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Monday, 21 April 2014

We returned to Stephen and John’s glorious garden, which I had last seen with Garden Tour Nancy in September, this time to see the rhododendrons in bloom.  Allan and I were first to arrive at 4:30, soon joined by Garden Tour Nancy and Phil and a bit later by Pam and Kathy from Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart.  Stephen and John are regular shoppers at that excellent little nursery.

As we waited for Pam and Kathy to arrive (who had the longest drive by far and were delivering a Japanese maple), we admired the assorted views from the living room.  I am always a little hesitant to take lots of photos inside a home which is not officially on a home tour, but here are some hints (with permission):

the view, east over Willapa Bay

the view, east over Willapa Bay

two of a large collection of garden books

one of a large collection of garden books

Oh, and look, a book by local writer and daily blogger Sydney Stevens.

more gardening books

more gardening books

window view looking north

window view looking north

and east again

and east again

The garden will be one of seven or eight on the Peninsula Garden Tour, Music in the Gardens, on July 19th.  The musician will probably be sitting on the patio shown above.

This is their favourite bird sculpture...

This is their favourite bird sculpture…

and these were mine.

and this was my favourite.

birds2

And then…Pam and Kathy arrived and we soon walked out in the soft light to tour the garden.  I took copious notes, first on my phone (with many comical results by autospell like a “blow dry” rather than loderi rhododendron) and then scribbled on notecards.  I do hope I will be able to decipher them and get the right plant names on the many photos.

some of my notes!

some of my notes!  I gave up on autospell after ridiculous results

We began west of the parking area by the house.

We began west of the parking area by the house.

Intense fragrance in the air came from a huge rhododendron to the north, the same one we had seen from the north window.  I had no idea that rhododendrons ever had that intoxicating a scent.  Stephen and John’s garden and the property just to the north of it were originally part of Clarke Nursery, and the rhododendron collection goes back many years.  It is a beautiful thing that two knowledgeable rhodo fanciers bought this property.

Rhododendron loderi 'King George'

Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’

king george

The swoonworthy sweet fragrance made it hard to move on!

me, John, and Pam

me, John, and Pam

 

a very prostrate yew from The Planter Box

a very prostrate yew from The Planter Box

 

a Heuchera in bloom, probably 'Snow Angel'?

a Heuchera in bloom, probably ‘Snow Angel’?

bright new leaves on Pieris

bright new leaves on Pieris

frog

looking back toward the house and a striking Japanese maple

looking back toward the house and a striking Acer

and back to King George!

and back to King George!

We then all went round the north side of the house to the bay.  Next door is the former Clarke Nursery home, and its garden will also be on the garden tour.

looking forth from Stephen and John's lawn

looking forth from Stephen and John’s lawn

As we strolled, flocks of birds swooped just above the water of the bay.

flock

flock2

Kathy, John, Pam, Phil, Nancy, Allan, John

Kathy, John, Pam, Phil, Nancy, Allan, John

Everyone focused their attention on Rhododenron 'Shamrock'...blooms on St Patrick's Day (my birthday!)

Everyone focused their attention on Rhododenron ‘Shamrock’…blooms on St Patrick’s Day (my birthday!)

Everyone focused their attention on Rhododenron 'Shamrock'...which had bloomed on St Patrick's Day (my birthday!)

Rhododenron ‘Shamrock’

our native evergreen huckleberry

our native evergreen huckleberry

the east patio

the east patio

John and Stephen have accentuated this lovely native dell.

John and Stephen have accentuated this lovely native dell.

moss and evergreen huckleberry

moss and evergreen huckleberry

Last time we visited, they wondered how to make a good walkway around the south corner of the house.  Over the winter, local landscaper Steve Clarke, whose family once owned this property, built this perfect solution.   I wish I had that sort of hardscaping skill.

the elegant new walkway, easy for wheelbarrows.

the elegant new walkway, easy for wheelbarrows….and discussion of what to plant in that corner.  Pam suggested a variegated Eucryphia.

walkway

The Eucryphia in question, I think from Back Alley.  Autospell could not handle that plant name.

The Eucryphia in question, I think from Back Alley. Autospell could not handle that plant name.

Rhododendron 'Capistrano'

Rhododendron ‘Capistrano’

mossy dell from the newwalkway

mossy dell from the new walkway

west side of the house, south of the parking area

west side of the house, south of the parking area, with a golden Lonicera

looking west down the driveway

looking west down the driveway

the west courtyard between the two wings of the house

the west courtyard between the two wings of the house

trees

 

courtyard

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo, variegated Japanese maple leaves

Allan’s photo, variegated Japanese maple leaves

Euphorbia flowers

Euphorbia flowers

Pam did not have her camera and particularly asked for photos of certain plants which caught her eye.  This little conifer, whose name I did not write down, was one.

Pam

setting

bed

One of the old rhododendrons

One of the old rhododendrons

hosta and mahonia

hosta backed with mahonia

a massive redwood trunk

a massive redwood trunk

magestic

magestic

sword fern and redwood

sword fern and redwood

house

gold

Vaccinium nummularium (a wee evergreen huckleberry)

Vaccinium nummularium (a wee evergreen huckleberry)

down a gentle slope...red huckleberries

down a gentle slope…red huckleberries

whirly

Next to three railroad tie steps going down, a Polemonium had popped up on all its own.  I am sure it is ‘Stairway to Heaven’, which is perfect as from below those simple risers lead toward the house.

Polemonium (Jacob's Ladder) 'Stairway to Heaven'

Polemonium (Jacob’s Ladder) ‘Stairway to Heaven’

a glade, with a kiwi vine

a glade, with a kiwi vine

Pam had to pet it.

Pam had to pet it.

You can see why.

You can see why.

Pam commented that a kiwi with nothing to climb on will tend to stay smaller and not clamber all over.

Maianthemum (false lily of the valley)

Maianthemum (false lily of the valley)

When asked what we do about the rampant native groundcover, I had no solution but to live with it.  It does go dormant later in the year after going through a rather annoying yellowing off stage.

another choice rhodo

another choice rhodo…’Silver Skies’ perhaps?

Allan pointed out how meticulously the old fronds of the sword ferns were clipped.

Allan pointed out how meticulously the old fronds of the sword ferns were clipped.  No old stubs at all.

another rhodo...and I am floundering in my notes!

another rhodo…and I am floundering in my notes!  Sir Charles Lemon, perhaps? S&J know all the names!

Fatsia x hedera, Allan's photo

Fatsia x hedera, Allan’s photo

When the driveway was put in after Stephen and John bought the house, the builders wanted to remove the Thuja.  No indeed, the driveway curves around it.

drive

a thuja saved

To our south, while clearing the woods of salal (I applaud that!!) and alders, Stephen and John revealed a tall grove of species rhododendrons so old that even Steve Clarke could not identify them.

rhodogrove

cloud forest

cloud forest

We amble down the drive.

We amble down the drive.

Stephen and John cleared all these woods with pick and saw.

Stephen and John cleared all these woods with pick and saw.

Mango Tango

Pam pointed out that the flower of Rhododendron ‘Mango Tango’ matches the new growth on the huckleberry.

Next, in one of the open bays in the woods along the side of the drive, a bright hydrangea caught my eye.

hydrangea

gold leaves

behind it, a blue corydalis

behind it, a blue corydalis

hydrangea from a Dan Hinkley collection

a hydrangea from a Dan Hinkley collection

bronze

large serrated hydrangea leaves

large serrated hydrangea leaves

When they joined the Rhododendron Society of Portland, Stephen and John were given a rhododendron as a gift, and they chose this one:

Rhododendon 'Starbright Champagne'

Rhododendon ‘Starbright Champagne’

Rhododendron erosum

Rhododendron erosum

R. erosum

R. erosum

I recognized Disporum 'Night Heron'..doing better than mine.

I recognized Disporum ‘Night Heron’..doing better than mine.

I walked way back to look at this bright epimidium.

I walked way back to look at this bright epimidium.

Next to it, an epimidium in flower

Next to it, an epimidium in flower..looking best when you turn up the blooms to look underneath

and found a dark stream that marks the southern edge of the property...

I found a dark stream that marks the southern edge of the property…

flowing to the bay from the center of the Peninsula.

flowing to the bay from the center of the Peninsula.

Pam was interested to see the Lindera (spicebush) which had just leafed out.

Lindera benzoin?

Lindera benzoin?

As we came to the Thuja by the driveway, I thought that its bright skirt of foliage was a shrub planted underneath.

thuja

We all examined and remarked how the lower branches had layered and rooted into the ground.

We all examined and remarked how the lower branches had layered and rooted into the ground.

To our south, another bay in the woods held a Cryptomeria grove.  I kept asking what conifer each little tree was and only a bit later did I realize how little I had grasped that it was indeed a Cryptomeria grove and that they were all Cryptomerias!

Cryptomeria spiraliter falcata

Cryptomeria spiraliter falcata

another cryptomeria

another cryptomeria

but wait...is this one?  I am floundering in my notes.

Cryptomeria japonica ‘Auricariodes’

From the Xera catalog: Cryptomeria japonica ‘Auricariodes’ Zn6a (-10º to -5ºF) Cupressaceae

“Fantastic, exotic looking conifer with rope-like branches that are sparse  and twisty when young but become denser with age. To 10′ tall and forming a conical shape over time. Grows slowly in youth, picks up steam after several years. Full sun to light shade in WELL DRAINED soil, with regular summer water. Excellent specimen tree, well behaved. Always looks cool. Coldy hardy. Old selection of Japanese Cedar. Monkey Puzzle in miniature. “

I’m pretty good at going through a garden and identifying shrubs and perennials but am sadly lacking in knowledge of conifers.  A garden like this makes me want to change that.

another one...perhaps elegans

Cryptomeria elegans…or is it…’Dense Jade’?

a variegated sambucus

a variegated sambucus

I've never met a sambucus I did not love.

I’ve never met a sambucus I did not love.

On the other side of the driveway lies the big, still pond, which used to provide irrigation for Clarke Nursery.

looking north

looking north

We had to look from every angle.

We enjoyed every angle.

pond3

pond4

pond5

the view toward the neighbour's house

the view toward the neighbour’s house

pond7

reflection

bench

Those who like still water won't find that there are too many pond photos.

Those who like still water won’t find that there are too many pond photos.

Stephen and John are making a new garden bed on the north side of the pond.

new

I think that is where I saw this little rhodo.

I think that is where I saw this little rhodo.

and definitely this tree.

and definitely this tree.

photos

Pam and I were quite taken with it.

two

touring

We walked through large trees on the way back to the house.

We walked among larger trees on the way back to the house.

Eastern white pine

Eastern white pine

graceful trunks

graceful trunks; I think this was the very old, very large cotoneaster

And then…into the house where we were given martinis…

shaken by Stephen

shaken by Stephen (and note how the kitchen cabineta have wavelike handles)

and some amazingly delicious hors d’oeuvres.

martinia

After a martini, I was incapable to remember to photograph the caramelized onion and cheese on toast most delicious snacks I’ve had…or the friends having conversations about plants and books and architecture.  I do remember that earlier in the garden tour, Nancy said that a certain book, one that was fun and easy to read, was like “butter” and I loved that.

Thanks, Stephen and John, for including us in the soirée, and I hope you’ll let me know if I have any plant names wrong.  I believe your garden is going to be the best on the tour this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 21 April 2104

Just a short phone blog to keep up on the work story. Our main event of the day was a garden tour in the late afternoon. It will take me a few hours to write and organize photos about it. Meanwhile, we did our once or twice a year weeding at the 42nd Street Café. I am just a girl who (almost) can’t say no to making a public garden look better.

Here’s the garden before:

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20140421-220015.jpg

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20140421-220043.jpg

Allan realized partway through the job that, because the tire shop is two doors south, he could get the tires on our trailer replaced… A wise move as we are going to top off the pea gravel in this garden soon. There are places where strategic arrangement of the existing gravel just barely prevents the underwear from showing.

The yellow sign is the tire place. So that got done.

20140421-220445.jpg

And here are the exciting after photos:

20140421-221622.jpg

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20140421-221647.jpg

Our fingers ached from ruching around in the tiny rocks. I was just thrilled to get the weeding done in time to be able to go home, unhook the trailer, change into nicer clothes (although my wardrobe is lacking in the nice category) and get to our much anticipated bayside garden tour on time! And that will, of course, be the next entry and a much better one than this!

I wish I could say that all the gardening took place in my own very weedy garden, but no.

Saturday, 19 April 2014, evening

After getting home from the beach clean up and the clam festival, I was so worn out I just sat down to work on the blog; entries about garden tours or local events are always the most time consuming to write.  Out of the corner of my right eye, I caught a glimpse of the late evening sun on the rhododendron in Nora’s garden next door and was drawn outside to take some photos.

Nora got to see her rhododendron bloom last spring, before she died.

Nora got to see her rhododendron bloom last spring, before she died.  I miss her.

our garden boat, the Ann Lovejoy

our garden boat, the Ann Lovejoy

the rhubarb that was in a whiskey barrel here when we moved in.

the rhubarb that was in a whiskey barrel here when we moved in.

lots of verdant growth

lots of verdant growth…

and lots of horsetail that I have lacked time or energy to pull...

and lots of horsetail that I have lacked time or energy to pull…

Sambucus 'Sutherland Gold' (golden cutleaf elderberry)

Sambucus ‘Sutherland Gold’ (golden cutleaf elderberry)

Persicaria bistorta superba...I should put some in the damp garden in Fifth Street Park.

Persicaria bistorta superba…I should put some in the damp garden in Fifth Street Park.

ornamental rhubarb

ornamental rhubarb

just north of the bogsy wood

just north of the bogsy wood

tulips, two or three years old

tulips, two or three years old

from both sides now

from both sides now

strong lily foliage

strong lily foliage

apple 'Cox's Orange Pippin'

apple ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’

Euphorbia characias wulfenii

Euphorbia characias wulfenii

Oh, and look, Allan weeded the raspberry patch!

Oh, and look, Allan weeded the raspberry patch!

Sunday 20 April 2014

We had to work and did so close to home.  I had thought of finally getting the 42nd Street Café weeded and then realized that working there during Easter Sunday brunch might not be a good idea.  Instead, we did some weeding and deadheading at Larry and Robert’s garden half a block down the street.

All those bluebells were dormant under the lawn two years ago before we made this garden bed.

All those bluebells were dormant under the lawn two years ago before we made this garden bed.

poeticus narcissi

poeticus narcissi

narcissi and pulmonaria

narcissi and pulmonaria

Heucheras have done well in this garden.

Heucheras have done well in this garden.

heuchera and hellebore

heuchera and hellebore

Tulip 'Green Star'

Tulip ‘Green Star’

the front garden

the front garden

the garden boat, looking east toward Tom and Judy's garden

the garden boat (with Tulip ‘Princess Irene’), looking east toward Tom and Judy’s garden

bright white tulips in Tom and Judy's garden

bright white tulips in Tom and Judy’s garden

Allan reminded me that we were only halfway through weeding a bed on the west side of Larry and Robert’s house.  I decided we had better get to the real mission of the day, and I’m glad I did as it took the rest of the afternoon.  Perhaps later this week, we’ll get back to Larry and Robert’s between rain showers.

My main mission was the garden at One Pacific Bank on Howerton Way at the port.  This used to be Shorebank and was one of our regular jobs.  We were paid a monthly amount which was actually not enough to do all the weeding up to my standards, and eventually we passed the job on to a friend when I realized that we were working extra hours (for free) over budget to keep the garden as well weeded as I wanted it to be.  My other consideration at the time was that it was planted as a native landscape, and I do get bored when I have to garden totally by someone else’s plan without much creativity allowed.

The port has now asked us to make all the curbside gardens along Howerton Way look good, and I was happy to get this one weeded again today.  Our replacement gardener is sterner than we are at not working overtime so there were plenty of grasses and shotweed and dandelions to pull.

12:39 PM, before

12:39 PM, before

before: The garden is carpeted with srawberries and kinnikinnick, which would stay.

before: The garden is carpeted with srawberries and kinnikinnick, which would stay.

It had been originally planted with arbutus and red twig dogwood.  The arbutus is beautiful and yet gets much too tall for the traffic sight lines so had been pruned drastically and repeatedly.  The dogwoods had been cut to about waist high but not coppiced since we left the job several years ago.

The gardens inside the sidewalk are not our problem.

I used to keep that corner perfectly weeded, pretty much for free...

I used to keep that corner and edge perfectly weeded, pretty much for free…

and this corner as well...

and this corner as well…

When we did our perfect weeding job, we did NOT do an excellent job, as our replacement does, of keeping the parking lot (pavers with spaces in between) perfectly groomed and strimmed.  I was too preoccupied with garden bed weeding.

Here are the dogwood with lots of old growth left inside.  If one coppices in spring, cutting old stems to the ground, one gets bright new red or gold twigs.  Coppicing means cutting all the stems to the ground but I prefer to do it in sections in a public garden like this and leave the new growth.

before coppicing

before coppicing

crowded with old growth

crowded with old growth

All the thick grey stems could be removed.

All the thick grey stems could be removed.

after, 3 PM...still a green carpet but not weedy

after, 3 PM…still a green carpet but not weedy  (the tufts are crocus foliage)

after

after

Allan did a beautiful job on the dogwoods.

Allan did a beautiful job on the dogwoods, leaving just the thin new stems.

so much better!

so much better!

We weeded two other sections of the Howerton Way curbside gardens that have now officially fallen under our care, dumped at the debris area and then went home.  I was inspired to do a little bit of guerilla gardening at the J’s house across the street.  I’d noticed the sword ferns had not been trimmed for a couple of years and I snuck in to the garden and did it.

ferns before

ferns before

I hope they like it.

and after; I hope the J’s  like it.

I took a walk around our garden after accomplishing just two tiny things…planting a pitiful rescued Euphorbia that may revive and a start of Super Dorothy rose that I got out of Fifth Street Park.  (Well, it had popped up a runner by the sidewalk, and I know it’s an own root rose because it came from Heirloom Roses.)

Without the prospect of the three days off in a row that I need to get my own weeding done, I took a stroll all the way back to the bogsy woods trying to just enjoy the good things as my energy to weed on into the evening was nonexistent.

bogsy wood bridge to south gate

bogsy wood bridge to south gate

bluebell woods outside the fence...created with bulbs everyone wants to get rid of.

bluebell woods outside the fence…created with bulbs everyone wants to get rid of.

Our lot ends at the mysterious meander line between residential lots and the port parking lot.  The line is about halfway into a little seasonal pond where tadpoles frolic.  My dream is always to have an area next to the pond clear so I can see it, and yet nature has completely taken the edge back with willows and salmonberry and sedge.

south edge of our property

south edge of our property

looking back in the gate

looking back in the gate (with Smokey looking out)

and back toward the house

and back toward the house

I pulled a very few weeds.  Perhaps if I promise myself one five gallon bucket a day on pleasant evenings when we get home before dusk…

Tomorrow, between predicted rain showers, I hope we can weed at the 42nd Street Café and then we have an excited soirée to attend: a rhododendron bloom celebration at a gorgeous private garden on the bay.  It seems whenever we go to Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart, we find that avid plant collectors Stephen and John have just been there.  I’m eager to see what plants they’ve added since I saw the garden last September.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 19 April 2014

After the beach clean up and a drive to Long Beach in the pouring rain, we parked in the east parking lots and as we got out of our vehicle, the rain stopped.  A half a block walk took us to the Fifth Street Park frying pan and clam sculpture and there we found the Cosmic Bombshells posing bravely in the chilly air.

Cosmic Bombshells

Cosmic Bombshells

bombshell

The streets were crowded with tourists and locals, many looking damp from the downpour that had just ended.  Most were converging upon the park for the dedication of the World’s Largest Spitting Clam sculpture, now working again after years of not spitting.  For probably the last time, I have to post the poignant letter that my dear friend Montana Mary wrote after a visit to Long Beach in 1997.

Mary's letter in the Chinook Observer

Mary’s letter in the Chinook Observer

and today...the clam will squirt again.

and today…the clam will squirt again.

Our flower bed closest to the clam had retained some bright colours through the storm.

Our flower bed closest to the clam had retained some bright colours through the storm.

windblown tulips

windblown tulips

Cosmic Bombshells warming up.

Cosmic Bombshells warming up.

little dogs in the audience

little dogs in the audience

the crowd awaits

the crowd awaits

The Bombshells hold the ribbon.

The Bombshells hold the ribbon, and crew member Rick Fitzgerald waits to activate the clam.

sign

The Mayor made a speech and then asked young Avery to help cut the ribbon.

Avery about to cut the ribbon

Avery about to cut the ribbon

cutting

And it is done.

And it is done.

itisdone

Some folks had a jolly time putting quarters in the brand new machine and making the clam squirt for photo opportunities.

umbrella

park2

Across the street, people enjoyed the northwest quadrant of the park.

After a little while, we walked a block north toward Veterans Field to see a clam fritter fry-up in one of the town’s giant frying pans.

I found some dead narcissi flowers despite all our efforts to achieve perfection yesterday.  Fortunately, I had clippers in my pocket (which I had already used to deadhead some wind-shattered tulips in Fifth Street Park). Many, but not all, flowers had held up well.

planters

Tulips Princess Irene and China Town

Tulip viridiflora 'China Town' in front of the carousel

Tulip viridiflora ‘China Town’

From Van Engelen’s catalog:  “Highly awarded, China Town opens pale pinkish-white with bold green feathering and striking white-edged, blue-green foliage. As its long-lasting flowers mature, they deepen in color to rich phlox-pink with carmine-rose edges and somewhat less prominent green feathering. It is a bit short for a late blooming Tulip, growing to just 12″ tall, so it is perfect for border clusters where you can take advantage of its amazing flower and foliage show.

In our eyes, China Town has the best marginated foliage of all Tulips with the thickest, most highly contrasted edging. (Did you know that the phenomena of marginated foliage occurs due to a lack of or insufficient pigmentation and chlorophyll in the plant cells on the outer petal edges?)”

the very sturdy and long blooming Princess Irene

the very sturdy and long blooming Princess Irene

From Van Engelen catalog:  “Princess Irene:  An exotic blend of soft orange, flushed warm purple, this 1949 award-winner is absolutely breathtaking and quite fragrant.”

The Long Beach carousel

The Long Beach carousel

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a lily flowering tulip in a street planter

a lily flowering tulip in a street planter

At Veterans Field, the same tireless city crew member worked on getting the propane flames going on the giant frying pan.  The wind made the task difficult.

P1070430_2

It was not an easy task.

It was not an easy task.

The Cosmic Bombshells posed with more attendees.

The Cosmic Bombshells posed with more attendees.

This beautiful dog had just returned from being a therapy dog for people in the Oso landslide.

This beautiful dog had just returned from being a therapy dog for people in the Oso landslide.

stage and food tent

stage and food tent

On the stage, the new North Jetty Brewing Company's beer concession.

On the stage, the new North Jetty Brewing Company’s beer concession.

The tulips by the stage showed the effects of the weather.

tulips

I found our friend Bill of The Boreas Inn at the Lost Roo Restaurant food booth.

bill

bill2

Allan bought us some tasty pulled pork sandwiches and the beer was very tasty as well.  I ordered a “half”, which seemed to mystify the vendor, although it would be common in the UK.  More than half a glass and I would have run out of energy to take photos.

yummy with coleslaw

yummy with coleslaw

From the stage, you can see how very small our Veterans Field garden actually is.

From the stage, you can see how very small our Veterans Field garden actually is, around the flag pole area.

The crowd grew thicker around the frying pan tent.  Of course, the garden is very significant to us.

flowers

'Flaming Parrot tulip'

‘Flaming Parrot tulip’

The Resolectrics took to the stage next to the beer concession.

The Resolectrics took to the stage next to the beer concession.

Resolectrics

Resolectrics, Allan’s photo

The crowds closed in thickly around the frying pan tent where culinary students from Ilwaco High School competed in a clam fritter contest.

dogs

 

tent1

I'd wait till someone moved, then weasel in to get a photo.

I’d wait till someone moved, then weasel in to get a photo.

audience members

audience members

Del (Delvis) Murry, city councilman, interviews one of the students.

Del (Delvis) Murry, city councilman, interviews one of the students.

culinary students

culinary students

City crewman poised to deal with any propane problems.

City crewman Rick Fitzgerald poised to deal with any propane problems.

And the adjusting of the flame continued because of the gusty wind.

And the adjusting of the flame continued because of the gusty wind.

Three celebrity chefs from Tom Douglas restaurants came from Seattle to judge the clam fritter competition:  Brock Johnson of The Dahlia Lounge, Liam Spence from Lola, and Desi Bonow of the Palace Kitchen.

 

judges

judges

At last the pan was hot enough.

At last the pan was hot enough.

pan

students

 

watching

 

 

preparing a plate

preparing a plate of samples for the audience

tasty little bites

tasty little bites

clambites

fritter bits

Sadly, I was preoccupied taking photos and forget to taste a sample.  They were well received.

a rave review

a rave review (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

One of the judges observes closely.

One of the judges observes closely (Allan’s photo)

 

From outside the ropes, I couldn't get a photo of the clams cooking like this fellow could...

From outside the ropes, I couldn’t get a photo of the clams cooking like this fellow could…

So I handed my camera to city councilman Delvis who got me this photo.

So I handed my camera to city councilman Delvis who got me this photo.

The fritters look small in the big pan.  I’m wondering if there will ever be a fry-up of the world’s LARGEST clam fritter.

It was done in 1940!

It was done in 1940!

A member of the city crew had constructed the world’s smallest clam gun.

clamgun

The judges considering the entries...

The celebrity chef judges considering the entries…

very seriously

very seriously

(Allan's photo)

(Allan’s photo)

We did not stay to the end of the fritter competition; by leaving at 3:30 we were able to get to Ilwaco’s Olde Towne Café for dessert before they closed at 4:00.

A cream cheese cappucino bar is exactly what I had.

A cream cheese cappucino bar is exactly what I had.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

At 8 AM (far too soon considering I rarely manage to sleep before 2 AM), I woke to wind battering the house, torrential rain, and a chill in the air that required the very unusual move of turning on the furnace early.  I left Allan a note on the bathroom counter to avoid waking him up with the news:

I really did not feel well and had been recently exposed to a friend's cold!

I really did not feel well and had been recently exposed to a friend’s cold.

However, at 10:30 I woke up again and looked at the Facebook profile of Shelly Pollock, the organizer of the GrassRoots Garbage Gang beach clean ups.  She wrote something so optimistic (as the storm raged with winds over 30 mph) that I felt a pang of guilt and got up, waking Allan from a sound sleep.  I feel attached to the Garbage Gang because I helped them make their Facebook page and because Shelly is such a good person.

By 11:30, with rain still pouring down, we were parked on 30th Street in Seaview….

by this pretty overgrown garden...

by this pretty garden…

…ready to begin our walk to the beach.

west end of 30th

west end of 30th

On the way, I dropped off a bag of scilla bulbs at a friend's cottage (having warned her that they are rampant).

On the way, I dropped off a bag of scilla bulbs at a friend’s cottage (having warned her that they are rampant).

And the rain stopped!

at the end of the block, a house with clematis on the porch lattice...

at the end of the block, a house with clematis on the porch lattice…

and a serious deer fence.

and a serious deer fence.

the end of the driving road

the end of the driving road

30th is not an official check in point, so we brought our own bags.

30th is not an official beach clean up check-in point, so we brought our own bags.

trail

Holman Creek, along the path to the beach

Holman Creek, along the path to the beach

path, also a fire lane

path, also a fire lane

wild beach pea

wild beach pea

trail2

where the Discovery Trail crosses Holman Creek

where the Discovery Trail crosses Holman Creek

wild strawberries in the dune grass

wild strawberries in the dune grass

Allan pauses on the path to pick up our first trash find, some beer bottles.

Allan pauses on the path to pick up our first trash find, some beer bottles.

hcreek

beach

Tiny coloured bits of plastic are tedious to pick.

Tiny coloured bits of plastic are tedious to pick.

Picking up dozens of little bits of plastic delays the satisfaction of filling a bag.  However, it is important because these tiny fragments are hazardous to beach birds, who mistake them for food.

The wind was still fierce and our large garbage bags whipped about with vigor.

wind

picking

more

We were glad when one of the event’s volunteer drivers, Handy Dave, stopped so we could get some of the smaller bags.  He told us he had been planning to work today but had seen that they were short on drivers so had volunteered after all.

dave

He had an interesting tray in the back of his truck.

He had an interesting find in the back of his truck.

possibly from Japan.

possibly from Japan.

Allan likes to look for trash right along the edge of the dunes.

Allan likes to look for trash right along the edge of the dunes.

eye

 

one perfectly good boot

one perfectly good boot

the hauling away of a trashed tractor tire

the hauling away of a trashed tractor tire

Other than Dave and the people hauling that tire away, we saw no other beach cleaners, and there was more trash left for us than usual.  We tend to get to the clean up half an hour after its usual 9:30 AM start, and for this one I had been sure we would be on time for once as it started at 10:30 due to an early clam digging tide.  The weather made us an hour late anyway, but I don’t think anyone had been down that stretch of beach other than us and some people who were there for other reasons.

clammers

clammers

surf fishing

and surf fishing

There is a warning on for later this weekend.

There is a warning on for later this weekend.

We found four good sized bags of trash.  A lot of it was buried by the strong wind, as was this pile of kelp.

buried

We worked our way south, then turned back after an hour and a half of picking in order to get to the exciting afternoon events in Long Beach town.  As we walked back, and cars drove by, I reflected on how I rarely go to this beach recreationally because I so dislike being passed by vehicles in such a natural, would be peaceful environment.

trucks and cars all over the place

trucks and cars all over the place

Maybe there should be beach driving permits for disabled people.  That seems to be the big heartfelt argument brought up in support of beach driving (along with “It’s always been this way.”)  And maybe an exception for clamming weekend….It would be felt that too many of the poor clams would escape the clam gun if folks could not drive to get them.  Other than that, other than the support drivers who pick of trash bags on beach clean up days, I wish that no matter what people are up to out here, they would park and walk in.  In my 21 years here, I have had occasion to read comments in guestbooks of various hotels, and disappointment at finding vehicles on the beach is a strong theme.  I’ve also had at several of my women friends tell me it is creepy and scary to be alone on the beach and have a car drive by.  Sometimes it does not feel safe.

Opposition to beach driving  is not a popular opinion for a local to have and when a newcomer writes a letter to the editor on the topic, much pro-beach driving responses ensue.

In summer, a stretch of beach from Seaview to Long Beach is closed.  It is not the prettiest stretch of beach.  (That’s down by Beard’s Hollow, in my opinion.)  The beaches at Cape Disappointment State Park are non-driving beaches but harder to get to than the beaches by our string of beach towns.

From Trip Advisor:  “You can drive on the beach here which is nuts but very very fun.”   There you go.

Sea birds may or may not agree with me.

Sea birds may or may not agree with me.

Along the stretch of beach that we had already thoroughly cleaned, I found a bit of trash thrown from one of the vehicles that passed me.  I chased it down, the powerful wind blowing it just out of reach like a comedy routine.

car

sigh...

sigh…

We had been free of the rain the whole time we picked up trash.  As we began to walk east along the Holman Creek trail, the rain returned in force.

walkng east

walking east

rain

rain pelting the creek

rain pelting the creek

peltingrain

leaning alders

leaning alders

elderberry in bloom

elderberry in bloom

My calves ached from beach walking.  I hustled as fast as I could to get back to the van so that we would make it to the Clam Festival in time.  On the way north to Long Beach, I wondered if the festivities would be seriously dampened by the weather.

Pacific Highway near the Long Beach welcome sign

Pacific Highway near the Long Beach welcome sign

What hope for the clam festival??

What hope for the clam festival??

We had already heard that the heavy morning wind had destroyed two Saturday Market tents at the Port of Ilwaco and blown another up and over the shops and that the market (meant to be a stop on the Clam Festival Treasure Map) had been cancelled.  Would the same fate await the outdoor events in Long Beach?

I hope anyone who came looking for the market found their way into Don Nisbett's Art Gallery.

I hope anyone who came looking for the market found their way into Don Nisbett’s Art Gallery.

No matter what happened with the weather, we were determined to see the mayor cut the ribbon on the World’s Largest Spitting Clam and we knew that at least a few hardy souls would show up.

 

 

 

Friday, 18 April 2014

at home:

dogwood out the rather foggy kitchen window (one of the few shrubs that was here when we moved in)

dogwood out the rather foggy kitchen window (one of the few shrubs that was here when we moved in)

groundcover dogwood (Cornus canadensis) from my friend Mary Fluaitt

groundcover dogwood (Cornus canadensis) from my friend Mary Fluaitt

Ilwaco

We started our day by deadheading the Ilwaco planters for what I plan to be the second to last time (see yesterday for why we have chosen to not make a proposal to the city to keep the job) and then did a tiny bit of planting and weeding at the boatyard.

It will feel a bit odd at first to not take care of the planters just north of the boatyard, but I will adjust.

top of photo shows three out of four planters on that intersection

photo shows three out of four of the planters on that intersection

photo shows three out of four of the planters on that intersection

The horsetail is already popping back up in the boatyard garden.

The horsetail is already popping back up in the boatyard garden.

dolphon

Next, we planted two Wilma Goldcrest cypress at Time Enough Books to replace two horrid, monstrously huge phormiums that were recently removed by backhoe.

Time Enough Books

Time Enough Books

planted far enough back to never block the sign.

planted far enough back to never block the sign.

In the Time Enough boat, Strong Gold tulips

In the Time Enough boat, Strong Gold tulips

We wanted to get the curbside gardens looking great because tomorrow, the port is having a limited edition early opening of the Ilwaco Saturday Market in conjunction with Long Beach’s Razor Clam Festival.  After weeding Time Enough’s curbside garden and the one next to the old Harbor Lights Motel (still empty) to the west, we made a quick stop at Olde Towne Café to switch compost buckets and then headed north toward Long Beach.

at Olde Towne, a photo of Luanne's very old and beloved dog.

at Olde Towne, a photo of Luanne’s very old and beloved dog.

Seaview

Allan remembered to stop at the Depot in order to deadhead tulips and narcissi, and I just now remembered to remark upon the amazing fact that the weather today was perfect: clear, sunny, little wind, not too hot.

depot

tulips and narcissi in the Depot garden

tulips and narcissi in the Depot garden

a faded viridflora tulip

a faded viridiflora tulip

Long Beach

I remembered that we needed to deadhead the welcome sign, where a few tulips are hanging on.  I fear there is going to be a gap of three weeks between the end of the tulips and time to plant annuals.

welcome sign:  cool on the back, hot on the front

welcome sign: cool on the back, hot on the front

And finally, downtown Long Beach.  Allan planted some more violas and a Black Lace elderberry and did some touch up in the Fifth Street Parks while I walked four blocks worth of street trees and planters, weeding and deadheading.

The signs have been unveiled for tomorrow's dedication of the spitting clam.

The signs have been unveiled for tomorrow’s dedication of the spitting clam.

Fifth Street Park

Fifth Street Park

Darmera peltata loves the damp soil by the pond.

Darmera peltata loves the damp soil by the pond.

Now walk with me while I care for the trees and planters…

parrot Tulip 'Rococo'

parrot Tulip ‘Rococo’

The only finger blight that I saw downtown other than some random tulip picking was at the planter in front of the smoke shop; someone had pulled up five tulip ‘Rococo’, bulb and all, in full bloom, and then left them lying there.  Perhaps it was an interrupted theft.

Tulip 'Fringed Elegance'

Tulip ‘Fringed Elegance’

tulips2

curly parsley used as an ornamental

curly parsley used as an ornamental

Dutch Iris

Dutch Iris

I do love Dutch Iris even though ends of its foliage brown off before the flower even blooms, and the flowering is brief.

Tulip 'China Town'

Tulip ‘China Town’

Tulip 'Strong Gold'

Tulip ‘Strong Gold’

Tulip 'Virichic'

Tulip ‘Virichic’

narcissi and Dutch iris

narcissi and Dutch iris

and back to Fifth Street Park

and back to Fifth Street Park

I’m pleased that there will still be colour from tulips right next to the clam dedication tomorrow.

We then checked the big planter in Lewis and Clark Square and did one last check on the Veterans Field garden.

One tulip 'Flaming Parrot' opened up for tomorrow's giant clam fritter fry-up...

One tulip ‘Flaming Parrot’ opened up for tomorrow’s giant clam fritter fry-up…

and here's the giant frying pan that will be used.

and here’s the giant frying pan that will be used.

Allan and I went together to deadhead and weed the two northernmost blocks of planters.  In front of NIVA green is one of a very few quite expensive narcissi ‘Sinopel’.  In the catalog, it looks like this:

in the catalog at vanengelen.com

in the catalog at vanengelen.com, bulbs about $2 each

The catalog description explains why it’s not that colour in real life:  “Fragrant, it has a perfect 3″ ivory-white perianth and a bowl-shaped, greenish white cup edged in yellow. Circa 1974 and a bit like a mood ring, its dainty cup is more yellow in cool temperatures and more green when basking in warm temperatures (cherish its greenness indoors in a bud vase).”

in real life...more yellow than green....dang it.

in real life…more yellow than green….dang it.

I think next year I might try to grow some on my sun porch, or in the greenhouse.

The sun was low in the sky as we attended to the planters on both of the beach approach roads.  I was appalled to find some finger blight that completely shattered my resolve to be calm and philosophical.  When I saw this big hole (left of lamp post) where someone stole a big clump of lilies out of the Lisa Bonney memorial planter, my language was saltier than the sea air.

lisa

The lilies were planted not by me but by a friend or relative of Lisa’s.  As most locals know, Lisa was killed by an estranged boyfriend just a few feet away from this planter.  The thief, who was skilled in plant removal, bulbs and all,  and who removed a large clump of soil with the lilies, could surely read this sign:

lisabonney

It took a quarter bag of potting soil to fill the empty hole.

It took a quarter bag of potting soil to fill the empty hole.

So is someone’s mother or other loved one getting a nice pot of lilies for Easter?

Sedums had been lifted out of the corner of the planter, as well.

Sedums had been lifted out of the corner of the planter, as well.

Further down the approach, I saw two adult women having three small children stand right on the plants in another planter to have their photo taken.  Each planter has a nice bench to sit or stand on.  “Really?” said I fairly quietly to the women.  “I’m the one who takes care of these, and really?!! I find this very upsetting!”  They mumbled and walked on.  One of these days I fear I will read online that a tourist just hated Long Beach because of being chastised by a mean and heartless gardener.

A bit later, while deadheading narcissi at City Hall, I was cheered by the pretty sight of fallen rhododendron flowers.

rhodo flowers and blue ajuga flowers

rhodo flower carpet

By the time we got to the end of the Sid Snyder Drive beach approach road, the pleasant warm evening had me back in a good mood.

just past the westernmost planter, tourists head to the beach

just past the westernmost planter, tourists head to the beach

Port of Ilwaco

With the sun still poised above the hills of Cape Disappointment, we returned to the Port of Ilwaco to check on the Port Office garden.  A very few tents had been erected for Saturday’s small market day.  The Clam Festival has a scavenger hunt that included a stop at the Saturday Market, and my theory is that the organizers did not realize the market would not be there in April…so the port came through by setting up a small market with some of the local vendors.  That’s my story.

Tents for a few vendors were set up...

Tents for a few vendors were set up…

Port Office garden

Port Office garden

There is something odd about that tulip!

There is something odd about that tulip!

Just the way I found it.  I could get rich if I could propagate this tulip that makes easter eggs.

Just the way I found it. I could get rich if I could propagate this tulip that makes easter eggs.

just south, across Waterfront Walkway, from the port office

just south, across Waterfront Walkway, from the port office

evening light on the marina

evening light on the marina

Saturday we will have off and yet it will be a very busy day as it starts with the second Grass Roots Garbage Gang beach clean up of the year.

Fortunately, beach clean up is midmorning!

Fortunately, beach clean up is midmorning!

I am thrilled it starts at ten thirty rather than the usual nine thirty.  As a night owl, having to be anywhere by 9:30 AM just about kills me.  (“Oh, there are two nine o’ clocks in the day?” said Tallulah Bankhead.) Yesterday the weather forecast called for 44 degrees, rain, and thirty mile an hour winds.  I had decided if that were the case, we would skip it and go out to beach clean some other day.  We have simply reached the breaking point on working (or picking up trash) in horrid weather.  Now the forecast has improved and I have hope that the Razor Clam Festival and Saturday Market might get some passable weather.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 9.55.56 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

It was a tough workday while it lasted.
Despite waking to rain (and waking too early on a rainy day because I was worrying over something), we decided to finish getting the Veterans Field garden ready for Saturday’s Razor Clam Festival.

We headed up Sandridge Road to The Basket Case…

20140417-180219.jpg

When we got there, I thought optimistically that the sky looked bright around the edges.

20140417-180323.jpg

We picked up two flats of violas and I was thrilled to learn they also have Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ (“black” cut leaf elderberry). That will be good for the Fifth Street Park spot where we eliminated a Phormium earlier this week. As you can see, plenty of nice plants remain:

20140417-180609.jpg

We’d been stormed out of our chance to spend a much needed all day weeding session at Andersen’s RV Park. At least we could go deadhead the narcissi.

20140417-180806.jpg

They are almost gone from the west side garden.

By the office, wandering deer have left the tulips alone. Wind bowed the ones closest to the driveway.

20140417-180943.jpg

20140417-180958.jpg

20140417-181008.jpg

With some frustration over lack of weeding time, we departed and headed down Pacific Highway to Long Beach.

20140417-181118.jpg

The drizzle dramatically increased as we arrived at Veterans Field, where the city crew readied tents and chairs for Saturday.

20140417-181241.jpg

It’s too early to add annuals to the red white and blue garden bed and most perennials are not yet blooming. Some blue and white violas and two red Geums livened up the show.

20140417-181418.jpg

20140417-181432.jpg

Sideways rain and the cracking sounds of the flags whipping overhead made the job unenjoyable. With the task done, we decided other violas and the elderberry could wait to be planted tomorrow. Perhaps if the weather improved, we could go weed at the Port. That’s another concern: the port gardens should look good for this Saturday’s early, clam related market opening. (Saturday market begins officially the first Saturday in May.). As we pulled up to our garage, the rain showed no sign up abating.

20140417-181841.jpg

Indoors, I looked at our pleasant garden views while brewing some Cream Earl Grey tea.

20140417-182117.jpg

20140417-182131.jpg

20140417-182146.jpg

Allan and I came to a decision about the thing I had been worrying over. The city of Ilwaco is putting various gardening projects out for “proposals” including the street trees and planters we’ve been caring for since 2005. After a couple of days of pondering the paper work involved and of thinking how backbreaking and all consuming the job is, we have decided to let it go. The city and the port are separate entities so this decision will not affect our gardens at the boatyard and Howerton Way.

The all consuming part of the job, which we’ve done since 2005 (when we volunteered to help plant the street trees), is that the planters are small and need regular watering. So if we leave for a four day gardening weekend trip, I fret intensely over how dry they will get. We look at the planters every day as we drive through town and feel compelled to stop to remove any speck of trash (often beer bottles) or dead blossom. Even when I walk to Olde Towne Cafe or the Satirday Market, I pause to groom each planter, plucking a tiny weed or a dead leaf. The backbreaking part is the watering, three times a week with eighteen to twenty buckets of water. We had a water pump trailer but even with a powerful battery, watering that way took too long . Letting a job go is not easy but we think it is time, as we are both hovering around 60 years of age and as we have more work than we can keep up with.

But…. The planters looked like this under our care:

20140417-183115.jpg

20140417-183128.jpg

Perhaps they will transition to a simpler, very drought tolerant scheme and there would be nothing wrong with that. (I just hope the new person does not plant cute baby phormiums.) For us, it is going to be an enormous treat to not have to dump 20 five gallon buckets of water on the trees and planters two to three times a week from mid May through September, always in the evening when we are tired. That burden has, in the last two years, fallen mostly to Allan. He seems quite pleased by our decision.

Relieved to have decided, I read some mystery short stories and a Nick Hornby novella (Not a Star,) enjoyed tea and orange ginger tea biscuits, and am about to finish The Science of Fear, a book I heartily recommend. It seemed easiest to recline and make a phone blog for today’s entry. The rain continues so there will be no weeding at the port today.

I found a quotation in the Hornby novella which may explain why my new favorite song, Luckiest Man Alive, repeatedly brings me to tears.

20140417-190235.jpg

And from The Science of Fear by Daniel Gardner, some cheering words about human nature:

20140417-193111.jpg

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