Archive for Feb, 2018

Public Service Announcement (because we’ve been saying Basket Case will reopen on March 2nd):

Monday, 27 February 2018

We had a beautiful sunny day to head north to Klipsan Beach Cottages and then south to the Shelburne.  Before work, I dug up some cool plants for the Shelburne garden.

acquiring a clump of Solidago ‘Fireworks’

I was so sad to find that my Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’ looks dead, and even sadder on the following day when I found that all sources for it appear to be sold out (Digging Dog, Far Reaches Farm, and Plant Delights).

I dug up some Persicaria ‘Firetail’ and some Persicaria bistorta superba (not sure about that one because it has a rather short period of bloom), two kinds of sanguisorba and a helenium, some elephant garlic and some little starts of a showy red mustard, and some Egyptian walking onions (cute and ornamental).

While loading the plant buckets into the trailer, we saw this neighbour.

Allan’s photos

strolling west, looking for another garden to snack on

Our volunteer Ilwaco post office garden needs some weeding.  No time for that today.  There is a chunk out of the golden oregano (front corner) where I swiped some for the Shelburne last week.

crocus close up

On the way, to work, we made a hellebore quest at

The Planter Box.

Jackpot. I just needed one.

an artistic display in the garden shop

Klipsan Beach Cottages

On our first visit this year to Klipsan Beach Cottages, we mostly did the clipping back of sword and deer ferns so that their new unfurling fronds will show (and because the old foliage will look tatty by midsummer).  Also pruned some roses and hydrangeas.

Allan makes the yearly bold leap over the pond to trim the ferns. So far, he has not fallen in, but I am always ready for an even more exciting photo.



after (Allan’s photos)

Pulmonaria in bloom on the pond island bed.

Looking in the east gate of the fenced garden

inside the fenced garden before going after that big sword fern


Bella examines my work

Bella thinks it is time to go to the beach. Mary chases after. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

sword ferns by cottage 8, before and after (Allan’s photos)

The garden is just waking up.


The bench holds lily bags; I planted some in big pots to be brought forward when in bloom.

I clipped old hellebore leaves from the lawn border.

NOW I spy a little snail.

After the work at KBC, I dug up starts of plants to take to the Shelburne: Sanguisorba obtusa (the kind with pink feathers although not as good as ‘Lilac Squirrel’), Persicaria ‘Golden Arrow’, Arisarum proboscideum (mouse plant), Saxifraga dentata.  It’s been awhile since I had a garden (other than the port gardens) that needed lots of plants.  I rotate plants around all “my” gardens.  Skyler giveth and Skyler taketh away.

The Shelburne Hotel (and Pub)

We planted lots of free starts and a couple of hellebores and three different dicentra and some lily bulbs and 40 sprouted but healthy looking yellow tulip bulbs from an anonymous well-wisher.

The street in front and the parking lot were so full that we parked on the next block to the north.  We soon learned that the pub was having a “soft opening” by word of mouth to people connected with the hotel restaurants (plural, because the same owners, Tiffany and Brady, also own the Adrift Hotel and its [pickled fish] restaurant.

With almost all the plants in, I had a bit of a crisis.  I could not find my most special pink feathery sanguisorba!  I searched anxiously….

There they are, at last! in a pile.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

We then repaired to the pub and sat at one of the new tables in the main lobby.  The pub has been cleverly expanded to include a larger area than it used to.

in the Shelburne pub

our table in the lobby, with glassless  interior windows into the pub.

Allan’s photo

On the way out, I looked at the garden with all its new plant babies.  I am eager to see them grow.

Looking north: Allan made a bamboo mini-teepee over each clump of lilies.

looking south

Ilwaco Community Building

We were just in time for the city council meeting.

shade garden at the entry to the Ilwaco community building.

Allan’s photo, crocuses closed up for the evening (with poppy foliage)

City Council meeting was brief but productive.

Allan’s photo

We were home by 6:45, giving me time to do a post for books read in 1996.

At home, KBC came off the work board for now.






Read Full Post »

Saturday, 24 February 2018

The forecast called for terrible weather.  I woke to sunshine, followed by the sound of a battering wind and then some torrential window-lashing rain.  And then the sky cleared and I said that surely we could at the least get the yellow flag iris dug out from its shady non-blooming spot at the Shelburne.  It’s not so windy in that sheltered garden.

When we went outside, the temperature was much warmer than previous days (mid forties) so we dug up some cool plants to add to the Shelburne garden: Anthriscus ‘Ravenswing’, Scrophularia (variegated figwort sounds much more attractive), two kinds of sanguisorba, two kinds of Geranium macrorrhizum, one Tetrapanax ‘Steroidal Giant’ (well rooted start, to be planted off to one side where it won’t block the view of the building, I hope.)

plant quest in our front garden

The Shelburne Hotel

By the time we got to the Shelburne, I decided the weather was nice enough for Allan to get the last yard of mulch. First, he tackled the yellow flags in the shady south corner and pruned the old, badly hacked trunks of the forsythia.


Allan’s photo

the double tool in action (Allan’s photo)

forsythea before and after (Allan’s photo)

Note to self: There is some salmonberry in that corner that must be dealt with later.

swamp grass on the other side of the fence, before (Allan’s photos)

and after. The pallets are a temporary walk way for hotel refurbishing workers.

weeding the south garden

As Allan finished the south garden corner, I called Peninsula Landscape Supply to make sure they still had Soil Energy.  Mike told me they were down to just a yard or two.  I implored him to hold a yard for us as Allan would be there in twenty minutes.

While Allan was gone, I weeded some more in the south corner, trying to get as much as possible of the truly horrible Aegopodium podagraria (bishops weed) which had infested this part of the garden since way back when we worked here before.  It is still in there, of course.  On a garden tour in Portland, we once saw a large area dug down 18 inches deep and asked if the gardeners were putting in a pond.  No, they were trying to get rid of bishops weed by digging it that deep, spraying it with round up, and waiting a year to spray it every time it tried to come back. At least it is edible, so the hotel restaurant could use leaves as garnish on a plate.  It tastes rather like cilantro.

I moved on to the north end corner of the garden, trying to get it weeded before Allan returned with mulch.  I then turned to the mess of orange montbretia on the inner side of the paver path, all the while fretting about whether or not Allan would find a yard of mulch left.

When he got there, there was this much:

Lucky us!

In the Peninsula Landscape Supply office, I spy Sea Star Gardening’s card!

lots of beautiful rocks available at PLS

From my montbretia digging task, I was thrilled to see Allan arrive with mulch.

back at the Shelburne (Allan’s photo)

mulched in the south corner (Allan’s photo)

before and after

north corner before mulching

and after (not really showing the corner at all, though; it is to the left)  Allan’s photo

I kept after the orange montbretia patch, till it segued into Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.  I decided to keep a line of Lucifers along the building (with space behind for air circulation).  I do remind myself that people like them very much.

We were going to leave the weeding of the paving stone path for someone else to do.  Then my OCD had kicked in and I had started weeding it when we were here on Thursday and, with the montbretia edited, went after the path again today.  Allan helped finish till we had almost all of it done.

Allan’s photo, before

Any rock that dares to roll around gets put in a bucket and moved to the edge of the little garden outside the north end of the picket fence.  My goal is to move a lot of these river rocks out over time, just because they are hard for an old lady to step over to get into the garden to weed.  I didn’t put ’em there.  Some can stay, but not all.

after (Allan’s photo)

I went into the back garden to prune a deadhead that I had noticed on a hydrangea.   It had been bugging me to think of it.  I do not remember this stairway being there before.  Perhaps it was added sometime in the past decade (mind boggling to think it has been almost a decade since we worked in this garden).

new (to me) stairs to the pub deck

Yes, the stairs are new.  Because I have a photo of the garden along the pub deck the way it used to be.

Agapanthus and Allium seedheads

It was stuffed with Agapanthus.  I had stuck some allium seedheads in there.

Now it is all fennel and crocosmia.  Where were the agapanthus? I was thrilled to find some in a mound next to the stairs, still growing.  For their tenacity, they were rewarded with a better home in the front garden.  In the upper right of the photo above, you can see hops growing on the pub railing.  I am sure the hops roots are still in this area.  They are perfect for twining on a pub fence; the diners loved them way back when.

There will be an L shaped border in the back garden on the west and south side inside the tall fence, where now montbretia grows.  Happily for us, someone else will be delegated to dig it all out and then we will plant edible flowers and herbs for the kitchen.

Although I had been eager to clip the epimedium on the north wall, today I decided to leave it for awhile longer so it will look attractive when the pub opens.  I was not sure when that will be. I want to pick the right moment just before the flower stalks (hidden under the leaves) come out.

epimedium, soon to be clipped so the flowers show

At a little after five, with rain just starting, we were able to call this project done.

Here are some befores and afters of the progress of four work days.



before, Monday, looking north from the hotel entrance


The south end, Monday

and today (still too many calla lilies in my opinion)

looking south from the north end, Monday (Allan’s photo)

and today

before, little north end bed with tatty rosettes of evening primrose (Monday)


When we got home, I saw on Facebook this exciting news:

Whew, with mulch not available again till Tuesday, we got the garden done JUST IN TIME!

We look forward to dining there, especially on the dining deck in summer.

When my wasband, Robert, and I first visited the Long Beach Peninsula in 1991 and were trying to decided whether we dared take the chance and leave Seattle to move here, the bartender at the time told us that he had moved here with only $100 and had lived in a shacky home with a leaky roof and cold water only for the first year.  And had never regretted it.  (We later learned his mom had lived in a converted garage apartment right across the street and that he could go there for a hot shower.  It’s still a good story.)  So the pub figured large in our moving here.  When we were on vacation, we had Laphroaig to drink.  After we moved, our tipple was something much, much less expensive.

At home, I was able to take the Shelburne off the spring clean up list.  I look forward to planting many cool plants there.  In the meantime, we have neglected all other jobs for a week and must get back to them.








Read Full Post »

Thursday, 22 February 2018

I awoke and thought “We will MULCH!”  I had talked with Shelburne owner Tiffany about getting a pile of mulch delivered, but over the course of working at the Shelburne for a couple of days, I had realized there was no good place to have a mulch pile dumped.  The hotel will need all its parking places soon when the pub opens, and right now all spots are taken up with workers for the refurbishing.  I made an executive decision to start the day by getting a yard of mulch for the areas we had cleared.  A plus: We could dump our load of debris at Peninsula Landscape Supply.  Some work time would be added picking up the mulch, but then time would be saved by being able to park (we hoped) near our mulch target area.

Peninsula Landscape Supply

The lava rock showed the cold.

(Lava rock is my least favourite; Pen. Landscape Supply also has grey gravel and river rock.)

P.L.S. owner Colleen gave me two cute pavers.

Inside the garden shop:

I was thrilled to learn that on March 2nd, P.L.S. will be going to their full seven days a week instead of three days a week.  (The three days a week winter hours is why I felt we must apply mulch TODAY.)

One yard Soil Energy (Allan’s photo)

Soil Energy combines composted wood products, aged screened sawdust, screened sand, composted chicken manure, lime, fertilizer and iron. (pH 6.2, brown tan in color, 38.9% organic matter).

One of their big trucks waiting to load up after us. (Allan’s photo)

The Shelburne Hotel

We had earlier this week weeded along most of the fence and had removed fennel and yellow flag iris.  The soil there had been low already.  I was so pleased when we had returned to this job to find that over the years, something I had wanted very much had been done: A board along the back of the sidewalk bed to make it possible to raise the soil to sidewalk level.


Allan loaded soil into the wheelbarrow for the front garden inside the fence, while I applied soil along the sidewalk with buckets.

I spy an aster.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo (too much hesperantha)

Allan’s photo

When I got to the south end of the sidewalk garden, Allan helped by digging out two Spiraea douglasii, a beautiful native shrub that used to fill up this end of the garden.  Its bloom time is brief and it is a pushy runner,  so these two starts had to go.  There is still one left on the inside, and will be forever, I suppose, because its roots go under the fence.  “It spreads by rhizomes, and is very aggressive, It often forms dense colonies and can quickly become the dominant species in a wetland habitat.”–nativeplantspnw.com

These would want to get as tall as me.

That was hard work and I am so glad Allan will tackle a task like this.


I salvaged three Kniphofia (the classic old red hot pokers) and replanted them.

If you know me well, this will shock you.  I planted some starts of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ on the north side of the entry way:

That is because I will never be able to eliminate these Lucifers from the south side:

The Crocosmia is actually a good plant.  I’ve just gone off of it because it has taken over some areas in Long Beach.  It is pushy but not as horribly pushy as orange montbretia (aka crocosmia).  Orange and red pop against the dark green hotel.  That is good because I’m sure I will never manage to completely eliminate the orange montbretia, whose corms are deeply entrenched in shrub and tree roots in some areas.

I am the one who originally planted the Lucifer here years ago.  I kept it contained to a couple of small areas.  It has gone on a rampage since then and is (or was, till this week) all through the garden.

I decided to send Allan for a second yard of mulch while I weeded madly to have enough garden prepared for it.  In picking up a pile of wisteria trimmings (clipped by another worker) to send with him for dumping, I found a surprise:

Here is the source of the yellow flag iris starts that were all along the fence!

Iris pseudacorus is a class C noxious weed here.  It is not mandatory to eliminate it.  However, we (meaning Allan)  are going to dig up this patch on our next day here.  It does not bloom at all in this dense shade and so many better things could replace it.  I would like to get some cyclamen starts from Our Kathleen if she has any to spare, and I could transplant some epimedium into this spot and some hellebore seedlings.  I hope that gardeners from the Big City will stay at the Shelburne and be pleasantly surprised to find garden treasures to admire.

back at Peninsula Landscape Supply (Allan’s photo)

While Allan was gone, I transplanted some hardy fuchsias that were in front of two small rose bushes, blocking them from getting sunlight. The fuchsias went down to the rhododendron end.   I loosened up three more big woody fuchsia clumps that my wonky back suggested I wait for Allan to remove.  When he came back he did…

Anytime he is working in that area, I fretfully cry, “Watch out for the windows!”  We are both excruciatingly careful back there.  The windows were imported from England.

Here is a historic photo of the Shelburne, before two buildings were joined together to make a greater whole.  It used to be across the street from where it sits now.

Along with loosening the fuchsia clumps, which would like to be so tall that they would block the windows, and one of which was swamping a rose bush, I had ruched out loads of running aster roots.  It helps that the roots are a distinctive pinky-purple.  And I had also pulled out two buckets full of pink-rooted Lysimachia punctata which had colonized almost all of the garden on the north side of the entry.  I will let some grow but I want more variety.  Lysimachia punctata is a plant that is so aggressive that I have (almost) completely eliminated from my garden.

The three fuchsias (plain old Fuchsia magellanica) had to go away; their roots were infested with bindweed, scilla, and aster.  There are still many smaller specimens left of the same plant.

Allan’s photo

Have I mentioned these want to get tall?  A passerby familiar with the garden said that in recent years, “from across the street, you could hardly see that the building was there”.

A cleared area. The aster will come back but in moderation.  The white phlox can breathe now.

second load (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

5 PM with the temperature dropping rapidly

looking south from the north end, with montbretia still to be edited, on the right

I’ve started weeding out the grass along the sides of the round pavers and moving some of the loose river rock to the very north end outside the fence.  I would love to have had time to finish that weeding, but the ground was starting to freeze and we were running out of daylight.

looking south. The southernmost end still needs to be weeded and mulched.

looking north from the entry way, before Allan did some more soil smoothing.

Allan’s photo, after soil smoothing with the back of a rake

Here is how it looked three work days ago:

Monday, before, looking north from the hotel entrance


looking south from the entryway, 5 PM today

Here is how it looked three work days ago:

We need to weed and edit up to the north end fence.  One more yard of mulch will finish the front garden mulching.  I have many the cool plant in my garden which I will divide and plant into this garden.  The good kind of passalong plant.  I look forward to days warm enough to start that part of the project.

Salt Pub

Tonight was our weekly North Beach Garden Gang dinner.  This time, the core four of us were joined by Our Kathleen and by Todd (Willapa Gardening).

We gave Todd his belated birthday presents.

Allan’s photo

two books: Cutting Back, my favourite gardening memoir of the last decade, and The Essential Earthman by Henry Mitchell.

–Henry Mitchell was to gardening what Izaak Walton was to fishing. The Essential Earthman is a collection of the best of his long-running column for the Washington Post. Although he offered invaluable tips for novice as well as seasoned gardeners, at the heart of his essays were piquant observations: on keeping records; the role of trees in gardens (they don’t belong there); how a gardener should weather the winter; on shrubs, bulbs, and fragrant flowers―and about observation itself. “The most soul-satisfying gardening book in years.” ―New York Times  (thanks to Leslie Buck for finding this quotation)

Cutting Back made me want to meticulously shape up so many shrubs and trees…I have not had time to get to all of them.

Todd, who had been with his twin sister in Hawaii for his birthday, brought us all delicious Hawaiian chocolates.

We had the most excellent conversation about everyone’s latest gardening and home projects.  I fear that for awhile I dominated the conversation with Shelburne this and Shelburne that, because I am obsessed.

Our delicious food:

cheese curd app with chipotle sauce (Allan’s photo)

crab mac and cheese

pork belly poutine (I would have had this if it was chicken poutine)

smoked tuna melt with salad subbed for fries

Melissa showed us this photo of her garden a couple of days ago:

photo by Melissa Van Domelen

When I got home after dinner, I had a chat on the phone with Bill and Carol Clearman, making for a good end to a satisfying day and evening.

Friday, 23 February 2018

I woke with an intense desire to get back to the Shelburne and dig up yellow flags and edit the orange montbretia and finish weeding the north end so that we would be ready for more mulch.  I was so determined that I did not care that it was 29 degrees.  (Our Kathleen says the low at her cottage halfway up the peninsula was 21F this morning. Her cottage is set down in a “holler”.) Normally, I would not work in such cold weather.  But I am obsessed.

Just as Allan was getting the trailer ready for work, snow began.  I looked at the weather report and saw this:

Never mind.  I’m not that obsessed.

Even this picture on my bookshelves failed to inspire.

It became a blogging day.  With this post done, I can do another book list post.  (Late last night, I posted Reading in 1993, so I have a long way to go.)











Read Full Post »

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Shelburne Hotel

We went back to the Shelburne, after waiting for the weather to warm up just a bit. It was 38F on our way there.

We at least wanted to accomplish a few things, like pruning the stubs off the tree at the north end of the front garden.

Before: It has been badly pruned, leaving ugly stubby branches, and has suckers at the base.

It has put out runner shrubs on the inside and outside of the fence.

Allan did the pruning and dug up two of the runner shrubs (which were substantial) from the inside.

After removing the stub branches, he lifts up the inner side so that tall people can pass easily (and so it is balanced).

a stubby cotoneaster situation that Allan also fixed.

The little north end garden got a hardy fuchsia that had been in the middle of the inner garden and that had Japanese anemone in its roots. I don’t want the latter running rampant.

before, with tatty rosettes of evening primrose


There are only so many extra plants this little area can take.  It already got the variegated euonymus on Monday.

I do not recall any of this garden being overrun with scilla.  Now most of it is, like someone planted scilla over the last nine years.  Oh, dear. Or perhaps I’ve blotted out the memory.

Meanwhile, I weeded and moved some plants around.

I found an old pulmonaria of mine swamped with montbretia, and rescued and replanted it.

a rose right next to a hydrangea. I moved the rose.

Pink Poppy Farm’s Maddy stopped by to see the progress in the hotel.  She said she was glad it had warmed up a bit for us and I realized it had.  Maybe to 42.  I was no longer thinking I’d have to give up at any minute.

I found bindweed roots all through the garden.  Sorrow.  I used to have it almost gone.

I found my good old clump of Eutrochium (Joe Pye Weed) infested with asters, and managed to save some of the Joe Pye.

The running aster is all through the garden, up in everyone’s business.  I found and removed ten more small aconitums (monkshoods), too poisonous for a hotel garden.  They can happily live in MY garden, which is fair, because I’ll be provided the Shelburne garden with lots of free plants from my garden—but good passalong plants, not pesky ones like running asters.  There is also way too much Crocosmia, both “Lucifer” and orange montbretia, which has been let run around at will.  I got out enough to make room for more variety.  There is still one more way too big patch of orange montbretia to tackle.

We took this honeysuckle whose only support was a bamboo hoop…

…and planted it where it can run up the cotoneaster that is trimmed to be tree-like.

I was sad to find Lamiastrum galeobdolon in the garden.  I could not remember its name, even though I know I loathe it.  Our Kathleen stopped by just at that moment and said “Yellow archangel”.  I had spaced out that she’s here on a week’s vacation and was so glad to be reminded so that she can join us for our garden gang dinner.  Yellow archangel is a baddy, and a perfect example of the kind of passalong plant that you do not want.

Here is a fennel that would be mighty hard to remove, so we might just control it so that it does not throw seeds around:

While we were working, beautiful new copper lamps were installed on either side of the entryway.

(There is not really a vacancy right now as the hotel is closed till spring for refurbishing. All sorts of good things are happening inside, including an expansion of the pub dining area.)

What do you think about this barberry, no doubt Berberis ‘Helmond Pillar’?  I have mixed feelings about it; has it gotten just too shabby?

Make it or break it? (It looks better in this photo than it does in person.)

There are several roses that are new since my time in this garden.  I am hoping they are good ones. Time will tell! I look forward to bloom season. It will be exciting to see what flowers they have.  Most of the old, small pink flowered roses (not Cecile Brunner) are still in the garden.

At 4:15, with the temperature dropping rapidly, we started to clean up.  I’d hoped to be ready for mulching but the wealth of asters and montbretia in the garden will mean one more half day of editing before mulching. We’re still within our budget plan!

Here are some befores and afters, with the befores being from Monday at the end of the workday.

Monday end of day

today, end of day

Monday end of day

today, end of day (a lot of aster removal was done on the left side)

The north end, which we have barely begun, Monday

And today. We are grateful someone took out the black platform on the left side.

We got a nice mention on the Shelburne Facebook page on Tuesday. Photo by Kacia Lessnau. Typically, I had my shirt buttoned up wrong.


Earlier this week, I finished Tears We Cannot Stop.  It is relatively short and completely brilliant and written in such a loving and tender way.

If folks who respond to Black Lives Matter with “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” would just (please!) read the chapter called Coptopia, I think they would finally understand.  The end has some ideas for what white folks can do to make a difference.

Read Full Post »

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Allan mowed the lawn, even though the weather was so very cold (hovering around 39F).

Allan’s photo

After a weekend of cold, rainy and windy weather, with my head stuck into my old book lists, we emerged to have dinner  with Lorna, good friend and former client when she used to own Andersen’s RV Park.  What a great client she was, the biggest spender on wonderful plants that we ever had the pleasure to work for.  She treated us to dinner at The Depot Restaurant.

delicious salads and artichoke fritos appetizer.

Southern comfort pork for Lorna (also Our Kathleen’s favourite!)

Steak Killian for me

Parmesan chicken for Allan

blackberry cheesecake all ’round

We had excellent conversation, reminiscing about gardening days and catching up on all the latest news from here and from her new home in Seattle.  Because she is going to visit Norway this summer (and we hope to get guest photos), she recommended this blog post by Martha Stewart, all about the seed vault there.  We are honored that Lorna reads Martha’s blog, the Tootlepedal blog, and our blog.

Monday, 19 February 2018

I thought for sure we were going to have another day off.  I caught up on some lost sleep (chronic insomnia) and when I woke, the day was sunny and not quite in the thirties.  I’d been obsessing mentally about the Shelburne garden and so I suggested to Allan that we go to work.  I remembered, from the ten years or so that we cared for the garden in the past, that it is a sheltered place to work, out of any wind, and warmed by the sun.

The Shelburne Hotel

The hotel is bustling with workers as it is closed till early spring for refurbishing.

Our responsibility for now is to bring back the front garden to be an enchanting cottage style garden.  One feature of a true old fashioned cottage garden of days of old in England was passalong plants. My goal is something a bit more sophisticated, because passalong (free) plants are usually the most invasive ones.  Indeed, the garden today was particularly full of fennel, which is now on the noxious weed list, and is quite a bear to dig up because of its long taproot.  It is a class B noxious weed because “Common fennel escapes cultivation and quickly establishes dense infestations that crowd out native plants that are critical to wildlife habitats. Infestations are becoming more common in Western Washington and may pose a threat to native grasslands.”  While it should be fine to grow some in the herb and edible flower border that will eventually be part of the Shelburne’s courtyard garden, I don’t want it all over the front garden setting a bad example by inspiring folks to want to grow it because it is a beautiful plant.  It will also reseed so much that it pushes out variety, and of course, we need room for cosmos and lilies.

Allan’s photo

lemon balm, fennel, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, and what I am 99% sure is the invasive yellow flag iris.

In case that is yellow flag iris, and because we don’t want to set a bad example by making people want to grow it, and because it is all along the front sidewalk garden and we want more variety, we got rid of two big clumps of it that were going to throw the entryway off balance anyway.  I’ll see what the remaining clumps turn out to be.

in close up


Ed and Jackson Strange (Strange Landscaping) stopped by briefly to see what we were up to.

Jackson Strange (Allan’s photo)

before, looking north from the hotel entrance

Four and a half hours later. (Eventually, the grassy sides of the paver walkway will be weeded.)

Before: looking south

Allan’s photo

four hours later (Allan’s photo)

To the right, above, you can see a wealth of crocosmia…rather too much.

Before: Looking southwest from the sidewalk

4.5 hours later!

We removed mint and lemon balm from the garden, and put a goodly amount in a couple of pots for the restaurant to use as garnish if they so desire, and planted the rest in an obscure corner of the back garden where it can be useful without running into good plants.  We started to eliminate the pesky orange montbretia, and edited way too many plain fuchsia magellanica that were crowding through the front garden (too much is too much even though it is a plant I love). They got relegated to a shady spot in the back garden.  An aggressively running aster is all through the beds and will be an ongoing challenge.

I want balance, and was pleased to move a little rose to balance another rose, so that now each side of the entry has a rose, as it once was and should again be.

Allan took out this euphorbia and this euonymus which were making the front sidewalk entry unbalanced, as they were only on one side.



There are lots of the euphorbias in the garden now, so one won’t be missed, and the euonymus got moved down to the north end of the garden.  The euphorbia went into our trailer, not worth saving as it was not a handsome specimen.  Some time later, a passerby did some “diving” into the trailer and asked if she could have it.  She was so happy when we said yes, and the euphorbia will have a new home.  (We warned her that some people have a bad reaction to the milky sap of a clipped stem.)

I found some surprising changes.  Where there used to be two hydrangeas, one at each end of the pub dining deck, now there is one hydrangea to the west, and this tropical accent to the east.  I have to ask Danger Garden what it is. (The answer: Cordyline australis.)  I remember now that the hydrangea that used to be there was slowly rotting out at the center.

a little bit silly in this spot?

I was thrilled to find some of “my” cool old plants had survived, like some epimedium and some pulmonaria.

Our goal is to bring the garden back to looking more like this, in photos from 2007:

summer garden at the Shelburne with lilies and Melianthus major ‘Antenow’s Blue’

Cerinthe major purpurascens, one of my favourite annuals

in 2007

You can perhaps see why this job has me so excited that I added it on, despite our vows to cut back on work.

Here was the dining deck by the pub in 2008, with some containers we planted.  We look forward to lunches there this summer:

This past weekend, we watched a delightful British gardening movie, This Beautiful Fantastic.

I like the second poster best.

Because we both have face blindness, we did not recognize Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey.

I thought about the film at the Shelburne because one scene featured an older gardener giving a tour of his own garden and saying how poisonous monkshood is.

I was thinking of that as I removed a dozen monkshoods from the front edge of the Shelburne garden. It’s too likely someone would pick them for a bouquet. I don’t allow them in resort or public gardens even though I do love them in mine.

I am eager to get back to the job; one more day of weeding and clipping, and we will be ready for mulch for the front garden.  However, when we stopped work today it was a finger numbing 39F, and tomorrow we might even get snow, and then a whole bunch of rain.  I will be impatient to return to this project.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

I woke very late, thinking I hoped it was early so I could sleep some more. Pouring rain mixed with wet snow will keep me from the Shelburne today and maybe for most of the week. My first thoughts were about plants for the Shelburne. It’s sentimental to me. Robert and I went to the pub there several times on vacations here and it’s one of the places that helped lure me to move to the peninsula.

Here’s a guest photo of the dunes in Surfside this morning.  If Ilwaco got snow like this, we missed it while asleep.  The light on the horizon is from a crabbing boat.

photo by Nancy Gorshe, co owner of the Depot Restaurant

I’ve been working on my old reading posts, which are publishing retroactively to Feb. 15th.

Read Full Post »

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

We were glad to being the day quite late in the morning.

Allan’s photo, too early!

By the time we started work, we had a calm, not windy, and not too cold day to begin the spring clean up of the Howerton Avenue curbside gardens and the port office garden.

across from the port office

the little dog who lives on the Rum Runner

Iris reticulata ‘Eye Catcher’ in the port office garden

Howerton by Port Office, before (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan hurt his ho-mi.


after trimming lavenders (Allan’s photo)

The “drive over garden”:


and after, with santolina trimmed

I got Allan to tackle this mugo pine, which is too big and I think will be removed this year.


before (Allan’s photos)

and after

Some new signage at the Ilwaco pavilion:

The bed by the pavilion, from which we had had some large shrubs removed last fall, had responded with lots of little weeds.  It’s tedious to weed big bare areas that don’t have cool plants filled in yet.



I am 99% percent sure that the two stumps of wax myrtle will revive and can then be kept low.

I got to meet the owner of this truck, which I’ve admired parked in Long Beach.  She says it has been officially tested to be sturdy and roadworthy.

We planted some Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ in the CoHo Charters lava rock bed.

Allan’s photo

I am going to get some white heathers, just three (or one!) to match up with the white heathers at the other end.  I had told CoHo Charters’ Captain Butch that I just could no longer stand the boredom of weeding plain lava rock.  So I have permission to make it more interesting.

Finally, we tidied up the bed by the old Wade Gallery, which is soon going to be occupied by David Jensen’s architecture firm.

before (Allan’s photos)

and after

Allan got some photos of a view in a city employees area at the east end of the port.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

We planted a few starts of Solidago ‘Fireworks’ at the boatyard garden.

Allan’s photo

We’ll be back to this garden before long to trim the santolinas.

Allan’s photo

The weather turned unpromising. Shortly after starting work on Howerton, we sat out a squall.

Soon, though, we were back at it.  Allan took all the rest of the gardening photos today.

I stood up fast and my back went so painfully SPROING that I had to go stand against a wall for awhile to straighten up.  I had run out of Ethos 2:1 tincture a couple of days ago.

weeding a curbside garden



We clipped grasses and santolinas and did considerable weeding down by the new Skywater art gallery and the Freedom (marijuana) Market.  I shopped, too, and bought myself some more Ethos 2:1 in hope of fending off more back pain.  I talked to the Freedom Market manager about how last year, little plant starts I put in their shop garden got stolen.  This year, they have better security cameras and so I have tried again.

In the curbside gardens:

unseasonal daisies

That reminds me of how I made a composite photo last year of nassella (the grass, above) mingling with my hair.

tidied up


the sidewalk walk-through


A cold wind made the end of the workday uncomfortable.  We prevailed.  Allan weeded the Salt Hotel curbside garden and I noticed a project there for tomorrow.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Despite a cold wind, again, I was determined to finish Howerton today.  (Allan took all but two of today’s photos.)

We went back to Salt with some clumps of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, my go-to when I need some free plants to fill in.

Out came tatty old blue fescue, to be replaced with the sedums.

I could not help but clip some sword ferns in the Salt containers.

adding some sedums down by the Freedom Market

We did more weeding in the two westernmost beds (Freedom Market, Skywater), and I trimmed some more santolinas at Time Enough Books.

snow drops!

We had one half of the old Shorebank garden left to weed.  I had been gathering some of my good Eryngiums and salvias that were struggling last year in dry areas, and we put them into the Shorebank area that WE water.

Finally, all we had left was the easternmost garden bed.

I was too cold and busy to even walk across the parking lot and look at the marina.

view from the garden





I had suddenly decided that all the old nassella had to go, making this area a much bigger job than I had planned.



At home, Devery’s cat, Jazmine, watched Allan unhook the trailer.

Over the past three days, we have brought home so much compostable material that two compost bins have gotten filled to the brim.

North Beach Garden Gang meeting and dinner

We are getting back on schedule now with our regular meetings with Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening).  It is satisfying and comforting to catch up with each other’s garden projects.

Tonight: [pickled fish] in Long Beach

hot and spicy brussell sprouts appetizer

cabbage and apple salad


in the foyer

The [pickled fish] is in Adrift Hotel. The owners of Adrift, Inn at Discovery Coast, and Ashore Hotel in Seaside are taking on the Shelburne Hotel. We are meeting with them tomorrow about the Shelburne garden, which I cared for between about 1996? and 2009?

Next day:

The work board shows some exciting news. Unfortunately, we are due for light snow, wind, and 20 degree weather (at night) through Monday. I’ll focus on my book lists postings and then:

Read Full Post »

Monday, 12 February 2018

Long Beach

We began with the “little pop outs” on Ocean Beach Boulevard.  The lot by one of them has been cleared of shore pines.

That suddenly made the sidewalk popout to the south side of Seventh Street more visible, especially if this lot is going to be developed.

south pop out, before, with Allan working on the north one.

After. The mugo pine was wobby and rotten at the base, so it is gone. It had had to be pruned so much for traffic sightlines that I was glad of it.

North pop out before:



north little pop out, after moving rocks out to show more

We happened to see Parks Manager Mike in town and I was able to briefly ask him to get us a pile of Soil Energy mulch.

waiting for my moment

I look forward to the mulch, which I am now confident will appear.

Anchorage Cottages

Today we made our first wake up call to the Anchorage garden.

I am sort of trying to save a tree there: the gold one by the office.

I feel it is needed for verticality.  I also wish the old locust on the right could be saved, because it gives privacy from a big house next door.  There has been talk for awhile of removing the gold cedar, and I had even recommended the best tree service (Arbor Care in Astoria), and then I found myself brooding about the drabness that would result in the tree being gone and realized I had better take the cutting down plan more seriously.  I suggested that Arbor Care would be skilled at going up inside the tree and pruning out all the ugly dead parts and ugly stubby pruning.  Now there may be a chance to save it (and the locust, too, if I had my way.)

Looking up from below, the tree is not at all attractive inside.

Our friend Mitzu the Shitzu was having a spa day so we did not get to see her.  We did meet a fine and friendly and very good dog named Maggie.

sweet Maggie

I am pleased with how a patch of virburnums has filled in so nicely, as I expected they eventually wood after I pruned them down for legginess.

I’d like to see them at least a third of the way up the lower windows.


one of the four window boxes

window box crocuses

hellebore and ranunculus

small cupped narcissus

Long Beach

We remembered to clean up one more small bed at Minnie Culbertson Park.

clipping Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and then pulling a few weeds


At home, I was pleased to erase two clean ups from the work list.

We had time for a brief sit down before going out again to an Ilwaco city council meeting.

Our neighbour next door to the east, Jared, is now on the council, as is Missy, who lives in the next block.  Allan and I had no mission except to show quiet support for the mostly new council and the new mayor.

In the “comments from public” part of the evening, I was surprised to hear a citizen complain that Ilwaco was not lit up well enough for Christmas.  For a tiny town of under 1000 people (929 in 2016), I think we are doing well to have our crab pot lights on First Avenue, and our crab pot tree, lights on the lamp posts on both Howerton and Elizabeth, and beautiful wreath-and-candle lights at the fire station and library and city hall, not to mention the several private homes with lavish displays on Spruce Street.  I thought of how Jenna and Don and Allan and I had decorated and undecorated the crab pot tree and pondered later that volunteer opportunities must be publicized more.  That part of the  meeting inspired some pondering about how instead of criticizing, positivity has better results.  I was sadly reminded of when I was an incomer, new to town and full of ideas—the same ideas, often involving what people should do with their private property, that have been stated by incomers like me over and over again.  I had to go hide out in my little house behind the boatyard for awhile to live it down.  I figured out then that the best thing I could do to improve the town was to create some beauty, and that’s when I imperialized (with permission) a strip of weeds at the boatyard and created the boatyard garden, and later created the post office garden.  (The boatyard turned into a paid job after it was removed for an electrical line and had to be re-created; the post office is still volunteer.) I had thought of doing a low maintenance bed at the new playground, with ornamental grasses and tough perennials, but no one took me up on that one.  I had another big idea about walking around in winter staycations to pick up trash…and then my knee went wonky so that idea fizzled.  It would be a great volunteer community service for someone to take on.  I now have another little gardening idea in mind, one that has been brewing in my mind for a couple of years, but I am hoping to find some help with it.  More on this later, maybe.

My reading is going slowly because of working on my old book lists.  I have these lined up next:

Reading my old book lists makes me remember how I used to read almost exclusively for nothing but entertainment, decades ago.  For the bookish: I have been plugging away at my old book lists and have added several new posts, from 1986 on,  here.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »