Life in Bay Center on Willapa Bay

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

June 21, 2007 – More Trees – Reshape front rock wall – Vegetable garden – Garden Journal entry

Posted by Lietta on June 21, 2007

I haven’t done such a good job of keeping up with my gardening journalling. Good start in 2004, and okay in 2005, and only one entry for 2006. I’ve taken some entries from my Wee Garden website, some entries from my Wonderwander blog and brought them here to this new blog I made to journal about my yard and garden.

Got an early enough start this year on the vegetable garden. Sweetie turned the soil for me early – about March this year. And the weather seemed to warm up by April, so I went ahead and planted my seeds from last year. I had bought multiple packages at bargain price last year in a sell out at a nursery in Grayland. The weather didn’t stay so warm, and while it didn’t freeze either, nothing but the radishes and beets came up. So by June, I’m already disheartened about my vegetable garden this year. 2006 vegetable garden was a bust as the slugs won out eating all the cukes, zukes, and most other of the meager vegetables I planted last year. I’m determined not to grow vegetable plants for the slugs this year!

My neighbor had given me 2 elephant garlic plants two years ago. They came up nicely last summer and are doing well again this year, even though I’ve transplanted them to another part of the garden. My neighbor knows of a house that has been abandoned out in the woods, and he says garlic growing there is plentiful, so he brought me a bucket with several garlic plants (regular size).

Sweetie this year has really taken to some serious reshaping of our front rocked bed. He literally removed boulder size rock wall, dug out the hill of mounded dirt, flattened out the area, hauled dirt away, and carried the rocks back shaping a new wall. He spread some of the dirt at the back of the house, in area I hope to make another small vegetable garden area = full sun – south sun and will be good sun for growing vegetables. However, the dirt is clay through and through, and I didn’t really think the seeds had much of a chance of growing in clay soil.

He screeted off the area, we covered in plastic. He moved bricks alongside the outside walls of the house to help keep the never will go away morning glory vines from springing anew. Then we spread the dirt. I placed the seeds and nothing – nothing has come up. But I really didn’t expect those seeds had much of a chance in clay. Perhaps next year we will be able to get the right kind of enriched soil, compost, and realize my hopes of making that area a place to grow corn, beans and squash. This year it’s a bust – at least in that area.

In line with Sweetie refacing the front rock wall, we closed off the entire section to disinvite guests from using to come to the front door. Previous owners had apparantely mounded up the soil – likely from digging out the soil to create a basement for this house which was post and pier with no basement when it was originally built in 1892. Previous owners must have created a boulder size rock wall to keep the dirt in place. Previous owners bought up the bricks from local high school in South Bend that was demolished to build a new school. With these many bricks, a bricked up basement was added to this house, a brick wall fence built, and with excess bricks, a pathway was laid to create a walkway to the front door. Unfortunately, it was laid on the hill incline with no hand rails and any human trying to walk that brick pathway was destined to take a fall. More so in the wet, slick rain and we get RAIN around here – known for it in the Pacific Northwest.

We have been fortunate that most people know to come to the back door, but there has been an ocassionaly visitor or two who didn’t know better and actually used that treacherous brick walkway to the front door. I waned to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Sweetie removed the bricks, and actually re-used the bricks to create a brick wall which walled off access. I planted one of the new Japanese Weeping Flowering Cherry trees I bought this Spring right in the center of what used to be the brick walkway. And now that Sweetie has resahped the entire front rock wall, it is looking more like a deliberate designed garden bed.

We decided to cut down the rhodedendron that Sweetie had shaped into a tree last year. Even though we had attacked the ivy that had overtaken the rhodie which had grown quite tall over the many years, ivy is unrelenting in reproducing itself! When it has had this long a number of years to grow, the older growth leaves turn round and produce berries, and becomes a whole other living plant, obliterating the original plant. So we cut the rhodie in front down to bare root, giving it one more shot at growing as a rhodie, and we will need to keep it clear of the ivy. Another neighbor thinks it is a lost cause and we should just remove it. But – we’ll see….

Sweetie moved the beautiful orange flowering azalea. I think it is an azalea, tall growing and not close to the ground variety. If I’m wrong, and it is something else, that is fine, but nonetheless it has beautiful orange blossoms and is a real showpiece. I was worried it would not survive the transplant and cautioned Sweetie that he would need a very deep root ball if he was going to dig it out. It did blossom even after the transplant, so perhaps all is well.

I planted the second Japanese Weeping Flower Cherry tree in the front yard. That makes four new trees in the small front yard. Three are the bare root trees we ordered from a membership with National Arbor the first year we moved here. Those bare root trees are doing nicely now in their fourth year growing. They are the heighth of shrubs and it will be a few more years before they actually become trees, and like all those other folks who make the mistake of planting too closely together, I think I have done likewise despite my plans to ensure they were planted with their mature size in mind.

Since the vegetable garden isn’t going anywhere this year, I picked up some starter vegetable plants at the garden center of our one and only department store in the area in Raymond. Oh, I am too hard on myself. Ooops, the corn and bush beans that I planted are coming up, along with the beets and the radish did quite nicely. But then radish usually does for just about everyone. I planted some starter zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, one pumpkin. I put in more seeds for pumpkins, acorn squash and if those come up or even some of those seeds come up, then good for us.

This year, the strawberry plants have multiplied themselves plentifully, so my four original plants have become many now. I realized when I planted them that the place I was planting them would become too confined it they did multiply and that I would have to transplant and move them when that time came. This was the year of that time, so I moved them into a larger bed with more hours of sunlight. Some won’t survive the move, but others are showing that they will be okay. The berries are turning red now that they are getting more sunlight. I moved them to where the iris bed has been, and the iris have done right nicely with so many blooms this year. I needed to thin the iris anyway, and needed the bed they were in, so I am still trying to decide where to move the iris, which I already pulled up and are laying out under the tree in the shade waiting for me to find them a home. It’s been too many days since I dug them up, so I will likely lose many once I do get them planted again.

In front flower bed under the bank of windows, I planted three heathers and two azaleas this year. The three rose bushes from previous years are not doing so well, and one has seemed to die again – same spot as the one before it. Bad spot for rose bush. I have decided I have approached this bed all wrong. What I need is some low growing but bushy type specimens that will grow about halfway up and provide covering for the concreted part of the basement that shows there. Either in the fall or early next year, I will move all those plants, rose bushes too, and plant something else in that bed. I have some dahlia bulbs to plant this year.

Speaking of rose bushes, the three in the back yard aren’t doing so well this year either. I had planted a package of seeds – money tree plants – there and those didn’t grow up last year when I planted them but did this year – big time! So I will have some money tree plants that I can dry and use for flower arrangements – that will be fun. But the roses they have grown up around are struggling this year and I don’t know if there is a correlation.

That about wraps it up for so far in 2007 season, but is only June, and the season is far from over. One of my intended projects for this year is to place a red lava rock walkway from the front door to the road as the new inviting walkway for guests to come to the front door. I will need to buy the lava rock. I need also much more enriched soil, and I want actually compost this year to amend the soil in the vegetable garden. I want hay this year to cover the garden through the winter months and keep down the weeds. I want an electric roto-tiller so that even I can turn the soil and till the garden come next spring.

I’m still thinking that I want to extend or have more vegetable garden beds, but I think we might do the raised beds approach, in which case that can be added along the way anytime in the years ahead.

And lastly, while I’m feeling like I have not been attentive to my yard and garden, all of May (Mother’s Day month) was about being gone – trip to Spokane forBloomsday Marathon where my oldest daughter ran/walked; trip to Hawaii to visit my younger daughter who had a surprise ‘graduation’ that I knew nothing about so they surprised me royally with keeping that a secret and a surprise and being with my six grandchildren (three per daughter) was a delight. Visit to Portland and lunch and zoo with my son and most of May 2007 was spent in the most delightful mothers day month!

Return home and attending to our dog, Jake, who popped his acl (anterior cruciate ligament) so was reduced to three legs. The vet performed surgery to repair and I have to say I was startled by how invasive a surgery it was – poor dog’s entire leg was cut open. Jake was biting out the stitches before he even left the vet, so vet put in stainless steel stitches and even then Jake was still trying to bite out the stitches. So we’ve been watching him 24/7 for almost two weeks now, not letting him out of our sight. He’s healing up right nicely. Started using the leg on the second day home – still hopping mostly, but found he could use the leg. Now almost two weeks later, he is using the leg quite regularly and even running on it. We’ve bonded even more this past two weeks and become even greater companions, but he is happy to be back outside, running about, watching over his territory. He prefers outside to inside, so this has been difficult on him to be inside next to me (us when Sweetie is home).

Weather has not been very conducive either, more the one day a week of sun, with the rest of the week overcast, some mild winds, some rain and nothing like last spring. Well summer is in a few days, so perhaps we’ll get some ‘summer’ type weather then.


One Response to “June 21, 2007 – More Trees – Reshape front rock wall – Vegetable garden – Garden Journal entry”

  1. Lizard Princess said

    Do you ever get hail over there? We just got pummeled with it this week (I’m in Wisconsin, BTW). Fortunately, I don’t have much of a garden- just rhubarb and that’s been harvested already. Other plants I have are close enough to the house that they didn’t sustain much damage.

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