Archive for Jul, 2010

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On a quiet weekday evening in late July, walk with me from north to south down First Avenue while I check on the planters and street tree pocket gardens.  As I weed and deadhead, Allan will be filling up buckets with which to water them.  We have a water pump trailer but have found it takes half an hour longer to use it, so while we have the strength, we are back to the bucket method.  I’m satisfied with the planters this week.  I still have alliums in some of them; the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ that I cut back in some has finally filled back in; the nasturtiums are trailing vigorously although not yet blooming.  A running theme is Erysimum ‘Bowles’ Mauve’ and occasionally a yellow one that was mislabeled as mauve!), Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (catmint), Diascia, Cosmos ‘Sonata’, Salvia viridis (painted sage), Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’, a variety of annuals and nasturtiums from seed.

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Perhaps extremely short posts will make it possible for me to find time to blog.  I will attempt to make some positive, not all whines about finger blight.  But this is a burning question: Why must people, every year, pick the heads off the little alliums in the Ilwaco planters?  They end up looking like this:

one left out of several

One Allium head out of several

instead of like this:

as it should be

as it should be

Not sure why this one by the Ilwaco Pharmacy was left alone!

Next time, something cheerful.  I promise.  I’ll take more photos of the Ilwaco planters which are, except for the Alliums, looking pretty wonderful right now.

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On the next property down Warrenton’s Whiskey Road, we entered the Pearlstein and Boonshoft garden on a driveway next to a handsome stone wall.  The program says the grounds were overgrown and the owners were assisted by a landscape designer in reclaiming them. (As usual in these tours, the landscape designer is not named!!).

entry wall; You can see the house across the driveway (bottom)

house from driveway…and closer

Although we did not get a closeup view of the house till we had wended our way through the gardens, I’ll add the close up photos here for comparison with the overall house view.  Note the bat porch light!

house details, front

Now for the garden…

alongside the entry drive and alongside the lawn

We climbed stairs to a higher lawn…

The property slopes up to a view of Smith Lake.  I was a little surprised some of the beds were so blurry; I am deeply obsessed with weed removal when any of “my” gardens are on tour, and have been fortunate to never have an emergency that made me unable to complete a perfect weeding job. Take note,  a garden doesn’t have to be perfect to be on a paid tour. Dulcy Mahar wrote a wonderful column on the subject of tour day untidiness, which begins “Recently, my neighbors Rosemary and Walt hosted a chamber music group in their garden. Later, when her guests had gone, Rosemary discovered that she had left a pile of clippings and weeds next to a bench on the side of the house.

She, of course, was horrified. I on the other hand like a bit of mess. It proves you are in a working garden, not just something a landscaper came in and did.”

a working garden

At the top of the slope Smith Lake is seen from above; there’s no low bank as in the neighbouring garden.  We forgot to look for the steps going down to the outdoor fireplace (pictured in previous entry).

the lake from on high

a lovely lake view patio

Near the house the garden turns more formal and meticulously maintained.

daisy bed

sloping border

Japanese influence

near the house

Oh, but just let me at those sword ferns with my clippers!

future refreshment area

Refreshments were to be served by this outdoor fireplace…at three. We had started the tour at 11.30 and were done by 2.30 and wanted to go nursery shopping and were, quite frankly, parched and starving. Did not wish to wait till three, and left feeling that the Astoria tour was quite bereft of even a pitcher of ice water for the tourers. just sayin’: The Seattle tours offer refreshing liquid, and sometimes cookies, at most of the gardens; The Sauvie Island tour had a cool drink of water and cookies at each stop, and the Peninsula tour is renowned for having delicious refreshments of some sort at EVERY garden. Not to be greedy but…touring is hungry and thirsty work!  …I can’t remember (writing this almost two years later) why we were not supplied with our own water, because we usually carry several bottles.   [We made sure in 2011 to time the end of our tour better and were rewarded with a scrumptious feast.]

Post Tour: nurseries

Robinia ‘Twisty Baby’

How I wanted this Robinia ‘Twisty Baby’ at Seven Dees nursery, but had not room enough in our smallish car.  I had used to own one, but it was so brittle that eventually every piece of it broke off.  I would like to try it again.

a fascinating sign at Seven Dees

surprising finds at Fred Meyer

On the way home, I was absolutely shocked and amazed to find Melianthis Major (left) for sale in the Warrenton Fred Meyer garden center. Just the plain one, not ‘Antenow’s Blue’, but still! For six bucks!! I guess this is no longer a rare collector’s item!  Kudos to the plant buyer.

I was also amazed to see Salvia patens ‘Cambridge Blue’ (right) at Fred Meyer for this price (3 for 9.99!!!). If the car had not been so full of other plant purchases,  I would have got more than one.

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Leaving Astoria and the Astoria gardens, we drove to Warrenton, a neighbouring town toward the ocean; Whiskey Road looked like this, very bucolic even though it was close to Highway 101.

approach to Hatfield garden

Of course, I itched to prune the dead fronds off of the sword ferns along the road.

Entering the property we walked past an enviable guest house.  It would have suited us perfectly for our main house.

the guest house

(I’ve often thought if one could find just the right employer, it would work to live on a big property and be the fulltime gardener.  To be a Fergus Garrett to a Christopher Lloyd.  There would have to be great trust and some guarantee of security in old age.)

An entry to a woodland path led to lively chickens and another view of the guest house.

along a woodland path

Further along, we came upon a vegetable patch and a garden described in the tour guide as Japanese in style.

further along

by the lake

Past the shrubby shady garden we saw Smith Lake.  And turning to our left, we passed through an arbour into the sunny flower garden between the house and the lake.

arbour view

Below:  Looking from the house to the lake, and from mid-lawn back up to the house.

dock at the bottom of the garden

Smith Lake from the dock

a photographer kneels for a good shot

looking from the dock to the house

You know I would have had more garden and less lawn…but with a desired view of the lake all garden beds would have to be low growing.  The garden might have lost some plants to the harsh winter of 09-10.

another view up the garden

Above, to the left was the arbour we came through from the Japanese style garden and veg patch.  On the other side of the lawn a gorgeous brick path wended gently uphill.

looking back to the dock

path from dock

partway up

along the path

shared fireplace?

We could not tell if this fireplace belonged to the Hatfield garden or the next door garden (which was next on the tour), and we forgot to go to these stairs from the other side.

along the path

looking through to the lawn beds

along the path

path detail

near the house

on a patio

alongside the house; I love this sort of artful display.

Soon we reached  a Koi pond in the house garden; the owner told Allan that a heron had recently snatched some fish. The waterfall cunningly emerged from dark shrubbery uphill.

a lovely pond

pond detail

by the pond

naturalistic stream

the streamhead

A path beckoned.

From the pond, a path lead by the garage to a deck.

From there, we crossed the deck back to the entry driveway.

the greeting committee

We had missed meeting the gardener on the way in. I believe that is Mr. Hatfield in the pink shirt. On that table was a bowl of beautiful polished rocks and each tourer was allowed to choose one.  That’s the sort of kind touch that makes a garden especially memorable.

We left the garden via a woodsy area….

passing this landscaped pumphouse (?)...

and briefly exploring the woods by the road.

Not only was the friendliness of the gardeners memorable but we also were impressed with the pond and stream (and the way it cleverly emerged from the undergrowth) and that beautifully designed and maintained curving brick path.  I’ve enjoyed revisiting it while writing about it.

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On we go to another garden in the same neighbourhood as the Morrow garden.  The tour has started on a good note with such a wonderful garden as the first one, and the second one keeps our interest going, although it is more open and not as full of surprises and changing elevations.

Dave and Kathy Wigutoff garden

garden gate

bright flowerbeds in front yard

stairs to deck

view from house back to street

On either side of the boxwood edged sidewalk lay terraced vegetable and herb beds.

herbs and veg

For such a small front garden, it looked productive and also aesthetically pleasing with flowers, herbs and vegetables mixed together.


across the street, a new garden

And down the street what looks to be a most tour-worthy garden…

Nadine Faith garden

Stairs with no railing and a steep drop give me major dizziness, so Allan went down to photograph this garden.

vertiginous view

checking out the compost bins

tidy compost corner

lots of creeping thyme

corner with view

a lovely rockery; she told Allan she had found the rocks on the property.

Richmond garden

I instantly loved Judy Richmond’s 1920s bungalow on the west slope;  of course, it reminded my of my grandma’s house.

a sloping garden

looking back up the slope

I like the sloping free form garden; instead of expensively hardscaped terraces, this is something I could achieve.

by the house

charming little details: small rocks by house, “Hidden” bricks

The north side of the slope has a woodsy feel:

the woodsy side

birdbath detail

and the best of details, a garden cat…

relaxed garden cat


The next two gardens are in Warrenton, so we stop at the excellent Brim’s Farm and Garden nursery on the way and enjoy a brief social time with another garden cat.   Then westward to Warrenton.

at Brim’s

dressed in a handsome tuxedo

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Astoria Painted Lady

As always, we buy our tickets for the Astoria garden tour next to this house which every year looks freshly painted.

view from ticket sales; down the block

intricately painted lady

Before we even get to the tour, we must digress down the block to where we glimpsed something interest.

a stroll down the hill

A few houses down rests a beached boat landscape: typical of a good garden town to have interesting gardens between tour garden stops.

not on the official tour

Now on the to first garden.

Patty Morrow Garden

After climbing steeps step from the street we turn to take in this river view.

view over flowers

further up and farther in

Across a level lawn another flight of more rustic steps leads to a terrace with garden shed.

stairs to a garden shed

On the garden shed level, we track the sound of water to a watering can next to the garden shed steps.

garden shed

Bamboo poles are a polite way to keep us out of too-steep areas.

a polite "keep out"

shady hill

The poles block daredevils from ascending to a woodsy bench.

A table on the garden shed level is set for tea, but much as we would like to linger, we must keep on the move in order to see more gardens.


a garden of elevations

would that we could linger...

We descend these stairs to the house level.

Looking down on the porch (above) from the upper level table, we think that is the garden owner seated on the bench.

the porch

Around the south side of the house there is a secret back garden with another table set for tea.

south side

tea time

It is a shady dell indeed.

shady bank...

good plants...

restful to the eye....

around the east side, and to the front (north) again

front garden

Back to the stairs that lead down to the street….We do wish we could stay longer in this garden of rooms and terraces, to sit on the porch and gaze up at the little shed or across the garden to the lovely view….but we must move on.  More tourers are coming up the steeps steps.

at the top of the stairs

sculptural stairway

going down

The steps, while steep, are fairly easy to navigate even for someone (like me) with vertigo, because one can hang on to the flat edges.


interesting door across the street...

and fabulous house across the street....

...and, as is typical of Astoria, another fabulous house across the street....

and on we go to garden number two…

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