Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Black Walnut Pruning

I had actually hoped to remove the black walnut tree. The leaves and fruit are a huge mess and dye everything black as they decompose. The tree branches were so dense that the rain garden next to the driveway was in deep shade all day long. I think all the deciduous plants we'd planted there have died from lack of sun. The ferns have survived mostly.

The huge tree is crammed between the houses and last winter it dropped branches on our roof. They were not super large, but it did have me worried about the possible damage to the house should it drop one of the bigger branches.

However, in the last few years, Portland passed a law that prevents homeowners from removing trees on their private property if the trunk is more than 20" wide. The black walnut is 30" wide.

It is possible I could have found an arborist that would take our side about the danger to the structures and write a letter for us to submit to the city to get permission, but every attempt would cost hundreds of dollars, so we just had the stupid tree pruned back as much as possible. (They also have laws about how much you can prune trees. LOL)

I didn't think to take before photos yesterday before the tree guys came to do the pruning, but I did find a couple of decent shots from last month. I took the comparison shots this morning.
I'm pretty sure the guy crawling around in the branches was part monkey.
Same shot, zoomed out.
The company, should anyone local wish to use them, was Harrity Tree Specialists. They did a nice job working around the structures and they didn't do any major damage to the stuff under the tree as they dropped branches to the ground. (Later amendment. I think they dropped a branch on the fence. The gate will no longer close and there's a large gap between the boards now. Sigh.)

The rain garden is finally getting some sun again. We shall see next spring if the bleeding heart has died; I hope not.

Now, assuming the weather cooperates, Jeff and Aaron will spend a couple of days spreading the pile of mulch they left in our driveway, fixing the broken fence post and digging in soil amendments in that planting bed, then we'll be able to plant the two pawpaw trees and all the rest of the hosta.

Friday, September 13, 2019


Sigh. Another ugly Portland installation. The city doesn't even notify you it's going to happen; they just show up and put it in.
I'm definitely going to plant a vine on it next spring.

I also wanted to remove the massive black walnut tree between the houses in the side yard. It is way too big for the location and tends to drop branches on the roof, but apparently, Portland won't let owners remove trees on their private property once they are more than 20" across. So we are stuck dealing with his huge tree and paying $1500 pruning bills every five years or so.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Planting Started

After four days of rain and thunderstorms, today the weather was pleasantly cloudy and dry. It was still too damp to resume painting the shed, but it did give Jeff and Aaron a chance to resume work on the Hidden Garden. They finished setting the stepping stones in sand. It's a pretty informal path as we just used whatever pavers/stones we had leftover in piles.

They also put in the pad for the bench. We had this chunk of urbanite hanging out in the driveway and it proved to be the perfect size for the bench.
We have realized we're going to have to paint the bench a darker color because there are always little muddy footprints on the white stain. Bailey is quite the little jumper.

Then they finished amending the soil with many bags of cow manure and double-digging most of the planting beds. Jeff also dug in the crimson clover so it would serve as green manure.

We managed to get the most critical plants in the ground (i.e. bareroot bulbs), but it was a long day and we were tired so we called it quits before all the plants made it into the ground. Hopefully, the weather will still be nice enough tomorrow to finish.
I had worried I'd oversubscribed the space with plants, but once we laid them out on the ground, there is an awful lot of empty space.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

It Rained :(

Jeff and Aaron managed to fill all the nail holes and do more priming on Friday. I painted the first coat of paint on the door.
Since it started raining on Saturday, we didn't get to start putting the paint on. Instead, we did a bit of garage organizing.

I managed to clear off the big workbench and sanded off all the marks and sealed it with two coats of the Daly's Seafin' Ship'N Shore leftover from the planting table.
I've spent several hours now sifting misc. boxes into the large sterilite tubs and the piles of loose stuff are diminishing. Here is how the garage looks at the end of day today.
We obviously still have a lot of work ahead of us. LOL

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Painting Weather

The weather has finally cooled off and we have several days of weather with low risk of rain in the forecast so today—finally—we got to work on priming the garden shed. Once Aaron arrived to help Jeff, I wandered off to my own painting project.
I think unless we get rain, we'll be able to finish painting this by the end of the weekend.

I nearly finished up painting the galvanized iron patio furniture. Jeff wanted more copper on it, so I painted all the cornucopias in the copper paint. I need to do a bit of touch up with green paint, but I'm quite happy with how it looks.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Planting Table Set Up

I've finished sealing the planting table and I'm quite happy how it turned out.

In June, Jeff bought me some Daly's Seafin' Ship'N Shore, a fairly expensive sealer, for the picnic table. But then we bought the can of Olympic Rescue It!  Since we had not returned the can of sealer, I decided to try it on the planting table.
I only sealed the horizontal surfaces.
I sprayed a bit of water on the table yesterday and it beaded on the surface.
While it was so hot in Portland yesterday we worked on clearing out the spot for it in the basement. Aaron and Jeff moved it into the basement this morning. I spent the morning moving in. I'm excited to start using it for seed starting.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Bareroot Hostas

I've never had hostas before, but I constantly see them in photos of shade gardens and when I learned they survive fine under black walnuts I decided I should probably add them to our plant shopping list.

A couple of weeks ago when I was working on my plant layout for the hidden garden I ran across this deal: Hosta Bumper Crop Mix (10) for $10 plus shipping. Having learned from my past experience with fraudulent online sellers, before I considered ordering I looked them up on Dave's Garden and they had acceptable reviews. I don't expect every company to be perfect, but I do expect them to fix their mistakes.

Anyway, I ended up spending $28 on 20 bareroot hostas. Since most of the hostas I see at nurseries are at least $6, I figured if at least 5 of them lived I'd be ahead. LOL  They arrived a couple of days after I ordered them.
They were packed in bags with moist sawdust which still had some moisture when they arrived.
They looked healthy enough. At least they looked alive.

One thing I did badly when I ordered is I forgot to consider my pot situation. I was almost out of gallon pots. So, when these came, I had to cram most of them into deep 4" pots, which some of them clearly didn't like.
Over the past week it was obvious which weren't going to make it in the little pots and we've put those in the ground and they're doing well now. (I'm not including photos of all of the hosta in the ground.)
And the rest in the pots, only about 10 days after I planted them.
I don't know my hosta varieties, but it does look like I only got two different kinds. It would have been nice to have more variety, but if you don't care what kind you get, this particular deal was a great bargain.

Update later: Got them all in gallon pots and it looks like there might be 3 varieties. I hope to get all these in the ground in September, once we have the black walnut tree pruned.