Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Long Beach

I wanted to get one more intersection of Long Beach planters done today, mainly because they needed watering from the last round of planting.  All I had to do was add Cosmos ‘Sonata’ to one street planter and to the big Lewis and Clark Square planter.

In just two planters on that intersection, we found:

an allium broken and ruined before it ever bloomed (Allan’s photo)

a santolina pulled up and left with its roots gasping in the air.

a planter with alliums on one side still fine…

but the matching set on the other side completely gone, bulbs and all

and a Dutch iris pulled out and left lying on top of other plants, still in bud.

I fumed and muttered about quitting public gardening.  And yet I feel it is my mission, and I don’t want to work for wealthy people’s private gardens that only they and their friends or paying garden tour guests see. I feel public gardens give joy to people of all incomes.  And yet…I can hardly stand the vandalism.  (My headache was not going away.)

Dutch Iris and Allium christophii that have escaped being destroyed, so far (Allan’s photo)

the two planters I worked on

Cerinthe major purpurascens (Allan’s photo)

Allan watering

We still had more planters to finish, but today was the day to to planting at…

The Red Barn

which just got four red diascias added to the barrels.

Allan photographed Amy and horses….

And a little bird.

Diane’s garden

We planted all Diane’s containers, and added a few plants along the road and in the septic box garden. Of course, it took an hour longer than I had hoped.

Allan’s photos:

Along the road…


The bench is to protect plants from exuberant new puppy, Holly. Our good old friend Misty is on the porch.

The puppy in question:

I told Diane at least the raised septic box was safe from puppy Holly; she replied that Holly had jumped up and run across it a couple of times.

my photos; the septic garden still needs more.

On the way home, we did a watering session at

The Shelburne Hotel….

Allan watered by the new courtyard in the back.

Looks like a bocce ball or a  dog tangled with the borage patch.

After watering the Shelburne, I went home to struggle with my headachy brain over the mid month billing. Allan watered the Ilwaco planters with the water trailer for the first time this year and found this Diascia ‘Blackthorn Apricot’ interesting.

Monday, 14 May 2018

World Kite Museum

We fluffed up the entry garden with some mulch and enhanced it with a few cosmos and agastaches.

Allan’s photo

Tulip batalinii ‘Bright Gem’ is still going strong in the blue pots.  I’m getting oodles more T batalinii next year.  It blooms and blooms and blooms at the perfect time for late spring colour.

As we were about to leave, Allan kept saying “Have you seen my trowel?”

going back to look

trowel in back pocket

Of course, as always happens with planting, this all took longer than I had expected.

Planter Box and Basket Case

We made the rounds again for a few plants to finish some jobs with.

At The Planter Box, co-owner Raymond helps load a laburnum tree. (Allan’s photo)

I bought myself a variegated hydrangea. (Allan’s photo)

At the Basket Case, we were greeted by beloved staff members.

Allan’s photo

Buddy basking at the door of the greenhouse.

Roxanne’s dad showed Allan that the hanging baskets for Long Beach town were all lined up and ready to go.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

We made the quickest ever stop at the Depot Restaurant to pop in two Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’, thus finishing a planting job, and we got two more Long Beach planters done and eight or more of the previously planted ones watered.  (There are 37 planters downtown and…twenty more-ish on the beach approaches that we haven’t even dealt with because there is too much plant theft out there to plant anything new).

We had an unfortunately short day just when we needed to work long days, because tonight was an important city council meeting. We hurriedly filled some water buckets at the boatyard…

…in order to get some water onto a few of the Ilwaco planters, and then I barely had time to water down the new plants before the meeting.  It was stressful, and I still had a headache.

After popping the plants into the garage to dry out, we attended the crowded meeting and public hearing…

Allan’s photos

….where it was decided, to our great joy, that a conditional use permit will be granted to the would-be new owner of the Doupé Building so that she can add five apartments to the back of the ground floor (while still preserving the front commercial space).  This is necessary to help offset the million dollars or so needed to repair this gorgeous but decrepit and abandoned old building.  It is so far gone that we hear the price had gone down to $195,000.

Doupé Building, 2012

and 2008, when the hardware store was still open.

You can read more about this fascinating old building here, in an article by our friend Madeline.

“Workforce” rental housing of any quality is at a shortage here.  The nine units upstairs and five down should help folks who would like to move here and work at places like Salt Hotel…as long as the rent is affordable.  We shall see.

At home, I worked till ten in the garage, sorting plants and reloading them into the van.  This all took place during day five of a headache.  (While common enough for me in the past, it has been maybe ten years since I have had one of my old-style headaches that lasted this long.)  More than one friend suggested that the headache is from Annuals Planting Hell stress, and I did find that rubbing Bengay on my neck took the pain down several notches.

Kite Museum and Depot are done!




Sunday, 13 May 2018

I thought it might be weird and difficult working at a hotel garden and in Long Beach on Mother’s Day, but needs must in Planting Hell, which was truly planting hell because I still had a headache.  Of course, the direst diagnoses were percolating in my mind, making me so worried about all the still unplanted plants and what would happen to them if I could not work.  One of my favourite authors, Patricia Highsmith, wrote a book of short stories called Little Tales of Misogyny.  I could call this blog Little Tales of Hypochondria if I shared every health related thought that daily weighs down my mind.

While I tried to get myself going in the morning, Allan watered two doors down at Norwoods…

and across the street at the J’s:

Finally, I had some plants gathered and was ready to start work, beginning with planting some cosmos at

The Shelburne Hotel

While I planted in the front garden, Allan watered the back garden.

West side fence garden, mustard transplanted from my garden is doing well (Allan’s photo)

The late morning weather was getting increasingly hot.

planting in the front garden

The soil was still slightly damp underneath, and every plant got water in the hole and then more water once in, dipped from buckets.

little cosmos from six pack (Allan’s photo)

This year, I am not fertilizing the tall cosmos ‘Sensation’.  I think putting fertilizer in each hole is what has caused Cosmos ‘Sensation’ to sometimes bolt to extra tall and not bloom till October…because my “pinch” of fertilizer can vary in size.  I’ve read recently that they like a lean soil.

Allan planted assorted thymes along the edges of the front garden: creeping thyme, woolly thyme, a variegated thyme called ‘Foxley’, ‘Silver Posie’ thyme and lemon thyme.

Allan’s photo

Shelburne front garden, looking north

and south

I heard a guest say “I love this garden, it has some of everything.”

Gardening was also going on at the gallery to the north of the Shelburne:

I love a garden boat.

Leaving the Shelburne, the temperature had just dropped from 80 when I took this photo:

We drove up to Long Beach, looked at the crowds of people, and I had the idea of finishing planting at the

Depot Restaurant.

But what if they have a Mother’s Day brunch? Allan surmised wisely.  I checked their Facebook page.  Fortunately for us, they did not open till five and so we were able to plant there.

bidens, and an Agastache ‘Summer Fiesta’ in the barrel under the east window. (Allan’s photos)

cosmos going into the garden

We can’t cross this job off the list till I get Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ for that barrel planter.  I had them all picked out at the Basket Case on Friday, but got distracted and left that tray uncollected mid-greenhouse.

Long Beach

By now, it was past mid afternoon, and we figured some of the Long Beach tourists had gone home.  We collected buckets of soil at city works, for planters that are low.

Soil Energy Mulch

Although we still did not get all the planters done, we made good progress.  The big stress was the heat, which fortunately had decreased to a pleasant evening of 65 ish degrees.  This meant some of the planters we had planted not long ago also had to be watered.  That is another factor of Planting Hell…we plant, and then the next day have another place to plant, but meanwhile the plants in the first place are screaming for water.

I haven’t been wearing my knee brace for the last three days.  I realized why: I am taking so many pain killers for this darn headache that it is making my knee feel better.

In the Dennis Company planter, I was surprised to see the blue bacopa had come through the winter and was blooming along the edges.  Most unusual.

blue bacopa and Geranium ‘Rozanne’

I was thinking a lot about bulbs today.  John (of the Bayside Garden) likes a tidy garden and finds bulb foliage messy.  It sure is.  Every planter is now plagued with dying bulb foliage that cannot be removed yet (because letting it die back strengthens the bulb).  Some planters, where big strappy narcissi are left over from volunteer days, are especially hard to work in now and they look unsightly.  I try to plant the tiny narcissi with delicate foliage (like ‘Baby Moon’).  Without the spring bulbs, I would have to plant all sorts of spring annuals, so I cannot give them up.  At least we can just yank the big tulips; they never do as well the second year.

Cosmos ‘Sonata’ is going toward the centers of every planter that has room.  

By evening, the terrible heat had gone away, and as we turned to drive down our street in Ilwaco, we could see a blissful cool fog at the end of the street.

Allan’s photo

My headache (day four) had actually stopped being horrendous and was feeling more like a heat related headache.  I did not get to erase anything from the work list. We have not finished any planting job.

Because I still could not find an hour at bedtime to watch a full episode of 2016’s Gardener’s World, I found another old episode featuring Geoff Hamilton.

You may recall that I was worriec in the other Hamilton episode I’d watched when he said that variegated ground elder stayed in its place.  Tonight, he revealed that “variegated ground elder has been on the market a little while and it is showing its true colours, and we have to get it out of here!”

Another Hamilton gem: “Herbacious perennials thrive on being moved, but shrubs like to get their feet under the table and keep them there.”

He likes weeding.  So do I.  I just wish I had time to weed, can hardly wait till the planting is all done so I can back to just caring for the plants.

Friday, 11 May flashback

Because I was blogging with a headache, I somehow missed Allan’s photos of our nursery visits before touring Steve and John’s.  I’ve inserted all of them into that post for late readers, but am adding a few as a flashback here, because…today’s post is rather dull.

Roxanne helping me with trays

the two shop dogs

I love Buddy.

Why is no one buying the fabulous Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’?

Buddy tried to go with us in our car!

Saturday, 12 May 2018


We worked all afternoon planting up the Ilwaco planters.  I had a headache all day and so every photo this time is by Allan.

California poppies in a planter or at the boatyard

The planter in the corner by the boatyard had become a snail home among its bulb foliage.

They were removed and carried to a field.

I have been working on getting the planters full of drought tolerant perennials (a lot of them herbs) that will save the city money on annual planting and will get by with only being watered every three days (saving us time and saving the city more money).

Golden oregano is one plant that is fairly showy, although it does spread, and it will wilt badly when parched.

I was not best pleased the other day when a business owner said the planters were drab and that said business owner wanted to put tulips in the one by their business, some sort of tulip that, I was informed, grew “all year”.  I would like to have a tulip like that.  I said, sure, put anything you like in the planter, and I probably said just be sure to water it if you are putting it plants that are not drought tolerant.

Here it is, a week later as I write this, and I am still not happy and being told the planters are “drab”, even when they are in that awkward stage between bulbs (with dying bulb foliage) and the assorted annuals (mostly tough diascias) that we add each year.

The deer eat the nasturtiums now so the summer’s bright cascading effect of years past ended a couple of years ago.

Deer eat tulips, too.  Even ones that “bloom all year”.

diascia about to be stuffed in (with pot removed, of course)

I fell down this year on having all blue plants by Azure salon.  They ended up with two pink diascias.

We dropped the DVD of Vera, season 2,  off at the Ilwaco Community Building where lots of California poppies are blooming.

And some white tulips.

Long Beach

We then went to Long Beach to plant cosmos and white bacopa and yellow bidens in the welcome sign.  First, we went to city works for buckets of soil to raise the planter level.

soil scooping

Back at the big welcome sign planter, Allan found a frog in the water works.

We were relieved that the water had been turned on for the year.

a joyous sight

adding Soil Energy mulch

Allan wanted to leave this tulip, below, because he found it interesting.  I said nope.

Plants lined up:

planting bidens

Years ago, garden writer and designer Lucy Hardiman of Portland said that the color yellow “stops the eye” and makes people look at a mostly driveby public garden.  We use yellow in the front, where the sign has a big sun as part of the design, and cool colors on the back, the north side where the sign is blue-lavender in tone (and says “Thank you”.

white bacopa edging the back side of the sign

Normally we would not work in downtown Long Beach on a Saturday.  I felt a sense of urgency at getting started on the planters, and we found that it was not too crowded to work around the people.  We were pleased to get seven of the thirty six downtown planters planted up with (where there is room to squeeze them in) short cosmos in the middle and assorted trailers along the edges.  I used some of a new cosmos called ‘Popsocks’, which supposedly puts out a random center, not all the time, like a pompom.  I can’t quite see the point if it only makes the funny center occasionally.  Seems you could get a six pack of them with just plain centers (which bees like better anyway).  It is an experiment.

The supposed random “popsocks” pattern (from a seed packet, online):

We pulled out this tatty old Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve, all woody and leggy and rocking on its stem.  A new and small one went in instead.

On the way home, we stopped at the Shelburne Hotel garden to water the big goatsbeard/giant astilbe thing that we had transplanted the other day.  We forgot to check it last night.  Good news; it was just a bit wilted.

I fervently hoped that my headache would be gone by the next day.

At bedtime, I digressed from my watching of the 2016 Gardeners World shows.  I have gotten to the hour long shows at the end of the season and I was too tired.  I found, to my amazement, a very old show featuring beloved long time host Geoff Hamilton, from the late 80s or early 90s.

It was a blurry picture, which did not help my head.  I found it I watched it through my iPhone camera, the picture crisped up considerably; I could not figure out how to make the picture small on my iPad and I was too confuzzled to realize I could have just watched it on my phone!

Geoff was saying that Aegepodium podagraria, the variagated ground elder, was a good plant that stayed in its place.  In a later episode that I watched the next evening, his opinion had changed.

I wonder how many people planted it on his first recommendation?

aegepodium appreciation!

Despite this, it was clear why he was such a beloved host.  The show also featured a woman whose name is somehow familiar to me.

It was fun to see a much younger Carol Klein, who at around 70 now is still a presenter on the show.

The show had a great lack though.  Unlike Monty Don, Geoff was not accompanied through his garden by a delightful dog.




Friday, 11 May 2018

McCormick-Stephens Garden on Willapa Bay

The entry drive is shared with Deb’s garden (formerly the Barclay garden), with rhododendrons from the old Clarke Nursery on Steve and John’s side of the driveway.

We had to stop the van to admire.

Another angle, photographed by Steve:

“Those are R. ‘Naselle’ (darker pink) and R. ‘Lem’s Cameo’ (lighter)” (Steve)

turning right to proceed up Steve and John’s long driveway

We saw new garden beds to our right.

still driving

We reached the house and, with Steve and John as our plant guides, began to tour the acreage and admire the glories of rhododendron time.

by the house: Podocarpus ‘Country Park Fire’

Steve and the upper garden

Taxus ‘Watnong Gold’ (prostrate yew)

Taxus ‘Watnong Gold’

Taxus ‘Watnong Gold’ (Allan’s photo)

well grown hostas, and a sword fern circle where once was salal

a richly purple iris

We all agreed the cold wind was terribly annoying, especially when trying to photograph madly swaying flowers.

Steve and Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’

the towering and strongly fragrant Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’

In the woodland as we walked west from the house, ‘R. Beauty of Littleworth’

Rhododendron  ‘Winsome Pink’

Thujopsis dolobrata ‘Nana’

stunning new leaves

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Rhododendron ‘Yellow Hammer’

R. ‘Percy Wiseman’

R. ‘Butterfly’ (pretty sure)

R. ‘Butterfly’

R ‘Butterfly’ (Allan’s photo)

unidentified even by the experts

R. ‘Mayday’

Allan’s photo

Admiring a darling little rhodie with John. (Allan’s photo)

We are now wandering the paths in the newer areas of the garden on the lower south side of the driveway.

golden leaved osmanthus (Allan’s photo)

R. ‘Starbright Champagne’, still Steve’s favourite

more cool new leaves of R. ‘Bibiani’  (Allan’s photo)

Disporum ‘Night Heron’

Disporum ‘Night Heron’

a swathe of deer fern (Allan’s photo)

land of many treasures

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ (Allan’s photo)

a handsome arisaema

leaf appreciation (Allan’s photo)

and more leaf appreciation by Allan

New rhododendrons are always being added to the collection, which is why many in the lower and newly developed areas are still small.

R. protistum (species) with huge leaves (Allan’s photo)

admiring the white underside of Mahonia gracilipes (Allan’s photo)

Tolmiea menziesii

AKA “the piggyback plant” (Allan’s photos)

further leaf appreciation (Allan’s photo)

R. ‘PJM Elite’ (Allan’s photo)

the leathery leaves of R. edgeworthii

Allan’s photo

the tidal stream at the south side of the property; Steve has been grooming the other side with a long handled pruner or saw.  Low tide.

Looking east with the house way in the background

The area above, like all around the trees used to be, was salal.  Many of the new planting beds used to look like this one…

…which may soon be for the chop.  It takes hard work to get salal out.  I am terribly impressed with the triumph over this tough native (which I would also be trying to get rid of, although it is fine off in the woods somewhere).

Azalea ‘Arneson Gem’

Rhododendron ‘Fire Rim’

a fragrant magnolia

more leaf appreciation

Taxus ‘Black Dragon’

The new leaves are as beautiful as the flowers…to me.

the tiny bells of R. benhallii

covetable golden Hydrangea ‘Lemon Daddy’ (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

On the north side of the driveway, rhododendrons old and new:

We have now walked over to the north irrigation pond beds:

R. ‘Crater Lake’, with a lake of blue underneath (Allan’s photo)

The white pines (Pinus Strobus) evoke John’s childhood.

One of the newest beds. (Allan’s photo)

the darling funny flower of R. spinuliferum

a rhodie like a rose: R. ‘Autumn fire’ — a reblooming Encore azalea

All the names and knowledge of the rhododendrons comes out of Steve and John’s minds, not mine!

Here we are back up at the well established, mature garden by the house.

Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’….the same that I killed in my garden by moving it one too many times!

a backdrop of treelike mature rhododendrons

Allan’s photo

by the front door

between the wings, with a view through to the bay

Acer palmatum ‘Ukigomo’ (“Floating clouds” Japanese maple)in between the two wings of the house (Allan’s photo)

It was now time for tea and savory treats.

kitchen window view, evergreen huckleberry dell and Willapa Bay

Allan’s photo

tea time

and the low tide view from my chair

Looking back at older posts about this garden (some of which are listed at the end of this post), it is remarkable to see how it has matured in the last four years.  I want to live long enough to see the lower garden fully grown.  I cannot think of another garden on the peninsula that has such a carefully curated collection of plants.

Any mistakes in plant names are my own.  Here is one of four pages of my pitiful notes…  I email lots of photos to Steve for help.

bonus photos from Steve:

the glorious Rhododendron ‘Mango Tango’

Rhododendron ‘Snow Queen’

Friday, 11 May 2018




We had a shortish work day before garden touring at Steve and John’s Bayside Garden.  I still had a relatively minor and yet so annoying headache.  All day.

We planted three hardy fuchsias (Army Nurse, Golden Gate and Santa Claus) in the garden boat at Time Enough Books.


Geum ‘Mango Lassi’ in the curbside garden (Allan’s photo)


In the garden boat

Next, deadheading at

The Depot Restaurant Garden.



Narcissi and Cornus ‘Hedgerows Gold’

We checked on the garden at The Red Barn.


Rosie came to greet us while I checked on a planter.

Diane’s Garden.

We started planting up the containers and some of the garden areas.



just a start


the septic box




Allan’s view; he is the one who climbs up onto the big septic box.


Allan’s photo


Diane’s roadside garden


Allan’s photos

This was followed by some picking up some plants for Long Beach at both the Basket Case and the Planter Box.



at The Basket Case

Roxanne helping me with trays

the two shop dogs

I love Buddy.

Buddy tried to go with us in our car!


Darrell and Roxanne Hudson and Buddy

We rushed over the the Planter Box with just time to pick up some plants for Long Beach.

at The Planter Box, with owner Teresa

a good selection of healthy house plants

van stuffed with annuals

And then…a tour of the always fascinating collectors’ garden of our friends Steve and John, which will be tomorrow’s post.


Thursday, 10 May 2018

Before work, we added some Shasta daisies and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ to the Ilwaco Fire Station garden.

Allan’s photo


Shelburne Hotel

We visited the Shelburne Hotel garden, mostly just for weeding.  We immediately took the opportunity for Allan to string trim at the north end, where usually a vehicle is parked.



The front garden is coming along.

Allan made a space in the back garden for two cream colored daylilies (to go with the theme of mostly edible flowers).

before: nothing but orange montbretia


I did figure out that a front garden plant I’d been idly thinking was an unusual astilbe was more likely an enormous goatsbeard, which had been divided from one that I had on the shady side of the garden and replanted by the previous gardener to where it would grow up and block the pub sign.  Allan moved it into the back garden.


moved into the back shade garden (Allan’s photos)

Long Beach

I was dissatisfied with yesterday’s planting of pink Agastache ‘Cotton Candy’ by the red carousel and had been happy to find a couple of red Agastaches at home.  So we switched them.  (I had told myself that ‘Cotton Candy’ went with the fun fair, but no one will know it is called that.)

Our Kathleen stuck her head out of next door Abbracci Coffee Bar and asked if we were on a break.  At first, I said no.  Then a light rain added itself to the miserably cold wind and we decided to take a coffee break after all.

I had two accidentally purchased big yellow pansies to give away.  We were soon fortuitously joined by MaryBeth, who agreed to take them on.  (I prefer delicate violas to big blowsy pansies.)  A snail escaped the pansy pot and made a swift journey across the table.

looking for crumbs (Allan’s photos)

break time

I was on day one of an annoying headache that would not go away.

Then, back to work, putting the Cotton Candy agastaches into the big Lewis and Clark Square planter.

L&C planter

The Planter Box

In the late afternoon, we picked up some cosmos for Long Beach from The Planter Box, where there were many plants to admire.



assorted helichrysums

a moss-scape

We had time to check on the transplanted plant at the Shelburne…

a little wilted, it got more water

….before meeting for our North Beach Garden Gang dinner at

Salt Pub.

We have not had our dinner meeting for awhile because of our bad colds.  We had more than the usual four, being joined by Todd and by Our Kathleen.

a hearty dinner

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

some local lore

At home, my headache got so much worse that I had to put hot cloths on my throbbing temple, bringing back bad memories of the years when I got days-long migraines that no medication would touch.  The pain is gone as long as I sit holding the wet hot cloth to it.  Which means I can only watch telly during that time; it makes it too awkward to have reading glasses on.  (I can’t figure out how to watch Gardeners World on the telly screen, so that was out, too, except for one episode.)