Archive for Jan, 2016

Sunday 24 January 2016

Another afternoon for gardening rather than reading.


I decided to cut back the rest of the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ despite its winter charms.




Stipa gigantea already trying to bloom


Mary by the bogsy woods


weeded but did not pick up sticks


still fairly bogsy


Smokey in the chopped and dropped garden


view from the west gate

Monday, 25 January 2016

Looking out the front window, I was thrilled to see that the Iris unguicularis that Todd gave me was in bloom.  Just yesterday I was thinking I had planted it in too much shade.


Iris unguicularis


Iris unguicularis


Iris unguicularis


crocuses in sunshine


west bed before today’s efforts


Allan helped me remove way too many shasta daisies in this area that is infested with weed grass.

Because of the weed grass, I also dug and divided Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early’ and put some here and there in the garden.


After: I transplanted the Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ whose semi hidden location had bothered me a view days ago.  Now I can see it from the south window.


Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ is a wonderful, long blooming plant.

I was pleased to find some rough compost in a bin in which I’d put some yard debris a year ago and just let sit.


This filled in the area where Allan had dug out those daisies.


I do love the look of the natural richness of rough compost and chopped and dropped mulch.  At most jobs, I would have to rake all the debris away to make the client happy.


Inside the composter.  They all got a trip to field far away.


I finished out daylight by picking away at (but not raking) the weeds on the patio.


Smokey  by the water boxes (Allan’s photo)

Meanwhile, Allan did some weeding of his own.


Allan’s photos:


that messy area, before


after (It’s a privacy screen for us and our neighbour in the little black cottage to the east, so not much pruning will occur.)


between greenhouse and shed, before


after.  He’s clearing because of plans to re-side the shed.

Before weeding and before thinking about what kind of siding, Allan went out to the post office and library and returned with some photos of crocuses…


Ilwaco community building

Planters on First Avenue:



and our good friend Helen at our accountant’s office

Because I wrote up the recently flurry of blog posts, not much reading got done the past two evenings.

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Friday, 23 January 2016

Another nice day pulled me away from reading.

Before I started gardening, Laila from Salt Hotel dropped by to see if I had any fresh rosemary for a recipe for roasted nuts.  I did.  Allan saw the harvest from the window.


DSC01681 - Version 2.jpg

Laila with her harvest


my first snowdrop


crocuses awaiting some sunshine


At last, the first Hamamelis to bloom


Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’


Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’


weeding accomplished between the front driveway

I trimmed and weeded here and there and was glad when a rainstorm sent me back into the house before dark, as I did want to read.


view from north window


view from north window


east window view


A rainbow drew me back out for a moment.


I had time to read the entire M Train by Patti Smith (whose album Horses changed my life when I checked it out of the library in 1979 because I liked the title).


In the background, the work board is still blissfully empty.

Patti, how I adore you.


Two moving things for me in this passage about books that belonged to her mother:



One:  I was not close to my mother, yet I miss her more than I ever thought would be possible.  Two:  My grandmother owned few books; one of them was Girl of the Limberlost, and I read that and The Harvester over and over.  I have been meaning to read The Harvester, by Gene Stratton-Porter, again.  I still have my grandma’s copy.



Frontispiece.  I gave Montana Mary a second copy that had this in full colour.


I kept the copy with my grandmother’s name.

I see again that the book was a gift from Hugh, her fiancé who did not marry her after she moved to Seattle at age 18 to meet him.  (He lived in California and sent a box of oranges and a ring but never came for her.)  “To be given to Ginger”, in my beloved Grandma’s handwriting, refers to my mother.

But I digress.  Back to Patti:


I have never heard of wiping furniture down with tea and am fascinated.

I became deeply thrilled when she fell in love with a rundown tiny cottage in Rockaway Beach (New York).






In two books in a row, I have found out about someone who does not drive…Patti Smith and Gloria Steinem.

She writes that she has “an old and recurring desire…to live by the sea with a ragged garden of my own.


I am so moved that her dreams are as simple and small as mine.  “An uninhabitable house on a withered lot, steps away from the train to the right and the sea to the left.”  “Small rooms rusted sink vaulted ceiling century-old smells mingling with musty animal smells.  …Mold and a prevailing dampness ignited my cough but did not dampen my enthusiasm.

How hard will she have to work to raise the money. and what happens to the bungalow in Hurricane Sandy? I will leave you to get M Train to read the rest of story of the bungalow.  I wish she would write a whole illustrated book just about that.

I found the following, about memory, comforting.  Sometimes I cannot remember a book that I recently read and enjoyed:



I was shocked to read of her turning 66 years old.  Wait.  Patti Smith is 66?  That makes me old, too.  “Sixty six.  What the hell.” she writes, and later: “How did we get so damn old? I say to my joints, my iron-coloured hair.”  How indeed.  I am equally mystified.

Tomorrow: Still more gardening.

After you read M Train, you might want to read this follow up about the bungalow.


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What I really wanted to do was read for five more days and then start midwinter garden clean up.  The good weather required gardening, and of course, once I got outside, I completely enjoyed the experience.

Friday, 22 January 2015


In Allan’s garden: This hellebore’s floppiness is annoying every year!


The west bed


a pleasant vignette


looking toward the east bed


Smokey joined my tour.


Allan’s photo: I began clipping in the east bed.


Then I settled in to some clipping in the west bed. Before…


…and after


After pondering the fact that my Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ is half hidden behind the cat bench…


I put some cuttings of it back by the bogsy woods where they will show better.  Should be easy to start with a twig shoved into the soil.


This sign needs moving to somewhere where it shows up!  I do love to see a shrub growing rapidly along the edges of the garden where I seek enclosure.


Pernettya berries in the west privacy hedge


Yesterday all the lawn that you can see here was under water.


The sight of this untrimmed hellebore must have made my hands tremble.


hellebore trimmed


hellebore in bud


view from the NW gate

Meanwhile, Allan had done considerable weeding in his garden and had recorded his accomplishment:




after (The gold leaved plant is Acanthus mollis ‘Hollard’s Gold’)


After dark: Smokey and Mary wait for reading time.

I do love when the days are short and it is time to draw the curtains with many reading hours still left in the day.

My book tonight: a memoir of feminism in the 60s and 70s.


My book report is mostly positive.  However, I had a problem with how Brownmiller would describe the personality flaws of other activists, like this:  “Most of the group was relieved when Roxanne left” and “[the three women] possessed inventive…minds and poorly developed egos.”  And more of that nature.  If I were one of those woman and read the book, I’d be annoyed and embarrassed.  I learned to think of the writing as more of a personal memoir, thus full of Brownmiller’s personal opinions.

Otherwise, I loved the book.  I thought I knew more about feminism in the 60s than I actually did.   I was especially interested in actions taken while I was still in high school. I defined myself as a feminist since first reading a book (maybe The Feminine Mystique) at about age 14.  But I had no idea that as late as 1970 “unescorted” (by men) women were not allowed into establishments like the Russian Tea Room…not even a mother and daughter going out for a birthday treat. “The humiliating policy was enforced by bartenders with uncommon zeal” till a women’s sit in brought this particular form of discrimination to an end.

The stories of painful schisms in the movement brought back memories. Human nature seems to lead to conflict in all sorts of groups whether entertainment oriented or politically based. Thus it is even more remarkable how much the second wave of feminism accomplished.  Like many woman who were activists back in those days, I feel that many of “the young women of today” sort of take for granted the results our intense efforts, and at the same time, I am both filled with joy at their opportunities and frustrated at how much social justice remains to be won.

Tomorrow: more gardening.

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Thursday, 21 January 2016

How lucky my visitors and I had been yesterday to tour gardens in a brisk wind and no rain.  On Thursday, the Long Beach Peninsula had one of the rainiest days ever.  I put on my boots and took a garden walk.



an exceptional amount of standing water


looking east




west side path


fire circle


bogsy woods lawn


Jared and Jessika’s back yard to our east


on my way back inside


Fortunately, a Piet Oudolf book had arrived for me from the library.






The thoughts on public gardens are so useful to me.


one or two gardeners! 😉


perfect winter days

Ah, “You can just sit…reading gardening books…next to your cat…”


I appreciate the non-murderous philosophy here.


food and kindness toward all



Piet Oudolf…my favourite gardener

And just after midnight, here were the rain totals for today.


The next day, Ilwaco City Hall looked like this:


Allan’s photo

And there was standing water on roads all around the Peninsula.  The rain did stop after another quarter inch overnight, and we had a few days to dry out.

Over the course of garden book reading in the last couple of weeks, I added this many plants to my list (typed with one finger on my phone notes while holding a big book). Some I’ve wanted for a long time (Helianthus salicifolius) and others are of interest for one reason or another:

Piet Oudolf:

Selinum wallichianum

Isatis tinctoria.  (woad)

Helianthus salicifolius

Kirengeshomo palmata

Lindefolia anchusoides

Persicaria polymorpha

Persicaria amplexicaulis alba

Origanum ‘Rossenkupel’

Thalictrum ‘Hewitt’s  Double’ (used to have this)

Solidago ‘Golden Rain’


Salvia glutinosa (shade)

Molina caerulea ‘Poul Peterson’

Vernonia ‘Iron Butterfly’

Helenium ‘Rubinswerg’

Solidago ‘Golden Rain’

Agastache nepetoides. Must have.

Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Apollo’

Salvia ‘Madeline’

Sanguisorba menziessi ‘Wake Up’

Actaea ‘Queen of Sheba’

Pennisetum  viridescens

From The New Shade Garden by Ken Druse:

Stilophorum diphyllum. Yellow wood poppy

Dicentra spectabilis is now lamprocapnos (must remember this)

Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’. Small tree

Bux us microphylla ‘Wanford Page’. It is Chartreuse.

Blue cohosh. Caulophyllum thalictroides

From The Art Of Gardening (Chanticleer)

Helianthus ‘Capenoch Star’

H ‘Gold Lace’

H ‘Santa Fe’

Angelica gigas

Rudbeckia ‘Henry Ellers’

Begonia grandis evansiana

Dahlia ‘Verrone’s Obsidian’

Rose ‘Westerland’.  Orange climber.

Cirsium rivulare atropurpureum

Symphytum ‘Axminster gold’

Thuja ‘Green Giant’

Salix sachalinensis ‘Golden Sunshine’

Disanthus cercidifolius

Euonymous Europeas or Americanus

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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

I was lured out of the house by Ann and Kate, visiting friends from Portland whom I could not resist.  Because our weekly North Beach Garden Gang was also scheduled for this day, having to break my seclusion was not as traumatic as it otherwise would have been.


Kate, Ann and I in my garden

We began at noon with a visit to Salt Hotel.  Usually, Ann and friends stay at Ann’s father’s house in Naselle, but it is good to know about alternatives in case he has said house filled up with a fishing expedition.


I hung out with dogs Omar and Taco in the downstairs lounge while Julez took Ann and Kate on a hotel tour.


Omar and I admired the view.  (He is small enough to carry around.)  Taco was too fast for a photo.


first floor view



Kate and Ann had a favourable impression of Salt (and from our pub lunch there with Ann earlier this month, she knows the food is tasty).  The pub is closed on Wednesday and Thursday (winter hours).  Julez kindly offered us tea.  We decided to move on with our day.

Kate, being peckish, asked if there were a place she could get a snack.  So on our way north, she got a street taco in Seaview.


Streetside Taco in Seaview

So what do gardeners do on a day out in winter?  Go garden touring, of course.  Kate is a working gardener so, like us, she does not have much free time in the spring.  I guided her and Ann to four of my favourite gardens, choosing ones with good structure and winter interest.  Due to lots of enjoyable chatting and laughter, I did not take as many photos as usual, which might be a good thing, as I can combine all of the gardens into this one post.

Patti’s Garden


Patti’s garden in Seaview is a favourite of mine.  I explained that our good friend Patti is the one who began the Music in the Gardens tour ten years ago.  (She has now passed the tour into the able hands of Garden Tour Nancy.)


Ann and Kate on the patio


Patti’s driftwood bench from the mudflats of Willapa Bay


entrance to the kitchen garden


Patti’s back deck



As we leave, Ann and Kate taking photos…


…like this one.

We had an intermission in touring as we drove a few blocks to visit Dave and Melissa, who were working nearby.  Part of the garden that they maintain is a lot that actually used to belong to Patti herself, and that was landscaped years ago by a former peninsula business, A&J Landscaping.  The lot was purchased by its north side neighbour and is a great extra addition to her yard.


dry creekbed



I’d like to have seen this swale after the big rain that arrived the very next day.

I took the opportunity to get a photo of Dave and Melissa and their very big truck to use as a cover photo on their Facebook page.  Give the page a like, if you would be so kind.



Steve and John’s Bayside Garden

Leaving Melissa and Dave to their work, Kate and Ann and I headed to the bay side to visit Steve and John’s garden, one that has been on both the Music in the Gardens and last spring’s Rhododendron Tour.


house by the bay


looking north


The pump house green roof has appreciated our mild winter.


Kate photographing a camellia that was aswarm with hummingbirds.


Kate’s photo: We’d love to have an ID on this old camellia that dates back to when this property was part of Clarke Nursery.


Ann by Willapa Bay


The glade of clipped evergreen huckleberries met with strong approval.


Hello to my favourite Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’


into the cryptomeria grove where Ann made a beeline to look at some plant labels


Steve says, “We refer to this rhododendron as ‘Firetail’, although not officially identified as such.”


Kate photographing.  I love the pruning on that rhododendron.


a big old cotoneaster with aucuba around the base


We drove north to Oysterville and took a turn around the town before going to our destination garden.  Ann’s car stopped by the Stream House when Kate saw a restia in the front garden.


Good gardening things are happening here…


Although I failed to get a photo of the restia…Kate knows the name of that silvery strappy plant.  (She knows all the names.)


Connections: The Stream House was rebuilt last year by the Mack Brothers construction, one of whom is married to our friend Christl who manages the Eric Wiegardt Gallery, a former job of ours that Eric’s brother Todd now cares for.

Kate and Ann were pleased to get to go inside the historic Oysterville Church, which is almost always open for viewing.


Kate at the Oysterville Church


The view from inside the church to our next garden.

Next, we walked all around the wonderful Oysterville garden that I visited three times last fall.



I told Kate and Ann how the first time I looked over the fence was in winter, and I knew by the pear in the tree and the hellebore collection that the garden was special.


newly planted beach hedge


Kate looking at the potted plants.


Kate and Ann seemed to share my feeling of being smitten by the terrace.




the allée in winter


at the end of the allée


Intense fragrance from Hamamelis and Sarcococca hung in the air.


Hamamelis (winter blooming witch hazel)


Sarcococca (sweet box), Hamamelis, and one of the potted tree ferns


Rhododendron, Sarcococca, and lots of trimmed ferns

Dave and Melissa and Todd and this garden’s owner have been working hard on trimming and mulching in this huge garden for the past couple of months.



north side lawn

Leaving this garden, we walked on a green road down to the shore of Willapa Bay.


looking north, mown path along the bay


looking east: There was once another row of bayside houses, before a flood at the beginning of the last century


Ann by the bay

Klipsan Beach Cottages

We had time for a quick visit to one more garden so we drove to the ocean side and strolled around Klipsan Beach Cottages.  Because the resort was having a winter breaktime, we were able to go onto all the cottage decks, as well.


Kate and Ann at KBC


on the cottage 8 deck


south gate to the fenced garden


In the pond garden bed, many ferns wait for Allan and I to start work again.

Cottage Bakery

We now needed somewhere to spend an hour before our dinner reservation.  I suggested the Cottage Bakery and learned that it was new to both Kate and Ann, so south to Long Beach we drove.


at the Cottage Bakery in Long Beach


just a small portion of the vast assortment

The Cove Restaurant

The Cove had been closed for dinners during January except for this special event, Sushi night.


Ann enters The Cove, after being greeted by Parking Lot Cat.


the sushi night menu (one of two pages)



Kate and Ann agreed the sushi was exceptionally good.  (Allan’s photo)


expanded North Beach Garden Gang (l-r) Allan, Kate, Dave, Melissa (noticing I am taking a photo) and Ann

Little did we know this would be our last garden gang dinner at the Cove, as owner and friend Sondra announced a few days later that the restaurant will now only open for Chef Sondra’s delicious lunch time, maybe opening for dinner again next summer.  Meanwhile, we are a garden gang on the lam and looking for a new place to have a relatively inexpensive weekly dinner with a nice selection of microbrews on tap.  It will be ever so hard to find a place that fits that criteria (especially the inexpensive) and that makes us feel as special as Chef Jason and Sondra and Carmen and Lynn make us feel at the Cove.  Chef Jason cooks exactly the kind of food I like.   We think the Salt Pub might fit the bill…if only they were open on Thursdays.  (We’ll have to change our dinner night.)


memories…Carmen, Dave and Melissa, after our sushi feast (Allan’s photo)

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Sunday, 17 January 2016


the event

Again, I reluctantly broke the seclusion of reading time.  Earlier in the week I had thoroughly enjoyed the memoir Get it While You Can by Nick Jaina.  We’ve seen him perform twice before at the Sou’wester so I knew the show would be worthwhile.  I took an old copy of Hardware Wars as a gift to the Sou’wester video library.  (They still have an old VHS machine in play.)


Allan took most of the photos this evening.

To my delight, Nick not only sang but read from his book.



Nick Jaina


musical accompaniment to reading




Nick and the band




Stelth Ulvang



After alternating singing and reading, Nick closed with my favourite song of his.  You can listen to it here.


chatting with Nick after his set

Stelth then took the lead singer role with Nick playing guitar along with the rest of the band.


During the intermission, I’d asked Nick if he minded if I used excerpts from his book in a blog post and he assured me it would be fine.  I said on Goodreads that I’d rate Get it While You Can 25 on their scale of 1 to 5.  He asked me to describe to him what the book is about.  I said the life of a traveling musician, science, philosophy, writing, being lovelorn.


Here are some of my favourite bits:



I’d like to be able to tell you who Nick is quoting, above, but I’ve lent my copy of the book to J9 so I cannot (yet).


This speaks to me of where I live, as well. We call ourselves end-of-the-roaders here.


from a chapter about different kinds of sadness—Melancholy:






One of my favourites, from a chapter about looking for words for certain things:


Because I had a dream like that:

Allan and I had just moved into a grey house on a small knoll to the west of an industrial neighborhood in north Seattle.  A two lane road in front seemed like it should be busy but was not.  The simple old house was one story with a front porch and an attic window.  Inside one entered the living room, with the kitchen in back and bathroom and bedroom off to the side. We had just moved in so the living room had just a couch and chair, and the kitchen a table and two chairs.


The house looked sort of like this.

or more simple, like this, with an attic window


My parents came to the front door with my old labrador dog (Bertie Woofter).  Unlike in his real life, he was well behaved, and unlike in my real life, my parents and I were close. I was in my early 40s in the dream, maybe younger, so my parents were still healthy and vigorous.

We walked around to look at the back yard, a large rough lawn inside a rickety old fence.  It verged onto a meadow which I hoped was also part of the property.  It was a completely blank slate to start a garden.

The view to the south from the front porch was over a couple of blocks of old houses on streets that sloped down to a slow-flowing slough.  I could see a café with a brick exterior on the next block downhill so we all walked there to have a meal.  The charming interior with lots of art and big windows welcomed us and I knew we would go there often.  It was a little bit upscale with nice tablecloths and white dishes.

Someone had told us that the neighbourhood was pretty quiet except when once every two weeks trains arrived at a nearby train yard and made lots of noise coupling and uncoupling cars.  I knew I would not mind.

I LOVE that dream from over a year ago and I think about it often when I need something to soothe my insomnia.  So what IS the word for that?

Moving on:

What Nick wrote about New York sort of reminded me of how I try to describe daily life in this blog:


Is this feeling possible in Ilwaco?

Below, Nick captures the Columbian Café in Astoria.



Sorry the end trails off there…and my friend J9 has the book!


I love this quote by Steinbeck



I used to keep a list of weird coincidences in my life, often things from books.  Here are some I listed in a notebook:

8-28-97 In the morning I read about adders in The Ghost Road by Pat Barker. In the evening, I read about adders in a reference to Precious Bane by Mary Webb.

1-17-98 reference to a poet named Herrick in both a novel and a gardening book (I Capture the Castle and Remembered Gardens) on the same day.

earlier: The poem Troubling a Star is part of a book title.  In the next book I read, by Beverly Nichols, has the poem on its preface page.

2008:  Two books in a row mention Paul Auster (someone previously unknown to me).

2003:  Watching the art documentary series by Sister Wendy.  She shows a painting of Marat killed by Corday.  Had never heard of this before.  Next day “Corday’s victim” is a crossword clue.  Same thing happened when she mentioned Caves of Lescaux.  Next day it was a clue.  We were watching her series on video, not on live tv.

And this very month: Two novels set in the Isthmus neighborhood of Madison, Wisconsin and a third, a memoir, by someone who taught college there. (The memoir doesn’t feature Madison itself.) I’ve never given a thought to that city before. Now it seems so appealing. 

I have a feeling Nick is talking about coincidences more real life than literary; maybe I spend too much time at home to have real life ones.

  I hope you are inspired to read his book.  What attracted me to it was the promised chapter in which he asked women he’d written love songs to just how those songs had affected them.  I was curious to know how they answered. The whole book was entrancing beyond my expectations.

Next post: we get back to a gardening theme.

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Monday – Thursday, 11-15 January

The reading blends together from day to day…


Calvin and Elinor

I had resorted to interlibrary loan to get Isabel’s Bed.  Its setting, Cape Cod in winter,  added to my enjoyment.  I’ve now read all Lipman’s novels and will have to do another interlibrary loan for a book of essays.


Frosty on a garden bookshelf

Now that true, quiet, non social staycation had come, I settled in to read the garden books I had purchased this year.


about Chanticleer; we had taken a lecture by a Chanticleer gardener, Jonathan Wright, at the 2016 Study Weekend.


Note to self: Stipa tenuissuma has a new name.

Maybe I can remember this new name by thinking of the nearby town of Naselle.


An AIR-SPADE might be helpful for planting in the bogsy woods.


It struck me that it is good for the bulbs that our soil stays dry underneath during out summer droughts, well into autumn.


The Art of Gardening: a glorious book


Next, a book lent to me by Steve of the Bayside Garden.


I liked the essays very much (and the cartoons, of course), and some of the short stories.  As I recalled during more of my winter reading, short stories, if good, make me want them to be longer.  One essay suggested we call ourselves “guardians” rather than “owners” of cats.  That is a word I had been seeking and will adopt.


Fortunately, Allan never pesters me like this while I am reading.


This is exactly the weather we had on the day I read the cat book.


Next up: a book I purchased this past summer.


the original version from years ago

Druse’s previous shade book had been a great inspiration to me over the years.  I had even almost copied one of the photos for a garden at the Sou’wester Lodge when I lived there in ’93.  The new version was an equal pleasure to peruse.

I read all through another rainy, windy day and felt so inspired that I became gripped by the urge to go out by flashlight and transplant some epimediums into the bogsy woods (but did not follow through).


Mary and I devoted a day to a book about Piet Oudolf, the gardener who most inspires me.


Smokey approved.


With Frosty. It was a three cat book.


I will admire my Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ with a deeper appreciation after reading about his resistance work.  Bless him!


a sinister native plant policy



Enter a caption


fascinating biographies interspersed among the garden lore


backstory about the new appreciation of garden decay


I love this passage about squabbling over a plant that still gets lots of compliments and questions in my public gardens.


My garden thoughts were transformed by a Piet Oudolf lecture at the NW Flower and Garden show in the early 90s…and I had visited Gil Schieber’s city garden back when I lived in Seattle.


A photo from my visit to Gil’s garden in Seattle (Ballard neighbourhood), about 1990.


I so identify with the difficulty of charging a friend for work.


The beauty of Piet’s vision can have me in tears, also.


I well remember falling in love with Sanguisorbas during Piet’s lecture.


Oh my, I wonder whose Portland garden this was?


(A detail of a large photo) In the Oudolf-designed Lurie Garden in Chicago: Such a familiar scene to me, with the passersby talking to the gardeners.


Wow, even Piet Oudolf started out with the hard time of getting through the winter financially.


another familiar scenario


and another.


and another…being supplied with bad soil has happened in several gardens I’ve worked in over the years.


three of my four feline companions almost shoving my book away

Meanwhile, Allan went out on errands most days.


narcissi at the Ilwaco boatyard, 1-12-16


He pruned old wood out of the red twig dogwood at the Ilwaco Community Building.


He did a good rebuilt job on an old bench that we’d been given by Denny of Klipsan Beach Cottages.


Friday, 15 January 2016

I resolved to go out as little as possible during January as I continued to seek the life of a recluse.  However, two events drew me into social life on Friday.

lunch with Jenna

My dear friend Jenna (Queen La De Da) and I are both so busy during tourist and garden season that we were long overdue for a luncheon.  We dined at El Compadre and had a good long talk.  I thought you might enjoy seeing what a charming interior the restaurant has (quiet on a winter weekday).


looking toward our booth from the front


our view from our booth in the back corner



delightfully decorated

Dave’s Birthday Dinner

Celebrating the birth of one of our favourite people (not on his exact birthday) was well worth going out for, especially when it featured dinner at the fine Depot Restaurant.


Nancy Gorshe took this photo.  Me, Melissa, Dave, Allan.


clam chowder, the best anywhere


in the midst of our feasting


Allan had the sturgeon special.


French onion soup (goes by a fancier name here)


Melissa’s lamb shank


wild boar Cinghiale with gnocchi

Saturday, 16 January 2016

My book of the day was the second I’d recently read set in Madison, Wisconsin.


Enter a caption

Earlier during this staycation, I’d found the Madison setting entrancing in But Not For Long by Michelle Wildgen.  Both novels feature the Isthmus neighbourhood.


the isthmus, and a botanical garden


Maybe one year, the Garden Bloggers Fling will be in Madison, and if so, I would like to go there.

I spent the rest of the weekend engrossed in a detailed and informative book on a topic which has become an obsession again:



an interlibrary loan from Texas A&M University

During the week of staycation perfection, I’d also read a book by Nick Jaina, and on Sunday the 17th, I’d be leaving my reading lair to see him perform at the Sou’wester.

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I feel the urge to write a brief post…sat here in my comfy chair using the WordPress phone app…regarding a gardening afternoon on

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Because I did not get out the door till one, I didn’t have a long gardening session.

First crocus: 

Jasminum nudiflorum:  

Hamamelis buds: 

Restia looking surprisingly happy: 

I didn’t think my sarracenia would do this well outside in winter (sheltered under a bench): 
Some big branches had fallen in the bogsy wood: 

You can see how deep they speared into the ground:

I managed to do some clean up of the center bed and part of the west bed.

Allan’s photo

center bed before




And then daylight was gone.

I had begun with one ho mi and returned with two, a happy find in a clump of Solidago ‘Fireworks’.

Mary and Smokey await

along with Isabel’s Bed, a pretty good novel

Ironically, this is the book I had just finished:

And I think age caught up with me, because the next day I was so sore I had to use my mom’s old lift chair to stand me up. Fortunately, the sciatica like pain only lasted a day. I’ve now been waiting for over a week for another afternoon of dry gardening weather (so have much to report about the joys of reading).

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I’m fascinated with the meander line; it seemed like a post for our Ilwaco blog, even though it includes the bogsy woods.

Our Ilwaco

The meander line is the border between the city and the port of Ilwaco that follows what used to be the riverbank.  I’ve tried to analyze why I am so fascinated with what is, basically, long grass, brambles, and sometimes a ditch:  When I walk it, I am able to clearly imagine it as it once was, waterfront with waves lapping up from the Columbia River.

The new and old photos of Ilwaco, below,  neatly show the meander line now and back when it was the Columbia River and Baker Bay shoreline, before the port was built. Our own place was waterfront.  The port parking lots and buildings were built on fill in the 1950s and now the water is about a block and a half from my back yard.  The two straight streets shown in the photo are Spruce Street and Lake Street, running east-west.  (West is at the top of the…

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Re-blogging here as promised, even though that means some repetitiveness on Facebook.

Our Ilwaco

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Our good friend and sister-garden-blogger Ann Amato-Zorichcame to town. We took the opportunity to check out the very soft and mostly unadvertised opening of the pub at Salt Hotel, something we had eagerly been awaiting. (Call 360.642.SALT for pub hours, which are variable at present.)


Allan and Ann approach the courtyard Allan and Ann approach the courtyard
Owner Julez Orr leading us to the entryway Owner Julez Orr leading us to the entryway
view from the lower level view from the lower level
the lower level the lower level Julez assured me that anyone who could not climb the stairs to the second floor bar level would be able to dine at ground level in this cozy room.

upstairs pub upstairs pub
the view from our window table the view from our window table Paula Anast of Round 2 Designdid much of the interior design work for the hotel and pub. Her description from LinkedIn:

Interior design.
stop burning piles of wood…use it!
look at the existing…imagine the future!

Specialties:Re use, Re Purpose…

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