Archive for Aug, 2017

Saturday, 19 August 2017

in which Allan goes boating on Young’s Bay and the Lewis and Clark River

“100 Paddles! is an opportunity for people to join in a human-powered water journey. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park invites the public to travel by water into the park, similar to how the Lewis and Clark Expedition members traveled during their winter here in 1805-06.

On the day of Saturday, August 19, experienced kayakers will meet at the Astoria Recreation Center (former Astoria Yacht Club site by the Old Youngs Bay Bridge) for a 10:30 a.m., launch and group paddle across Youngs Bay into the Lewis and Clark River. Less experienced folks are encouraged to meet at Netul Landing at 10:30 a.m., and head downstream on the Lewis and Clark River. The two groups plan to meet on the Lewis and Clark River. After a flintlock gun firing and huzzah, together the groups will paddle to Netul Landing for refreshments. Participants need to bring their own kayak, canoe, paddleboard or any non-motorized watercraft and need to wear a US Coast Guard approved personal floatation device. 

100 Paddles is sponsored by the Lewis & Clark National Park Association which supports park education and interpretative activities at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.”

Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 12.06.34 PM.jpg

The yellow line points to the ambitiously named Astoria Yacht Club and the orange indicates how far upstream I went today.

While I was figuring out what I forgot, a happy dog splashed around the boat. “He likes to go in all the boats,” his walker explained. Coincidently, I also got the same tail-wagging greeting when I returned later.

HEY! Get back here.

Waiver signing and a nice kerchief for all, as modeled by one of the Park employees.

Boat, paddle, life vest. A simple combination for a fun day ahead.

Also heading out today were some fisherman.

Getting ready while all those darn kayaks line the boat ramp.

Ten boats in this picture but I did not get a total attendance figure.

“Are you tied up?” I heard as my boat started to drift. I quickly got tied up and waited to leave.

Expedition leader, Mitch, awaiting a gather around.

We had guides in a lead, middle and trailing kayaks. He explained that it was not a race and we were all to stay together.

A water auditorium with Mitch behind the blue kayak.

Off we went

The fishing boat at the dock heading for the Columbia River.

As the flotilla spread out, Mitch sends a boat back to the rear to make sure everyone was having fun.

I unfurled a quarter of my sail at this point and it seemed to make the paddle easier.

Astoria’s Regional Airport is ahead where the Coast Guard helicopters are based.

Two of the park employees passing a water hazard. Behind is the 101 bridge from Astoria to Warrenton. These are often mudflats but the tide is a plus 6.4 feet now.

We went under the Business 101 bridge by the community of Jeffers Garden and then up the Lewis and Clark River.

On the west side, the river bank is mostly ‘wild’ and without buildings.

On the east side was Astoria Marine Construction with a large trawler pulled up for repair.

Several other boats docked.

A fellow paddler with a well done homemade kayak. We discussed kayak seaworthiness and inverted bows.

We grouped up at the entrance to a grass route parallel to the river that would take us under Fort Clatsop.

Note the tree formation to find this route again. We followed the channel upstream about a quarter mile.

Park rangers on the bank to welcome us.

Here we met with the group that had done the shorter trip downstream from Netul Landing.

“Turn down your hearing aids!” we were cautioned.

BAOOM! (but no smoke)

“Hip hip huzzah! Hip hip huzzah!”  Then we crowded up for a group picture. I had the outriggers folded in so I wouldn’t get stuck in the grass or be a road hog.

In August 2015 I visited Fort Clatsap and checked out Netul Landing. My notes are in the last part of this blog post.

We then headed north to the landing for visiting and cake.

The party strung out behind until we re-entered the main channel.

Soon I spotted the most beautiful boat. It’s a small Chinook ocean-going canoe.

The owner had made a wood mold to create the finished boat, gunnels, deck and all entirely of light fiberglass so it would never rot. He now has the molds to create more when the time comes.

It is flat bottomed and reflects a design that has evolved over thousands of years. A sweetwater, or lake canoe has evolved into a different design. A brief explanation by trailtribes.org can be found here.

Pulling out at Netul Landing.

Two landings techniques were notable. One was to accelerate into the ramp, grind off a little hull, and then step out dry. Another was to park parallel and then roll out and accept the wet. The Chinook canoe was treated more carefully.

I was privileged to help carry the canoe to the trailer.

A closer look at the home built boat I paddled with back at the river’s mouth. It has a built in wheel. When on land he just drags it around like airport luggage.

A little bit of cake was still left by the time I got there.

This is a lightweight under 40lb. canoe by ‘Advantage’

The Rangers went around asking if anyone needed a ride back to the Astoria landing to fetch their cars so they could come back and load up their boats. I didn’t know that this was an option but it worked out well for most as the wind was picking up. I can’t guarantee they’ll do a shuttle next year but it could tempting after a 5.1 mile paddle.

The literature downplayed the short trip down from Netul Landing as suitable for less experienced kayakers but it is a good place to launch to paddle the entire river. The Lewis and Clark river runs about six miles.  I headed upstream alone as it was was still only one o-clock.

The first adventure was a black creature rustling ahead behind the shrubs. After just leaving the Lewis and Clark expedition I first thought BEAR and cautiously steered for the other bank.

The river banks were otherwise quiet, grassy, non-threatening and played their part of a pleasant day out on the water.

I reached the first upstream bridge in about twenty minutes.

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 12.32.56 PM

Here is the bridge from google’s street view. It has a pull out if you wish to drag a boat down to the water.

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 12.50.03 PM.png

Here’s a ‘googlemap’ view of the upper Lewis and Clark river as it crosses under a couple of bridges.

Heading back downstream I dodged the pilings. I only hit one because it was hiding underwater. The flipper’s shaft bent about thirty degrees but still worked almost fine.

Back near the Netul Landing the pilings are more frequent and often made of steel.

By now the wind was gusting up to 24.2 mph mostly from varying angles ahead.  That meant much fun tacking through the pilings.

I passed and greeted an inflatable that with the aid of the wind, was easily paddling back upstream.

One of many small mini gardens growing atop the pilings.

I beached under the riverside trail at the fort and got out warmer stuff to wear. Dave and Melissa had given me a waterproof bag as a gift and it proved handy to keep my sweatshirt dry before getting it soaked later in the bay.

The Astoria column with the boatyard in the foreground.

One of the boatyard buildings as seen through a wet sail.

It was a windy and splashy trip back along the edge of Young’s Bay. With the sail mostly rolled up (reefed) the boat still felt flat and secure as it reached almost 14 mph.

Screen Shot 2017-08-26 at 2.35.39 AM.png

This boat has what is referred to as a ‘wet ride’.

I had invited two guests. One observed that 100 paddles sounded like about 96 too many. Group rides are how I got started but it can be a solo sport. This trip follows a historical route that led to the building of the winter encampment of Lewis and Clark in 1805-1806. I appreciated the Park staff giving us a sense of the importance of the place that I would not have noticed alone.

The other invited guest had a tight timeline. I couldn’t see not being out in the water all day if I had cleared off enough of my obligations and there was fun was to be had.

Fort Clatsop also offers three hour guided paddle tours throughout the summer where they will provide the two-person boats and equipment. The registration is done online.

Lewis and Clark River Paddle Tours

Hop in a two person watercraft and paddle along the lush riverbanks of the Lewis and Clark River. See bald eagles soar while you calmly float through history and hear a unique perspective of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.The themes of these three hour ranger-led paddles will vary and include natural and cultural topics geared for all interests.
Tours will run Thursday through Sunday during the summer. Tours will start on June 24, 2017 and run through September 3, 2017.

  • The park will provide water craft, paddles, and life jackets however, if you are a special size you may want to bring your own life jacket.

…There is more to read, you register online, and the Tour is free with park admission.

I saw one bald eagle today as I ‘calmly floated through history.’

Go to: https://www.nps.gov/lewi/planyourvisit/paddle-tours.htm for more information.

Due to a battery failure, I like the results of my phone’s MapMyTracks ap better as it shows 3.6 miles more distance.  I think the phone covered the faster return trip when the Garmin had ‘died’. Even better, the phone picked up a top speed of 13.8 mph (!!) versus the 7.9 on the Garmin. Paddling usually averages around 3 mph.


Read Full Post »

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The workday began with optimism that we could get everything done in order to get Friday off to relax and to blog about Tuesday’s day trip.  The pressure was low; if the work spilled over on to Friday, that would not be a problem.

First thing: Delivering flowers to Don Nisbett Gallery, for Jenna to take to their guest condo, in which she is hosting a bevy of mermaids over the weekend.

Long Beach

I often remember the deadheading of the welcome sign just as we are about to drive past it.

deadheading cosmos

Allan looked over the top of the sign for this one.

front side.

back side with Allan trimming the tatty Geranium ‘Orion’, which will be replaced with Rozanne (like the one at right) this fall.

I had intended to water the Long Beach planters first and then see how much time was left for the beach approach garden.  Then, in order to dump our debris while the city works lot is open (to save having to wrestle with the big gate), I decided we should weed the beach approach and its planters first.  Kite Festival starts Monday so we want it to look good.

Someone had left this rock in a planter.

This week, someone had added a plant to the Lisa Bonney memorial planter instead of taking plants away.

This pansy is new. Thank you.

I got to pet three lovely bassets.

Later, we saw in town a license plate that read AGLBST.  It came to me that it meant Agility Basset, i.e. dogs who compete in agility courses.  I bet those bassets belonged to that car.  If you want to watch an unusual breed of dog compete in agility, have a look at this video featuring my cousin’s St Bernard.  I imagine bassets would also be endearing to watch.

Our friend John and his darling dog, Tippi, stopped to visit.

Someone had helped themselves to one of my circle of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.

rather a large amount of trash, neatly boxed.

note to self: just remove these old bearded iris from this planter in fall. Planted by a volunteer years ago, they do not do well.

I’m pleased there will still be rugosa roses blooming during Kite Festival.

We then weeded and deadheaded Veterans Field.

Allan also weeded the little park behind Lewis and Clark Square, which is heavy on crocosmias, including the small red ones to the left.

Because a biggish event, Jazz and Oysters, will be at Vet Field this weekend, I suddenly got the notion to apply mulch to the corner garden in order to fluff it up.  We were shockingly short on buckets. They have made their way from the work trailer into the garden at home.  Fortunately, I was able to find a stack of buckets at city works to borrow.

adding mulch at Veterans Field

We then took another buckets-load of mulch out to a couple of low areas on the beach approach garden.

second load of assorted scavenged buckets (Allan’s photo)

The beach approach now looks relatively spiffing for Kite Festival.

Done with mulching at the beach approach, too tired to go back for an after photo.

It was close to four o clock when we started watering the main street planters.  We skipped watering the street trees this week because of last Saturday’s rain.  We might regret that.

My walkabout photos:

Gladiolus papilio and still blooming pink oenothera

a couple of gladiolus, saved from volunteer days in the planter we re-did this spring.

I don’t really liked the regular old glads in a planter because they look clunky when deadheaded.  There are some in the Ilwaco planters that someone else must have put in, because I didn’t.

Allan’s walkabout photos:

Fuchsia, probably Golden Gate

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and cosmos

Salvia viridis (painted sage)

Just when I felt everything was going swimmingly and we’d have no problem getting Ilwaco watered as well, I remembered that we had to water the seven planters along the Sid Snyder Drive beach approach.  We split up to each water, me the east end and Allan the west end.

on Sid Snyder approach

AND we had better check up on the Kite Museum because…Kite Festival is coming.  (How could I almost have forgotten that after that kite festival painted rock?)

My heel was plaguing me as I dragged myself and my sore foot over there from my last planter.

World Kite Museum

Our new planters look good. Note the little blue painted rock.

penstemon has gone a bit flopsy

I just need those plants to stay perfectly beautiful for ten more days!

By now, it was after six.  Allan rejoined me and said he had the energy still to water the Ilwaco street trees and planters.  In order to get Friday off, I was determined to match that energy and get the boatyard watered and at least slightly deadheaded and weeded.


Allan untangled and set up our long hose for me.  I was feeling punchy, my dogs were barking, and I was utterly determined to get this done.

watering south of the gate

boatyard work (Allan’s photo)

By the time I had the south stretch of garden watered, a breeze had come up and I wished I had my sweatshirt.  I could see Allan at the very far end of the block with his water truck.  It was simply too far to go.

Allan is way down at the end of the chain link fence.

Things took a turn for the better when I found two hoses hooked up on the inside of the fence halfway and two thirds of the way down…and they were just lying ready for me instead of being hoisted up with the nozzle end going into a boat.

This broken down patched old hose was a beautiful sight to me…

As was the hose at the far end.

I was so happy about the hoses that I swear my heel hurt less. I also realized that all day while working, in the back of my mind this chant was running over and over: No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA.  Clearly the news is always weighing on my thoughts.

viewing the garden from the inside, sweet pea success

It is frustrating to see deadheads from inside of the fence.

note to self: divide and make maybe two more clumps of this vigorous perennial sunflower (some sort of helianthus)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ on both sides of the fence. I cut it back hard in early spring.

From whence did this boatyard buddleia volunteer blow in?  It’s a noxious weed.  I had mercy.

a boat with bikes on board

I had time to go to the outside of the fence and get some of the deadheads I had seen.

looking south

It was getting dark-ish when I found a broken bottle in the garden.  This photo below is to remind me of where it was, because I know there is still sharp glass there.

Note to self: Be careful next time.

Parts of the garden look bad with scrimmy horsetail no longer hidden by annual poppies.  I did not have time to deal with all of it.

a particularly sad spot

Other parts made me happy with beauty and interest.

I must stick more cuttings of the artemisia in the ground this fall. I do love it so.

This was my favourite spot today.

cosmos, looking lush but not many blooms yet

I keep thinking that when the last summer art walks roll around  (September 1), I should put up a sign at the boatyard reading “Gardening is the Slowest of the Performing Arts.”  I doubt I will have the energy to make that happen.

Meanwhile, Allan had the planters done.

watering planters till sunset

the one remaining big Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’

Someone had sat on and smashed flat part of this planter.

Allan rejoined me just as it was almost too dark to see.  When he parked the water trailer at home, he found this hitchhiker.

My damnable right heel was plaguing me severely for the rest of the evening.  I wondered if it makes any sense at all to push so hard on a ten hour day just to get an extra day off.  And yet I do love a three day weekend.

Lest you feel achy with sympathy, I can report as I write this that I  experienced almost no foot pain on the two days off that followed, during which I only did some light watering at home, a tiny bit of planting, and a lot of news reading and blogging.  Allan’s much more interesting Saturday boat excursion will be tomorrow’s post.





Read Full Post »

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

After a glorious garden tour day trip, we were back to our Wednesday work rounds.

at home, Dichroa febrifuga (right)

Davidia ‘Lady Sunshine’

at the post office

The Depot Restaurant

…the usual watering and weeding….

south and east of the dining deck

the view from inside (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

hops dangling from the lattice (Allan’s photo)

lattice wall of hops on north side of deck

Allan’s photo

north of the dining deck

lilies and persicaria

Once upon a time, when I first started buying lilies, I did not like the ones with polka dots.  Now I love them.

You can see I cut off the pollen on flowers that might brush and stain people’s clothing.

The barrels and window box flowers on the north side are planted by Roxanne from the Basket Case.

Diane’s garden

Holly arrives home and is happy to see me.

Misty relaxing

my dear old friend Misty

the roadside garden with Stipa gigantea and blue Perovskia

project for this fall: start planting up this septic tank box

The Red Barn

While I took care of Diane’s garden, Allan watered and deadheaded at the Red Barn.


I will replace this sad old Erysimum soon!

The Basket Case Greenhouse

I wanted to see what new perennials were available, and did find some, along with a chrysanthemum that will have “green” flowers.

lots of good new lavenders


I found some Geranium ‘Rozanne’ which I will keep till later for replacing four of the ‘Orion’ geraniums in the Long Beach welcome sign.

me and Buddy

sweet Penny (Allan’s photo)

We stayed for a long time having a conversation about current events, which was so absorbing (described as a mental health break) that when I finally said we must get back to work, we almost drove off with the van tailgate open. A shout from Roxanne’s father saved the day.

Klipsan Beach Cottages 

looking in the east gate

blue berries on Billardia longiflora

honeysuckle berries


lilies and veronicastrum

in a container, white flowered little shrub that I cannot ID

hydrangea glowing blue in the shade

lilies and cosmos

hardy fuchsia

hummingbird on agapanthus (Allan’s photo)

We have started to pull some of the bloomed-out Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.  It will always come back.

before and after (Allan’s photos)

The Anchorage Cottages

office courtyard (with a peculiar camera effect on the chimney)

sweet peas

center courtyard

center courtyard garden

I met this darling Cairn Terrier.

Port of Ilwaco

We watered the Howerton Avenue curbside gardens under our watering care, from the Ilwaco Pavilion to the west end.

It started as a warm evening.

gardens still looking fine

Miscanthus ‘Gold Bar’ (Allan’s photo)

Eryngium and yarrow (Allan’s photo)

Time Enough Books garden boat

I trimmed back the elderberry but my foot hurt too much to walk on the river rock to pick off the yellow leaves!

The next morning, I would be delivering some flowers to Nisbett Gallery and I’d ask Allan to pick off those yellow leaves.

Just as we were finishing the watering, the weather quite suddenly turned to this:

While the drizzle was enough to make us soaking wet, it was only enough to briefly refresh the gardens.  The watering had still been necessary.  Of course, Allan got asked by a passerby why he was watering while it was raining.





Read Full Post »

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Markham Farm, part two

During our tour of Terri and Bill’s Markham Farm garden, Terri walked us down to the beach that is part of the acreage.  I had thought the path would be steep and difficult (for me).  Terri had described how when her children were young, she could be in the garden or on the deck of the house and hear them playing on the beach below.  It seemed like a long way down from there, but the path turned out to be an easy stroll.  On the way, Terri showed us where an old railway line had run below the house all the way to Aberdeen, and where she had embarked upon an enormous winter project of pulling ivy from the bank below the house, with impressive success.

Terri shows where the railway used to be.

Allan’s photo

an easy path and then one step down

Newly adopted dog Ilsa began to run the moment her toes hit the sand.  Terri said that it is unusual to have such a long stretch of sand, instead of mud, along Grays Harbor.

Allan’s photo

looking south

looking north

We walked south…

Allan and Terri

Allan’s photo

Ilsa running. In the distance you can see the Westport on the horizon.

Ilsa (Allan’s photo)

After checking back with us, Ilsa went running again.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

massive rocks left over from the railway line (and my streaky camera problem)

We turned and walked north, almost to the alder woods.  A trail through there is one of Terri’s joys, but today we did not walk back that way for two reasons: My sore foot, and the fact that Terri does not want new dog Ilsa to learn about the alder woods until she is completely bonded to home.  Ilsa did look at the trees with great interest.

The alders are beyond and above the shoreline willows.

The willows and the driftwood reminded me of riverbanks where my family camped when I was a child.  I suddenly said to Terri, “Uh oh, this is making me dissatisfied with my life!”  That does not happen very often.  But to walk on this beach every day….. I had to hold the picture of my beloved Ilwaco marina in my mind very hard for a moment to damp down my beach envy.

driftwood and willows

Ilsa would run, then check on us, then run again.

the scent of sand, seaweed, and willows

drifts of smooth pebbles

driftwood and native blue Elymus (beach grass)

below the house, part of Terri’s ivy clearing project

the alder woods

Ilsa almost discovered the alder woods path on her own.  She may have smelled a deer.  Like the good dog she is, she came back to us (eventually) when called.

railway remnants

just before we turned back

By the main path up to the garden, 15 month old Ilse had a good dig.

She is learning not to do this in the garden.

Someday we will take up Terri’s invitation to visit and stay overnight.  With a whole day (and I hope a better foot), I would walk and walk on this beach and explore the alder woods paths.

the main path back, marked with floats

Tomorrow: back to daily work.  As I write these two posts about Markham Farm, I am transported  there.  It is a garden that I will think about for as long as I can think.

I brought home these beachcombing finds to remember the beach by.


Read Full Post »

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Since early summer, I had been corresponding with Terri, the organizer of the Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific County garden tour, ever since contacting her to confirm the date of their 2017 tour.  She had invited us to come visit her garden sometime this summer.  When she sent me these photos in late June, I knew I just had to go there.

Terri’s photo

Terri’s photo

Terri’s photo

Today Allan and I got up early and drove two hours to the garden.  The property is named for Cynthia Markham who first claimed it in the mid 19th century.  Long before that, these shoreline acres were probably walked by the members of the Shoalwater Bay tribe.

As we approached, down a long dead end road, I exclaimed in joy.


I knew right away, from my first sight of the garden bed lit by sunshine at the end of the road, that we were in for something special.


to our left along the driveway


looking back along the driveway


The old tubs used to be used for horse watering troughs.

Two horses grazed over the fence by where we parked.  We soon learned that they are named Woody and Gus after characters in Lonesome Dove.  The white horse, Woody, is 35 years old and Gus is about 26.


Allan’s photo

We were greeted by Ilsa, a 15 month old recently adopted rescue dog who soon became my new dear friend.  She used to be a city dog and now lives in paradise.


Ilsa turning back at the sound of Terri’s voice.  This is the entry garden that I had seen from far up the road.


Ilsa and her tennis ball (Allan’s photo).  To the left of the driveway is a vast field of blueberries.


a stand of persicaria backed with phlox

Terri welcomed us and we walked slowly up toward the house, admiring the long driveway garden at every step along the way.


to our right


To our left. Teucrium hyrcanicum “Purple Tails’. I thought it was a salvia.  Must have!




that face! 🙂


to our left: Verbena bonariensis and phlox


to our right: I was amazed to learn that this huge plant is a persicaria, Persicaria polymorpha, which I must acquire.


to our right, smokebush smoking



Look closely and you will see that the top of the stump is planted with teucrium.


In this area and elsewhere, several enormous trees came down in the Great Coastal Gale of 2007.  Although she and Bill had owned the property by then for many years and had cleared the rhododendron forest from being completely overgrown by bindweed and more, and had grown  vegetables, it was not till after the gale that Terri focused on creating the ornamental garden.


To our right: We are still walking up the driveway!


to our left


Ilsa got ahead of us.


Ilsa by the pond

Waldo Pond got its name from “Where’s Waldo?”, as in looking for the frogs on the lily pads.  We only saw one today.  Terri says they hop off into the garden during the day.


by Waldo Pond


Some water has evaporated over our dry summer.




Just past the pond is the house and garage.


garage wall



We met Terri’s spouse, Bill, and went up onto the deck where a group of chairs sat around a fireplace.


The loon is a recurring symbol here.


(taken later in the day)


I was so focused on the deck’s ambience and on the bay view that it took me till I looked at my photos to see the second story skybridge going between the house and the garage.



On the deck overlooking Grays Harbor.




The wide deck goes all the way around the house.


outside the kitchen window



Allan’s photo

After walking all around the deck, Terri and Allan and I embarked upon a tour of the winding paths through the garden along the north side of the driveway.


The paths strayed hither and yon, opening up into small clearing and vignettes.



corylopsis leaves catching the sun


Hydrangea and fuchsia magellanica

Terri and I had already figured out, through her reading of this blog and through email correspondence, that we share similar taste in plants.


As you can see, Ilsa accompanied us through the garden.


lacecap hydrangea


Hydrangea aspera


Hydrangea aspera


textural Corylopsis leaves

A clearing revealed Terri’s latest project in progress, made from broken concrete.



Hydrangea paniculata





Some garden art found at Pier 1


Lamprocapnos scandens


Lespedeza thunbergii (Bushclover)


Cotinus (Smokebush)




We walked down a slope on a paths that was easy, with non slippery mulch and nice wide steps.


To the north is the alder wood.  You can just see the top of Terri’s head!



I think this is Arundo donax variegata.

Terri is going off of big grasses that flop all over the place.  The one above is well behaved.

A long river of Geranium ‘Rozanne’ spills down the hill, about fifty of them, planted ten years ago. By this late in the summer, some of the crocosmia has flopped over the river of blue; Terri said she is planning to thin the crocosmia for that reason.


with a scrim of Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’



Allan’s photo

Below the Rozanne River lies the alder wood, also part of the property and also with paths.  We did not go into the woods because Ilsa is a newly adopted dog, and Terri does not want her to learn about those paths until she is sure to return home.


to the west, the contained (by a concrete ditch, I think) bamboo grove (Allan’s photo)

Looking to the east, we could see Woody grazing in the pasture.


Allan’s photo

As we climbed the hill again, I admired a low wall that I had walked right by before.


made from a natural looking manufactured block, much better looking than “cottage” blocks.


a sit spot


colour and texture



When Terri and Bill’s children were young and they had first acquired the farm and were just spending weekends there from Seattle, they got rid of the television and have used the satellite dish as a planter ever since.  It conceals the access to the septic tank.



approaching the house again

Their grandson loves the winding secret paths.  I was thinking how amazing it must be for children to visit there, something they will remember for a lifetime.

We took a short break for glasses of water in the kitchen.


the old farmhouse kitchen ceiling (Allan’s photo)


kitchen window (Allan’s photo)


Allan noticed this interesting chair! Bill pointed out they were a north wind motif.

Refreshed, we embarked upon a walk toward the beach.  On the way, we admired more garden beauty.

To the south of the driveway is an enormous field of blueberries, transplanted from a farm and now a sanctuary for birds.



next to the driveway fence




Terri’s newest garden bed is a collection of pollinator friendly plants.


echinaceas and more

Because the garden is not deer fenced, Terri has found an interesting way to repel deer.  She soaks tennis balls in deer repellent (heavy on the eggs!) and puts them on stakes around the garden.


However, do you see Ilsa in the background?  She loves tennis balls and goes after the stinky staked ones.


This open air pavilion is where an old forge used to stand, evidenced by piles of ashes found downhill.  I think it incorporates some of the forge building or an old carriage house.



Allan’s photo


the pavilion


loon carving


Bill and I


looking east at the blueberry field from where the beach trail begins.

The many photos from our walk on the beach will be a bonus post, tonight.

Ilsa took a short nap upon our return from the beach. (Allan’s photo)

When we returned, Bill made us delicious burgers for lunch.  He called them smash burgers, made from a ball instead of a patty and smashed under a weight so that they are crispy on both sides.  That, and a salad made with avocado and endive that was eaten too eagerly to be photographed, went down a treat.


quite honestly the best burger I’ve ever had


Ilsa sits nobly by while we dine at a picnic table.


our view toward Waldo pond

As I gazed from the picnic table to the pond, one small conifer shone like a golden torch.  It is not as evident in the photo as it was to my eyes.  You can see it next to an orb toward the left, above; it is Thuja platycladus ‘Weedom’.


peach and apple cobbler for dessert

Soon after we had arrived, we had learned (to my vast relief!) that Bill and Terri share our thoughts about current events. That made for sympatico lunchtime conversation, which is a great comfort these days.

After lingering over our meal, we took a walk down the driveway to see the horses before saying goodbye.


Some flowers on the way:

Verbena bonariensus

Persicaria (Allan’s photo)

Phlox (Allan’s photo)

The glorious Teucrium ‘Purple Tails’ again. Terri says it holds its colour for a long time. (Allan’s photo)

Buddleia (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Barn wall (Allan’s photo)

Terri and Gus

Gus enjoying carrots

Here comes Woody. (Allan’s photo)

Woody is mostly blind. Terri tossed down some carrots for him but Gus got them first.

Woody moved away. (Allan’s photos)

Later that night, Woody got apple peels to make up for it.

As we got into our van to leave, I noticed one more cool little tree.

Allan’s photo

It is Staphylea pinnata (European Bladdernut), one that is new to me.

We drove off from an idyllic, perfect visit with seedpods on the dashboard.

If you are smitten with this garden, you’ll have a chance to see it next July on the Grays Harbor Master Gardener tour. It is a garden I will be revisiting in my mind many times and will find well worth the drive to visit in another season.

Tonight’s bonus post: Our midday walk on the beach below the garden.

Read Full Post »

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The garden that we visited today is so excellent that I need a long evening or day off to blog about it.  Meanwhile, I can much more easily share the trip there and back.

A bouquet of flowers in our van, ready for the almost two hour drive to the garden.


Part one of the drive: 101 to 401 to 4 to 101

As we drove along the Columbia River (on our route through Naselle that avoids the dreaded—by me—Willapa Curves), we saw that the river was carpeted with little fishing boats.  It is the height of little boat “Buoy 10” fishing season.  We pulled into the Dismal Nitch viewpoint to have a better look.

The long flat stretch of the Astoria bridge is the background here.

Tongue Point

Allan’s photo

When we arrived in South Bend, we took a coffee break at Elixir Coffee.  I had been wanting to experience their ambience.  Many years ago, Robert and I used to have a burger or fish and chips at a restaurant in the same location whenever we drove down from Seattle.

Elixir Coffee

This oyster is near Elixir.

right on the water

flower stall inside the coffee shop

For a moment, I thought the middle book on the table, below, was a journal for patrons to write it and I thought, “Uh oh, I might be here for more than the 15 minutes we had allotted.”  Fortunately for our plans, it turned out to not be a journal.

We had our coffee and tasty scones out on the deck.

view to the north

and to the southwest

I wish there had been a heron in view.

I’m sending the gardener we were going to visit a photo of the café.

We did keep our coffee break to about fifteen minutes and then embarked upon the second hour of our drive, which took us up to Aberdeen and then over toward Westport.

We turned on a road that would dead end into our destination.  On the way, I admired this cool bay window on a double wide:

I want a window like this very badly now.

Just past that house, looking ahead down the road, I saw my first glimpse of our destination garden and exclaimed “Oh, my gosh! LOOK!”

I knew right away, from my first sight of the garden bed at the end of the road, that we were in for something special.

The garden will be tomorrow’s post.  It is huge, stuffed full of cool plants, and has a beach as well, so prepare yourself for a long-winded tour.

However, in the interest of having this blog not fall more than two weeks behind Real Time, I must combine the trip there with the trip home and save the garden tour for tomorrow.


We had gone up 101 to Aberdeen; we returned on 105 via Westport and Tokeland.

Westport Winery


Allan’s photo

After our day in her garden, on the recommendation of our garden host, we toured the gardens at Westport Winery and checked out their nursery.  It proved to be excellent.

The nursery is on the left side of the building.

plants for sale


Allan’s photo

iris sculptures (Allan’s photo)

Near the nursery is outdoor seating for the restaurant.

giant scrabble game

Allan’s photo

one of my four plant acquisitions

After purchasing four treasures, we walked around the large display garden.  I was having foot pain by then and could not even make it all the way to the back of the garden—it’s huge and is divided into themes, each area with excellent signs.  Allan was out there, too, and we did not even see each other in the vast garden area.

Fragrance Garden

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

the driftwood arch entrance to an “underwater” garden that I found most inspirational.

The early evening light made it feel like being underwater.

Allan’s photo

I walked along a series of gardens behind the main building.

behind the outdoor dining area

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looks like a green roof in the making? (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

a wall of bottles behind a bench (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

patterns of thyme

lavender labyrinth

a showy kniphofia

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I am sure we missed a lot of garden here because of time and disability.  I hope to return…If not before, next July when the Master Gardener tour will be in this area.


We took a slight detour from our route home to see the boats in the Westport Harbor.

Allan’s photo

a substantial safety fence

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Planters along the harbor were a new addition since the last time we drove through here.

an enticing row of cottages

If we had gone on the road past the cottages, we would have found this memorial garden.  I wish we had…but then we would have not gotten out of the woods before dark.


Allan google-earthed it.

pelicans (Allan’s photo)

jetty (Allan’s photo) Me: “Don’t break a leg up there!”

We passed this mural and I wondered if this Andersen was any relation to our friend Lorna’s dad.


After a drive down the coast, most of which was along a quiet highway with few views of the water, we made one more detour to look at the famous Tokeland Hotel.

It is said to be haunted.

I had hoped to be home before dark.  Because the detours took longer than expected, it was dusk by the time we passed through South Bend and reached the long road along Willapa Bay.

marshes at low tide

We got out of the woodland roads and to the Columbia River by dusk and home by dark.  I look forward to writing tomorrow’s post about the garden visit that was the focal point of our journey.

A text from our friend Tony asked me if we had found the cake.  Cake?  We had come in the garage door.  I checked the front porch and indeed there was a delicious pineapple cake left there for us.  You might recall that Bailey and Rudy are our pomeranian friends.





Read Full Post »

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Skooter being cute

I was looking forward to a day of not leaving the property.  However, when I saw that there would an evening vigil in Astoria for the victims of racist and anti-Semitic violence in Charlottesville, I felt we should go.  Oh, how very much I did not want to cross the bridge and then return in the dark.  I pondered the situation for several hours.

Meanwhile, we had had a delicious rain that had begun as we were returning from Astoria yesterday and had continued all night.

All the rain barrels were filled again after being almost completely empty.

rain gauge (Allan’s photo)

The garden looked refreshed, and crisp because Allan mowed.

Salvia africana-lutea

Mortified to see I had let my greenhouse tomatoes wilt, I gave them a lot of water.


Meanwhile, Allan spent an hour weeding at the Ilwaco Community Building.

not many weeds this time


The poppy show is over.

the entry ramp

I do wish some of the showier, brighter summer blooming heathers had been planted here.

We did go to the vigil in Astoria, starting at 8 PM.

My heart had been breaking all day.  As we parked by the Flavel House Museum, I took comfort in the constancy of nature, with this beautiful hydrangea and Camperdown elm.

We joined the vigil half a block down the street.

About 100 people showed up.

Prayers, singing, and a moment of silence…

Allan’s photos:

A fellow held Allan’s John Lewis sign while Allan took photos.

Perhaps because so many vigil attendees were older, the vigil ended so that travelers could drive home before dark.  I was relieved.  But I would have stayed till the end even after dark.

I suppose the downside in so many of the local members being retirees is that most of the local political events happen during the day while we are working or otherwise taking care of gardening responsibilities and activities.

It was a great comfort to have this vigil to attend tonight.

Monday, 14 August 2017

My tomato plants had perked up.

Long Beach

We did the usual watering of the planters.  The street tree watering we skipped because of Saturday night’s rain.

I was sorry to see a vehicle driving around with a medium-small confederate flag displayed on the windshield.  Two tourists from Tucson said they had also seen a truck with a big confederate flag drive through town (the usual one, I’m afraid) and that they found it disheartening and upsetting.  So did I.  I was comforted that when I happened to be talking in passing to a VIP city guy and  said that because of the weekend’s horrible events, today of all days was a bad day to have those flags displayed in our town, he said that any day was a bad day to see them.

I also took comfort in flowers.

I wanted to put some sort of pin on my hat.  I popped me head into NIVA green to see what sort of pins Heather had on offer, hoping for something positive and political.

NIVA green

She gave me this:

I have this pin at home, somewhere.  I’ll add it when I remember which shirt it is pinned to.

Allan’s photo


painted rock (Allan’s photo)

tigridia and California poppies (Allan’s photo)

Allan did some weeding and string trimming of the parking lot berms.

Allan’s photo, parking lot berm hydrangea and Spirea douglasii

We finished downtown Long Beach with some clipping and tidying in Fifth Street Park.


after…Fresh new leaves will emerge on the lady’s mantle.

After dumping our debris, we took some buckets of mulch out to the beach approach….

rose petals ready to blow from the trailer after dumping debris (Allan’s photo)


And we (Allan) bucket watered two planters.

Agile Allan hops right up on the planter to water it.

cranberry tile and crushed Rugosa rose hip by the planter (Allan’s photo)

At home, the tall lilies are almost over and the cosmos needs deadheading.

I did the half-monthly billing spreadsheet while Allan watered the Ilwaco planters.

Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ in Ilwaco planter (Allan’s photo)

Tomorrow we are taking the day off for a road trip to see a garden near Westport.  I’m excited, and of course anxious.










Read Full Post »

Saturday, 12 August 2017

After the Astoria garden tour, we lingered so that Allan could see the Highwater Boat Parade which leaves the East Mooring Basin at 5:30.


The gators and I watched from the comfort of the van, while Allan walked about and took all the rest of the photos.

Allan’s research on the boats is shared in the rest of this post.

Highwater Boat Parade
Sponsored by Englund Marine Supply and Fishhawk Fisheries

Before the sun goes down, at high tide, gather with us all along the Columbia Riverfront for the annual Regatta Boat Parade!


Waiting for the boat parade behind the Maritime Museum.



The Astoria is one of the pilot boats that deliver pilots to guide ships through the Columbia Bar.


Seamanship is a training vessel which is part of the Tongue Point Job Corps Center.




Here is the royalty of the regatta on the bow of the Pilot ship.


This boat is where the parade judges were.



Below is “the boat with the bushes on it” according to the crowd above.


Participants are given one day free mooring at the West Basin Marina.



Looking downstream, here comes the rest of the parade.


Not looking downstream.


I think this was the winner in the sailboat class.



In case you don’t know: That is Washington State in the background.


The luckiest kid this weekend.





Half an hour later the boats all headed back to their docks.




Read Full Post »

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Astoria Garden Tour:

a benefit for the Lower Columbia Preservation Society





I have always loved this little rose garden.


in the garden, a dog that “loved to be held ALL the time”


Allan’s photo




bachelor buttons and hops


glass art in the garden just for the day



hops and lilies




Melianthus major


the ramp up to the upper floor of the pub


Jessica serving Fort George beer tastings


Allan’s photo



a glimpse of the river


hops and compost


looking down from the ramp at Seaside Pam in the garden


My camera could not handle the bright sunlight.



looking down from the ramp


hops towering overhead


overlooking the melianthus

This had been the final garden.  We three were hungry and thought of having lunch at Fort George.  Because of a 45 minute wait (due to Astoria Regatta and a Fort George Block Party), we instead repaired to our favourite Blue Scorcher Bakery, in the lower corner of the same building.



By the way, the name Blue Scorcher refers to a bicycle craze:



more sidewalk history outside the café


lunch at an outdoor table


breakfast burrito (Allan’s photo)


Pam’s salad and pizza (Allan’s photo)


Astoria Regatta celebrants passing by (Allan’s photo)

We were entertained by beautiful dogs whose people were at the next table.



Allan’s photo


friendly (Allan’s photo)

After lunch, we said goodbye to Pam and had a look at the rest of the plantings at Fort George Brewery.






Will West and the Friendly Strangers playing for the outdoor block party.




white cyclamen and hardy begonia

As we left, I saw a stand of sunflowers at the back of a parking lot across the street.  I am sure these are also Jessica’s work.




a garden right on the edge of a sunken lot


held up by boards


Allan’s photo

Near where we parked, Allan photographed some interesting Astoria architecture.




With the garden done, the day still held a treat for Allan: The early evening Highwater Boat Parade on the river.  That will be a bonus post, tonight.

Read Full Post »

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Astoria Garden Tour:

a benefit for the Lower Columbia Preservation Society

garden five: Lower Columbia Clinic



I have noticed this garden before when its Crambe cordifolia was in bloom—a plant I have been unable to grow since leaving my Seattle garden because here, the slugs and snails always get it.  So I have Crambe envy.


Allan’s photo


Lower Columbia Clinic curbside garden


a bit closer


I used to have that lavish Buddleia in my old garden behind the boatyard.  I’m sure it is still there, growing by the sidewalk; I must go back this fall and get a cutting.


Pretty sure it is the same one I got from Heronswood once upon a time.


Here comes Pam!

There was much discussion, once Pam arrived, about the identity of this plant (below).  Osmanthus? We think Steve and John of the Bayside Garden have one.



Below is the Crambe cordifolia which fills me with envy.


Earlier, it would have been a cloud of white.


And it is spreading.


looking down the sidewalk