Archive for Feb, 2016

Sunday, 28 February 2016

After a long and delicious sleep during a blustery windstorm, we realized during brunch that the sun had come out and that it might be a good day to put in an afternoon of work.  While Allan hooked up the trailer, I took a turn around the front garden.


Ribes speciosum


Ribes speciosum, closer.  It has mean barberry-like thorns.


lily foliage emerging along with weeds that I don’t have time to pull.


Melianthus major and Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’


Melianthus major is budding, overhead…


and at eye level

A strong gusty wind blew up again just as I got in the van.  I was ready to abort the beach approach mission and gardening in general.  Allan said he would do the community building garden, so I agreed to help because it’s easy to bail out of a place so close to home.

Just as we parked and started to unload our tools, a passerby arrived (not someone we know) who wanted to chat and ask questions and chat some more, very close within my personal space (like looking over my shoulder while I was getting my gear out of the van).  I’m kind of Aspergian about that.  Thinking of my own comfort rather than contributing to the other person’s enjoyment, it seemed like a time to tactfully and pleasantly depart to go plant some lilies up at Golden Sands.

As we drove north, we had barely left Ilwaco when an earnest rain began.  Now it seemed like a good time to get a little grocery shopping done.


parked by Sid’s Market


Weather being decidedly miserable

Allan returned to the vehicle with a grocery bag, saying that he was committed to returning home, having bought ice cream to go with some pie.  I thought contentedly of my comfy chair and the several library books awaiting me on the living room table.

When we got into our driveway, the sun came out, and it seemed like a good time to go back to the community building, so we did.

Finally getting down to work, we accomplished a great deal in just three and a half hours.  I especially wanted to get rid of a lot of the kinnikinnick, as it looks battered and dead after winter, and it is so hard to weed amongst its stems.  The soil in all these beds is infested with quack grass and sorrel and, in some of the beds, bindweed and horsetail.




after some VERY hard work, with some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ added.

The Sedum should be excellent here, drought tolerant, with interesting flowers, and every now and then it will be easy to remove and clean up, in order to get more of the accursed long white grass roots out of this area.  Added some coppery coloured California poppy seeds, too.


before: an area heavy with kinnikinnick, with salal planted below at sidewalk level


another view of the same area….AND I got some of the salal out below!


North of the wheelchair ramp to the parking lot: I have a Fuchsia magellanica start at home that can fill in there where a big tatty clump of salal came OUT.  And a lovely ornamental grass, low and goldy-red, that go into the bed above.

The garden beds have so much heather.  Indeed, heather dominates every bed but the tiered bed in the lower parking lot and the shade bed by the front door.

As I weeded, something began to bother me along the sidewalk garden.

From the ramp south to the bus stop:


salal salal salal rhododendrons heathers mugo pines….


past the salal: rhodos heather mugo pines


other side of sign…mugo pines, heather rhodos and…what the heck is that huge salal doing in there?? and then heather and rhodos.

“Allan!!!!!” I called, “I have a big idea!!!”

While sitting on the wall, weeding, I had seen a rhododendron languishing hidden in the pines.


in the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines, a little lost rhodie.

A half an hour later, Allan had that huge clump of salal OUT, and I had dug up the little lost rhodie.  (I think what happened is back when the garden was planted, a volunteer did not know how big the pines would get compared to that little rhododendron.  As for the oddly places salal, who knows.)


Allan’s photo, before…


Goodbye, huge clump of salal!


Allan’s photo, after, with the rhodie relocated


A little lost heather had been consumed by the salal.

Allan said the salal runners had gone all the way to the bus stop under the  heather and rhododendrons planted next to it.  He teased the runners back out; they were several feet long.


What an improvement!


rhodo where the salal was

We will not let that salal come back, even though it will want to.  (Allan mentioned that the area also has bindweed which was so hard to pull out of that big salal patch.)  The humans will win.  That’s something our Melissa says after a great battle with weeds or invasives:  “Humans win!”  I like to see nature win sometimes, but not when it comes to bindweed or salal or sorrel in a garden bed.


No more little lost rhododendron.

Meanwhile, I had removed two medium clumps of salal, below, that were all up in a rhodo’s business.


The rhodo was free, with good breathing room, when I was finished.


Hamamelis, planted by locals Ann and Butch Saari, matching the library door and arch


The last 20 minutes of the job took place in a strong cold wind and heavy rain.

I had coppiced some of the red twig dogwood and it seemed that a good home for the long and decorative red stems would be with Laila at Salt Hotel; she excels at incorporating branches and stems into floral displays.  On the way there, a rainbow displayed itself over the port.


Rainbow over Jessie’s


fading rainbow over Salt


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo, south side of Salt with pub on second floor

Of course, after delivering the dogwood stems, we could not resist warming up our cold selves in the Salt Pub.


hot toddy with a fresh ginger infusion made at the pub


the view





a new larger format menu, and at the next table, our friend Heather Ramsay, artist and owner of the NIVA green shop


the ever changing clouds


Heather and me


Allan and I split the burger, which was exceptional.


I think Allan’s photo is the most exceptional.


clouds going pink, 5:50 PM


6 PM


A Pink Poppy Bakery cupcake




6:25 PM


I love that there are books to borrow in a corner of the pub (from owner Julez’ mother’s collection). And that the telly is not turned on all the time.  I much prefer a restaurant to not have a television on.


at the hotel desk


6:30 PM, on the way home for an evening of blogging and movie

Tonight, Interstellar or Jurassic World, DVDs borrowed from Ilwaco Timberland Library.


later, during Jurassic World (loved it!): Smokey displays how well healed his paw is.

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

1995 (age 70):

Feb 28:  “Store” day.  Watered houseplants.  I planted a lot of the tiny trailing begonias that I started from seed into one of the terracotta planters and set it above the Floralight [indoor 3 tiered lighted plant tray].  I’m curious if they will grow and trail.

Our next blog post will be the expanded and illustrated version of Ginger’s Garden Diaries for February 1995, 97, and 98.

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Saturday, 27 February 2016


Fortunately, we were awake and having breakfast when Todd arrived in the late morning to bring some plants from his recent plant acquisition trip to T&L Nursery.  He said that the weather while I was sleeping  had been misty and not work-conducive.


barely awake, checking out the plants


Never too many Ilex ‘Sky Pencil’, in my opinion.


Allan’s birthday present from Todd, ‘hairy lip fern’ doing well.


a quick look at what’s in bloom in the back garden


Smokey flopping around seeking some attention


Smokey still seeking some pets




“If the maple gets tall enough, it won’t be swallowed up by the baptisia.”

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(Todd had remembered that this young Japanese maple has a large baptisia next to it.)


Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’ and Nepeta ‘Six Hills Gold’


Sambucus ‘Black Tower’ and the Ilex ‘Sky Pencil’ trio


With the new plants in the ladies in waiting area, Allan and I headed for Long Beach with a stop on the way to pick up DVDs from the library.  I took the opportunity to review the Ilwaco community building garden.




more crocuses


still more crocuses



The heather flowers are already starting to brown off.  Oh, how I wish this garden were not so heavy with heather.


I suggested to Allan that, because the kinnikinnick looks so terrible, all of it should be sheared back hard.


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick, bearberry) looks awful and is hard to weed.


Kinnikinnick infested with grass

I think large sections of the bearberry need to be rogued out and replaced with something more interesting and with less tendency toward shabbiness.  At the moment, areas of this garden need weeding but the time is not there to do it.


This area, well weeded within the last month, has held up well.

We got a wonderful haul of movie fare from the library: Party Girl (one of my all time favourite films that Allan has never seen), Jurassic World, Train Wreck and Interstellar…but we must finish watching the delightful latest season of Girls on DVD first.


a comedy about library science

Long Beach


the long narrow Bolstad garden

We returned to the first section of the beach approach garden to finish cutting back the rugosa roses and weeding.


today’s area, before, at 12:51 AM


after: 3:32 PM

Each section takes about five hours for the two of us to weed (above was a half section) and so the whole first weeding job of the year takes about 130 hours!  It is difficult to find that amount of time to carve out of the rest of our schedule.

I tell myself only three more years, including this one, till Allan has turned 66 and we may then insist they find someone else to do this part of the Long Beach job.  And yet, there is something terribly satisfying about it.  I hope that this year it will seem less deadly, since we have (by choice) several fewer other jobs than last year.


today, before (Allan’s photos)


during (picking roses out from along the edge)


almost done


3 days ago



Last year, we didn’t even get started on weeding these garden beds till June; this year, I hope to get the first weeding done in time to plant poppy seeds in the areas won back from weeds and roses.  Some seeds did go in at the end of the garden above.

Of course, it would be lovely to mulch the whole long sandy garden.  I just don’t want to add that many hours of labour.

With the first section done, we drove out to the “end cap” by the driveway to the big public parking lot.


3:49 PM


starting the end cap


I enjoy the parade of dogs walking by.


Doug stops to tell us about a “weeding” job he’s doing.  (More on this later.)


Diane came by with my very good friend, Misty!


after (Allan’s photo)


the last of the ornamental grasses got chopped by Allan (before)




5:11 PM

All too many rose roots are still in there—too many to put poppies in that area.  We did manage to peel some roses away from the edge.  I often yearn for the past when all this garden had a collection of pretty perennials and poppies.  Unfortunately, the kite festival crowds trampled it year after year and the roses have been allowed to take over because they can hold their own against humans.


still rather damp for beach approach picnics

I’m eager to get back out there to weed another section.  Tomorrow calls for 40 mph winds which will definitely be not conducive to work.  And I made a problem for us by buying lilies and violas, as we must now return to three gardens to plant them, gardens we could otherwise ignore for a couple of post-spring-cleanup weeks.  Ooops.

On the way to the city works debris pile, I snapped a photo of the Culbertson Field flower garden:


…only to realize that old flowers of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ were obscuring the view.


a few minutes later.  Ignore the weeds to the the right, no time to pull them today

Above is another plant on my loathed plants list: Lithodora.  It has been there for years.  I will clip in back hard after it blooms to avoid the dead-inside look that it gets.  Like heather, it has such a short bloom time followed by a long tatty looking time unless clipped.


Now off to dump a scratchy load of roses

As we drove to the city works yard four blocks south, a woman tried to flag us down with a “YooHoo!”  We simply had to keep driving in order to get the debris dumped while we still had daylight.  Perhaps she wished to hire gardeners, in which case we would suggest our friends at Sea Star Gardening.

I remembered to sit a couple of times during the day to force myself to bend my right knee.  I think some of my problem is from working with a straight leg all day until it locks open, causing much pain trying to get into the van at end of day.  Today was better.

At dusk, we gave in to the impulse to dine at the Kabob Cottage.  Restaurateur Behnoosh and landlord Doug were just completing the patio.  You may recall that earlier today, Doug had driven by us on our beach approach project and said he was “weeding” another area.  Below: His version of weeding is to fill in an ugly weedy patch of sorrel and horsetail with matching pavers.


It is a huge improvement.


So is the excellent spring clean up that Dave and Melissa did for us on this park a couple-three weeks ago.


Allan’s photo


delicious chicken kabobs


Kabob Cottage by night

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

1995 (age 70):

Feb 27:  It seems like I start all my notes with “Finally”.  Well, today I finally got the leaves raked up in lower driveway and behind house.  I used the trash bag frame with 33 gallon bags and it worked fine.  I have five bags to be shredded “someday”.

1998 (age 73):

Feb 27:  Didn’t get to sleep till after 4 AM—then slept till almost noon.  My Dutch Gardens order came today, 5 boxes, $806 worth.  Now I really have my work cut out for me.  I must get the begonias potted and pot up the various perennials roots etc and get them under lights.


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Friday, 26 February 2016

As I had breakfast, Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) were already at work.  Melissa texted me a few photos from the Oysterville garden.


Melianthus blooming, photo by Melissa Van Domelen


Narcissi and tree fern, photo by Melissa Van Domelen


anemone, photo by Melissa Van Domelen


trillium, photo by Melissa Van Domelen


Viburnum carlesii, photo by Melissa Van Domelen


Cornus mas by Oysterville church, photo by Melissa Van Domelen

With rain predicted, Allan and I thought we might take the day off and go shopping overseas.  But would it rain?  The mid morning felt cold, misty, grey, but not wet.

Before our journey, I took a walk around the garden.


Japanese maple all of a sudden has leafed out


Tulip kaufmanniana ‘The First’


many more bulbs emerging, including lilies


Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ about the bloom


crocuses and last year’s allium in upper right


Iris reticulata


last year’s cardoon


Pulmonaria (lungwort, spotted dog)


The first big tulip (‘Rococo’)


Euphorbia characias wulfenii and crocus


Corylopsis pauciflora and more crocus


Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’


My one heather, from Pam Fleming


Hellebore, primrose, crocus


Lamprocapnos scandens already coming up!  Was floppy so got tied onto the support.

We drove up the The Basket Case Greenhouse to have a gander at two availability lists from inland nurseries.


checking the availability list (Allan’s photo)


Greenhouse kitty being unhelpful


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo

I noted that the availability lists still refer to Lamprocapnos by its more mellifluous old name, Dicentra.


Kitty and Walter where plants will be displayed in springtime.


Fred going back to the house, followed by Walter and Shadow (and the kitty, behind the fern)


Camellia across the street from the Basket Case (Cranguyma Farm)


Allan’s photo

We took the narrow and somewhat obscure Jim Street through cranberry bogs to get back to the 101 highway.


Jim Street is in the center; 101 is where the word Google is.


cranberry bogs


This is Jim Street, pretty much one way (Allan’s photo); fortunately, they were behind us.

As we came to the 101 intersection, rain began, removing any question of whether or not we were skipping a good work day out on the beach approach garden.


across 101:  The “Thank you Farmers” sign in a Starvation Alley organic cranberry bog.

For some reason, I felt no anxiety at all in either direction of the Chinook Tunnel or the 4 mile long Astoria Bridge over the Columbia.



I wish I knew who made the graphic below; it shows so well how our area fits together.


In Warrenton, by a marina, we had lunch at a small Thai Restaurant.


Allan’s photo


on the porch




art  by our table


chicken satay


pad prik king and Thai fried rice

The food was milder than I was used to for this dish.  Adding Thai hot sauce from a little pot on the table fixed that.


across the road: What a chilly day to be pressure washing marina docks


nearby: pigeons hunkered down in the cold rain

The pickings are still slim for plant buying around these parts.  I managed to get some lilies and dahlias at Costco, and some violas at Fred Meyer.


a breath of spring in my shopping cart


We were home by dusk and able to deliver some groceries to a dear friend whose spouse is in hospital.

While I typed up this entry, Smokey got into my cup of tea, as he often does.


Smokey enjoys a nice cuppa at tea time.

There are no gardening entries from my mother’s old garden diaries to correspond with today.













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Thursday, 25 February 2016

Long Beach

We began, as planned, with the little popouts on Ocean Beach Boulevard.


looking north toward the little popouts


sidewalk tile by Renee O’Connor

For the past two summers, a mystery citizen has taken over the south little popout, planting annuals among the santolinas, so we don’t mess around with it much.


today, before


and after

The mystery person had planted tulips.  7th Street is a deer highway; the tulips are getting munched and some were even pulled out.


I hope the volunteer gardener will know that the deer did this, not us while clipping!


the north little popout, before




shifting rocks and weeding along the edge





That was satisfying.  Also painful.  For some reason, my feet hurt the worst on this part of the job.


2 ibuprofen and an aspirin.  (I thought the aspirin was a tylenol!)

As we worked, a couple of people walked by with dogs, and I suddenly remembered a big Akita named Tomo who used to be a special friend of mine and who would pull her person down the street to greet me.  I remembered her name by “She’s a big dog, she can tow mo’.”  An elderly dog when I first met her, she has been gone for years.  Tomo, I remember you.


Four or five bicyclists asked us for a lunch recommendation.  I suggested Captain Bob’s Chowder a block away for chowder (obviously) or fish n chips or crab rolls (my favourite), or Kabob Cottage three blocks away for Middle Eastern food.  As they cycled off, we heard them deciding on fish n chips, and a half hour later as they happily cycled past again, they called out a thanks for the lunch recommendation.

Many years ago, Robert and I used to take care of the private garden next to the little popout.  Back then, we had it looking like this:



What remains of the garden is this bed of heather and juniper tams by the house, and for some reason, even though I like neither of those plants in garden settings, I like them here:


I recall this was a bugger to weed.

Next, we began the huge job of the Bolstad beach approach garden.  First, at a comfort stop out at the beach approach loo, we met a fellow on an electric bike.  In the course of conversation, we told him about the Tootlepedal blog, and as we prepared to drive off, he was looking at Mr T’s blog on his phone and reading aloud, “a look at life in the borders”, so perhaps we will see him in the comments.


Allan’s photo




I wish I had gotten the “L”.

We wish him many long and enjoyable rides.

Speaking of Mr Tootlepedal (famed for moss and fungus photos), Allan photographed a fungus the other day, and I forgot to post it with the other photos from Diane’s garden.


I thought this was part of the stump in Diane’s roadside garden.


Now..to begin the beach approach garden.




looking east toward the arch



We chopped all the tall rugosa roses to the ground.  We do that about every third year; they still bloom just fine.  This first section-and-a-bit, being sheltered by the building, has much taller roses.  As we go along all the beds, we will pry the roses back from the edge; that has not been thoroughly done for about three years.


looking west at the remaining 12.5 sections; the roses get shorter as the wind gets stronger and we won’t cut them down; we will thin them.

While working out on the street side, I took a step and my foot landed on this little rock:


So small it was and yet the next thing I knew, I was down face first flat on the ground, banging my “bad” knee but fortunately not doing an actual face plant.  I could not stand for awhile and just asked Allan to make sure no one ran over me.  All passersby and a nearby resident were kindly sympathetic.  I began to feel more urgent about my upcoming visit to the neurologist, until I recalled assorted ridiculous tumbles going back into my early 20s or even further back.


still this much to do

Allan went to dump debris and get 12 buckets of mulch from the city works yard while I finished weeding the last bit.


off to city works yard with a load

Despite the tumble, I felt well chuffed to get the beach approach started this early in the year.


our precious mulch pile (Soil Energy, Allan’s photo)

Allan’s befores and afters of our beach approach progress:




roses chopped



We then added the mulch to the Fifth Street Park garden.


a start on mulching


yummy Captain Bob’s chowder behind the park

Just as we finished dumping the mulch, Allan caught a finger blighter with a flower in her hand.  “Hey, that’s our flower!” he called out in a gently humorous tone.

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hiding the evidence

We actually had a fun conversation with the culprit and her companion, including the usual lecture of “If everyone picked just one flower, there would be none left”, and I told her I was sorry she got busted.  Her charming boyfriend (with a delightful Scottish accent) said he kept telling her not to pick the flowers.  It was the most pleasant finger blight encounter I’ve ever had.

There are plenty of crocus.  I still don’t like them to be picked.  Perhaps I’m a bit selfish and nuerotic about it.


Allan’s photo…lots of crocus in a planter.  Hmmm.


Allan’s photo


Allan added Soil Energy to the planter where he’d dug out Shasta daisies not long ago.


We had to knock off early in order to get our own lawn mowed before rain returns.  I tried to mow Nora’s front yard next door with the old battery mower of my mom’s.


Allan’s photo, raring to go


Mom’s little mower

The little mower died fairly soon despite charging all day.  I think it is old and worn out.  It is ever so quiet, has a narrow cutting path and cuts a little higher than I like.


I think this was its last outing.

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still wet out in the bogsy woods (Allan’s photo)


Allan finished mowing at Nora’s with the gas mower.


our front path looking east


front garden crocuses


the first mowing of the year


pale yellow Corylopsis pauciflora, center, with the charcoal and white Salt Hotel in the distance


Crocuses have clumped up the way my snowdrops don’t.

Because I count the two “end caps” of the beach approach garden as half sections, and we had weeded one end cap and half a section, I sort of cheated and erased one section (number 13) from the work board…AND erased “mulching Fifth Street Park” and “little popouts”.


work board today.  Still need to wake up Coulter Park’s back borders and the big pop out.

Tonight we had our weekly meeting of the North Beach Garden Gang, this time joined by Our Kathleen who is at the beach for the week.  She had been pulling shotweed—five gallons of it, tightly packed down. Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) were wondering if it was time to start up their mowing jobs.  By our example, probably yes.


Salt Hotel and Pub (Allan’s photo)


Salt lobby


Salt Hotel


Kathleen tried the special pub dog, with crab, and curly fries, and pronounced it messy to eat but tasty.


Pink Poppy cupcake

Tomorrow, I hope for rain because after six days in a row I crave a day off.

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mom’s garden diaries of 2 decades ago

1995 (age 70):

Feb 25:  It took 2 hours to finish sieving the compost.  Half of the box is for use until the compost soil is used up (for baskets, tubs, etc), then the whole box will be used for compost.  I put into the box all the weeds etc that were pulled so far this year.  This leaves the old box available to store mushroom compost for next spring.

1998 (age 73):

Feb 25:  Too tired to do much today.  Penney’s called and will install the new curtains and valences tomorrow so I had to move all my plants away from the windows.

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Wednesday, 23 February 2016

Before leaving for work, I received this lovely photo of the Wiegard Gallery garden. 


photo by Todd Wiegardt. crocus and old lavender

Meanwhile, at home: 


deliciously fragrant daphne right by where I get in the van in the morning


front garden tulips, crocus, Erysimum


Tulip Kaufmanniana ‘The First’

Mike’s garden

We began just a few blocks east at Mayor Mike’s garden.


It should be time to cut the buddleia, but I liked its shape so much that I did not.


Allan clipped the pampas grass


Allan’s photo, weeding, before


and after (north side)


a lovely red Pieris (that looks like it needs fertilizer—yellow leaves on top)


front path after tidying


The soil, well mulched 15 months ago, is battered by all the rain and needs more.


The back yard narcissi show is not as grand as I had hoped.  The ivy trees are on the adjacent lot.


Allan’s photo: Sally feeling shy on the back deck

Port of Ilwaco

The big plan for today was to do a few more curbside gardens along Howerton Way, finish there by 3 o clock, hightail it up to Long Beach and weed and clip the two “little popouts”, dump debris and then get some mulch moved to Fifth Street Park.  Har de har.  It was but a dream….


First gardens: the old Wade Gallery, and further east in front of the old Port Bistro Restaurant (much missed by me even years later; their Napoleon of Ahi Tuna was so good).




Allan’s before


and after

Gardeners know that some ornamental grasses get cut back and some just get combed out.  How do we know the difference?  We just do.


narcissi, with ceanothus about to bloom


Allan’s photo, by the old Port Bistro.  Weeding on these rocks kills my knee.  But my back is powerful!

I grumble to myself when I weed the garden by a cannery, because of the dang blang landscape fabric ineffectively covered with bark.  The cannery owners  chose and prune the escallonias.


The underwear is showing!

One of these days, me and a good pair of scissors might have to remove that fabric.  Mulching it with a thick coat of gravel would have worked better.


Allan pruning wax myrtle at Craft 3 Bank


Allan’s photos, before


and after


more would-be tall shrubs to prune (not planted by us!!) and coppiced red twig dogwood


Allan’s photos: before





and after

A drizzle began.  “WHAT??” said I, “It was supposed to not rain after 10 AM!”

I asked Allan to get a photo of the Top Cat.  (Another boat in the marina is named the Fat Cat and is famous for having been stolen by the Barefoot Bandit).


Top Cat


Here comes the Cutting Edge (owned by a fella with last name of Cutting).


crab pot gardening backdrop

By 3:15, after finishing three more curbside beds, I realized we were NOT going to get to Long Beach in time to accomplish the mulching of the park garden.  Instead, I decided we could finish the west end curbside beds and then we could at least cross the Howerton Way gardens off the work board.


The westernmost bed, before


and after

We dug out some Elagrostis curvula (“weeping love grass”) that was pitiful looking because of last summer’s drought.   This year, this particular bed will be my NO WATER test garden since it’s the one where the adjacent business will not allow us hose access.  We are tired of hooking up three hoses from the port dock to water this one, and so it will become an interesting Beth Chatto-esque drought test rather than asking the port crew to run a hose line for us here.  I wouldn’t want to go that way on all of the beds, because a drought garden does tend to look dusty and tired in a long dry spell, especially with our salty sea wind.  The many businesses who like having a more spectacular garden can have the more exciting plants.  In fact, I moved a couple of plants out of this garden down to the Time Enough Books garden today.

high and dry

another inspiration for no water gardening


the next bed to the east, before


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo

Back when that particular building was occupied by our dear friend Queen La De Da’s art studio, I had planted some extra special plants in that garden.


Iris hermodactylus tuberosa (Allan’s photo)


Iris hermodactylus tuberosa (Allan’s photo), snakes head iris


after weeding and clipping till we could no longer see the little weeds very well


We barely finished by dark!

This old doggie was catching up to her guy, who had turned back to wait for her.


Then I got to pet her.  What a sweet heart.  Her name is Brandy, she is 16, and a fine girl indeed; her guy has had her since she was small enough to fit into his hand.


fishing boat lights


fog to the west


As we quit for the day: Just 24 hours till our weekly dinner at Salt Pub!

A day spent stepping back and forth over the curb into and out of the gardens had made my knee thoroughly seize up by dusk, and I had a time bending it enough to seat myself in the van.  For a few minutes of my leg being locked straight and refusing to bend, I wondered if I was going to make it home (because I doubt I could have walked it, either.)

I did manage to get into the van eventually, and at home was able to cross two things off the work board, and add one (mulching Mike’s).


Jo’s is the last of the single garden spring clean ups left!  Next week, I hope.

So tomorrow, supposedly a sunny day, I am determined to do the little pop out gardens and one section of beach approach garden in Long Beach (at least cutting back the roses) and mulch Fifth Street Park.  And yet we must get home in time to mow the lawn before rain returns.  Again I may be living just in hope.

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries, two decades ago

1995 (age 70):

Feb 24: Continued sieving compost.  Now one half of compost box is sieved so I placed board in center and have 1/2 box filled 1/2 deep of lovely sieved compost.  Only have about 1/4 of box left to sieve.  There are hundreds of worms which I’ll toss back into box when its empty.  I am throwing the coarse stuff out into garden area to be tilled in when it’s dry enough to till.

1998 (age 73)

Feb 24: 12:30-4:30  Sunny and cool.  I finished sawing the branches next to shop and the ones Skyler pulled over to the “raspberry” path.  I got all the cut firewood into the shed and raked the area.  I also moved some of the pieces that Don [a neighbour] put into the wood box so I could close the lid.  Next chore will be to clean up the patio area and “under Bruce’s window” [her husband who died in 1995].  After that maybe later this week I’ll start bringing up the new wood.

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Tuesday, 23 February 2016



The first thing I heard upon awakening an hour and a half too early was the damnable wind battering the south wall of the house.  Curses!  I had wanted to finish the curbside gardens at the port.  The wind inspired me to change to at least one non-windy job.

The Red Barn Arena

First we did our wake up call to the Red Barn garden, and I knew it would be annoyingly windy there.

Red Barn

The wind came from the sea today.

The narrow garden was quite weedy with chickweed, shotweed, sorrel, and pesky little grasses.  Lots of California poppy seedlings, too.


Allan’s photos, before


and after


nearby, a horse in training (Allan’s photo)

One horse, Jess, was particularly kicking up her heels today.  Round and round her pasture she went, first trotting, then galloping, then up with the heels, then stopping at the gate to make sure we noticed, then around again.


Jess (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo



ditch dug deeper because pasture has been flooded




Diane’s garden

Next, we went next door to Diane and Larry’s pleasantly sheltered garden, mostly out of the wind.  What a relief.  Jess was pastured in the area where we usually park, so we had to walk down the highway a block….


looking back: a difficult walk for me with my bad knee.


Allan getting started on the Stipa gigantea

I clipped the hydrangea which is the one that was haunting me when I was afraid doctor visits this week might prevent spring clean up.  (Happily, the doctor visit yesterday did not morph into any kind of emergency as I had feared.)




after, so glad to get it done!

Seeing my good friend Misty for the first time this year was such a pleasure.



I got kisses.



I poked down into the pot that looks empty, looking for Stargazer lilies bulbs, and felt nothing.


I do hope the lilies, which Diane especially requested, did not rot in all our rain.


Diane’s crocuses


front garden, weeded and clipped

I used the broom as a walking stick to get back along the road to the Red Barn parking lot.


tulips at the Red Barn entry

Long Beach

We finished the work day back in the wind, weeding and clipping sword ferns around the pond at the corner of Bolstad and Pacific.


Allan’s photos: before



I walked over to City Hall to pick up our check and missed this:


Allan’s photo


At City Hall: Leucojum, grape hyacinth, pulmonaria




the ramp to City Hall




Geranium macrorrhizum


Ibiris (evergreen candytuft) and Hyacinth

I walked a half block worth of planters just to admire the narcissi (and pull some weeds).


tree garden





I love the reflexed petals.


The Cottage Bakery called to me, and I acquired a couple of tiger paws to celebrate having that good glucose test result.


Cottage Bakery


tiger paws




Cottage Bakery cakes

Back outside…Across the street is the tree garden where I took some of the above narcissi photos.



Back at the pond:  Allan had gone out on the center waterfall section and clipped ferns without falling in.  Our work at the pond garden is in view of the Heron Cam.

At my request, he took the big pick and attacked a section of salal.  How I loathe the way the salal has run through everything in this garden that we only have time to thoroughly weed about three times a year.


salal all up in the santolina’s business


After some exhausting picking and root clipping and trimming santolina

The maddening thing is that the salal will return soon and mock me.  A pox on salal anywhere but in the woods.

I weeded all along the edges.





Park Manager Mike stopped by to let us know that there’s now a pile of mulch for us at the city works yard, and that the planters from Bolstad all the way down to the police station (four in all) are still due to be dug up for electrical repair.  I can only be philosophical about it.

Because tomorrow is supposed to be nice weather, I hope to finish Howerton Way curbside gardens and Mayor Mike’s garden in Ilwaco, and weed the little popouts on Ocean Beach Boulevard in Long Beach, and fill some buckets of mulch and apply them to Fifth Street Park.  I live in hope.


one more batch of narcissi in front of NIVA green

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries, two decades ago

1995 (age 70)

Feb 23: Weeded asparagus bed.  Cut centers off the broccoli to make plants branch out.  Saved best pieces although a lot were mushy—probably from hard freeze last week.  Started sieving compost.  All containers were full so when 1/4 of new box was empty I started sieving compost into that end of box.

1998 (age 73)

Feb 23:  1:00-4:30  It seems I only do one or two days of good work each week.  Today I started sawing up the pile of branches that was along the shop.  I was so tired I felt sick but I got that pile cut up and about half of it into the shed.  Next is the branches that Skyler dragged over to the “raspberry” path.  Then the branches next to garage and in the driveway (from the mountain ash tree).  Then I need to start bringing in the two cords of firewood from the upper driveway.


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Monday, 22 February 2016

Last night at 2 AM, I finished a novel that I’d been pecking away at for several bedtimes.


I especially liked this description of what it feels like when rain comes after a long drought.





That is very much how it was when rain finally came here after last summer’s drought.

Port of Ilwaco

We had time from midmorning till very early afternoon to weed a few more curbside beds at the port.


Time Enough Books/Purly Shell curbside, before


after clipping santolinas, grass combing, weeding


Tulips and Narcissi foliage in the garden boat


a big old santolina, before


and after; could have been cut even harder


Port Office garden, after some clipping and weeding


Port Office, south side, before


after clipping santolinas


Narcissi, Lavender, and Lambs Ears


across the lawn from the port office

Meanwhile, Allan weeded and clipped the Salt Hotel curbside garden.

Then off we went along the Columbia River and through the woods to see Dr Gwen at the Naselle Clinic.  I was pleased and surprised when all my blood tests came back good…good cholesterol, liver and kidney function, and no diabetes.  Perfect glucose.  I was surprised and pleased to learn that I don’t have to give up Pink Poppy Bakery cupcakes.  The astonishing thing was that I was quite low in Vitamin D.   How can this be for someone who is outside all day?  Our sunshine here is weak.  Dr Gwen says I will feel much better when I have boosted my D.

From the waiting room of the clinic, we saw this fellow getting into a vehicle:


I am in love.  (Allan’s photo)


All the good news was tempered with the unsolved mystery of problems not explained by perfect blood tests, thus the neurologist still looms in the near future.  As does a knee doctor, as the interpretation of my knee X rays says that my left knee has “mild degenerative changes” but my right knee has “severe degenerative changes…with complete loss of the normal joint space.”  Well, ow.  I share this not that the world should give a hoot about my knee, but because it is an interesting plot twist in a gardening blog.  By the way, I don’t kneel to garden…The way I bend over while working puts more weight on my left knee than my right, so it is mystifying to me that the right one went kaflooey first.

I used to run.  A lot.  For years. On concrete in the city.  I blame this for some of my knee problems, as the pain started back then and I “pushed through it”.  I think if I had not been obsessed with weightlifting, running, and aerobics for ten years, I would be a stronger gardener now.


me, 1987, age 32, running around Green Lake (about 3 miles), photo by Allan, who used to run with me on occasion. I was slow but determined.  Exercise addiction is not always good for the body, no matter how much praise one gets for the results.

To celebrate today’s good blood tests, we dined at…

The Depot Restaurant


Depot Restaurant (Allan’s photo)


wilted spinach salad and clam chowder (Allan’s photo)


won the best chowder award at the 2015 Razor Clam Festival (Allan’s photo)


char grilled Ling Cod with Tuscan bean and tomato stew and garlic parsley butter


Allan’s photo


chocolate espresso pot de creme to celebrate a good glucose test!

I am also celebrating that I have two weeks to catch up on all the spring clean up before more appointments.  I had been so afraid that something medical and scary and sudden would happen today that would interfere with the rest of the work week.  It was a nonsensical fear, but a strong one.

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago:

1995 (age 70):

Feb 22:  Planted new Stark raspberries (10).  Heeled in new Stark strawberries (75) and put in greenhouse under lights.  Then I started sieving compost box.  I’m throwing all stuff not decomposed on garden area to be tilled in later.  A good day’s work!!

1997: age 72

Feb 22:  Worked about 1 1/2 hours bringing firewood up to porch.  Finished all wood from west side of shop.  I put the wet ones on pallet boards behind shop and covered them with the tarps.  Also covered were the huge pieces of that tree Mac sliced in half.

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Sunday, 21 February 2016




We got a late start, because I was sleepy as those kitties, and because it was Sunday (always a reasonable excuse for only a half day of work).


on the way to work, on Spruce Street in Ilwaco

Our first stop was the Depot Restaurant garden to plant some of the Miscanthus giganteus (Giant Chinese Silver Grass) that Dave helped us  dig out of Marilyn’s garden yesterday. By “helped” I mean he dug the huge clump up all by himself and chopped it into manageable pieces.


Allan does a bit of path weeding

The Miscanthus will provide a soothing and somewhat tropical sense of enclosure to the dining deck.  This evening, I read the fascinating fact that in the UK, it may be used for fuel and electricity.  Watch the good video about it at this link.

The Planter Box


at the Planter Box

Our next errand was to check out the seeds at The Planter Box.  I bought some more Streamers and other sweet peas.  If I’d known that Streamers, my favourite sweet pea, was available locally, I wouldn’t have made an online seed order two days ago.  This is the first time I’ve seen that sweet pea on a seed rack anywhere.  The sweet pea assortment at Planter Box is vast this year.


I added some more California poppies to my seed purchase; they will have come back in most of my gardens, but I’d like to plant some in the beach approach garden IF we get it weeded soon enough.  And some American Legion poppies to plant at Golden Sands, as they might be significant to some of the residents there.


paperwhites at the Planter Box (Allan’s photo)


weeping pussy willow at The Planter Box

Golden Sands Assisted Living

We spent the rest of the day clipping and weeding the interior courtyard garden at Golden Sands.

golden sands

Golden Sands Assisted Living. The courtyard is completely enclosed by the building.

As I walk down the hallway to get to the courtyard door, I always think about what I would have on a shelf outside my room at Golden Sands.


I know I’m not as nice and huggy as this sweet person.

Residents are allowed to have an animal friend live with them.



a gardener’s room

The gardener whose shelf is in the above photo is the one who grows African violets in my mom’s Floralight, a three tiered shelf which I have on permanent loan to Golden Sands (for as long as residents want to use it).  The Floralight is often mentioned in the two decade old diaries of my mom’s that I am sharing throughout this year.


Anna’s violets

I imagine that Anna and my mom would have been good friends if their time at Golden Sands had coincided.

Near the Floralight is the door to the courtyard and its four flower gardens.


looking north across the courtyard, before


and after; Allan pruned the white hydrangeas along the two sides


hydrangeas, before


and after (Allan’s photos)

I limed the beds to try to cut down on the amount of moss and make the plants happier with sweeter soil.  However, moss is welcome in the center lawn, where I wish that moss and self seeded flowers would completely take over.

We moved a bird feeder that had been placed in one of the quadrant beds and was making a big mess of birdseed on top of plants.  Now I am worried we made it less accessible for the resident who refills it, because she will have to walk on the lawn to get at it.  Oh, dear.  On the other hand, it is now in full view of the sit spot inside the south courtyard door, and surely that is a good thing.

Looking at the hydrangeas reminded me of a big one that needs to be pruned at Diane’s garden, leading to some fretting as we can’t do so tomorrow because of another doctor’s appointment.  It is a darn good thing we have fewer jobs this year.  The wettest December through February on record has kept us from many spring clean up days.  (We are not as hardy as Sea Star and Willapa Gardening, AKA Dave, Melissa, and Todd, who work in all weather.)


I’m assuming the rainfall is about the same for here as for Seattle, if not more.  (from KOMO news, last week)

The four quadrants of the Golden Sands courtyard were not showing much color or interest yet.  I hope the bulbs come on soon!  As usual, I feel the gardens here have the problem of being almost all “passalong plants”, ones I’ve gotten for free, which of course means ones that are thugs and interfere with each other’s space.


SW quadrant before


SW quadrant after (with one bird feeder moved)


NE quadrant before, with the windows to my mom’s old room to the right


“Mom’s garden” after, with leaves left to help enrich the soil.  I’m more of the chop and drop than of the raking out philosophy.


NW quadrant before


NW quadrant after, with residents in dining room for 5 PM dinner


SE quadrant after…still needs weeding and is infested with horsetail

Allan wheelbarrowed out two heaping and one partial load of debris.


turning the corner of the back hallway


and down the long side hallway to the exit


birdhouses on a windowsill

When we got home, it seemed that it had been pouring rain in Ilwaco as the sidewalk was drenched, the rain barrels were dripping…


debris pile in background, having just planted the last piece of Miscanthus giganteus in it

…And the double triangle gale flag was still flying over the port office.


view to the south


The brothers were inside.


the work board tonight

If we can just work part of tomorrow, and then for the rest of this week, we should be able to get spring clean up pared down to “just” the beach approach, berms, Jo, and mulching at the Depot.   We can’t do mulching, including Jo’s, until some “cow fiber” comes in at the Planter Box (or we may have to just use plain Soil Energy).  I look forward to settling into the regular rounds instead of spring clean up.  I’m sure Long Beach already needs weeding again.

There were no entries in my mom’s garden diaries to correspond with today.

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Saturday, 20 February 2016



Marilyn’s garden

We called in assistance from Sea Star Gardening to make the clean up of Marilyn’s garden a one day job.

Allan and I arrived first and found the garden already inhabited.






Bye bye.


two left




last one out

I feel perfectly friendly toward the deer who dwell in this unfenced garden, as its purpose is to be a deer friendly garden and to show that it is possible to coexist with deer and still have flowers.

Melissa and Dave arrived within minutes and we all dove into a big clean-up.  By the time we were done, the garden looked tidier in every detail than it had since the days of its creation in 2006.

from 2006:


2006 with lawn just seeded


entry garden 2006





Allan’s photo, with the big Sea Star Gardening truck


Allan’s photo after clipping the entry garden



It’s particularly great that Dave and Melissa know just what to do, immediately seeing that a viburnum needed some suckers cut, and that some escallonia needed to be clipped back from a path.  So I don’t have to hover and monitor what is going on.


before, looking south




back garden, before


after, almost all this part by Dave and Melissa


before, looking north




before, looking northwest



You’ll be surprised how soon the next door garage is hidden again.  I think it will be an unpleasant surprise for the deer when they return.  They must prefer the garden when it is overgrown with comfy grass bedding places.

I had a brilliant idea on the way home:  It was so hard to cut those big grasses without breaking the narcissi.  Next year, we could bring three folding card tables and set them up in the garden.  The narcissi would be protected underneath, the grass could be laid on top by the grass chopping person and hauled off of the tables by someone on the path side.  Genius!


Phygelius got severely edited back from the edge, and an Ilex moved out from a place where it had gotten overgrown. (Hope it survives.)



We loaded the monster truck with all the debris.

If Allan and I had had to haul this debris with our small trailer, it would have taken us three trips, at least.


all the debris at once! awesome!


final touch up


just a few more weeds

Melissa said she loves to weed driveways and gravel paths, making me even happier that we intend to share this job with them.


The work board is getting whittled down (except for the dreaded beach approach and berms) and if I didn’t have all too many doctor appointments coming up, I’d feel completely confident in the timing of our spring clean up.  An acquaintance once said that the reason for being retired was to have time to go to all her doctor appointments.  If that were true for my mother, she would have found it easy to find the time, since she retired at age 55.  It is harder when one is getting old-ish but still working, and being working class and self-employed makes one tend to put off dealing with one’s health.

Tomorrow: We hope to polish off the Golden Sands spring clean up.

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mom’s garden diaries of two decades ago:

1998 (age 73):

Feb 20:  I spent most of the afternoon mending my work jacket.  I took off the hood and then sewed up the collar w/o hood.  By then it was too late to go out to work.

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Friday, 19 February 2016

Northwest Flower and Garden Show report

Our Thursday evening garden gang meeting had been postponed because Todd, Dave and Melissa went to Seattle for the garden show yesterday.  (We declined the invitation because I can’t think of anything worth 8 hours of traffic in one day, for me.)  Here are some more photos from Todd:



a cat themed garden


cacti and agave display garden



The three adventurers had returned very late Thursday evening.  I would have been nervous driving back in the dark, which might have provided considerable amusement for Todd, or might have gotten  tiresome for all.

Stormy weather today made for a good day to have lunch with gardeners Darlene, Debbie, and Nancy…at Salt Pub.  I was glad of the pelting sideways rain and strong wind because I could keep Smokey inside without too much cat guilt and could have lunch without too much work guilt.

Salt Hotel Pub


clam dip and chips and a storm


We got a small tasting portion of the leek and garlic soup of the day.


I do not tire of the delicious smoked tuna melt.


In a very ladylike way, we split a Pink Poppy cupcake four ways.


Nancy, Debbie, Darlene, gardeners three

We had a couple of hours good discussion about the upcoming 2016 Peninsula garden tour (July 16th!) and related topics.  My three companions were impressed with the six different dishes that we tried and will return to Salt Pub.

Allan’s work day

When I got home, I found that Allan had gone to work at his garden at the Ilwaco Community Building.  His photos:


12:05: The birdbath in his own garden is clear, so he prepares to go to work.


12:15 considerable rain (but he went to work anyway)


1:30: home again because of rain.

Then the sun came out so back he went.  I am impressed that he persevered as it was an intensely cold and windy rain.


the rain returns at the Ilwaco Community Building



and so it went all afternoon

He did get over two hours of weeding done and brought me back some flower photos as well as the weather report:





Iris reticulata (left) and Leucojum (center)


one of the beds, before


and after, with lots of tatty kinnickkinnick cut back


the tiered garden


along the wall before


and after


by the sidewalk: some of the bulbs we planted last fall

As you can see, the garden is heavy with heather, which has some redeeming quality right now, and salal and kinnickkinnick.  The salal in my opinion has no redeeming quality in a garden setting and is why I turned the job down; Allan, being more civic minded, agreed to take it on as his own project.  We are slowly (especially when I help out) editing out the thuggish salal, which was up in everybody’s business.

my reading afternoon

I had three hours to finish the Dan Pearson book that I started yesterday evening.


Spirit: Garden Inspiration


The jacket design is attractively two layered.

From the forward by Beth Chatto:


I worship Beth Chatto as a gardener, but please, oh please, can’t we say “the relationship between humans, the natural world, and our [or their] own environment”??  I remember as a girl in grade school being saddened and made to feel less than human by the word “man” referring to all people.  This book was published in 2009.  I think it is time to be inclusive.

I agree with Beth Chatto that the best part of the book was the section on community gardens:


But MY hunger for spiritual comfort and peace would be realized if the intro spoke of “the human desire for spiritual comfort.”  Please.

I think that any gardener would love the story about how Dan Pearson’s family reclaimed an old garden:


a very Secret Garden story!

I don’t know if Pearson came up with the phrase Line of Desire to describe a path.  I do love it.


Let’s say “the human presence in the landscape is light”, shall we?  Criminy.

Despite my manly, or womanly, complaint, Pearson is a brilliant writer.  Here, he explains the purpose of narrow paths:


I had never considered the reason for a tiny, uneven path (below, in a Japanese garden):


And oh my gosh, I wish I had a rill like this one:


A thought about the always fascinating concept of Wabi Sabi and age:


Pearson is one of the best garden writers of my experience as he takes us all around the world looking at gardens, architecture, sculpture, cities and countryside.


The photos in Spirit are a bit dark, and that and a tad too much manliness are my only caveats.  I still do think that Pearson’s Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City (printed on glossier paper, thus with clearer photos) ranks with the top ten most gorgeous garden books of my lifetime.

A visit to an Oudolfian garden in Chicago pleased me (Piet Oudolf being my favourite garden designer):


The chapter on community gardens and the one on gardens in Japan…not the stylized gardens but personal gardens tucked into alleys and overflowing from rooftops and balconies…were the ones that moved me the most, even to the point of being a little bit weepy over the sheer human beauty of it all.  And the barge gardens in London:


The photo of these made me long to see them in person.

I learned something new: that there are Southern lights, viewed from New Zealand, as well as Northern Lights.  I had no idea.

Do get the book, especially to look at the barge gardens, the community gardens, and the Japanese buildings clothed in plants.  Oh, and the story of the Dan Pearson designed Torrechia garden near Rome…so romantic and inspirational.

I do hope Pearson writes another book, about his new garden (the one after Home Ground).

I finished the book just in time to go out for our weekly North Beach Garden Gang dinner.

Salt Pub again


the view from our window table



Salt Pub view


an icy Gibson


ice and cocktail onions


a full portion of leek and garlic soup this time


caesar salad with impossibly tender and tasty kale


North Beach Garden Gang: Dave and Melissa of Sea Star Gardening (Allan’s photo)

We each had a Pink Poppy Bakery cupcake of our very own, except for Allan, who chose a root beer float.

Mmm, knowing that Salt is just three blocks away makes me want to go back there right now for more of the same.

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


From my mom’s garden diaries of two decades ago:

1998 (age 73)

Feb 19:  1:00-3:00  Another good day’s work.  It was cool and grey so I worked in the shop putting the begonias from last year (and some from 1996) into pots with peat moss and vermiculite.  I used the sawhorses that Robert fixed for me and 9 of 10 trays are 7″ from shop lights.  3 or 4 bulbs showed signs of growth and only 5 or 6 were rotted.  AND I still have more to come from Dutch Gardens!

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