Archive for Mar, 2011

Every year…or two….I just might take a trip with my friends Carol or Mary that is actually not about gardening.  I include such trips here because this blog is for me to read and relive someday if I am lucky enough to reach old age.  I’ve been to the Sylvia Beach Hotel with both of my best book-loving old friends, but in spring of 2010 Carol (whom I’ve known for 27 years and who visits me from Seattle) and I wanted to go somewhere that required less driving time.  Thus we rented a room at the Sea Sprite in Cannon Beach.  While I’ve visited Cannon Beach often (especially for the cottage tour), I’d never stayed overnight there.

our room at the Sea Sprite Inn

The photo is from their website.  The fold out couch was very comfy. I would advise getting the upstairs room even though more expensive because we could hear a lot of walking and noise from upstairs. I also found that all the LED lights in the room (microwave, stove, clock…) required, for me, the strategic hanging of a bath towel to block them.  Otherwise, I felt at ease and happy in the room.  When we needed a reading lamp, the manager gave me hers from the office.  That alone impressed me with good, kind service (very different from the upcoming Hardy Plant study weekend in Portland when Sheila and I, staying in a dorm room on the Portland State U. campus, could not get a second reading lamp at all for four nights….despite repeatedly trying and despite the fact that the room had no overhead light!!).  But I digress…Another factor that would bring us back to the Sea Sprite is the view RIGHT outside of our room.

evening view from the Sea Sprite lawn

We managed to get into The Irish Table restaurant for dinner on our first evening.  (During the day it’s The Sleepy Monk coffee house.)  It takes no dinner reservations except for parties of six or more, and people line up outside at 5.15 hoping to get in.  We got there even earlier and were about sixth in line!

post dinner coffee and lemon scone dessert

Back at the Sea Sprite, the upstairs guests were enjoying the sunset.  (Another advantage to being upstairs…a better view as the lower rooms are down below the lawn a bit.)

Sea Sprite sunset

looking south….

looking north

Thanks to daylight savings time, we had time for a post-dinner sunset walk down to the famous haystack rock and back.  The tide was way out.  It had only been a few days before that the horrible Japanese tsunami had sent us up to the hill above our house because of a related tsunami warning on our Peninsula.  The Cannon Beach weekend coincided with an internet tizzy over a “Supermoon” that supposedly would cause earthquakes and tsunamis all over the world.  Fortunately I’d read the debunking of that theory and was only somewhat anxious to be on the beach.

Cannon Beach low tide reflection

sunset and low tide

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock

pink reflected

sunset walkers (At high tide, the water would be all around those rocks.)

Haystack Rock

Cannon Beach dusk

Soon after we got back to our room, the mist rolled in and we could not see the much-heralded super moon.

daytime walk

Sunday we walked from the Sea Sprite in the Tolovana neighbourhood north to Cannon Beach downtown and back. I recalled when Carol and I had last visited the Sylvia Beach, aches and pains prevented me from walking very well on the beach.  A couple of years later, I felt several years younger and had no troubles with the walk of, surely, a few miles.  Maybe that’s the difference in taking a spring or autumn trip….But no, I’d created my whole new garden over the winter so had not exactly rested up.

Carol and the rocks

I found it interesting to see willows growing right on the dunes.

Walking back to Tolovana

The downtown Cannon Beach gardens, usually wonderful, did not inspire me to take any photos on this trip.  Springtime seemed delayed in 2010.  However, dare I say it, I thought my Long Beach gardens looked better than Cannon Beach.  I would rarely get to crow about that because Cannon Beach is famed for its landscaping.

In the Sea Sprite garden (which I had the urge to mulch!) lived bunnies….They also visited outside our room.  We were smitten with the bunny family, but when I posted the photos to Facebook my dear gardening friend Sheila was not equally moved.  Her garden is bunny-plagued so she prefers to think of them as rodents (less cute and fuzzy in the battle for garden rights).

Sea Sprite bunnies

I love to go on trips with Carol or Mary because dining out is always a priority.  On Saturday night we ate at Newman’s at 988, a restaurant in a lovely old house, said to be the “chef’s night out” place in Cannon Beach.

inside Newman’s at 988

dinner at Newman’s

I had the four course Chef’s dinner; Carol had lobster raviola.  The soup was smoked tomato.  The dessert: scones, which seemed to be the featured dessert of the week because of St. Patrick’s Day.  My review:  It was tasty, and expensive, and I like our local Depot and Pelicano better.

adult and juvenile seagulls

The begging seagulls outside our window bade us farewell the next morning.  We decided we would definitely like to stay at the Sea Sprite (upstairs!) again, although I also have a craving to find the perfect, kind of quirky, quiet lodging with a view in downtown Cannon Beach.  We are both comfortable someplace not to fancy (which is why we had decided against staying at the trés upscale Stephanie Inn).

Read Full Post »

Some further thoughts (after last post) on garden privacy…and just an update about work.

I shouldn’t feel too guilty about work because we have been accomplishing a lot…

We got the Buddliea and a bunch of other shrubs pruned at Cheri’s garden:

Allan pruning Buddleia

Oops, where’s the after photo?  It ended up a little taller than knee high.  Oh well, here’s a nice photo of Porsche, Cheri and Charlie’s dog, always a delight.

Porsche by Buddleia

This area is a secret garden and full of flowers in summer.

Cheri’s in summer

It’s a treat to work in a secluded garden because a lot of our work is right out in public, like in this park in Long Beach by Marsh’s Free Museum:

early March, Long Beach park

One always has to be cheerful, answer questions, and try not to look too horribly disheveled.

We’ve been getting lots of yards of soil energy (one by one, which is all our trailer will carry), and mulching assorted gardens, including that Long Beach park.

mulched Long Beach crocuses

Continuing on the spring clean up mission of mulching and cutting back, we headed for Marilyn’s garden yesterday.  After dumping a full load of debris at Peninsula Landscape Supply, we picked up another yard of soil energy.  This wonderful neighbour dog named Bob came over for pets and then played King of the Mountain.  His coat was so soft and clean you would never think one of his joys is running through the mud and lying on the sand pile.  We were told he also loves the soil energy pile because it’s warm.


Back to the question of privacy.  One of our goals with Marilyn’s garden on a smallish lot near Surfside was to provide some privacy from the neighbour’s garage, and also to stop the eye at the edge of the garden.  Here it is yesterday with last year’s grasses and perennials still up:

Marilyn’s, noon

Here it is in the afternoon after a day of chopping: all the seclusion rather shockingly gone.  We had tried planting escallonia along the back for a year-round stopping of the eye, but the pesky deer kept eating them.  We’ve been experimenting and find these particular deer leave California wax myrtle alone, for now, and so we’ll try those instead.

Marilyn’s, 4 PM

The  deer (three of them) were just waiting next door to see if we would plant something new and delectable.

one of the hungry neighbours

(They don’t bother Marilyn’s hellebores, as you can see by the healthy state of this one:)

hellebore along Marilyn’s driveway

Last summer, the garage was almost hidden by perennials, as it will be this summer. The trick is to balance privacy with leaving lots of room for flowers and grasses.  (If it were my place, I would probably have put up a solid fence, the privacy solution that leaves the most room for a colourful floriferous garden.)

Marilyn’s in summer

But last summer we ran into a sudden privacy/stopping the eye crisis when neighbours to the south cut back all the lower limbs on trees between the two lots, including limbs which were definitely on our side!  Suddenly, the eye was no longer stopped by a wall of evergreen but flew through to the stuff next door.

the disturbing new view

A telephoto shot like the one above exaggerates what we see, but that is actually how I felt, that the stuff against the neighbour’s garage was all I saw when looking to the south!  So we’ve added some shrubs on Marilyn’s side, and we hope this year they will take on enough height to make a green wall once again.  Years of experience helped us choose successfully some shrubs that the deer have left alone all winter:  Pieris, wax myrtle, Ceanothus, a couple of deciduous barberry ‘Helmond Pillar for a bronze contrasting effect, Ilex ‘Sky Pencil’.  All came through the winter looking healthy.  We’ll let you know if we manage to get our evergreen screen effect back this summer.  (Again,I often feel in a situation like this that the most instant solution is a sudden tall solid plank or panel fence!)

[January 2013:  Over the course of 2013 the lower parts of the border evergreen trees filled in some on the south side of the garden so it feels somewhat more enclosed there.]

Read Full Post »

I felt pretty guilty today for not going to work…because there was no rain…and yet the desire to not work in high wind mixed with a desire to have a midmorning Olde Towne break (after sleeping late due to morning rain).

Olde Towne Café back room

The tendency to be motivated by guilt does help one be successfully self-employed.  When I got back to the house after a latté, a panini, and good company, I decided I might feel less concerned about work if I planted some of the new plants that were still lingering from early shopping trips.  The work guilt completely disappeared when I suddenly came up with a whole new project.

I had been dissatisfied for some time with the design of the eastern big bed in the back yard.  I like my neighbours to the east, but both the big house and cottage there are for sale.  (In fact, that vintage house and adorable little cottage are the ones we almost bought before deciding the manufactured home with huge lot was a better garden site.)  I don’t want to block their view but want to prepare for perhaps someday having less pleasant neighbours, so I had planted a row of baby evergreen shrubs down the east edge of the big bed.

And yet, I wanted all the big beds to be meadowy and floriferous.  Having a row of evergreens there made me feel like that side of the garden would be so heavy that it would almost be tilted off balance.

east bed

So I started to dig out a narrow bed along the property line to move the shrubs into.  Three or four kinds of Lonicera (boxleaf honeysuckle), an escallonia and a couple of Pernettya can be pruned if need be.

Three hours, some gusty wind and a rain squall later, the new bed was done and the plants moved.  I just need another yard of soil to fill in between the plants (and a few other places).  I also planted an escallonia to the west of the cottage neighbour’s window.  I want her to have a great view so will keep it pruned just below window level, but if a stranger…that sounds so xenophobic, but I picture a possible loud, creepy, staring, unpleasant stranger!…ever rents it, I can let the escallonia grow up another foot and have almost instant privacy.

new east bed

I like the view of the crab pots behind the neighouring gear shed, so unless I get that dreaded bad neighbour, I will keep the shrubs pruned low enough to maintain the view.  I’ll run some boards along the back to make it easier for Killer, the neighbour who mows, to run his weedeater along the edge. (That sounds like a scary neighbour, but he is a fisherman, thus: Fish Killer, I suppose!) I need Allan to help me run a string line so that the property line is perfect.

I guess I got too used to a completely enclosed garden at the old house.  There was some pretty rowdy neighbours nearby so I was glad of the secret garden. That kind of enclosure might never be necessary here.

[January 2013 note:  The house and cottage did change hands and we ended up with the nicest neighbours:  The owners of Starvation Alley Cranberry Farms and of Pink Poppy Bakery!  The Pink Poppies are moving but another pleasantly quiet person is moving in to the little cottage.]

Read Full Post »

Friday: With optimism, we headed out to the Red Barn Arena with the hope of planting violas and doing spring clean up in a garden next door.  I wouldn’t have minded weeding the little fence garden at the Red Barn as well.  Why did I think the drizzle might improve when the Port of Ilwaco had two red flags up (storm warning)?

Upon arriving at the Red Barn, we sat in the car for ten minutes of downpour, then went to Diane’s house to plant violas with sheer determination to not let her have another weekend of cheerless containers.  Allan started weeding the garden beds so I had to participate, of course.

Back to the Red Barn and more rain.  Drenched horses, most of them with blankets on.

at the Red Barn

Next stop, in a planned semi-repeat of the previous workday: The Basket Case for more violas for Long Beach planters.

Fred selling us some plants

The big plan was to make another stop at Peninsula Landscape Supply for another yard of soil energy and use part of it in the Long Beach planters and part to finish filling my two big new planters at home.  Sideways rain had Fred agreeing with us that the day’s mission simply had to be called off.

On the way home, we stopped at the Planter Box so I could buy a couple bags of soil amendments for those big new boxes at home.  This is the biggest garden centre on the peninsula with most of the bagged and boxed supplies you’d need for your garden, and is also the grower that provides me with Salvia viridis, my favourite annual, in quantity for all our assorted gardens.

Planter Box: pig watering can

A pig watering can is surely essential.

At the Planter Box: bulbs

at the Planter Box: seeds

Allan needed a quick stop at Dennis Co, the hardware store in Long Beach.  While he shopped, I pondered the weather and hoped he would remember to buy a chocolate bar.

weather view by Dennis co

He didn’t forget the chocolate bar.  He was on a mission to bleed the brakes on his motorcycle so dropped me off at Olde Towne where I soothed my work stress (as in, How in the heck are we ever going to catch up in this weather, and guilt re having taken such a long staycation) with soup and sandwich and the company of Luanne at my table for awhile because it was a very quiet afternoon…

rainy view from Olde Towne

The café had been quiet all day…As the rain finally let up, a few customers came in just as I was leaving.

Olde Towne afternoon

Work-related paperwork consumed the afternoon, followed by a surprise dinner at Pelicano (when a friend messaged me on Facebook to come over and join her).  The wind and rain lashed us on the way there, almost causing me to lose my scarf, but after dinner the temperature had risen, the wind was becalmed and the night skies were clearing.  (I love being easy walking distance from the Port!)

Saturday: We stopped at Olde Towne on the way to work to pick up the week’s coffee grounds for my compost.  Here the struggle was to have to go to work instead of hanging out with friends from Clatsop Weavers and Spinners Guild.

Cheri spinning at Olde Towne

You’ve read here about my ace realtor, Cheri Diehl, whose company (Discovery Coast Real Estate) found me the perfect buyer for my former home, and here she is spinning away at the monthly Olde Towne get together.

But staycation is over…and probably lasted too long…and I had to tear myself away so Allan and I could weed at Andersen’s Rv Park.


One relatively small bed was so solid with weeds that it took most of the day…with a little transplanting, weeding, and pruning accomplished in other parts of the garden.  The price was paid for having bailed out of work early last December to make the new house garden.  One last clean up of this bed would have made all the difference this spring.


Ah, well, at least it’s ready now for planting with assorted colours of California poppies.  I have to remind myself that even on staycationless years, trying to get all the spring cleanups done is a bit of a stressful panic.  And it couldn’t be helped that last week at this time all the gardens were under a blanket of snow.

Read Full Post »

A typical day (and it isn’t even spring yet!)..

Left home, not particularly early as neither of us are morning people…

Stopped at The Basket Case Greenhouse to buy some violas for assorted jobs (Diane’s garden, Long Beach, McDonald’s…the latter bright yellow, of course). About a twenty minute drive from home.

Basket Case violas

Then off to Peninsula Landscape Supply for some Soil Energy mulch.

acquiring Soil Energy

Then to a garden called Sea Nest to do spring clean up and apply soil energy; for example:



The lovely weather turned to rain and hail, but once we are stuck into a soil unloading job, we have to finish.  I stood on the deck for awhile while Allan worked in his fluorescent rain gear.

wimping out vantage point

The squall left, then another came, and I saw him standing under the eaves wimping out while I mulched!

Seanest is on the dunes with path to the beach right out the back gate:

Seanest west side garden

Seanest gate to beach path

The squalls passed one after another and the sky became blue again.  Off we went to Long Beach (about 10 minutes south) with high hopes of finishing the mulching of one of the parks.  I realized to my sorrow that the bed which needed the mulch was infested with beach strawberry (sometimes wonderful, here not so much).  As I weeded prior to mulching, gloomy darkness fell and a torrent of rain began…Too much rain to even get out the camera to prove how miserable we were as we finished the job!

Dripping and muddy, we called an end to the workday and, after dumping our weeds at Long Beach city works, headed down to my favourite hangout, Olde Towne Trading Post Café.  I was hoping the usual Thursday afternoon crowd would be there, and indeed they were.

Allan joins Olde Towne Thursday crowd

Fortified with soup, cheesy bread sticks, Mexican hot chocolate and a brownie, and inspired by another break in the weather, we went back into the field and weeded and cut back Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ under the Ilwaco street trees.

With only an hour of daylight left, there was little point in heading back to work up north.  I dropped a gardening bill off at Time Enough Books at the Port…greeted by shop dog, Harper:

door to Time Enough Books

We got home in time to get a little project done before dark: Figuring out where to put two wooden boxes that we had gotten from behind the Long Beach city shop; they had been used for shipping glass and will make a kitchen garden raised bed area for a couple of years till they rot away.  I’ll paint them on some nice day.

instant kitchen garden; just add soil and seeds

Oh…the cutest thing I saw all day was this little round moss in one of the garden beds at Sea Nest.  Adorable!

tiny bun

Read Full Post »