Filling Holes

The new Cherry tree in the Azalea garden. It blooms a very pretty pink. 


Monday posts always remind me of going back to school and writing the “What I did on my summer vacation” essay. Right? That little ritual of remembering and sharing. . . and each Monday I face this blog and think, “What DID I do this weekend?”

Usually, whatever it is I’m doing, I forget to bring the camera along. But today there are a few photos of my finished work. We’ve had astounding weather (perfection for the opening day of the Astoria Sunday Market) and we spent the majority of time working in the yard. 

I attempted to pull grass out of the azalea beds. No easy task, friends. Grass, while I can never get it grow like it should in my lawn, thrives where it is unwanted! And removing it is a beastly job. I wish I had some clever trick to tell you how to do it best, but honestly, it’s just hard labor. Lots and lots of pulling.

We also removed a dying azalea from the garden. I say, we, because I supervised. IZ decided it left too much of hole in the front planter, so we went in search of the perfect replacement. It’s not an easy task, when the other plants in the garden are so well established. Most azaleas sold in these parts are in small gallon containers, and it will be an easy 5-10 years before they mature to the size of the rest of the stand. So, we opted to put in something different.

Besides, does the Pacific Northwest need ONE more azalea bush? I don’t think so.


Oops… I under estimated the amount of mulch I needed. Back to the garden center for me. 


We found our way to  Dennis’7Dees in Seaside and put our questions to their in house arborist, Aaron. If I do have a handy tip, it’s “talk to an arborist.” Truthfully, I see too many people putting plants in their yards with no real thought to what that plant will be come in 5-10 years. We’re repairing a retaining wall because the former owners planted a deeply rooting mock-orange in the wrong place and the root system did a number on the wall. 

It seems a bit self-explanatory, except that garden centers and nurseries are beguiling. It’s so easy to get swept away and fall in love with the most beautiful of plants only to find you have no plan when you get home. I’ve done it more times than I can count! But mis-planting something is a mistake that can be costly. So, finding a trained professional, who knows what that adorable little tree is going to look like when it’s all grown up, is a good idea. And as Aaron pointed out, “Our information is free!”— good garden centers are happy to help you make the right choice and dig you out of any jam you might find yourself in. 

We had a pretty specific list of qualifications as well. We wanted something that flowers, preferably a tree. We needed it to not get too tall or have a huge root system. Oh, and it really needed to be pink. Not an easy list to fulfill. 

Fortunately, Aaron had just the right tree. And then I think he braced himself for our inevitable sticker-shock. But, the right plant for this space is crucial. Replacing a retaining wall is much more expensive reality. And besides, “It would make a lovely 22nd Anniversary gift,” I suggested.

And so it did. It’s a bit early. We celebrate 22 years in a month, but perfection doesn’t wait. And holes need to be filled. 


12 Responses to Filling Holes

  • IZ says:

    Whew! That was quite a bit of work. I do think it looks so much better. And you’re right – that’s a great tip – talk to an arborist *before* planting said “little” potted friend. I was shocked to learn about how big and downright invasive some of those species can be. I would also add the following: Just because Lowes and Home Depot sell plants – it doesn’t make them a nursery with staff that know what they are talking about. ALSO, just because Lowes and Home Depot are selling a plant it doesn’t mean those plants will actually survive in your climate… Aaron was stellar and Dennis’7Dees is a new favorite place…

    • Wende says:

      Those are good reminders. I’m always tempted by the jasmine plants, though I know they won’t grow here. I just MISS that smells so much, it’s hard to walk past them. It’s frustrating that the big boxes sell plants that won’t thrive in your climate. I think that’s what I like about independent nurseries, they tend to be responsible about what they offer.

  • Xiane says:

    Great observations about researching before planting! I can’t wait to see the new cherry tree in bloom. I wish I’d taken some shots of our bradford pear tree this year, it was gorgeous against the sky while in bloom [and before it threw lovely blossoms all over the sidewalk, where they melded to my shoe soles]
    I love azaleas, but I think the cherry tree will be a lovely addition!
    Oh, and after reading this, I really feel compelled to get in the gardening mode…

    • Wende says:

      I’ll confess, I’m not a huge azalea fan. In fact, IZ thinks I just pretend those plants aren’t out there, because I can’t stand pulling the grass and I’m not a big lover. They’re ubiquitous in the Northwest because they grow so well here. So, what can you do? I’d love big palm trees and prehistoric plants, but… yeah, I don’t live in California. 😀

  • tricia says:

    Wow! Your yard looks like a magazine photo, its beautiful!

    • Wende says:

      Oh, thanks, Tricia! I was lamenting to IZ this morning that my camera doesn’t capture (or I’m not skilled enough with my camera!) landscapes well. I’m sure if you could see the details, well, let’s say I didn’t win this weekend’s grass battle. Hee.

  • Oh my gosh your house is gorgeous! I have always wondered, because of all the pretty photos you take. Thanks for sharing, and such a gorgeous weekend we had too, ay? And congrats on your upcoming anniversary too, that’s fantastic!!!! 🙂

    • Wende says:

      Thank you! I was telling IZ today, the only reason I make it in this windy town is our house. It’s still in transition, but I LOVE it. I don’t think I could survive the weather here if I didn’t like our house.

      This weekend was UNREAL. I can’t believe how nice the weather was out here… it must have been downright balmy in your neck of the woods!

      And thank you for the well wishes… I married a good one! 😀

  • Margaret says:

    Weeding is not my thing, period. However, Cancer Boy isn’t up to it these days. 🙁 I love the tree and it looks beautiful already. I need to get some annuals to plant for color in my beds. They’ll make me happy!

  • Karan says:

    Your yard is gorgeous! Please plan a trip to Olympia and fix ours up exactly like that…but bigger…we have about an acre to fill.

    • Wende says:

      Don’t tempt me. I’m limited by our budget… otherwise, I’d be running amok in the backyard as well. Though, I can’t take total credit for this yard since so much was already here when we moved in. I’ve just “tweaked” it.

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