Monday, 15 July 2019

We had rain overnight, not enough to make me regret running the sprinklers, but enough to delay watering Long Beach and Ilwaco till Wednesday, with other jobs to do tomorrow.

I finished a book that I’ve been reading this week.

Gardenlust by Christopher Woods

Here are my takeaways (probably impossible to decipher if you are reading this on a phone, for which I apologize).

A poetic dedication

Each chapter is about a garden made in this century, mostly public gardens.

I loved that The Garden of Flowing Fragrance, in the Huntington Botanical Garden, has a “Pavilion for Washing Away Thoughts”.

Kevin Scales, who designed Quinta da Granga in Portugal. made me happy by not being formally trained:

It struck me as unusual and daring that the author would criticize a garden, in this case the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London:

I’d love to tour the gardens of Carrie Preston, a Dutch garden designer:

She likes fading tulips: “That is the prettiest moment for a tulip, just as they start to fall over in a sigh.”

I like this:

Landschaftspark, a garden built around the ruins of a former iron plant, is one I’d like to see.

Look, Gasworks Park gets a mention.  Although it is mostly lawn around the old Seattle gasworks, as I recall.

The photos show that Landschaftspark has much more of a garden feel.

About a public garden in Australia, and public gardens in general:

In a chapter showing high rise vertical gardens:

About her Fisherman’s Bay garden in New Zealand, Jill Simpson says:

Out of all the gardens, hers and Carrie Preston’s are the one I would most like to see.

Gardenlust has a combination of large and glorious photos and thoughtful, critical prose.  It is a heavy book, one that you will want to read in a comfy chair.  You can get it from Timber Press or, if you are lucky like me and have access to the Timberland Library system, they have a copy.

I got my blog caught up just now and, within minutes, Devery will be here to bring us her cat, Jazmin.  We are adopting Jazmin because Devery is going to visit family for awhile.  We hope she will return to the peninsula that she loves so much.

Meanwhile, the back bathroom will be Jazmin’s haven, with the tray of fresh green cat grass from Lezlie, lots of comfy sleeping spots, and her own litter box and her bed that will remind her of her home with Devery.  She once lived right next door to us in the Nora house.  Within a couple of weeks, we hope to have Jazmin incorporated into the entire household and, eventually, the garden.


We had a farewell visit with Devery.

One More very blurry photo of Jazmin in her new haven. She is an affectionate cat and was happy to be petted.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

at home

The newly doubled rain barrels are working well.  More misty rain had fallen before we woke up….

…and then the temperature went over 70 again.

Skooter learned a move from Frosty.

Seven years ago, our garden was on the local tour.  It is amazing how low the plants looked back then when it was but a year and a half old.  Now that I have enabled video on this blog, I can show you the musician, Randy Brown, improvising a song about our garden those many years ago.

Today I got to spend the day in the mature garden where the edges have grown in to give privacy and enclosure, always my goal.

Lezlie came over with Winston and a flat of cat grass for our soon to be arriving new cat.

We toured all around the garden.

Winston wanted in.  Frosty, who likes dogs, quietly observed. Lezlie had afternoon plans for her own garden.

Lezlie said, “You are always welcome to visit if you are north of Cranberry Road.” Like me, it is a big deal for her to go to the other end of the peninsula.  She added, “I planned this trip like getting out the buckboard and hooking up the horses.”

Allan, who likes to go on trips, had gone boating. (More on this when he has time to write it up.)

I weeded until time to share a meal with friends from the north (further north than Cranberry Road, from the land of cities).  Allan’s boating trip was local so he was able to join us at

At the Helm Hotel (The Waterline Pub).

At the Helm
the view from our table
Alan and Debbie

You may remember Debbie and Alan from bringing us the Mighty Mac chipper not long ago!

crab quiche
Alan’s appetizer

Debbie and I share a lot of the same ideas about gardens and I hope I remember correctly that her favourite on the tour was Steve and John’s bayside garden. I felt I had been on most of the tour because of the all-revealing preview photos; Debbie and Alan filled me in on what I had missed.  What an amusing hour or two we had talking gardens.

at home again

elephant garlic and red poppies outside the fence…

I sifted out two more wheelbarrows of compost from bin one.


evening light on the garden

Sunday, 14 July 2019

I looked forward to a visit from Debbie Teashon of Rainy Side Gardeners and Jeanne from Portland.  I must admit that, although I was weeding for a midweek visit from friends, I had stepped up the effort because of Debbie’s visit; she is a professional garden photographer.  Sadly, instead of the longer visit we had planned, she had to rush home (four hours or more away) because her dog was doing poorly.  Happy news is that the dog turned out to be okay.

Allan and I still had a good tour around the garden and long garden talk with Jeanne.

Although I later felt verklempt about missing out on Debbie, I went on determinedly with my compost sifting.

Another barrow-full went along the front garden edge.

I had a little bit left for the shady north bed in front…

but not quite enough, and I had come to the end of bin one.  I started with bin four last weekend and, from the four bins, I had gotten twenty wheelbarrows of sifted compost.

The unfinished compost now fills up just two bins, with two empty for the first time since we installed the four bins.

I fussed over my new feature made out of a hollow stump with an insert holding water.

Flowers in the back garden (east bed):

I ran all the sprinklers just in case we don’t have more rain.

It feels satisfying to have found time to weed almost the whole garden without stress.  Thank you to the rain that gave us an extra long weekend.






Thursday, 11 July 2019

at home

The heavy rain, amounting to 1.47 inches, had given us an extra day off.

The ponds brimmed with fresh water.

The red rain gauge told a beautiful story.

Today’s big plan: to dismantle and move my three trough gardens. They had turned out to be in too much shade.

And they also blocked access to weeding the most difficult corner to the left of a bog planting tub.

I can say I have rewilded that corner with long grass for frogs and insects to hide in.

Skooter helped with the dismantling.

“I halp!”

Allan helped move the troughs, which are actually old water meter boxes.

One is bigger than the others.

When I heard some whining next door, the dogs got their biscuits.

reassembled troughs
including this precious Dan Hinkley plant

The photos make the day look cool.  It was over 70 degrees of sticky heat.

I welcomed a break when an uphill neighbor, Beverly, stopped by to bring me two fragrant roses from her inland garden.

We had a bit of a tour, of course.

Because I don’t focus much on growing food, I had relegated my strawberry patch to containers outside the deer fence in order to make room for the ponds.  Bird netting had not worked to keep the deer off.  Four plastic window box containers of strawberries could fit where the troughs used to be.

The containers used to sit here, in front of a repurposed filing cabinet where a red runner bean and a cucumber plant are failing to thrive.

Instead of the plastic window boxes, I used the drawers from the filing cabinet for the strawberries and will try to keep bird netting over the others that are still outside the fence.

I guess this is Upcycle Corner now.

MaryBeth came by while I was wrangling strawberries, to return the book Swallows and Amazons to Allan.

I started the parade of compost again.


I realized I had an audience.


The fifth barrow got me to the bottom of bin two.

Judy from Ocean Park had come by because I had planned to give her the free garden tour ticket that a friend gave me.  She could not use it after all, so I called Beverly and she was pleased to come get it.  She brought me a little plant, looks like a heuchera, has flowers “like tiny bubbles”.

This is the first year in the last four that the local garden tour did not conflict with the Grays Harbor tour (my favourite) or the bi-annual Tillamook tour.  I almost used my free ticket, but the tour preview photos were overhead drone shots that showed so much of the gardens that I decided that I’d rather spend the day in my own paradise.  I think “sneak peek” preview photos of mysteriously enticing garden vignettes are wiser, not giving almost everything away in advance. I want to be intrigued, enticed, not shown as much as a movie preview that tells too much of the story,

How I laughed when I remembered that in 2016, when I used to manage the local tour’s Facebook page, I was told I could no longer post any vignette-style sneak peek photos. I resigned then and turned the page over to someone else. The gift that gave me was that we went elsewhere that year and discovered the Grays Harbor Master Gardeners tour.

Meanwhile, in the garden…

a poppy
the first flower on Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’
Allan’s photo

With a few breaks to get out of the heat, I had gardened from 11:45 to 8:45.

end of day

Allan had done a bit of work on our local mowing jobs (all on this block) and then rewarded himself with a concert in Long Beach, featuring a Roy Orbison and an Elvis impersonator.

I might have gone for Roy, but not for Elvis.  One of them changed clothes and turned into Neil Diamond at the end.

I had a pleasant evening in with Springwatch on Britbox TV.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Today, I weeded, because I am expecting company from afar next week.  Allan hung some mosaic plates for me, made by our friend Michele Naquiaya, an artist who left Ocean Park for a thriving artistic life in Ijijic, Mexico.

I woke Skooter up while weeding.  He was too comfy to help in the garden.

It was over 70 degrees and muggy again.  I did retreat to the house for an hour of reading.

I restored the salmonberry tunnel…

…had a visit from Devery, and turned out some compost in the relative coolness of the evening.

bin one

That is as far as I got with compost because I remembered that a new Gardener’s World episode should be on Britbox.  It was not!  Why?  I did find it elsewhere online, a wildflower meadow special.  I learned that since WWII, wildflower meadows equal to one and half the size of Wales have disappeared from Britain, and I could swear I heard someone say that birds-foot trefoil is fed upon by 160 different insects.  Is that possible? If you watch it (available here for the moment), tell me if I heard that right.

Also…Monty in a wildflower field must have set many hearts aflutter…

I accepted an invitation that would take me off the property tomorrow, only by two blocks, not too far.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

With continuing rain, it was a good day to visit two local nurseries.

post office garden with Asiatic lilies

The Planter Box

The Planter Box has Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’.  I would get one if I were you.

still raining

The Basket Case Greenhouse

The Basket Case has a selection of large Japanese maples.

The nursery visits were mostly social although I did acquire a bag of grit. a bag of soil, and a blue hardy impatiens.

I was thrilled at the continuing rain and did not at all mind doing some work in it.

Long Beach

We checked on the city hall garden.

west side
north side

Sidewalk tiles by Renee O’Connor:

And we checked on Fifth Street Park.

glorious rain

We would not have to water the port gardens or any more planters this week!

lilies that I keep forgetting to move

Sara and Matt’s garden

On the way home, we visited a Seaview edible and native plant garden to see its progress.  It was just beginning when we last visited.

Jet (Allan’s photo)
Allan’s photo
along the driveway
beach strawberries

Jet entertained us, or vice versa, while we had coffee in the living room.

Allan’s photo

at home

the rain so far (Allan’s photo)
Callistemon ‘Woodlander’s Red’ (Allan’s photo)

I had time to read some more of my current book…

and to watch an episode of Springwatch on Britbox.

We had delicious chard and peas from Sara’s garden for our dinner.

Allan’s photos

Thanks to the rain doing our watering for us, we now have a four day weekend.



real time alert

My favourite garden tour is this weekend.  It is pretty far from where we live, but if you are anywhere near Ocean Shores, or even as close as Olympia, it will be well worth the drive.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

The photo captions look weirdly placed in the WordPress editor.  I don’t have time to fuss with my blog during this busy time (it is all I can do to churn the posts out!), so I hope they look right when published.

Ilwaco post office garden

My verbascum serves as a pillar to keep people from cutting across the garden.  Someone said on Facebook that it is a weed.  I carefully perused the Washington State noxious weed list and did not see it there.

Boreas Inn

Innkeepers Susie and Bill were away at the Oregon Country Fair, an annual alternative extravaganza. Bill has been one of the staffers there for many years.

Susie and Bill at the fair! (Susie’s photo)

We checked on the garden at their inn.  I did not have faith in the arrival of rain.  The assistant innkeeper turned on the sprinklers.

a moderate sweet pea success

on the entry porch
the entry garden
back yard, looking west toward the beach path

Allan’s photo

Long Beach

As we drove the eight blocks from the Boreas to Veterans Field, a light rain arrived.

We had decided to weed and trim the north and south parking lot “berms”.

the parking lot berms (bottom of photo)
before, north berm
after (Allan’s photos)

The berms get little attention and no supplemental water.

Spiraea douglasii
Rosa glauca and Stipa gigantea

Allan pulled a tangle of birds foot trefoil.  I was going to leave it.

A few days later, on a Gardener’s World wildflower meadow special, I could swear they said that 160 different kinds of insects like to feed on it (in the UK).  It is rich in pollen.

As we finished the north berm, the rain got serious.

Allan’s photo

By the time we had trimmed the edges of the south berm, the rain was in earnest, and yet, despite some wind, not cold.

a substantial load of debris (Allan’s photo)

Oceanside Animal Clinic

Skooter, who had a late afternoon check up for a small owie on his foot, visited the clinic and got a claw manicure, as well.

Poor dog, who loves to run, had hurt her knee. I empathized.


On the way home, we had a look at the port gardens.

the boatyard

At home:

new leaf on Alocasia ‘Mayan Mask’

rain barrels filling

I got a message from our friend Tony to look on the front porch.  There we found his husband Scott’s delectable lemon bars, which made a perfect accompaniment to our warming cups of tea.


Monday, 8 July 2019

Despite a forecast of rain, we did our usual watering rounds.  We cannot depend on rain, especially when the forecast calls for anything between one tenth and one half inch.

Long Beach

Allan watered the street trees and ten planters and I did the rest.

Photos taken as I walked up one side of the street and then down the other…

My second planter had a catastrophe: one of my gauras had disappeared, ruining my symmetry.

I found half of the plant left, bent sideways.

I had to trim the remainder of the right hand one by half and then had to cut the other one by half to match.  The joys of public gardening.  I hope people know that my intentions were better than what they get to see.

Cosmos ‘Xanthos’

In two planters, the knautias that used to be the variegated ‘Thunder and Lightning’ are too big and sprawling.

One variegated leaf has come back in the messy middle.

Perhaps in the autumn, I will remember to dig these out and put them under a street tree or in a park.

Last week’s mulch has slowed down the horsetail in Fifth Street Park.

I had some sweet pea success, although some of the leaves look ominously on the verge of mildew.

California poppies
Allium christophii tied into a bundle

I had begged some string from Captain Bob’s Chowder but did not take enough for the second trio of alliums.

Veronica is regrowing where I sheared it back hard.

The dampest corner of Fifth Street Park:

No one has cut into the biggest lavender yet!

lavender abuzz

The lilies in Fifth Street Park and in my own garden are shorter than usual this year.

Allan’s photos while watering:

Sanguisorba ‘Pink Elephant’

rugosa rose
a couple getting a photo in front of the blooming ‘Super Dorothy’ rose


I tidied up the planters while Allan bucket watered them.

Someone planted sunflowers in this one.

Maybe a bird did it.

view of the boatyard

The deer spray (Liquid Fence) is preventing the sedums from getting munched.

Someone who came to my plant sale at the end of May told me to look for a little garden behind a building.  I remembered today.

very nice indeed

The annoying perennial sweet pea looks pretty right now.

We did not plant it.

City Hall

We finished by watering our volunteer gardens at the post office and fire station.

fire station garden
east side, new this year

It was 71 degrees as we finished watering.

At home, my next door neighbour was feasting on bindweed.

I potted up a big comfrey that we had dug up, with permission, from a garden near the boatyard.

Skooter helped.


Smith Lake

Allan’s most recent boating excursion

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

7 July 2019: A Lot to Say About a Little Lake

The very low tide today would not be favorable to paddle any river or bay that it could affect.

thumbnail_IMG_0486.jpg An afternoon of incoming water is good, but +3′ wasn’t until 3PM.

I would try an upstream launch on the Young’s River, figuring that maybe it was elevated enough not to be affected. I have heard that it might be possible to paddle right up to the base of the Young’s River Falls.

DSC01931.JPG Nobody would be using this ramp at the river’s mouth in Astoria for a while.

Off I went to confirm that the falls were flowing.

DSC01689.JPG Young’s River Falls today as previously featured in Free Willy 2 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3.

A look downstream showed no beaches that would indicate the river was at low tide.


So I went further downstream to the launch…

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