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Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Norwood garden

We had a project to start with just two doors down. Two lavenders in the narrow foundation beds date back to well before my time caring for the Norwood garden and have gotten both soft and woody inside. They look ok when in bloom but the rest of the time are pretty sad. So today Allan dug them out and I replaced them with a Lavender ‘Grosso’, a Lavender ‘Hidcote Blue’ (my favorite) and an Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’.

Two dogs next door barked and wiggle waggled all over so I had to say hi. I knew they were nice dogs even though I don’t know their names.

Dogs make me happy. Wish I had one.
In the shady north side garden

Mike’s garden

Allan sheared the big ball of Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’.

Sadly, I found that voles have discovered the tulips, which means no more tulips will be planted in the north bed. Darn it. The flowers droop and, when pulled, the stems slide right out because the bulb has been eaten.

Port of Ilwaco

We did a fast deadheading down Howerton Avenue’s curbside beds, trying to resist weeding because we are trying to make the budget last.

Escapees
By the Ilwaco pavilion
By Time Enough Books and Purly Shell

Ilwaco Fire Station

I weeded all around our volunteer garden. The southwest corner doesn’t have much spring color to show because I was feeling anxious about money so didn’t add tulips or more narcissi.

The east side is better right now.
The north side fern bed, new last year. The back side of it is under wide eaves.

Ilwaco Community Building Garden

Allan had gone to the library and, while he was there, deadheaded narcissi. The 2021 budget doesn’t run to much this year because of Covid money complications. Last week, I got a comment on a photo I posted on Facebook of the lower tiered garden, that someone must tell whoever takes care of the garden (the commenter knows darn well it is us) that they MUST prune the mugo pine because it must not be allowed to grow tall. I replied in private that the budget does not run to such pruning, and that it is a case of the wrong plant in the wrong place. The designer installed a tall shrub that wants to be a tree there. I added that I didn’t want an amateur pruning job done on a job that people think Allan and I do, so the only solution I could see is that someone could go in there and cut it to the ground. And today Allan found out that someone did.

It would have been courteous to remove the stump without even having to be asked.

The garden photo from couple of weeks ago that got the comment:

And today:

I’ve quit jobs over clients doing shockingly bad pruning before (quit without saying that was why), but I have pretty much turned this salal-infested bed over to Allan. It’s hard on my knee to climb in through the railing, so I know that whoever popped in there with a chain saw was more agile than me! Too bad the damn stump is still there or we could plant something better. (We can probably jam a donated hardy fuchsia in there somehow or other….When we took on the garden as a job, my condition was that we would be in charge of what gets planted there from then on.)

We found the pine boring but inoffensive. I doubt it bothered anyone who used the lower part of the building. I just rolled my eyes and said to Allan that this means we can dig out the small one that is annoyingly boring by the library entrance, if we want to do so as volunteers this fall, because this year’s budget won’t run to that, either. We understand the Covid-related budget constraints, but they do make our work stressful.

The community building garden also has would-be tree-sized mugo pines where they need frequent pruning to keep them from hiding both sides of the building’s sign along the front sidewalk, also an unfortunate choice. We don’t have time for pruning those, either. Maybe the same mystery person will cut them to the ground. I don’t want them butchered to bare stumpy branches! This is one of many examples of gardens that were installed with the idea that volunteers or business owners would maintain them, and then volunteers did not materialize or did not keep the gardens up well. We’ve inherited several similar situations over the years of public gardening.

At home

I dealt with my pile of dug up elephant garlic and went on a weeding frenzy of removing the native fringecups, pretty but will take over an area.


Last week before removing monkshood, garlic, and fringecups, followed by tonight:

We had a campfire dinner.

Allan found a pedestrian in the middle of the road while walking to the post office at midnight, and brought it home to our pond.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

I am worried about my potatoes. Where are they? I dug down and they are still there, with tiny sprouts not quite long enough to break the surface. Surely it shouldn’t take so long.

Before work, I planted a fabulously huge chunk of Stuttgart canna right in the ground. I want to see how big it will get with endless root room. This was a gift from blog reader Teri, along with a tomato she grew from seed that is so very much bigger than mine, which are the height of my little finger or even smaller.

Huge canna
In the center bed at the stern of the canoe

I will have to keep the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ from swamping the canna till it outgrows them. My three purchased Stuttgart tubers grew, so I will also have three in big pots. The young leaves look yellow striped, not white, so I hope they turn out to be correctly labeled.

Diane’s garden

….is where we began working. I was going to assess her new planter trough and dump out many of the old pots and put in fresh soil and replant the plants….but the planter trough was not there yet. I called her and found out there is a problem with the order, but it should arrive this week. The project was delayed. We did a basic deadheading instead.

Roadside bed
A creepy sight

We will have to remove a lot of white California poppies from the vault garden. Last year they swamped other plants. We will leave just a drift of them.

The Red Barn

The little garden sure lacks spring color. I simply must plant some late flowering narcissi there for next year. Tulips might get destroyed by voles.

Bentley appeared for a biscuit….

….which he took into the barn and then came wandering around the other side, still looking for a place to bury it.

He finally found a spot and came back for another!

Our good friend Cosmo wants nothing but love.

The Planter Box

We began a shopping round looking for some organic insect spray for the J’s aphids.

I learned that it is important to spray every seven days to cover the life cycle of the aphid. I’ve seen on garden telly how they are born pregnant and pop out a multitude of hungry babies. If only birds or ladybugs had discovered them before they got so thick on those roses…. I also bought a bag of turkey grit, a far cry from the huge pile of beautiful amber colored stone grit that we saw in an episode of Carol Klein’s Life in a Cottage Garden.

The Basket Case Greenhouse

I continued my quest for pink plants for Diane and some red diascia for The Red Barn, where I am going to have to crack the riding quirt to get someone to water the barrels, because once a week is not enough.

Mimulus
Izzy!

Patti’s garden

Patti had emailed me that she had bought three hydrangeas for us to plant in place of the three that had been mysteriously cut low earlier this year. And some plants for her windowboxes. I planted the boxes…

…with red geranium and white bacopa. Allan and I switched out the hydrangeas, putting the short ones in a shade bed on the north side.

Stella had two biscuits.

The Depot Restaurant

We deadheaded and applied three bags of mulch. But I made a rookie mistake and did not smell the mulch first. Usually, we use Soil Conditioner mulch in public gardens because it is almost odorless. I had simply spaced out what I well knew, that the dining deck is open because of the pandemic. Usually, it doesn’t open till the end of May, so it doesn’t matter what I mulch with in spring. I panicked and called out Chef Jamie for an opinion. He said it smelled fine, like bark. I worried. I don’t want to read about it in a trip advisor review. Maybe I have lost my touch and it’s time to fully retire?

I remember when it was a fad among gardeners to fertilize with liquid feed made from fermented salmon. I only used it when working for an avid gardener or for someone who wasn’t home. Once, an out of town client returned home three days early and crawled under her house to see if something had died. At least the smell of mulch is not like that!

J Crew Cottage

We watered and used a sharp stream from the hose to knock off the aphids. I think we may have already succeeded as most of the ones we could see were dead. The photo is from before hosing the roses off, and then the rose spray was applied just to make sure. I hope for the last time.

The tulips are pretty.

All photos today were by Allan. I guess it looks like a productive day even though being unable to do the big project I had planned for Diane’s garden made it feel otherwise.

Allan’s boating adventure in the rain. This post was accidentally published when it was only one paragraph long so here is the whole story!

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

Today’s trip needed to deal with a tide that would be below 2.2 feet. There is roughly a twelve mile round trip of non-tidal fresh waterways that wander around the flat lands of Brownsmead. Its present geography was modified in the late 1800s by its namesake W.G. Brown, a land reclamation engineer. Dikes and gates now maintain the water level. The area went through a timber and fishing phase, as explained in this short article from nearby Astoria’s Our Coast Weekend, and there is a longer article here.

The width doesn’t vary much. If a racing rowing shell had a decent rudder, it could row nearly all of it. There are few boats pulled up, fewer docks and no public ramp. There are no hidden ramps with parking that I could find. My local launch guidebook offers two ways to explore these waterways, neither easy if you are…

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Sunday, 2 May 2021

At home

Having plants stashed on my compost bins kept me from avoiding other garden tasks by turning compost. I just walked on by into the back garden.

Salvia africana-lutea

I admired my asphodels. How I love them. I grow them in big pots so I don’t lose them in the wildness of the garden, or to too much moisture in the soil.

I think we will have strawberries. I’ve been diligently fertilizing (with comfrey tea and fish fertilizer) their assorted containers.

I spent the day potting up some small tomato plants I’d bought at The Basket Case Greenhouse. Into large pots they went, as I feel I lack the time to pot on to slightly larger and larger pots. I went through three bags of potting soil.

In the lean-to greenhouse

The cosmos I grew from seed are still tiny but at least has true leaves.

If only they would grow even an inch more by next week, I could plant them out in my volunteer gardens and at Time Enough Books and Patti’s and Diane’s and at home without having to put them into six packs. I’ve bought crowded undivided packs of little cosmos that had to have their roots untangled and had them do just fine. I wanted to have my favorite kinds, Cupcakes and Seashells. Sensation, the most readily available to buy, blooms too late for me.

The sunflower packets said it was not recommended to sow them in containers. I have had no luck the last two years sowing them in the ground, so….

I have lots of small plants growing on for my plant sale that I am planning for Saturday, May 22. Depending on the Covid situation, I may also do the “World’s Longest Garage Sale” the following weekend. My mission is to share my overflow of plants in mostly small pots so anyone can afford some. I just can’t bear to throw them out, but I also can’t afford to just give away potting soil, thus the sale. Labeling them is the most time consuming part.

In the mid afternoon, I dug out some aconitum (monkshood), a blue one, probably napellus, of which I have too many. They are associated with That Job I Quit and therefore bring me no joy. I removed them back then from the dining deck of a cafe, very dangerous. I offered them up today to local gardeners via Facebook, apparently with such dire warning about poison that there was only one taker. I’ll pot them up anyway, or at least some, for a couple of friends who want them and can’t get them till later…friends who will treat them with appropriate respect.

A bit further into that area in the west bed was a silly stand of self sown elephant garlic that never blooms and just flops in the shade.

After all the potting up and the other digging, I was mighty tired, and I had been dragging leg all day from the two days of shifting mulch. I thought I would just walk back there and see how hard it was to dig the garlic out, as a preview of tomorrow. Half an hour later…

The elephant garlic is now in a big messy pile. I’ll cut the foliage off for the compost and throw the bulbs into the weed debris pile where they can grow if they so desire.

On the way back, I examined a Physocarpus to see if it really could be ‘Center Glow’, as an unearthed tag suggested.

Maybe so.

Allan’s garden is under clouds of white and pink blossoms now with two old apple trees and a white rhododendron.

While mulching his garden, he found two dark leaved trilliums we didn’t even remember having….

…along with the special one we bought at Dancing Oaks several years ago.

He left our property today to mow at Norwoods…

…and Alicia’s.


Monday, 3 May 2021

books

My well laid gardening plans were foiled by rain. Allan went boating anyway. I stayed almost completely indoors and read a suspense novel, Mother May I, by Joshilyn Jackson. It did not living up to its scintillating reviews. In fact, I skimmed in boredom till page 91, when the plot became gripping enough to occupy the rest of my day. It wasn’t enough to make me want to read her other books.

Late last week, I finished two interlibrary loans that were about to be overdue. The first was by Chuck Klosterman, an essayist by whom I will even read a sports essay. Fortunately, there were no sports essays in this memoir about his cross country trip to visit places where musicians had died…a morbid quest that led to a lot of the sort of philosophizing and reminiscing that I enjoy.

Just three favourite bits:

I love this because I use not one, but two sound machines for sleeping (waves lapping on a lake shore and “night train”).

Dreams:

The film referred to below is Security, Colorado. It reminded Chuck of some of the aimless hanging out with friends that he used to do. I identified with that. My garden in the early 80s would have been a lot better if I didn’t spend so much time with Bryan and his core group of friends “goofing off”, as they called it, hanging out at each other’s houses, going out to breakfast and dinner, and out for espresso at midnight. Those are cherishable memories, although I do remember thinking I was wasting a lot of time. I often took a book to read when the goofing off took place in someone’s apartment.

When I was quite small, I actually prayed that I would not lose interest in my collection of model horses. Somehow, I knew things would change, and it broke my heart.

Speaking of the years of goofing off….I don’t think the following would mean much to someone who spent their whole life with one beloved partner. But it did for me, retrospectively.


So now I must seek out the other Klosterman books that have slipped by me, even though they will probably include essays about sportsball.

I also read Keeyla Meadows’ first book.


Much of the pleasure in this book comes from the pictures, which of course you must see for yourself. I do think this is excellent advice:

Brilliant!

I love that she “waters with her thumb” over the end of the hose. There’s a delightful painting from a photo of her doing so.

My favorite bit from the whole book:

The question people ask most often when they come into my garden is, “How long have you lived here?” What they are really asking is, “Can I have a garden like this?”

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Mostly at home

I had planned a low pressure two day moving of our mulch pile from Alicia’s driveway.

Unfortunately, last night…of course on a Friday night!…a health problem that has been plaguing me returned. I was scared and anxious and only got two hours of sleep and managed to get an appointment at the clinic today at three forty. Feeling desperate to get the mulching done as I catastrophized about seeing the Saturday doctor (the ever so kind physician’s assistant who has recently started to keep clinic hours on Saturday), I started shoveling at 9:30 AM.

Allan offered to help by keeping the three wheelbarrows filled. This worked out exceptionally well for me. Since I found it hard to keep up with the filled barrows, it kept my mind focused on trying to do that. Otherwise, if I had been shoveling, I’d have been doing nought but worrying about my problem.

Allan got so far ahead that he did the string trimming around the lawn edges while waiting to fill barrows.

While dumping mulch out by the Bogsy Wood main path, I wondered what was the brown thing past the gate: Had some cardboard blown in?

Then I realized, and got Allan to come see, too.

Two and half hours after we started, the mulch pile was gone and I had heaps of soil between plants in the garden beds.

I had time to rake the piles pretty much level….

…and for just a bit of garden admiration.

Deep red primrose on plant table
New beds by bogsy swale
Camassias
More camassias
New gold leafed clematis with blue flowers
Akebia in front garden
Holboellia coriacea ‘Cathedral Gem, very fragrant at front arbor gate

While I was weeding and raking, Allan mowed our lawn and Alicia’s….

…and the J Crew Cottage where he found the flowering quince still looking lovely…

…and the aphids all over the roses again! I’ve never seen such a determined aphid infestation.

He sprayed them off with the hose again and squished some, a nasty business. I have to get a better (organic) spray. There are no birds or ladybugs helping here. The Zepherine Drouhin rose seems less infested that the other four roses.

At the clinic, the nurse made a sympathetic noise and had a worried expression when I hobbled in. I said, “Don’t worry, this is just because I worked hard the last two days!” She said, “Oh, I thought that’s what you were here for!” I was relieved to be released with nothing more than another pharmacy prescription. I’m always afraid a doctor will tell me to rest and take time off gardening. I just can’t, not in springtime!

This evening, I was so sore from two days of mulch moving and wheelbarrowing that I ended up just about dragging one leg around because of a sore calf and knee. Much as I grew up around old people and had no fear of getting old, it is a shock to have my physical power wane. I remember in the summer of 2004 working in a job with Terran, a good friend and excellent gardener who now has her own full time business, BeeKissed Gardening. She is over 20 years younger than me, but then, when I was 49, we were equally matched physically. As we moved buckets of river rock, we joked that we should open a business together and call it Amazon Gardeners. I miss being able to carry buckets of rocks all day and not be sore at night. You can see Coral’s garden, made from a blank slate of a level lot, in this old post.

Tonight, I watched two 2013 episodes of Beechgrove to soothe my nerves. Seeing Jim McColl gardening vigorously in his mid 70s, even though I can tell he’s not moving as fast as he used to, is a treat and gives me hope. He did not retire till age 84.

I fervently hope to have three days of weeding without leaving my property (except to check on those darned aphids).

Friday, 30 April 2021

Today began the second weekend (Friday and Saturday) of free biosolids mulch from the City of Long Beach. This time, each vehicle was not limited to one cubic yard per day but could come back as often as they wanted while supplies lasted. I suspected the event might last only through the first day.

I’d been having mulch anxiety dreams all week, things like our vehicle breaking down so we couldn’t get any, or having to get it in storming rain and wind. And it was rainy today!

We were out the door more than an hour earlier than usual. Load one:

I was jealous at the amount this rig could carry…

…and when one of the crew commented that our trailer was carrying half a cubic yard, I realized we could have returned for seconds last week when the limit was one cubic yard. However, based on the amount of mulch piled up at home, I think we were carrying almost a yard on today’s first trip home. Allan stopped partway to make sure the trailer tires weren’t getting hot.

At home, we offloaded onto Alicia’s driveway as fast as we could.

Our turnaround time from getting home to getting back to city works was only half an hour, which is an amazing quick offload; it’s at least a ten minute drive, I think.

Load two:

We got a little spooked at the amount the big scoop was depositing, so we went home with a somewhat lighter load and offloaded it in our own driveway (thus blocking the garage). I filled buckets, too, for storage if we have extra.

Again, our turn around was half an hour. I was in great suspense about whether there would be any left because so many trucks had been going in as we were leaving with load two. Well, three trucks, but each could hold more than we can.

Load three:

I was so happy that there was enough left.

A small trailer in front of us
A bigger truck in line behind us
Loading precious spillage into buckets

The attending city crew told us they had about 30 yards left. If a truck could hold two yards, then if only fifteen trucks arrived while we were driving home, offloading, and driving back, we’d be out of luck. I would have been even more pessimistic if I’d read this, which I looked up later: “A regular size pick-up will hold three cubic yards of mulch (a full load). Two cubic yards is about body level full. When picking up soils, sands and gravels, one cubic yard is all that is recommended on a pick-up truck.“ The mulch is lightweight so a big truck could hold a lot.

At home, we offloaded into Alicia’s driveway again, grateful to have such a nice neighbor.

That looks like at least two cubic yards to me.

Allan thought we might as well try for one more load. It was worth a chance.

Load four!

We got it! They were down to the dregs but there was enough for us and for a few rigs after us.

The expert big scoop operator would scoop on just one side to fit our trailer. Clever.


Allan looked inside and thought this might be the final pile on offer.

We wouldn’t try for a fifth load. It seemed so unlikely there’d be any left. This time, we had to wheelbarrow from the trailer into the garden because we didn’t want to make any more temporary storage piles.

We’d had some rain overnight.
That’s more than we would usually carry. It had been a suspenseful ride home on our little trailer tires.

I had to apply the mulch on top of weeds. Ruth Stout of the no work garden books would approve, but I’d rather have had time to weed first.

It’s hard to struggle the wheelbarrow into a garden bed.
I made some big piles where changes are in store, like digging out this elephant garlic.
To apply and rake out later in driveway garden

Allan used some of the mulch in our driveway on his garden and there was some left over that I applied in a weedy front bed and then four more wheelbarrows to the back garden.

The double load pile on Alicia’s driveway will be tomorrow’s project. I have the center…

…and the east bed left to mulch and can use some back in the Bogsy Wood if there is any left.

Thickly planted east bed…will have to toss it in by handfuls.

The Greys had no interest in watching us from the catios on this blustery day.



Skooter got himself into the front Catio and found the sign ironic. He wants to be able to open the door.

I was so tired and my toe complained. I did manage to pick a salad of broad beans shoots (having been advised by Monty and by Beechgrove to pinch the tips out now), arugula, lettuce, chives, green onions, radishes, sorrel, borage, and calendula.

Allan filled the canoe pond with a hose from one of our barrels so that we can collect more water if the rain continues. We now have four days off, which I intend to devote to weeding and getting that mulch pile moved.

This evening, Long Beach made an announcement.

They have posted the the information that they hand out on site.

Despite my lust for free mulch, I am still not using it on veg…although it will be around my blueberries and apple trees. Would I use a non human sludge source for mulch if I had more money? Probably…but this is free and I need it. Articles like this one make me wonder. Is the article source a good one? I don’t know, but there are also factual sources about how it is not allowed as mulch on organic farms.

Looking in the mouth of this gift horse is not enough to stop me from rejoicing at having enough mulch for the whole garden. And I found this article by NPR reassuring, decisively so. An excerpt for those who are short on time or interest:

“[The] director of resource recovery for the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, argues that biosolids are actually a very safe material. ……….he’s confident that his sludge doesn’t pose a risk to anyone eating produce grown with it — because he’s constantly testing it, per EPA rules.

……Scientists and waste experts say there’s actually a large net environmental benefit to farmers and gardeners recycling the material as a soil amendment. They say it returns valuable nutrients like nitrogen back to the land and keeps the sludge out of landfills and waterways. And even though the small group of activists has raised consumers’ fears, scientists say that the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that sludge is safe and useful.

…….The opposition to biosolids comes from the fact that people are still uncomfortable with any material made from human waste, even if it’s been heavily processed and treated…..”

NPR is a source I most definitely trust.

Thursday, 30 April 2021

J Crew Cottage

Never have I seen aphids as thick as on the four roses in the Js’ back garden. Allan had said the leaves were shiny with insect soap spray, but it was the honeydew from the aphids making them shiny.

I pruned off some of the tender new shoots, sprayed the roses with the hose, put insecticidal soap spray on, and will monitor them closely. There were so many aphids they cascaded off the tender shoots onto the patio. I have never seen the like.

At least aphids don’t love the flowering quince.


Weeding the front garden was much more pleasant.

I still have not decided what to plant in the area where we took a mugo pine out last year.

Beautiful tulips are blooming by the porch. I liked the orange California poppy with pink tulips but had to pull it because it was swamping one of the three baby Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ grasses.

Ilwaco Fire station

We watered and weeded our volunteer garden.

Mike’s garden

We weeded, chatted with Mike, and admired.

Fringed tulip ‘Cummins’, three years old!

It’s odd why the deer are eating these…

…and not the tulips, but I’m glad.

The Depot Restaurant

Our weeding job was a thorough one, going after lots of prunella in the garden. I trimmed the Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’ under the sign.

With Tulip ‘Strong Gold’


The Boreas Inn

We went to the soon to be former bed and breakfast inn just to help Susie by tidying up a small area by a work shed.


Earlier this year, We had taken some old tired plants out of the west beds with plans for renewal. That leaves it sort of a blank slate for the new owners.

Allan’s photo taken as he dumped debris.

On the way home, when we dropped our business and occupation tax document off at Ilwaco city hall, Allan admired some snap dragons that had reseeded into the parking lot. He thought they looked like kettle corn.

We now have at least four days off, although the next one or two days will be spend acquiring mulch till Long Beach runs out of the free mulch on offer.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Clematis montana outside my window. I’d have a better view of the garden if one of the panes wasn’t “blown”!

Allan checked on the J’s roses when I was slow at getting ready. (I had greenhouse plants to water.) Despite knocking them off with a strong spray from the hose last time, the aphid situation on the roses is dire. This time, he sprayed with some insecticidal soap. Where are the birds to eat these? Tomorrow we will have a close look and maybe pick off and bag the tender new growth. I’ve never seen an infestation so thick!

Port of Ilwaco

We started weeding where we left off yesterday, at the Ilwaco Pavilion (restrooms) garden. Where I found space, I planted my leftover California poppy seeds.

Lots of California poppies of assorted colors are already blooming. Allan took all the garden photos today (and most days, lately).

Helianthemum
Tulip linifolia and santolinas
More tulip linifolia
Armeria (sea thrift)
Armeria invaded by alchemilla
Cutting back a straggly hebe
This lavender looks awful (or structural and dramatic) while its two sisters have at least one more good summer in them so I don’t want to tear this bed apart till autumn. I hope tall plants that are in there (linaria and rose campion) grow up to hide the knobby legs of the lavender.
The Time Enough Books curbside garden was surprisingly full of tiny little weed grasses and took longer than expected. That is a dwarf Stipa (not so) gigantea from Xera Plants.
I have one Watsonia, orange, in this garden and have divided it some. (A day lily is next to it.) I wish I had more colors of Watsonia but when I’ve tried to order more online, there was a crop failure.
Time Enough’s garden boat
Ceanothus
Allan weeded at Salt Hotel.
Too much quaking grass….but it is cute.

I weeded the two westernmost beds. A pleasant and interesting traveling woman who was quite a gardener stopped and chatted with me. Sometimes that can be maddening when I get slowed down at work, but this time it was all good because she pulled weeds while chatting and she knew which plants to pull. It was her birthday!

The Basket Case Greenhouse

We had gotten done in time to go to the bank and the Basket Case. My mission was to get more potting soil and a couple of Chocolate Cherry tomatoes that had arrived. While I was there, I decided to get some assorted pink and pastel annuals for Diane’s garden. If I wait till just before Mother’s Day, my annual date for starting to plant annuals, the pickings might be slim as various Covid related factors have made nursery plants in short supply this year.

If I had a client while wanted red annuals, I’d have plenty to choose from.
My head start on Diane’s pinks and pastels which I’ll now have to nurture along at home.
Huge impressive delphiniums for sale! But I wasn’t buying for me.
Still some Eryngiums on offer, my favourite perennial. Carol Klein raves about them on Life in a Cottage Garden.
New and attractive garden art

At home, I potted into individual pots two kinds of cucumber and one of tomatoes from my window sill. It is hard to follow Monty Don’s and Carol Klein’s advice about not touching the seedling stems. The true leaves had appeared but didn’t seem strong enough to hang onto. We shall see.

In good news, my toe did not hurt as much today. I was not desperate to get my shoe off. In bad news, Allan has a very sore weeding hand. [It was better the next day.] In good news again, the work board temporarily looks like this.

We will do checkups at some small jobs tomorrow, but the big looming job of weeding the port is done.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Ilwaco boatyard garden

We returned to the boatyard, where Allan immediately tackled another patch of Pennisetum macrourum. It’s not on any invasive list, as far as I know, but we find it too aggressive despite its beauty.

I weeded and planted some starts of a pink achillea (yarrow).

Allan went above and beyond by dealing with a second clump of Pennisetum. We will leave the stand of it at the south end of the garden. I found a blog with a post featuring information and beautiful photos of this grass’s charms.

Meanwhile, a boat called Four Seasons was lowered to the water and motored away.

We finished our weeding and could call the boatyard done till the second wave of horsetail and bindweed.

Howerton Avenue Gardens

We started weeding at the east end, working west. This time our mission was to do the very thorough weeding that had been on the work board all month. We were timing it to stretch out the budget by doing it the week before Saturday market begins.

We did make a difference.

In front of CoHo Charters, Captain Butch Smith likes his little shrubs pruned square like his grandad’s hairdo. I did a light trim, although they are not as sharp as they used to be!

On Coho’s property, we removed a big lavender that had gotten all woody, and found a little one just waiting to take over underneath it.

When we work on the curbside gardens, we are working for the port. When we work on the inner gardens, we are working for and paid by the individual business owner, and the only three inner gardens that we care for that way are CoHo, Time Enough, and a strip of river rock at the Captain’s Quarters vacation rental.

Speaking of river rock, the curbside bed of big river rock north of the soon to be open (we hope) Ilwaco Bakery is hard to weed because it is, for me anyway, impossible to walk on.

We’ve inherited all these different surfaces from lava rock to little river rock, big river rock, all the rockscapes with horrible ineffective landscape fabric underneath, sweeps of rather boring beach strawberry, and my favorite, soil with room to plant in.

A lot of the plants in the beds that have plantable areas are ones I have propagated and donated.

And there is also the one bed that is just an escallonia hedge, trimmed by the business owner with a bare edge to weed. I keep trying to get sedums or something stepable to grow in here. It just occurred to me that in the fall, beach strawberries might be just the thing to get started. I think the weather might already be too dry to transplant some now, but I may try next time.

The garden at At the Helm Hotel has more than enough beach strawberries to share.

We weeded one more bed past the hotel….

…and then I was done because my toe hurt. We had put in over a six hour day but not as long as I had intended. We have this far to go and hope to finish tomorrow.

At home, I put on my slippers and watered all my potted plants and greenhouse seed flats and was then mighty glad to sit down and write blog posts and then watch Deadliest Catch to be inspired by crab fisherfolk working through all sorts of pain.

Monday, 26 April 2021


No matter how we feel about the lingering pandemic, the tourist season in Ilwaco will kick off this Saturday with the opening of the Saturday market. (In Long Beach, tourists have been thronging for weeks.) So the boatyard and port curbside gardens need the thorough weeding that we’ve been carefully timing in order to stretch out the annual budget.

Ilwaco post office garden

We checked on our volunteer garden. The small white allium whose yellowed foliage I pulled last time looks cute today.

But I still intend to dig it all out.

Dutch Iris

Ilwaco boatyard garden

We started at the north end and worked our way south, hoping to get the whole thing weeded today.

The cones kept the sidewalk clear.

Sweet peas among the horsetail survived our dry weather spell!


Windy. Do not like working in wind.
New signs
More sweet peas!
We got to the gate, over halfway done…
Looking back from whence we came

Puppy intermission!

We picked up some eggs from Megan at Purly Shell Fiber Arts and met her 9 week old Great Pyrenees puppy, Ruby. I’ve had three wonderful Great Pyrenees friends, Misty, Debbie, and Bella of Klipsan Beach Cottage and I also dote on Jack, the Purly Shell Pyr. But I’ve never ever met one as a puppy before.


And Hope.
Ruby likes a belly rub.

More boatyard weeding

I decided to expand the garden into the rough gravel between the gate and the actual garden bed. We had always kind of wanted to do this, but never quite had the time. It has reseeded poppies and some yarrow in it already, with lots of weed grass and dandelions.

Allan dug out as much as he could get of the Pennisetum macrourum around a light pole. It’s a beautiful grass but too much of a runner.

It goes into the wheelie bin, not in the debris pile.

We got this far…

….and still had this far to go…

…when my toe, which had been grumbling louder and louder, started screaming and I had to quit for the day.

At home, I felt better as soon as I took my shoes off (I’d already taken my sock off at work) and put floppy slippers on. I admired my Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’, which is starting to bloom….

From Gossler Farms Nursery

….and picked and made a salad of arugula, lettuce, wild sorrel, chives, radishes, borage and calendula.

We are watching Carol Klein’s Life in a Cottage Garden, a six part show about her garden that I have only seen before in a blurry version online. BritBox has it now and it’s lovely on the big screen.