’t boding well for farmers.

After I explained to him what it was, and it was not easily found, easily planted and not a lot known about how to plant, cultivate and an endangered species, we went outside and immediately tried to replant it. Well, not much hope of it living after being yanked from it’s roots and sitting out of the ground for a day, but hopeful some new rootings may take beneath for possibly another new tree. As near as I can tell it is a Berberis pinnata pinnata or Coast Barberry. And if it is not exactly that then it is very close to being that, but it clearly is of the Berberidacea (Barberry Family). I will post more about it on the page titled Trees.

On her return trip back to her home, my mother stopped by again and brought me a much desired sedum, Autumn Joy, which I look forward to putting in the rock garden area. She phoned me to ask what I wanted as they planned to stop at a very huge nursery at Seaside. I said I wanted a witchhazel tree and sedum, Autumn Joy. She said they have witchhazel trees there but would not fit into her car, so settled for the Autumn Joy. I am most content with that and after I learned the price for the witchhazel tree, I would have been most nervous about it as it would have meant pressure on me to keep it alive and thriving so as not to be out the spendy price.

The three rosebushes that I planted last season are making a lovely showing this year and amongst those three, I had chosen a yellow peace rose which has produced 2 of the most beautiful blooms this year. I am amazingly humbled and awed and most pleased with this one. One is going to be a fairly typical climbing rose with small pink roses and the other one hasn’t shown it’s buds or roses yet, so it’s still a surprise. The coffee grounds I save from the kitchen to put around the roses seems to be working?! I bought 3 more rose bushes this year, that will still need to be planted. And I still need to find permanent homes for the Forsythia bush my mother bought for me, the lacey leaf Japanese maple (not dwarf) that I bought last season, and now 3 more rose bushes.

Meantime, I’m waiting for the flower seeds to sprout and make a showing in my ‘new flower garden’ spot after we seriously trimmed back the camelia. Tiny sprouts are showing, but it’s mighty slow there and I’m not so sure they are going to thrive enough to grow and bloom. The calendula (yellow)flowers returned and are huge this year, and pollinating themselves adding additional plants so this clump is becoming larger and larger and it’s picturesque where it is but overshadowing the small hydrangea bush I placed beside them. The gladiolas I planted last year are making a return this year which for some reason I didn’t expect, so that’s a nice surprise. And one bed of iris made splendid showing this year while the other bed of iris produced but no flowers.

All the rhodies except one bloomed well this year after the serious pruning of 2 years ago. Back porch area has 4 rhodies with colors; red, lavender, pink and deeper pink. Back yard by the brick wall has 2 rhodies (spindly) colors; lavender pinkish and white. The white got one bloom this year. Front yard garden has one main huge rhodie which we have pruned into tree shape with deep pink blooms. There are offshoots trying to grow, but we are keeping them trimmed down so that there is one central trunk. This year we heavily went after the ivy that has grown up around the rhodie forming twisted small trunks now which oddly adds an architectural touch and is not unflattering. However, the ivy cannot be permitted to have it’s way on the rhody so we worked it over this year.

I have ‘spent’ carefully and ‘frugally’ this year, investing in perennials instead of a lot of annuals. So this year I have acquired;

eunomynus (creeping) 2 plants, goldbar and traditional green.

— 2 more tiny lavender varieties for the new herb garden

pachysandra, which I planted as ground cover starter beneath the 3 rhodies at back porch

— several ranunculus flowers, but not sure that they will make it for next season. They bloomed nicely, now are died down and it looks like something ate the tops off of 3 or 4 of them.

— gift of the Forsythia bush from my mother

3 more rose bushes

— 3 CalaLillies, 2 yellow and 1 lavender color

— gift of the sedum, Autumn Joy from my mother, who by the way, her name is Joy.

— volunteer Dwarf Blazing Star plant

— volunteer Foxglove plant

— replacement vegetable plants, cucumber, corn, green pepper, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, Basil (woo hoo as I have had basil many times and killed it off every time, learned it doesn’t do well in cold and doesn’t winter well outside).

— surprise, surprise, I had placed the trimmed limbs from the Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree into one of the flower beds to keep the dog and cat out and they are seemingly rooting! That is not supposed to happen according to what I have read about this bush/tree which usually has to be grafted to propagate. The one limb that I did prepare by layering and I thought had ‘taken’ turns out not to have taken but just changed direction and continued to grow as one limb. I was trying to propagate for my mother, but happily, she took one of the ‘not supposed to root this way’ limbs home with her and we’ll see what happens! If it takes and works, welllll, I may be onto something! No cost either


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