Thursday, 15 March 2018

When woken up for work from a deep sleep, I was not happy to find wind and rain.  It had been nice enough when Allan decided work was a go; soon after I awoke from not enough sleep, the rain began.  All the weather apps told us that now it would rain until three…after Allan had the trailer all hooked up and ready to go.

I decided to accomplish one thing, I hoped, from the indoor task list: find my passport!  I went through two baskets and a box of papers and in the third place, I succeeded.  We can’t skip the country till we get our passports renewed, so I cannot erase “Passports” from the work board yet.  I need to follow through with renewing it in case someone gives us tickets to the UK.

I found in one of the baskets of paper an old article (1997 or so) from the Chinook Observer about when I first created the boatyard garden.  (I did not save the photo, which was taken by a kneeling photographer from below, not a flattering angle.)  Well behaved ornamental grasses were the ones I planted back then, including my favourite, Stipa gigantea.

After the passport triumph, I read the first chapter in an interlibrary loan book, an autobiography of Nina Bawden, an author I love.

I found a passage that spoke to me, about Nina’s mother at the village fair and a boy who had a bad case of unrequited desire:

Back then, a thousand pounds was a great deal of money.

The story speaks to me because I had an almost identical experience at age 18, although it did not include a marriage proposal.  I had broken up with one boyfriend for another (a regrettable one, but that is another story).  Former boyfriend  was supposedly teaching me to drive when he pulled a handgun and said he was going to kill himself and the new boyfriend.  (I don’t remember myself being on the list.)  I said he had the deaths in the wrong order and asked where he had gotten the gun. When he replied that it was his father’s, I said he had better put it in the trunk of the car because if the cops came to check on our parked car, he would be in big trouble and his dad would be furious.  He got out and put it in the trunk.  (And the driving lesson ended.)  A therapist later believed that this was why I never learned to drive.  I do not think so; I was truly a naturally terrible driver.

Calvin was not best pleased when Skooter decided to join us in the reading chair.

Finally, at three o clock, the sun came out.

I had three nicely rooted starts of santolina to plant at the post office, ones I had found at the boatyard from sideways stems that had gotten buried when we mulched there last fall.  When I went to plant them, I found to my delight that little santolina cuttings I stuck in are doing well, so I will save my three santolinas for the silver-grey garden that I want to make at home, my grey and tabby cat memorial garden.  The post office garden was again not going to get weeded before the quilt show, unless we got done with the boatyard garden in time.

Ilwaco boatyard garden

looking north when we arrived

and looking south (the steam is from a boat engine that just got put in the water)

We returned to where we had left off at the south end.  The tatty old lavender from yesterday had come out…

old lavender where pennisetum had been trimmed

Allan dug  out the equally old and woody green santolina….

and started in on the patch of Pennisetum macrourum which has decided to become a delinquent instead of the well behaved plant that it was for years.

Below: We got to meet a sweet and shy dog named Hershey, who wagged and wagged and would not quite let herself be petted even though she wanted to.

shy Hershey

I was not very successful when I tried digging the pennisetum, and quite unsuccessful at shearing them (because sometimes my right hand feels arthritis-y, and it is a tough grass to cut).  Fortunately for me, there was plenty of weeding and santolina clipping in between my grass digging.  Allan did the brunt of the digging and shearing.  Two enormous clumps got removed, and the roots came home with us to go in the garbage.  (Some are waiting in a tarp because the garbage is full.  They are yours if you want them.)

Local fisherman John came by toward the end of our day.  I should have asked him how often he has worked in rain and wind in the Bering Sea.

John and Ernie

Good dog Ernie (Allan’s photo)

We got the weeding done, all the grasses sheared, and will dig up one more really big clump some other time.  Doing so is not part of the official spring clean up.

That big messy clump is next to go.

Allan’s photo

end of workday, looking south

At home:

Spring clean up is done and off the board!

I am thrilled that we have this to watch tonight, after Rachel Maddow.

Later: It is perfection. Thanks to Lynn of CinefilesComic for telling me about it.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

After a rainy Tuesday of working on my blog posts about reading, I had woken up today thinking about the Shelburne garden and how much better recent photos of it would look if it had spring flowering bulbs, especially my favourite kinds of narcissi.  Next year!  I thought about digging some up from my own garden to put there.  But I am too selfish with my own flowers for that.  I can barely pick bouquets sometimes.

I hope that next spring, the Shelburne garden will look more like mine (and the gardens of our other clients) does right now (by which I mean my flowers, not my weeds):

When we got our mail, I briefly pondered weeding the wild garlic out of the post office garden so that it would look better for people attending this weekend’s quilt show at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum across the street. No, not yet; I decided that we might finish the boatyard garden and return to the post office at the end of the day.  Allan was rightly skeptical.

Ilwaco boatyard garden

looking south from the north end

We still do not know if some of this garden is going to be dug up for a water project.  It needed cleaning up either way.  We carefully did not disturb the orange and red spray paint marks, already almost washed away by rain.

Allan’s photo, Pennisetum macrourum, before

and after removing it

Pennisetum macrourum is described on some garden sites as being slowly spreading, and that is the impression I had for years, until suddenly a couple of years ago it decided to run.  I no longer wanted any of it at the north end of the boatyard garden, where I had transplanted a clump before it showed its true nature.  I used to think it might be a grass I had brought down with me from my Seattle friend Pat’s garden.  If that were true, I would have had it in all my other gardens over the years, because it is quite beautiful.  Now I think it was introduced to the boatyard during the years between when I started it as a volunteer and then it got torn up for an electrical project, and when I came back to work on it as a paid job.  During that time, a nice old man provided the port with some pampas grass, which they planted along the narrow strip and which eventually covered half the sidewalk.  The pennisetum may have also been donated at that time.  It is misbehaving now.

Here is what it looks like in bloom:

Pennisetum macrourum, (which as you can see is going a bit too strong), Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’

Pennisetum macrourum at the boatyard

We were not very far along today before this happened.


With the rain pelting down and a 20 mile an hour wind kicking up, we drove home to put the pennisetum roots in our garbage can and, I assumed, to give up on work for the day.  Even Allan’s mentioning The Deadliest Catch TV show…

…did not inspire me to want to work in the rain and wind.

In the rain, we (well, Allan) did one more thing on the way home, deadheading these narcissi in front of Azure Salon.

Allan’s photo

Ten minutes later, we had this:

looking west from our driveway

…so we went back to work.

trimming well behaved grasses (Allan’s photos)

We also sheared many santolinas (Allan’s photos)

Sheared santolinas will stay rounded instead of falling open.

We crossed over the boatyard gate, meaning we were more than halfway done in distance.  Allan trimmed another pennisetum that can stay because we don’t want to be digging around the light pole:

He trimmed another….and I decided the tatty old lavender had to go.


later, before he hoiked the lavender out

I then decided that whole darn pennisetum had to go, a job for tomorrow.  I do not want this many of them!

Pennisetum nightmare


This was more than we would be able to deal with today.

It did not rain again until 4 PM:

And even then it did not last and we were able to keep weeding, trimming, and digging until the temperature dropped to discomfort in the early evening.

Allan’s photo

At home, I was thrilled to finally finish my last blog post about thirty five years of reading, from 1982 to 2016!

Even though I was not able to erase any gardening tasks from the work board, I did erase from the at home rainy day tasks “Goodreads”, which was the reading blog project.

All the indoor jobs were supposed to be done in winter, till shingles put an end to my staycation energy.


Monday, 12 March 2018

The first gardening event of the day was checking on a garden (which I will not name and shame) and being told by the maintenance guy that he had sprayed “some weeds” that turned out to be poppies in the gravel.  I was not happy.  I only blew a very small gasket as I tenderly held the still damp poppy seedlings in a gloved hand.  I said that dead little plants from Round Up look worse than little green plants, even if they had been little weeds.

After that sad event, we checked on the Shelburne Hotel garden because I feared I had left a small tool in the garden.  (I had not; turned out Allan had picked it up.)  Because of the hot weather, we found two new plants all droopy and gave them emergency bucket watering.

All but two of the photos today are by Allan.

sad hellebore

sadder primula

Long Beach

We went on to finish the parking lot berms.

weeding with the ho-mi

Stipa gigantea before

and after

lightweight summer clothes and a hat to keep off the sun

north berm, after

rugosa roses in the south berm

I must admit that there were just a couple of areas of quack grass in rugosa roses that we did not successfully weed.  We usually do a good weeding of this garden later, around the end of April.  I was pleased to get as much done as we did.  We left the quaking grass (Briza medea) standing because, even though it looks like a weed to most passersby, it has charming seedheads later which we will leave for awhile before pulling.  It pulls easily.

part of the south berm, after

While on the way to dump our big load of debris in the late afteroon, I looked at my phone.  I had had the strangest feeling earlier this week that, because of my book blogging obsession of late, I could have missed something terribly important in someone’s life on my Facebook newsfeed.  As we entered the city works yard, I saw the post that a local gardener I had known had just died, an assisted death because of aggressive brain cancer, which I soon learned had been just one month from diagnosis to unsuccessful surgery and then to her passing.  I was in shock but couldn’t feel much because we still had one more job to do at

The Shelburne Hotel

I had bucketed some mulch out of the garbage can of Soil Energy that I keep at home for garden emergencies, because I had decided yesterday that an end piece of little shade bed at the Shelburne desperately needed fluffing up.


Allan, with a couple of flat rocks that I had found, made the path a little wider.  I had brought some little lavender double primroses to put in.

A not quite the same angle before from a couple of days ago:

The flowers that had been sad this morning had perked up.  They all got another bucket of water.

at home

I finally had some time to think.  The gardener who had died must have been so scared.  We had been just becoming closer friends when the election of November 2016 revealed a world-view schism that gently ended our communication by mutual and melancholy agreement.  I had sort of thought that eventually we would drift back into an pleasant gardening acquaintanceship or friendship.  A different person than me would have tried harder. Now I could only hope in an afterlife where she could be reunited with her beloved and wonderful dog, who had died a year and a half before and was deeply mourned and missed.  The same kind of aggressive brain cancer took another dear gardening friend of mine after blindness and a harsh three year battle.

At my desk, I opened my Facebook messaging and found this from Nancy, co-owner of the Depot Restaurant:

“A [elderly] diner and her hubby left and went outside while their kids finished their wine. Pretty soon she comes back with a bouquet of daffodils…..saying look what she found outside growing wild…..[She was told] they are not wild, we pay good money to have our garden…. People never cease to amaze me.” I wrote back asking if the old woman had climbed OVER the tall horizontal log barrier to get to the garden (which I find hard to climb over) and Nancy said yes, she had climbed right over it.  Now that’s spry!  (I was given permission to say where this happened!)

The work board shows that only the Ilwaco boatyard garden remains on the spring clean up list.

I found it harder than usual to sleep and finally did while picturing my late gardening friend and her beautiful big golden brown smiling dog in a misty field of grass and flowers.  Please let it be so.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

We stopped at Time Enough Books (also a gift shop of various book related things) before work, on a mission perhaps having to do with someone’s birthday, and had a good catch up chat with bookseller Karla.

greeted by staff member Scout (Allan’s photo)


On the way out of Ilwaco, I decided I had to prune the silly part off the trailing rosemary inthe planter by Peninsula Sanitation.


after: It is still silly, and the whole rosemary should go. I have a soft heart.  I will remove more next time, when it is done blooming.

Long Beach

Spring clean up continued on a spring-like day in Coulter Park, just north of Dennis Company and downtown Long Beach.

the south bed, before

and after

before (Siberian iris) Allan’s photos

He found an old bird nest.


looking at the west bed

the west bed, with lady’s mantle leaves, before

and after Allan cleaned it up.

I am going to wait awhile before cutting back the fuchsias in the west bed.  I’d like them to leaf out tall, and they still might.

the rose (north) bed, before

and after

All of the above beds are in the west, rather hidden area of the park that does not get used much at all.

The front (east side) of the park is more visible and often visited when there are events in the old train depot building.

a monument in the front of Coulter Park (Allan’s photo)

A patch of orange montbretia (NOT planted by us!) that Allan cleaned up (behind the bus stop).

The little round bed on the southwest corner of the park had been bugging me every time we drove by this late winter.

front bed before

half an hour later

Horses went clop clopping by. (Allan’s photo)

The Coulter monument (taken last year)

Allan photographed this succulent patch that is in a container built on top of a garbage can.  It got moved under the broad roof of the old train depot and now gets very little water.

Someone has noticed this little planter and left a sign.

We then clipped the Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ in Veterans Field.


after (may cut salvias lower once frost danger is past)

A child who was selling little signs at the farmers market last year put this in astage planter.

after  (Allan’s photos)

We then went to the south parking lot berm for awhile.  I had been planning the time allowed for each task carefully, as I had a few plants to add to the Shelburne Hotel garden at the end of the day.

At the berm (Allan’s photos):

old crocosmia mixed painfully with rugosa roses

The south berm is thick with rugosas because it used to get trampled mercilessly when parking for the alternative school (now moved) was in this parking lot.  Like the beach approach, only the rugosas held up to the foot traffic.  Now we battle them and wish they were not here.

after; we will come back to weed

a big mess of debris

It was not till we the Stipa gigantea clipped and old crocosmia pulled at the south berm that I happened to look at my phone and my watch and realized that, despite my rejoicing that daylight savings time and more evening light (and more work time!) were here, I had not reset my watch.  I aborted my suggestion that we work for an hour on the north berm.  I would have wondered why night fell so fast!

Ack, it was actually five! I could not get the knob out to change it, and when Allan tried, the little twisty knob broke off. 😦

We dumped our debris at city works and collected soil, returning to mulch the roundish bed at Coulter Park.

gentle application around hyacinths

Our last Long Beach task was the clipping of some small ornamental grasses in the tiny popouts a block north of city hall.  Note to self: Must remember to return and weed these.  There are many seedlings of California poppies, real poppies, and bachelor buttons in these two little beds.

the tiny popouts

Shelburne Hotel

The garden got a couple of Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’, some oregano ‘Hopley’s Purple’ (a beautifully flowered cultivar), an Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ and three silver santolinas.

new plants in ruched up areas

also three new heucheras

looking south, after we cut cold-damaged calla lilies to the ground

pub windows with magnolia in bloom

Allan’s photo

These days I am obsessed with getting my book posts done (four years to go, all being retroactively published to February 15, 2018).  My goal, which had been to get them done by daylight savings time, was not met despite obsessive blogging, to the detriment of actually READING books.  When that project is done, we will be able to linger after work and dine in the pub.  When we work there in the evening, we see friends and acquaintances going in.


We (by which I mean Allan while I sat in the van feeling knee and toe pain) popped a Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and a couple of starts of Oregano ‘Hopley’s Purple’ into an empty planter.

Ilwaco planter

Coulter Park came off the work board.










Saturday, 10 March 2018

We left home today in plenty of time to stand in line at the annual Empty Bowls event, yet for some reason (obsession?) I decided we should have a look at the Shelburne garden first.  We did find a big piece of cardboard along the fence, scrawled with something like “Please help, anything helps”, must be from the older man who holds the sign at the opposite corner sometimes.  But when we got to

Empty Bowls, 

I remembered the benefit of being early, which is getting in early to get the best bowl.

Twenty minutes before the event (Allan’s photo) Ooops!

I was lucky to get a bowl with snowdrops on it….I was after one I had seen online with my favourite flower, narcissus, but someone snagged it just as I saw it.  (The person who created that one called the flowers “jonquils”, a sweet old fashioned name.)

Allan’s photo; a lot of the bowls are made by local children; some are made by grown up potters.

Allan’s photo

Here is the pretty bowl I was lucky to get—the last one with flowers!  I think the flowers represented are snowdrops.

Whatever bowl one gets, the event is for a good cause.  For the price of your bowl, you get delicious soup, a choice from various local restaurants (served in a plain white bowl, not your brand new pretty bowl).  The proceeds go to support local food banks for the poor.

soup with musical accompaniment

I had my favourite local soup, the tomato with bleu cheese from the Forty Second Street Café.

After soup, we continued working our way through the spring clean up list in Long Beach, starting with the pond at the NE corner of Bolstad and Pacific. We were lucky, on a sunny Saturday, to get a parking spot next to the pond. I was trying to rubber band my hair and each band, hanging on a hook on the dashboard in the sun, broke.  Fortunately, I was able to go next door to my favourite shop, NIVA green, where owner Heather helped me out.

NIVA green (New, Inspired, Vintage, Artful)

pretty things

Long Beach

Iris hermodactylus in the planter by NIVA green

The pond at Bolstad and Pacific, known as The Heron Pond, has its own webcam.  I missed Allan’s perilous journey across the waterfall to clip ferns.  Once again, he did NOT fall in on camera.

Allan’s photos:





I wish with my whole heart that whoever originally planted this garden (not us!) had not planted pernicious salal.  It is rooted all under the rocks and impossible to eliminate.  What a shame.  It could be so much better.






Allan’s photo

We had an audience (Allan’s photo)

I was snubbed by the little brown dog but I did get to pet the Boston Terrier.

The town and the road to the beach were bustling on this nice day.  With the pond garden done, we went to the Bolstad beach approach to weed.

Allan got a telephoto of the kites:

We finished weeding the easternmost big section where Allan had cut the rugosa roses to the ground.

When we dumped our debris, we picked up some buckets of soil….

…and used them to mulch the garden strip in the northeast quadrant of Fifth Street Park, which sorely needed it…..

Allan’s photo

…and finished the work day with some weeding on the other side of Fifth Street park, where we found a suspicious package.

Allan’s photo

The bag was tucked in under some roses.  Because of the recent bomb found near downtown, we had to call it in to the police, even though we had learned that the second bag found in Long Beach a couple of days after the initial homemade bomb was a harmless suspicious package.  After our late afternoon call today, the officer came quickly, and pulled it out with a stick.  He said something like “I know what an I.E.D. looks like, and this isn’t one.”  It was so strange to hear  “I.E.D” (improvised explosive device) in Long Beach.  It turned out to be a bag full of sodden clothing that smelled a bit poopy.

I threw them out, feeling bad for whoever stashed them there, but….they need to find a better hiding place.


Fifth Street Park NW (Allan’s photo)

Tam from the Herb N Legend Smoke Shop was getting on a walk with a pal.

Tam O’Shanter


When we got home, look who was sleeping in my Go Bag.

Skooter ready to go.

Many locals here keep “go bags” by a window or door, handy to grab if one has to get out because of a tsunami.  A big earthquake would, some experts say, give us about fifteen minutes to get to high ground.  Fortunately, we live a two minute walk  (or five minute hobble or who knows how long if a road was collapsed) from a hill.  My bag is pretty haphazardly packed.  At least it has a book, reading glasses, and headache pills.

I was able to erase one section of beach approach and the pond garden from the work board.




Thursday, 8 March 2018

We had a rainy and windy day off.  I worked on my reading blog all day, even though I have a stack of library books that need reading soon.

The local news distracted me with worry: bombs found in downtown Long Beach, said to have been discovered near the restroom by Veterans Field, probably meaning by where we often park (and the restroom we often use).  They included rat poison. So creepy. We are not a big city with a bomb squad at the ready.

It certainly had me thinking about midsummer when we reach into thickly planted gardens to weed, and about how many times I have picked up a plastic bag when cleaning trash out of the parks.  Not to mention how we use the public restrooms there during a work day. It might have been nice to have heard about all this from the city before it made the newspaper three days later; we were IN Long Beach the afternoon the bombs were found and even saw the officer shortly afterward; no wonder he had such a concerned expression.

From this article, I snagged these police photos to show what to look out for:

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 4.01.25 PM

police photo

As soon as I saw the photo below, I knew from horticultural clues that the devices were not found near the restroom.  This stand of beach pines and grasses had to be west of Ocean Beach Boulevard, not downtown!

Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 3.57.26 PM

Tonight was our weekly North Beach Garden Gang dinner meeting.  We left home a bit early to see if we could find the spot in that photo.  Indeed, we found it; we used to dispose, in among those pines,  the occasional bucket of weeds from the “big popout” garden across the street.

We could see the blue pipe from the road:

I was much reassured at the location not actually being downtown.  Of course, the local social media had been abuzz on the topic all day.  (By two days later, a Portland news station provided a story that had the correct location rather than “downtown near the restroom.”)

We had our garden club dinner at The Lost Roo, a place that Dave and Melissa like.  Its drawback for me is that it’s a classic sports bar with big screen televisions looming overhead from every angle.  I find the flashing lights of the tellies to be headache making, and have no interest in sports.  I sat with my back to the room (not my favourite way to sit) to avoid the visual cacophony.  (It is a highly popular place so it does not matter one whit that it’s not my usual choice.)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo: Lost Roo nachos are delicious.

Allan’s photo: “black bean rice bowl” with a tasty avocado

Friday, 9 March 2018

Long Beach

Thursday’s weather had been so bad (and so perfectly stay at home)  that it was a surprise to have a nice next day.  I decided we should prune back the roses by the Long Beach arch.  We were already past the perfect pruning time of President’s Day to March 1st.  Every couple of years, we chop the easternmost section’s batch of rugosa roses to the ground to keep them from getting just plain too big.  They grow the tallest (over five feet tall) of any of the beach approach roses.  The garden is several blocks long and the closer you get to the beach, the shorter and sparser are the roses.

Allan did the chopping, and a very good job he did too, getting the stems all the way down.

I started blocks to the west with the “end cap” garden by the west parking lot.  He was next to those two buildings.

before, looking east

after one and a half hours!

The beach approach gardens are slow going.  They turn to lawn over the winters, and the roses are mean to weed among.

As I was working, Parks Manager Mike drove by and said “Don’t pick up any garbage!” (because of the bomb).  I had heard through local scuttlebutt (from a good source) that another bomb device had been found two days later, downtown this time.  I have been unable to confirm this so either it did not happen or it is some kind of secret investigation.  I think we citizens need to be kept up on the latest, as today’s news was that “Pacific County 911 advises there currently is no ongoing bomb threat in our area, following the discovery and disposal of two improvised explosive devices earlier this week. Citizens and visitors should not worry, PACCOM said.

“As always, we encourage people to be aware of your surroundings and watch for suspicious items in places that those items shouldn’t be.”  I was reminded of being in London in 1975 where no package could be left unattended. [update: the new incident was just a suspicious but harmless package of some sort.]

I had brought some starts (from my garden) of red poppies and planted some small clumps here and there as I walked east to join Allan.

narcissi and weeds in the beach approach garden

Allan had already chopped all but the end of his rose area.

Allan’s befores and afters:

before pruning 

the end cap, before

I weeded the “end cap” by the arch while Allan picked up all the debris.  I count those two end caps as one section, so we were already down from 13 to 12 beach approach sections to weed, and it had not even made the work list yet.

I walked to city hall (a block east) to dig up a big old Erysimum that I had noticed was half dead.

the ramp garden to city hall

some cyclamens from Our Kathleen


The Erysimum, dug out

It was too heavy to carry, after all, so Allan fetched it with the wheelbarrow.

While Allan ran the debris to city works, I started weeding among the rose stubs.

A white haired man came by and told me that I was weeding quack grass, and that the only solution was to dig out the roses, dig down several feet, sift the soil, and put the roses back.  I said that the city budget did not run to that, and that one missed root would fill a new bed with quack grass again.  He also informed me that I needed to get rid of the thistle, pointing at this:

I said, “That’s a cranesbill geranium, not a thistle.”

“Well, it looks like a thistle,” he said firmly, and departed.  I pondered whether he would have given gardening instructions (and misinformation) to a big tall manly man who was doing the job.  I do not think so.

after some weeding

love that tiny cup narcissus

not done yet

Allan brought me a photo of the lovely pile of mulch for us at city works:

The Long Beach trolley has been brought out of storage, a sure sign that tourist season will soon be upon us.

at city works, art by Don Nisbett

We were out of time and would return tomorrow to finish weeding that section.  Today was the first open day of 2018 for the Basket Case Greenhouse and we hurried off before they closed to see what they had.

Basket Case Greenhouse

a lovely hellebore

Allan’s photos:

some purchases

in the greenhouse, with Basket Case daughter, Veda, on duty

Seeing so many lovely plants makes it seem like spring already.

At home, I had the pleasure of erasing the rose project from the work list, and added the beach approach spring weeding, with only 12 sections to go.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

We finished two more spring clean up—little ones.  Today was the first day that felt spring-like, no hoodie required for the first part of the workday.

Norwood Garden

Just two doors down, this job consists of little beds all round the house and a couple of small lawns which we occasionally mow.  While we would not drive any distance for a tiny job, this one is perfect to walk to.

narcissi in one of the narrow beds

Allan’s photos:

north bed, before

Allan rescued a narcissus from the lawn.

during, with rescued narcissus to plant.  This bed has a creeping sorrel problem, and three young hydrangeas.

[caption id="attachment_136548" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The back lawn; Sea Star Gardening prunes the hedges.

I went home with a bucket and brought back some more shade plants for the north garden.  The small starts should finally make a show this year; some are still dormant.



Mike’s Garden

Mike has retired after two terms, so this is no longer “Mayor Mike’s garden”.

Allan pruned the old pampas grass.  Fortunately, it still is green so does not need the horrid job of cutting way back.

The good looking flowers can stay for now.  (Allan’s photos)

Allan also dug out a sad little tree.



This garden was originally planted by The Elves Did It, a gardening business which is now located inland.  I had been thinking the only disadvantage in having resigned from a job earlier this week was that I’d lost my source of white escallonia cuttings.  I later remembered that Mike’s garden has a big white escallonia (Escallonia iveyi) that I believe is from a cutting given by me to The Elves Did It folks!

One of the draping conifers in front (to the left) is dying, despite our efforts with Dr. Earth evergreen fertilizer.


Mike says that later this summer, he will get someone to remove both of them for us at the same time he gets some old tatty (my word) trees next to the house cut down.  Then I will add another Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’ to clip into a golden ball and bring back the symmetry, and we can plant flowers in the front.  Although…another Lonicera will block the view into the garden, and maybe the azalea off to the right provides enough symmetry.  I will have to ponder this.

The Lonicera is the ball shape off to the left.  The draping conifer to the right is also slowly losing branches to die back, not in a way that shows yet.

Oh dear, even though I was trying to avoid the digging, I might not be able to stand to wait on fixing that conifer problem, as it looks so sad in the above photo.

Mike’s garden, looking south

Port of Ilwaco & City of Ilwaco

We finally took the time to go to the port office and talk to Guy, the port manager, about what is going on with the orange and red spray painted survey marks in the boatyard garden.  He told us the date when he will be meeting with the contractors for the job, which is to modernize the wash water catch basins (for power-washing boats).  The line might NOT be dug through the garden, and yet it might.  Fortunately, the meeting is about ten days.  Unfortunately, the work won’t happen till May or later.  I hope to find that the digging will be either minimal or that it will be on the back side of the fence.  Meanwhile, we will still do the spring clean up of that garden soon.

Allan took some photos of the port office garden (south side):

Above, middle: someone cut the front of the armeria, leaving a brown edge.  Since that person did not trim anything else along the sidewalk, it looks like finger blight thievery to me.  I do not think that edge is going to get green again.

We planted some California poppy seeds, in the best colors (Apricot Chiffon, Roseblossom Chiffon, Tequila Sunrise, Copper Pot, Rose Chiffon) in some bare areas of the curbside gardens.

California poppy planting, and some bachelor buttons, too.

We were pleased to see our friend Pancho from OleBob’s Café….

…and his person, Chef Laura, who told us that the cafe will be open for weekend dinners again probably within a month.

We then went on to fix the soggy, non-draining planter container by the Portside Café.


The soil was so soupy that we used a lot of buckets, each a third full of the goopy mess.

Halfway down, we found the old mix of plain old dirt mixed with gravel…so we had never had to dig out this planter before.  That mix goes way back to when the planters were put in place, planted with …I can’t even remember what…and just left alone, with no one to weed and water them except perhaps a volunteer….and as happens, a couple of years later (about 12 years ago or more), we were asked to take them on (by which time whatever was in them was dead).

The original heavy soil and rocks

We were happy to find a clogged up hole at the bottom, so we did not have to call the city crew to get a new hole drilled.  (Allan was going to ask them to find or buy a bigger concrete drill bit that the small one that makes a pencil sized hole.)  Allan shoved a wooden stake in to try to unclog the hole, and the stake tip broke, now wedged firmly like a broken cork in a wine bottle.  He used a screw driver and a heavy garden tool (for a hammer) and drove the wood and the gunk out of the hole.

a small hole for a big pot. The bottom is very thick.

We were lucky to have two big bags of potting soil at home that we used to refill the planter.  I believe in the school of using all potting soil all the way to the bottom for good drainage.

An article that agrees with me,  from Washington State University (by Linda Chalker-Scott):

Nearly 100 years ago, soil scientists demonstrated that water does not move easily from layers of finer textured materials to layers of more coarse textured. Since then, similar studies have produced the same results. Additionally, one study found that more moisture was retained in the soil underlain by gravel than that underlain by sand. Therefore, the coarser the underlying material, the more difficult it is for water to move across the interface. Imagine what happens in a container lined with pot shards! Some of my previous columns have mentioned soil interfaces and their inhibition of water movement. We can see the same phenomenon occurring here: gravitational water will not move from a finely soil texture into a coarser material until the finer soil is saturated. Since the stated goal for using coarse material in the bottoms of containers is to “keep soil from getting water logged,” it is ironic that adding this material will induce the very state it is intended to prevent. The Bottom Line: • Planting containers must have drainage holes for root aeration. • “Drainage material” added to containers will only hinder water movement. • Use good topsoil throughout in perennial container plantings for optimal water conditions and soil structure.”  -Linda Chalker-Scott

This is still a controversial topic among gardeners, and I have seen long, vehement arguments about it on gardening forums.

I brought a chunk of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ to be a place holder for the center and wondered, why don’t we use Autumn Joy for ALL the centers.  They are free, look good year round, and the only big disadvantage is that deer nibble these planters and sometimes deer like Autumn Joy.  Oh, but in a few Ilwaco planters, Autumn Joy has gotten mildewy.  And CPNs (Certified Plant Nuts) might find it boring. So never mind! We have been using Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ which does not always hold up well in the wind but has the advantage of purple flowers in winter.   I also snicked some golden and some variegated oregano from other planters for the edges and put back some bulbs rescued from the gloop.

I was pleased, at home, to be able to erase three things from the work board.