Friday, 16 July 2021

At home

We have a swallow family right outside our kitchen window. The parent does a very quick brake to pop food into the baby’s mouth. You can tell food is coming when the baby opens its gape wide as can be.

We’d had some unpredicted rain, not enough to have made our watering yesterday a waste of of time.

In the front garden, I waded in to pull some weeds. I worried over whether my Golden Japanese maple is still small enough to move. Here’s how big the trunk is compared to my clipper blades. If I could move it and Acer ‘Carnival’, I could make the front center bed totally xeric.

Allan took down the Catio walkway that enables the cats to batter my tree dahlia. It can be a seasonal walkway, from when the dahlia gets too tall to bother through to the next year when it starts to grow tall enough to be botherable. I can’t think of anywhere else to plant the dahlia, which enjoys the warmth of a south wall.

Faerie does not look pleased

I spent the rest of the day in the Bogsy Wood, not from a big plan but because it called to me. I trimmed up some salmonberry to make a path clearer…

Skooter stayed nearby.

I kept on clipping salmonberry to improve views through the woods. My mess grew larger.

When I thought I was done for the day except for watering, I saw a place that cried out for a secret path.

I will refine it the next day. For now, I was too tired and just left the mess behind, hoping Allan would work his usual clean up wonders the next day.

Skooter walked me back to the house to start watering the pots and the greenhouse.

Saturday, 17 July 2021

We had company. Based on a Facebook conversation on Tony’s timeline, local gardener Janet knew I wanted a “peanut butter tree” (Clerodendron trichotomum), so she brought me one as a surprise gift.

I was thrilled. I used to have this tree in my old garden; it had not survived being moved.

Skooter loves company.

We toured all around the garden.

I love her t shirt, which shows a black cat in a surgical mask with the words “Hiss off.”

I had intended to weed along the west fence near the compost bins but the woods called to me again. Allan carted off yesterday’s piles of debris and mowed the lawn while I did more clipping in the Bogsy Wood. I had decided to weed by the bridge, where my new tunnel path (for small people, even though I don’t have many small visitors) ends up.

The tunnel path leads off from the metal path and goes behind a stump to that negative space. All will fill with rainwater during winter storms.

I can imagine how much a child would like this. I don’t have any at hand to test it out, though.

I continued to clip and shape the woods, creating more big piles that Allan made disappear at the end of the day.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Norwood garden

We did some heat damage repairs at the garden two doors down. The north side with hydrangeas looked pretty good except for some leaves that had turned color.

The east side and west side looked fine. I thought about trimming the privets for a more rounded look but decided not to.

On the west side, the Crimson Pygmy barberries had scorched enough to need trimming. There is much good advice online saying to not trim scorched leaves because they will protect the leaves under if we have more heat. Well, I can’t leave them looking tatty all summer, so they got a trim.

Mike’s garden

The little dogs came out on the deck to get small pieces of biscuit. The tan one, Timba, likes to get all the pieces but can’t keep them all if I toss several little bits in. Lizzie can grab one and run back into the house.

I didn’t think we’d have much to do at Mike’s this week. However, I saw more heat wave damage on the ornamental cherry. We both did some trimming with the long handled clippers and with hand clippers on the lower branches.

Allan saw a nest.

I could see more bare twigs and sad leaves the more I looked but we had to go. Much watering to do at the port.

The north side bed is looking better, even thought the cosmos are not growing tall.

Port of Ilwaco

I had been planning to have Allan drop me at the boatyard to weed while we watered the east end. I was feeling kind of wonky, though, so I weeded and trimmed along with him while he did the three hose drag to water from the parking to the Ilwaco Bakery. This time, he had to go partway down a steep bank next to the dock to get the water on. He says it used to be easier to access.

Looking west from the very east end

He saw a bird faking a broken wing. There must have been a fledging in hiding.

Lavender in east bed

The parking lot has long grass, dock, and dandelions. Although some people might find this bothersome, it is great for birds and insects.

East bed after watering and some weeding

A man walked by and said he comes here in summers and asked how long I’ve been doing the job, as he has seen me caring for the gardens for years. I said I’ve been gardening for a living here since 1994, and that I started the boatyard garden as a volunteer in the mid 90s, so it’s been a long time. He said to Allan, “You haven’t been here that long,” and remembered that I used to have a woman co-gardener and asked how she was doing, and said that he just wanted us to know how much our work was appreciated. His voice was a particularly mellifluous one, and it meant a lot to me that he had been noticing our gardens for years.

One of the santolinas in the curbside by the future bakery has gotten old, and fallen open. It can’t be fixed by clipping because the center is too woody so….next week, when we have more time, it has to go. I will get some cuttings from it, I hope.

It might not be easy to remove and is another one of those unpredictable problems that eats up the budget.

During a snack between garden beds, we chatted with a local who was taking his recycling on foot to the bins at the east end of the port. On the way back, he would pick up trash with his picker upper. He said he finds lots of trash blown into the gardens , caught up in the plants. And that there has been plenty of fireworks debris in areas where fireworks are forbidden (all of the port). Thanks, Pat, for helping keep the port gardens clean.

I watered at the Powell Gallery while Allan watered by the Pavilion and At the Helm Hotel.

The pavilion is a two hose watering job to reach the driveover bed. Here Allan brings two hoses back to our trailer. Might I point out that he is 68 years old.

Ilwaco Fire Station

We watered next at our volunteer garden at the fire station.

Southwest corner

There’s an accidental color echo of black scabiosa, a dark sanguisorba and oregano.

This garden has lilies for the first time. I hope some of the volunteer fire fighters notice how wonderful the lilies smell.

I tried and failed to get a clear photo of a hummingbird on the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.

We made a quick stop at home, where Skooter wished we would stay.

Port and boatyard

Allan dropped me off at the boatyard to work on weeding the north end. There was hope to get the back of the garden looking good since I had pulled horsetail on the other side of the fence the night before.


Allan went off to the port to water the last of our curbside gardens, by Dave Jensen’s office.

An Eryngium in the Jensen garden

Yesterday at the boatyard, a young boat building guy said from the inside of the fence that he noticed my lilies had been picked. He pointed to where they should have been and I said yes, someone stole them and showed him how the stems had been roughly broken off. He commiserated and said he had wanted to show them to his mom. I found that most touching.

Today, a man came walking around the north corner of the boatyard. When he saw me, he said he stays at the Fisherman’s Cove RV Park, on the other side of the boatyard, and that his wife just loves the boatyard garden and takes a walk by it every day. I was well chuffed to hear this.

I had made some progress when Allan returned. We both weeded like mad till seven PM.

The accursed bindweed

I’ve successfully added more Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ from cuttings. They have sized us and look wonderful.

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ and santolina
artemisias making a repeated theme

I learned this week that the boat called Emo II is named after a Canadian town, not a style of music.

Now for a five day weekend, during which I hope to have to leave my property only once. I’d rather not leave it at all.

Wednesday, 14 July, part two

After our visit to Pink Poppy Farm, our work day began.

The Red Barn

I was delighted to see and give a biscuit to the dog named Dog.

Such a good boy.

And Bentley got his biscuit, too.

Diane’s garden

Allan weeded along the roadside today.

The perovskia at the driveway entrance is turning blue.
Sweet pea ‘Chocolate Flake’ on the left

I tended the septic vault and container gardens.

Salvia ‘Amethyst Lips’

The lavatera at the corner of the house needed lots of cutting because it has rust. This probably will result in the whole plant being cut down, as happens most years.

Misty got her biscuit as we were ready to leave.

Patti’s garden

The morning glories are refusing to thrive. Last week, I gave them fish fertilizer. Last year, they were spectacular.
Our Patti

Stella got her biscuit.

Please can I have another? But I was all out.

The Depot Restaurant

Dierama (angel’s fishing rod)
Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and giant Miscanthus
East side

Sometimes, I find Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ too pushy, but it sure looks great here, especially on the dining deck when Allan went there to make sure there was no bindweed on the lattice.

View of wax myrtle and grasses

Susie’s garden

I was going to plant a few baby shrubs and my precious small European bladder nut tree from Markham Farm in the back yard, as part of a mixed hedge, but a tall utility pole is going to be removed, so I decided to wait. I just might plant the tree at home because I’d like a back up in case the one I planted two summers ago fails. We just planted one thing in Susie’s back garden today, a Viburnum opulus in the southeast corner.

The front garden:

Cosmos at last!

Port of Ilwaco

I had been dreading watering at the port. It made me feel kind of depressed to ask Allan to do the three hose drag from the docks to the west garden beds. I’m not sure why it got me down so much. Partly it’s because we could make the gardens better if we could spend time actually gardening instead of watering. Allan’s photos of the west end beds show that they are shabby.

He shows the hose route on this satellite photo:

Three hose drag is a time consuming drag.

Meanwhile, I weeded and watered at Time Enough Books and three curbside port office beds with the port office hose. April from the port office waters the bed on the south wall of the office, so I just have to check up on it once a week.

South side port office

I also added a bag of potting soil to some planters by the Captain’s Quarters lodging. I think its name has changed to Fishermen’s Quarters, which might make it clearer that it is a rental. As you can see, the shrubs will benefit from some more soil around their roots.

We then repaired to the boatyard to water, where we ran into exasperating watering problems. Allan had tried to save precious time by not coiling each hose after the curbside beds, resulting in such a tangle that he was flummoxed at trying to stretch three hoses along the front of the garden from the gate to the north end. Meanwhile, I had blithely gone to the south end to use the excellent boatyard hose, only to find that its end had been locked into the water utility box, maybe so no one could use it after hours. But why???? I always use that hose.

I walked back to Allan and his pile of hoses and suggested he take one of our hoses to the south end and that I would water from inside the fence using a hose at the north end that I thought a friendly boat guy had said was hooked up. (Are you with me so far?) But when I got there, all the guy had said was that there was a faucet, which of course I knew. So I had to walk back though the boat repair obstacle course to get one of our hoses. Allan walked down to the faucet to hook it up me, because my arthritic right hand makes that hard.

It all took lots of extra time and reminded me of the many hose struggles I faced on my own back when I used to water the boatyard alone while Allan watered the Ilwaco trees and planters. It helps to have someone to share the frustration.

One advantage to watering from the inside is that I could finally pull horsetail from the base of the fence. This made up for the maddening feeling of seeing weeds and a scorched lily with a chain link fence between me and them.

horsetail and friendly boat builders

Horsetail pulled off the fence
North end of boatyard

Allan had to jet our hose hard to try to reach the very south end of the garden. Because he had to hook up to the gate faucet. Because he couldn’t use the lock box faucet.

Next time, we will be prepared for the watering to be difficult. This job takes a lot of….

J Crew Cottage

Finally, we did the tiny bit of watering across the street, where the sprinkler just doesn’t reach a couple of roses and a hydrangea.

Tomorrow, among other jobs, we will have the rest of the curbside gardens to water, with more than half remaining to do, including the three hose drag for the east end.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

A visit to Pink Poppy Farm

On our way to work, we stopped by one of our favorite local gardens. Lynn of Pink Poppy Farm had been doing a clean up of her garden shed and had some plastic flower pots and other useful items to offer us.

A shed of treasures for us to examine
There was much excitement on my part when Lynn offered up a bucket of garden grit!
Pots! Small ones are what I need for my plant sale, and some of these are extra deep, great for fall sowing and wintering over of sweet peas.
I was well chuffed.

I also got a soil block maker just like the one Monty Don uses! Lynn says it works well if you can get the perfect moisture in your potting soil.

We also took a garden tour, of course.

The massive array of compost bins
I wish I had more snakes. They eat slugs.
I envy the ‘Amazing Grey’ poppy. I seeded several packets this spring with no results. Last year, my sowing was successful.
Phacelia tanacetifolia
Oak leaf hydrangea

In the southwest corner of the acreage, the Imperial Chicken Palace now has long chicken runs at each side, which are planted with chicken forage and then alternated.

One of many happy, round chooks.
Chicken run

What a treat to walk around this garden again. You can see it in all its tour day finery in this post from 2013.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

At home

I finally got to the most unrewarding bed in the garden….Well, unrewarding in summer. In winter, it has flowers from a yellow hamamelis and Ribes speciosum and a Stachyurus salicifolius with willowy leaves and the new but still very young Stachyurus praecox; I had a mature one in my old garden and look forward to it getting that big.

Flowers of Stachyurus praecox in my old garden, 2005
Before weeding

A friend gave me three ‘Graham Blandy’ columnar boxwoods which I planted in the front of the bed, further hiding the ginkgo. I cannot recall why I thought that was a good idea, maybe because they are so narrow I thought they’d offer framed views.

In the summer, that bed used to have a good show of lilies, but this year they are stunted because I failed to do a proper spring weeding in here, and then came the heat.

I had counted on a variegated ginkgo from Gossler Farms to brighten up mid front of that area. Pretty sure it’s ‘Majestic Buttefly’, which is supposed to get to six feet tall. Mine is ten years old and still about two feet tall. This might be from too much shade, too poor soil, competition from the two old trees (an apple and the rather ugly purple ornamental plum) and the invasive wild plum that send shoots in from next door. Any mulch I add to this bed just disappears and the soil remains dusty and sad.

Ginkgo….I remember it being called just plain Butterfly and costing a small fortune. (A fortune to me, anyway.) It scorched in the 101 degree heat. It’s hidden by being planted too far back.

After weeding and some pruning, the area is layered greens, with just one splashy variegated pieris, and the ginkgo that doesn’t show. It’s quite dull. I should have deadheaded the euphorbia that is making a brown blob. I thought it would add interest if left that way. It does not.

I could call it restful, but that’s not enough for me.

Way at the back, I planted two Euonymus ‘Green Spire’ early this spring which are still struggling along at a few inches tall. I may remove them and plant something variegated back there, perhaps a showy green and white elderberry from my leftover plant sale.

I got three full wheelbarrows of debris out of that small area.

In a happier garden area, the hydrangea I took out of a pot is thriving spectacularly.

As is Fuchsia ‘Delta’s Sara’.

Allan is the one who noticed and photographed these while he was cleaning up the branches I had dropped in yesterday’s pruning.

An aside: Expert gardeners who tour through a garden can leave lasting memories. A friend of a friend from Portland walked through my garden one day several years and said disparaging words about hydrangeas and my two patches of Shasta daisies. My appreciation of those plants was not changed, and yet almost every time I look at them, her delicate sneer of disapproval and disdainful words flash into my memory. Actually, it did change how I feel about the daisies; I feel embarrassed and too retro about them now. Yet I stand by my hydrangeas 100%! Even when blogging about gardens, I am pretty careful to not say what I don’t like. My opinion doesn’t matter enough to cast even the slightest pall over someone’s plant choices. (I admit I have slipped at time.)

I took a lawn rake to the old flowers of Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose, as high as I could reach, helping it through its awkward stage of clinging brown flowers.

This was followed by scooping a layer of petals from the ponds, being careful to sort out the tadpoles. Some have legs starting up! I’m not sure if those are froglets or newts. Maybe one of each.

I noticed when watering all my assorted potted plants that the cats are destroying the top of the tree dahlia in the south Catio.

I was thinking I’d have to move the tree dahlia, which is hard because it needs the protection and reflected heat of the south wall. The next day, the solution came to me: move the fun cat walkway board that is right next to the tree dahlia so they can’t reach to play with it.

Despite what they did to my Dahlia imperialis, the yearlings and Skooter enjoyed some fresh catnip that I am well chuffed to have grown for them.

While watering, I noticed some flowers.

Verbascum ‘Cotswold King’
Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’
Echinops (blue globe thistle)
Matilija poppy that had fallen over. It would do better in the front dry garden, but it wouldn’t like being transplanted. It took me years to manage to grow it at all.
Oh joy, my Angelica gigas from Annie’s Annuals and Perennials is growing. I got a second one later from Digging Dog but I fear a slug ate it.

We had beetroot thinnings for dinner, including white beets, with beet greens saved for the next night.

I had to look up four plant names for this post that I should have easily remembered. At least I still know the search terms (purple biennial umbel, for example) that helped me find them.

Real time reminder

Monday, 12 July 2021

It was the front garden’s turn to be weeded. But first, I got distracted by the view of escallonia being overhung with willows and elderberry. I went after some branches with the pole clippers, wishing I also had a chainsaw on a stick.

After: More escallonia showing

I didn’t want to lose any privacy so only did a minimal prune to get the Olearia traversii off the top of golden Cistus ‘Mickie’.

Area to be weeded, but I keep procrastinating

Look how beautifully silver the leaf undersides of the Olearia are.

Wish so many plants didn’t save their best for the undersides of leaves.

Oh, the quotation by the Duchess of Devonshire has come true! “People go through five stages of gardening. They begin by liking flowers, progress to flowering shrubs, then autumn foliage and berries, next they go to leaves, and then the underneath of leaves.”

One of the first lilies is opening.

Skooter lazed about.

I pruned some big leaves off a gunnera that were blocking paths both front and back.

I finally got around to the planned job of weeding the sidewalk and path edges of the front garden. I felt guilty to find a new plant, Verbascum ‘Wedding Candles’, languishing in a weedy and dry spot. Must do better.

Poor little thing was lucky to survive.

Front path, before and after:

The big round rebar thing we found at the port is doing a good job of holding up a tall white veronicastrum.

I picked some round courgettes for a dinner veg. I thought I’d been doing a good job of keeping up on tender young ones. Apparently not.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

At home

I kept on with extensive weeding and clearing in the garden. Allan stomped bin four to compress it.

Good job!

In weeding, I found a small, newish dierama with no tag. Did I know it was a dwarf when I bought it? I have no idea. It’s been hiding behind an Anthemis ‘Sauce Hollandaise’.

Two-tiered white phlox, after doing the Chelsea chop on the front awhile back:

A before and after in the east bed:

A similar scene is part of the west bed….

…because among the chaos of my gardening style, I do like the symmetry of echoing shrubs (two physocarpus, one being ‘Center Glow’ and the other….I don’t recall.)

It was ridiculously windy again, evidenced by the silver undersides of the leaves of Macleaya cordata (plume poppy) in a fierce gust.

I found the wind tiresome. It blew our fire circle chairs around more than in a usual winter storm.

Allan fixed a door in the southwest corner, that leads to Alicia’s yard.

He says that he made it snug and square it did not latch anymore. Restoring it to partly crooked and painting it made it right.

He also finished his repair to a corner of the trailer from extra kayak building supplies. Paint should cover patching two holes that needed moving.

And he kindly wheeled off several barrow loads of debris from my weeding and clipping.

Even though I did not want to leave my property, we had one volunteer garden that needed watering.

Ilwaco Post Office Garden

I trimmed some of the inflorescences off of the Stipa gigantea to make the town name more visible.

The deer-chomped rose in the post office planter has regrown. It was a gift from someone to the staff.

The solid square post office blocked us from the annoying north wind. That was the end of gardening for the day. I was relieved to be indoors for the evening.

Here is an excellent article for those of you interested in our fireworks situation.

Allan’s latest adventure

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

10 July 2021

Today was to be a group trip up the Bone River and a chance for the first meeting of several online kayaking friends. The Bone River is forked two and a half miles up. I may have taken the path less traveled on my previous trip. Today we would see if that was true.

When we arrived the rising tide had only reached +2.5 feet. I gingerly walked onto the muddy bank and slid on the mud, resulting in our group making a new plan.

We would instead paddle the nearby Palix Rivers with its concrete launch. A cloud of mosquitoes were left behind that failed to materialize on the breezy Palix delta.

The tide had risen to +4.7′ by the time we set up at the Palix River delta. If we had only arrived later at the Bone River the tide would not have been…

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Saturday, 10 July 2021

All photos today by Tony Hofer

Teresa, Tony, and me. (Allan had gone boating.)

Thank you, Tony. I love seeing the garden through your eyes.

A real time heads up! This tour is always worthwhile.

There is a good nursery up there, Juel’s Unique Nursery. We loved it when we visited it about a decade ago.

Friday, 9 July 2021

At home

At the end of our last long weekend, I had noticed that Willows Loop East was getting very overhung by willows and blackberries. Today, Allan helped me get it all pruned.

Nerve racking to watch.

Blackberries and bindweed have infiltrated from the east.

I worked on the downlow.

It was incredibly and annoying windy. High up in the alder tree to the east side of the fire circle is one large dead branch that has been there for years like that. I wish it would come down when no one is near.


I was doing more clipping and cleaning up when Beverly arrived for our planned visit. We sat in the fire circle till the wind picked up so much that it felt dangerous and then moved to the lawn by the patio. Our visit was soothing, as she has a calming personality and we had much to say after not having seen each other for many months.

Something strange happened then, when Allan invited in a passerby, previously unknown to us, who turned out to be something of an anti- vaxxer who was determined to talk about it. I will draw a veil on how that went. Let’s just say that while Beverley has excellent people skills, I do not have patience for someone unvaxxed waltzing in, shaking hands (not with me, of course, as I said no) and standing way way way too close.

It helped that it was Friday, and on Friday night we have Gardeners’ World to watch on BritBox to soothe my still jangled nerves.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Allan had gone boating. I went on with the clean up from yesterday’s pruning. In the early afternoon, our Tony and his guest and longtime friend from out of town, Teresa, came to visit. They used to ride the bus to school together! We had a grand tour of the garden. Tony’s photos will be tomorrow’s post! He walked all around again while Teresa and I had a sit down visit.

As soon as they left, I started tearing the garden apart, inspired by Monty Don’s early summer clean up from last night’s show. I made a great big mess and was too tired to pick it all up.

East bed before and after
I revealed a Sun Sprite rose by digging out Persicaria. I might move the rose this fall…or just try harder to control the Persicaria in future.

Whenever my garden has been on a garden tour in July, I get very twitchy about wanting to do this sort of clean up and having to wait till after the tour. Now I am not expecting garden company till the end of this month so it will have time to knit back together.

I also picked the lower leaves off the greenhouse tomatoes because Monty said so.

Fourth of July aftermath update:

I’ve added this photo to my recent post about the beach clean up.