Archive for Apr, 2018

Saturday, 28 April 2018

I was still sick; Allan felt better because he got this thing sooner and so is further on the road to recovery.  He decided to go weeding in the afternoon.  First came a lady bug rescue from a water bucket:

Ilwaco Community Building

so much heather, now with flowers browning off, and lots of deadheading to do

Tulipa batalinii ‘Bronze Charm’

along the sidewalk

the tiered garden, rather dull at the moment with the narcissi and tulips over

Ilwaco Boatyard Garden

I had just heard, on video, Monty Don (Gardeners’ World) talking about how fertile soil will produce quantities of weeds all of a sudden in spring.  Yep.

lots of poppy and limnanthes seedlings

after weeding



yay, an Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

See the holly leaf above, upper left? They lie in wait, after blowing in from a holly hedge across the street to the north.

sweet peas up along the fence!

and horsetail; weeding must be precise.

sweet peas and lilies


In the time he stopped, Allan got about one sixth of the garden done.  He had acquired some quick energy at the local market:

a good start

There are no sort of “You are here” type of photos today.  So see below. The narrow boatyard garden runs along 1st Ave S.

Meanwhile, at home:

These books had come, recommended to me in The Bad Tempered Gardener by Anne Wareham.

I have a few non-gardening books out of the library which may have to be returned and reordered later.

I have started a trilogy of memoirs by Alan Titchmarsh (former host of my favourite show, Ground Force and of Gardeners’ World).

I did finish the first one today.

His writing style reminds me of that of my Leedsman ex-spouse.  It must be a northern thing. I appreciate that Mr. Titchmarsh shares some of his insecurity, which surprised me:

Alan Titchmarsh in Nobbut a Lad

I then indulged in several more online episodes of Gardeners’ World with Monty Don, mostly from 2015.

This is heaven.

From the gardener at Windy Hall: “It shouldn’t look like you’ve worked it.  Let the plants tell you the story.  Let the mosses tell you the story.”  Here is the garden tour segment.

I failed to note the name of the garden below.  Google tells me it is called Dragon’s Glen. It is spectacular. View it right here.

Why can we not have garden shows that so carefully and thoroughly go on tours of gobsmacking gardens?

Frosty and Nigel

Some notes:

Pea sticks!  I had forgotten about using pea sticks (cut branches, I used to use the ones from my pear tree in Seattle) to make a support for vines.

Indian runner ducks eat slugs and don’t scratch about like chickens do.

Aquatic baskets for planting in ponds!  Holes give water circulation so you don’t get stinky soil.

I love Monty Don ever so much.  He says, “On earth, we each only occupy a small amount of space and not for very long.”   And “I’ve written at great length about how gardening has helped me with depression simply through the process of looking after plants.”

I also read, later in the evening, that he is a self taught gardener, as are many whom I admire (including Rosemary Verey, I believe).  At age 53, ten years ago (he’s just my age!) he had a minor stroke.  I find it deeply comforting that he was later able to return to hosting Gardeners’ World.  In his absence, the show had catered more to beginning gardeners and angered loyal viewers, who felt that the new focus on gardening for beginners represented a dumbing down of the content…….the BBC acknowledged that the show needed to change and announced a return to “proper, grown-up gardening”.    More here.

At bedtime, I began to re-read another Titchmarsh memoir, Trowel and Error.  Tomorrow, unless we have torrential rain, I have no choice but to go back to work.   With big annual parades in both Long Beach and Ilwaco, there is much to do between now and next weekend, and there is no back up plan and no substitute gardeners to be had.




Read Full Post »

Friday, 27 April 2018

From my comfy chair

I had no fever today but am playing it safe. I spent seven hours watching one after another episodes of Gardeners’ World online….also frustrated by the ones that are cruelly locked away from US viewers….and three episodes of an older Monty and Sarah Don show called Fork to Fork, about kitchen gardening, which went faster because I skipped the cooking parts.

An segment about how to control impatiens glandulifera (touch me not, jewelweed) talked about introduced a plant specific rust.  I thought it odd, as it won’t kill all the plants but will make the remaining ones ugly. And how do they know it won’t jump to other plants despite all their testing?

Impatiens glandulifera

It is a problem plant because it pushes out native plants, reducing plant diversity by 25%, then dies back in winter, leaving river banks to erode and wash silt into the water.  Its seeds propel themselves for seven meters. The fellow who spoke about it pronounced it im-pat-i-ens.  It will be illegal to buy in the U.K. after August 2018.

“Come on, Nigel…”

A heavenly sick day for me and Frosty

I love the camera’s devotion to Nigel.

Nellie helping

Monty’s excellent cloches

Inspirational patio

This show makes me tear up with joy.

An entire segment on allotments!

From Fork to Fork: nematodes that battle slugs. Must have.

So far I have only found U.K. Sources for these nematodes. Why??

Forget gardening; I will be happily sat here for the next two decades catching up on British gardening shows. I even found one called Garden Rescues that was led by a now middle aged Charlie Dimmock from my beloved Ground Force. But the clients were so boring that I did not make it through.

More interesting items from Gardeners’ World:

The term “formative pruning” for shaping up shrubs and trees.

Lilian regale is Monty’s favourite. Regarding warnings for viewers (and google) that lilies are dangerous for cats, he said he’s had lilies and cats for years with no harm.

Another gardener, named Adam, while planting a large tree: “Get a friend or a neighbor around to help. But I haven’t got many friends.” I felt at home when he said he was “chuffed”, meaning pleased.

Dr Ross Cameron spoke of making a double hedge to muffle noise and said that different leacemsizes and shapes cut out different frequencies.

Snowdrops were not mentioned in English literature till the 15th century.

Oh, how I loved the episode with two twin brothers growing the biggest U.K. Pumpkin!

Don’t grow different kinds of mints in the sane container or the flavours will get “muddled”. (Oops.)

Using cardboard as the base of a planting bed introduces carbon and encourages microbial activity. (I would guess also true of newspaper.)

When apple trees “make a permanent open framework thru which a pigeon can easily fly”

Cutback ferns to in spring to “reveal the knuckle of bud”.

Flowers that close up when the sun goes away do so to protect their pollen from rain.

The episode featuring the Bosco Verticale apartment buildings in Milan had a thrilling segment about the “flying gardeners” pruning the vertical garden trees and shrubs.

For pond plants: Aquatic containers with holes, and aquatic compost, and fabric pots.

Monty: “Oh, there’s Nigel’s ball. Now, where is the wildlife that is usually attached to that?”

Monty does not wear gardening gloves, nor did another regular, even when pruning rambling roses.

In the fall, Monty said “You can plant perennials any time up until next April”… which is why I am feeling behind while being sick and unable to plant.

I was shocked when he said the winter temp had gotten to 14 below, then remembered it was Celsius!!

Meanwhile, Allan went to deadhead the Depot Restaurant garden; I had remembered at two AM that it needed doing. While he was out, I texted him to deadhead a Long Beach pampas grass if he felt up to it with his lingering cold. I forgot he did not have the trailer with him.

Long Beach:

The newly painted sign at the Shelburne:

The Depot garden:

Definitely needed deadheading!

In the evening, Frosty helped me write a blog post.

I must not let my intense joy in watching Gardeners’ World prevent me from reading the stack of gardening books that await me.

Read Full Post »

Thursday, 26 April 2018

I awoke knowing that I felt too sick to go to work.  Allan went outside and mowed three lawns, as this is possibly the last nice day when he will have time.  Rain tomorrow, and then we will be awfully busy catching up with work. I hope. He mowed ours, Devery’s next door, and J’s tiny pocket lawn across the street. 

When I finally made it from bed to comfy chair, I continued reading my latest book. 

Alan Titchmarsh was the host of Ground Force,  a television show much beloved by me. I have read his memoir Trowel and Error and now own it and two other memoirs. The childhood one seemed the right one to start with. 

I do love the allotments of the U.K.  

A photo I took in 1988:

I also love the song My Old Dutch, by Albert Chevalier, here quoted by Alan’s granddad. 

I’ve got a pal,

A reg’lar out an’ outer,

She’s a dear good old gal,

I’ll tell yer all about ‘er.

It’s many years since fust we met,

‘Er ‘air was then as black as jet,

It’s whiter now, but she don’t fret,

Not my old gall

We’ve been together now for forty years,

An’ it don’t seem a day too much,

There ain’t a lady livin’ in the land

As I’d swop for my dear old Dutch.

I calls ‘er Sal,

‘Er proper name is Sairer,

An’ yer may find a gal

As you’d consider fairer.

She ain’t a angel — she can start

A-jawin’ till it makes yer smart,

She’s just a woman, bless ‘er eart,

Is my old gal!

We’ve been together now for forty years,

An’ it don’t seem a day too much,

There ain’t a lady livin’ in the land

As I’d swop for my dear old Dutch.

Sweet fine old gal,

For worlds I wouldn’t lose ‘er,

She’s a dear good old gal,

An’ that’s what made me choose ‘er.

She’s stuck to me through thick and thin,

When luck was out, when luck was in,

Ah wot a wife to me she’s been,

An’ wot a pal!

We’ve been together now for forty years,

An’ it don’t seem a day too much,

There ain’t a lady livin’ in the land

As I’d swop for my dear old Dutch.

I sees yer Sal —

Yer pretty ribbons sportin’

Many years now, old gal,

Since them young days of courtin’.

I ain’t a coward, still I trust

When we’ve to part, as part we must,

That Death may come and take me fust

To wait… my pal!

We’ve been together now for forty years,

An’ it don’t seem a day too much,

There ain’t a lady livin’ in the land

As I’d swop for my dear old Dutch.

In the late afternoon. I needed to roust myself out so we could go to pick up some plants from The Basket Case Greenhouse.

On the way, we checked out the new paint job at the Ilwaco Post Office.  I like the way the darker and shinier grey sets off the plants. 

Here it is in 2015, a paler grey:

And today:

Now it is painted all the way to the ground, and I can take back the nice big rocks that I used to hide the unpainted lower edge.

The boxes provided by the postmistress well protected the lilies:

At The Basket Case Greenhouse:

Allan’s photo

Penny (Allan’s photo)

The other greeter, whose name I forget–sorry, darling little one (Allan’s photo)

Usually I pick up and snuggle the little one, but I did not want to get my germs on him. 

Another staff member at the door

I even disinfected my credit card before giving it to Roxanne. 

Allan’s photo

I was greatly impressed with what the Basket Case has in stock, and I suggest you locals get some. 

One of three greenhouses

Not only do they have Agastaches (my current favourite perennial), but they also have:


Eryngium ‘Big Blue’ (and also ‘Jade Frost’)

Two kinds of Hakanechloa



Brugmansia (I wish I had succumbed to its allure)

Euphorbia ‘Apricot Rainbow’

Fuchsia ‘Sharpitor Aurea’

I think the above Fuchsia is how we met Our Kathleen, when she asked its identity at The Anchorage Cottages, back when she used to vacation there and I used to garden there. 

Fuchsia ‘Golden Gate’

Fuchsia ‘Pat’s Dream’ and several more hardy fuchsias

Pat’s Dream was the first large flowered hardy fuchsia that I ever grew. A real doer. 

Salvia patens, will have amazing blue hooded flowers

Melianthus major

This is the first time I have seen Melianthus major available locally. 

We got a few plants:

At home, I got them mostly sorted out.

But when I went inside to the comfy chair, I felt suddenly exhausted and hot.  Like a good hypochondriac, I took my temperature and it was 100, and I coughed till I hurt.  Allan, who is much better now, went through all this ahead of me. My mother’s rule that you must never work the day after having a fever meant that my plan to get to planting on Friday were kiboshed. Many times, I have worked while sick and feverish because I had to pay the bills.  It is a relief to be able to afford time off. 

After I had raved about Monty Don’s dogs-and-gardening  book, Nigel, Alison of the Bonney Lassie blog had told me that I could watch episodes of his show, Gardener’s World, online. Some of them have been recently locked from USA viewers, which seems terribly mean to me, but she helped me find some.  Oh! I was in heaven.  Years ago, in the mid 90s, I subscribed to Gardeners’ World magazine (expensive here) but I had never seen the show. It far surpasses the shows presently available to us since Home and Garden Television dropped their few good gardening shows (I still miss Erica Glasener’s Gardener’s Diary).  Out of Portland, we used to have In the Garden with Mike Darcy, which was inexplicably canceled. The modern American shows do not feature detailed tours of private gardens and are lacking in cool plants. Gardener’s World has everything I want in a show. Including delightful attention paid to the host’s dogs, Nigel and Nellie. 

Pure heaven: Monty holds up the seed head of Allium schubertii

Nigel’s steadfast presence

Nigel and Nellie

I watched three episodes and suddenly no longer minded the idea of a day off on Friday. My only concern is how much the telly show  will cut into my reading time. I wish it were winter again. 

Thank you so much to whoever recommended the book Nigel (Felicia or Alison, I believe; please remind me) and sent me down this delightful path. 

Read Full Post »

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Shelburne Hotel

We planted an assortment of my favourite plants: Agastaches ‘Acapulco Salmon and Pink’ and ‘Sangria’ and ‘Golden Jubilee’, Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’, Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’, Zaluzianskya ovata (which should give great fragrance in the evening, so it went by the pub deck and the front entry), Diascia ‘Blackthorn Apricot’ (in pots with a couple of the Zaluzianskya).  This involved removing plants that had scattered into the wrong places during our long absence (the years when we did not work here between 2009 and now), including more monkshood that is popping up here and there (too poisonous for a public garden).

I am still desperate for a Melianthus major ‘Antenow’s Blue’ to grow under the arched window as in days of old.  Plain melianthus would be too tall, and not as blue.  Can’t get Antenow’s Blue here!   I don’t want to mail order it; hoping Melissa will find me one at Xera Plants.

looking north from the entry

Years ago:

summer garden at the Shelburne Inn

looking south from the entry

the pub deck with a couple of newly planted pots

a couple of newly planted semi shade pots in the back garden

While we worked, a staff member was digging out the six back yard beds.  In yesterday’s heat, he had removed the railroad ties.  This area will be graveled and will become a wedding and event area.

progress in the back garden

as it was a week ago

Allan hose watered for the first time this year.

Allan’s photo

I had brought a bouquet for the lobby:

And the new sign by the street had been installed. Wait till you see the gorgeous job that Brady was doing on the trim.

You can see photos of the interior, old and new, in this article from Wander with Wonder.

We appreciate the mention by the author.

Just north of the Shelburne, across the street, Allan photographed an art gallery’s sign:

Long Beach

A fog had blown in, welcome but chilly enough to require a jacket.  We deadheaded the planters, tree beds, Veterans Field and Fifth Street Park.

My photos:

Tulip ‘China Town’

Tulip ‘China Town’

Strong Gold tulip still going so strong.

tree garden

Tulip ‘Silverstream’ and Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’

Narcissus ‘Baby Moon’

Tulip bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’

Tulip greigii ‘Fire of Love’

Tulip greigii ‘Fire of Love’ and ‘Silverstream’

Muscari paradoxum

Tulip ‘Sensual Touch’ and ‘Black Hero’

Tulip ‘Sensual Touch’

Tulips ‘Formosa’ and ‘Green Wave’

Fifth Street Park, where the horsetail was back!  And camassia.

Fifth Street Park

color clash! (The city crew greatly reduced the street trees this spring.)

Allan’s photos:

green primrose at city hall

in a planter

deadheading before

and after



Tulip ‘Silverstream’

The last two blocks of deadheading were a challenge as suddenly the weather was hot again and I SO regretted having a jacket on (but had no way to carry it and my weed/deadhead bucket and tools).  On the way home, we deadheaded the welcome sign.

welcome sign

At home: clean debris for the compost bins.

Allan’s photo

Allan went to the port office to check on yesterday’s plants, and we are pleased to know the office staff watered.

Allan’s photo

Because I planted more bachelor button seeds and added a clump of monarda (bee balm) to the Shelburne back garden (both have edible flowers), the work list got shorter.

Read Full Post »

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The weather seemed disturbingly warm as we went to work.

First, we did a couple of volunteer projects, planting a few perennials and some seeds at the fire station, and one agastache at the post office, where we happened to learn that a crew was about to power wash and paint the building.  Oddly, it seemed they did not have a hose and so they borrowed ours, and our special wrench that turns on the water.  We plunged in and moved all the rocks away from the bottom of the wall at the back of the garden.  They had been placed there by us years ago, when we dug up the lawn to make the garden and found that we had revealed an unpainted strip.  It will be good to have that strip painted and to have a path for  walking to the faucet without the rocks in the way.

Of course, I fretted about potential damage to the lilies that grow near the back.  The postmistress said she would put boxes over them.  It was not till later in the day that I realized what she meant.  We encountered Mayor Gary there and he told us we could take out the old and defunct irrigation hoses in the fire station garden.

A few blocks east, at Mike’s garden, we realized it had become painfully hot.  We weeded and fertilized and got a few agastaches and eryngiums in the ground to try to make this odd little afterthought of an area look better:

sad little narrow side garden, part sun, part shade

white narcissi

We are still fretting about one conifer dying.

It is a goner, so they both have to go.

the front garden

Suddenly I could not take the heat anymore, so without finishing the weeding of the gravel path, we went home.  I learned that it was 81 degrees, and a friend got a reading of 87 out on the Bolstad beach approach.

Skooter was snoozing on the bed.

not so little cat feet

Frosty played with his Kitty Karrot, a catnip toy made by a blog reader which has entertained the cats for well over a year.

We stayed indoors from two till six PM waiting for the temperature to drop.  I was glad to rest and finish reading A Breath from Elsewhere by Mirabel Osler,  as I am feeling puny with sniffles and sneezes and just a bit of a cough.  Not leaving my comfy chair, I made a blog post for the next morning and then accidentally published it.  I blame an overheated brain. It was still 79F at 5:30.

With two hours of daylight left, I dug up about fifteen starts of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, admiring some tulips on the way into the back garden.

Tulip ‘Cool Crystal’

Narcissus with a tiny green cup, and Tulip ‘China Town’

We quested fruitlessly for our faucet wrench back at the post office.  We did find the sort of boxes that the postmistress used to protect the lilies:

Allan’s photos

She is wonderful.  The priority mail boxes made me laugh.  They were boxes that customers had opened up the wrong way.

At the fire station, Allan removed the old hoses from the corner garden while I planted the sedums along the west side.

No before photo was taken of the corner garden hoses.  I have this one from earlier.

And tonight:

On the south side of the port office, we planted Agastache ‘Acapulco Salmon and Pink’ and ‘Sangria’ and some santolinas where Allan had dug out old, woody lavenders.

looking west

looking west

looking east

At home, the work board had gotten a tiny bit shorter:





Read Full Post »


I accidentally published this morning’s post yesterday afternoon.

Here is a bonus photo, by Allan, of Arisarum proboscideum (mouseplant):

He took a better photo of the bluebell woods:

And a drift of meianthemum outside the fence; if only it would stay there.

He returned to the house slightly wounded from a battle with the blackberries out beyond the south fence:

Allan has a new blog of his own, Southwest Washington Paddle Trips, where he is gathering together all of his past and future boating adventures.

Read Full Post »

Monday, 23 April 2018

Dispatch from my comfy chair.  This was supposed to be tomorrow’s post, but I got a bit punchy and somehow published early.

When I am too lazy to sit at my desk, I blog with my iPad, which does not allow as many formatting options.  All my photos today were taken with my phone, as I had a feeling I might want to blog from my chair.

Today, I felt poorly with a tight chest and sneezy sniffles. And yet the weedy garden plagued my mind.  In between reading Mirabel Osler’s A Breath from Elsewhere, I made a few brief weeding forays into the garden.  The weather, slightly over 70F, was too hot for my liking.

In the front garden…maybe I posted this yesterday, as well:

This is the single flowered Kerria that I mentioned recently, backed with a Goldflame spiraea.

Parts of the back garden look like the gardener passed away and nature is taking over.

Especially the Ficaria (lesser celandine):

In a bed by a big alder, near the campfire, the planting is a muddle with no feature.

The feature is supposed to be a variegated hydrangea that, after two years in the ground, has one pitiful leaf.

It was planted as a tiny thing. I still ponder turning that bed into a raised pond. If I had the building skills, I would. Or if I could find a huge and attractive old wooden hot tub or some such thing. For now, I think I will put some sort of big pot in the middle.

Maybe I could drag forward my big phormium-in-a-garbage-can!  That is statement…of some sort.  You can just see a bit of it the photo of the area, above.

On one trip into the garden, I got a whole edge of the east bed weeded in a rather half-arsed way, and Allan kindly dug out a couple of huge African love grasses along there that I have gone off. I lacked the energy to place the pots on the pavers.

A before from two days ago:

and this evening:

At almost sunset, I made another short foray to free my Acanthus ‘Whitewater’ from weeds. It was perfect weather then, a campfire paradise if we had not both been sick.



I walked back into the Bogsy Wood and was delighted to see that Allan had trimmed the sword ferns and had deadheaded narcissi. Now if I only felt well enough to weed.

Outside the south fence:

Our “bluebell wood” (just Scilla):

I wish a had taken a better camera. Maybe tomorrow.

Plant table:

I must remember to fertiLize the gunnera; I did manage to get my roses fertilized today.

After my Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’ apparently plotzed in the front garden, I replaced it but could not bear to not give it one more chance, in another back garden spot that looks like the gardener is long gone:

Mirabel Osler wrote:

“There is the particular kind of happiness–never commented on by poets–which comes from seeing a shrub you’d assumed dead, one day has minute specks of green on an otherwise lifeless stick. As this occurs more often than you would expect, no gardener should pounce in despair to pull out an ailing plant.” (I first learned that from Ann Lovejoy.). I do think I have killed this one. I will give it a few more weeks.

Asphodel at sunset:

Skooter toyed with the idea of being a lap cat and then changed his mind.

Meanwhile, Allan had weeded and trimmed ferns in his own garden.

Allan’s photos in his garden:

Arisarum Proboscidium (mouse plant)

And dead-leafing the bogsy wood sword ferns:

In good company:

Read Full Post »

Sunday, 22 April 2018

When I first tried to continue with my weeding of the front garden, an attack of sneezing sent me rushing indoors for allergy medicine.  The local weather report explained that I was probably not alone.

I am skeptical about the sources listed; I think pine pollen carried by the cold strong wind (again!) was the culprit.

I would rather have worked in the less windy part of the garden, but I could no longer stand the idea of sidewalk passersby being able to see so many weeds.  So after reading A Breath from Elsewhere for a half hour till the medicine took hold, I returned to the front garden, where the wind was literally whistling overhead.


I forgot the after from the above angle.  Will get one tomorrow.

Next day. I will be repainting the bamboo poles!




My after is all blurry; I will try again tomorrow.

Next day

I have decided to take one more day off to weed at least a couple more areas that are so terrible.  Fortunately, they will be in the back garden where the soil is looser and more pleasant to work in.  And I must fertilize all my roses.


The front garden was created by digging up all the sod (because I wanted to plant bulbs straight away), and the soil is still tighter and more difficult than in the back garden, which was made by the newspaper method.

front garden, 8 November 2010

14 November 2010, showing part of a pile of soil energy.

That sod digging was absolutely exhausting!

16 November 2010

Newspaper method in the back garden:

22 December 2010

December 2010, garden beds slowly expanded as I got more newspaper and soil down.

5 January 2011.

Eventually, I cut the old rhododendron down (right) because it blocked my window view of the Cape Disappointment bluff and of the port office weather warning flag.

This method of newspaper, soil energy mulch, cow manure, and homemade compost made the most luscious and easy to weed beds.

From yesterday, a repeat photo showing how they look now:

You can the whole sequence of initially creating the garden starting here.

Back to the present: Due to the cold wind, I suppose, Skooter had had no interest in joining me outdoors today.

In the afternoon, Allan went to work on his own, “just” to dig two woody old lavenders from the Port Office garden.  It was a more difficult job that either of us had expected.  I felt bad at having delegated, and yet I don’t think I would have been much help.  It was a job for one strong person.

Port of Ilwaco

the garden boat at Time Enough Books

Port Office, south side, before

a tough, rooty job

bleached out bulb foliage fro being hidden in the lavender

before, other end


just across the lawn

south side, port office, after

I think I might plant Agastaches instead of lavenders, for no reason other than my great love for Agastaches (and because a couple of lavenders remain in the middle of the bed).  The reason the lavender sprawls so much is that in the summer, hanging baskets give an increasing amount of shade.

a surprisingly large load of debris

I had forgotten how huge those lavenders had become.

In the evening, we watched this film, based on a great book by the author of Ethel and Ernest, which we had purchased because we could not find it otherwise. (I think it might be available for online viewing. I like to watch films on a nice old fashioned DVD, from the comfy chair.)


“A naive elderly British rural couple survive the initial onslaught of a nuclear war.”

And then, as happens sometimes, i suddenly came down with all the symptoms of having caught Allan’s cold.

Read Full Post »

Saturday, 21 April 2018

I actually do think that weeding, in my own garden, among plants that I like and  therefore enjoy a close look at, is fun.  Sort of. I don’t mind it, if I have time to keep up with it.  I started in on the west front garden (between our driveway and our neighbour’s driveway) while awaiting my social engagement.

MaryBeth came by with a gift of a generous clump of her Kerria japonica (with pompon-like flowers), and we walked into my back garden and I got her a clump of my single-flowered Kerra japonica.  She also brought me a book written by the husband of Margaret Drabble, one of my favourite authors.

Allan will enjoy it, too: “Michael Holroyd confronts an army of automobiles in this charming book. Weaving together memoir and historical anecdote, he traces his relationship with cars through a lifetime of biography.”

Soon after, Our Kathleen arrived for our lunch date at the Shelburne Pub.  She had picked up some violas for me and helped me, by un-potting them, while I bunged them into the edge of the front garden (for edible flower garnish).

Shelburne front garden, looking north

and south

This may have been Kathleen’s first time dining in the pub, at least in its new incarnation.  We had good food and a good long talk; it has been awhile since our schedules coordinated.  I look forward to her living here full time after retirement.

I am working my way through all the non-oyster items on the menu, so this time I tried the crispy, crunchy, and satisfying fried chicken sandwich, an unusual idea that I have never seen anywhere else.  The “Fisherman’s potato salad” has smoked herring in it, also innovative and delicious.

Kathleen had the pub burger.

Followed by bread pudding:

A musician played mellifluous guitar in the living room.  We were there at the quiet hour before the early dinner crowd.

I put some money in his hat.

Back at home, I finished my weeding project:

before (from a couple of days ago)

this evening

The back garden at 7 PM:

two cats


window box detail

In the window boxes, the redtwig dogwood twigs that I put in for winter interest have rooted and will go into the garden when I change the boxes to annuals. The tulip is ‘Princess Irene’.

It would have been a good day for boating had Allan not been still recuperating from his cold.

Because the chill wind prevented weeding till dusk, I had time to finish In the Eye of the Garden by Mirabel Osler.  After watching the harrowing film, Detroit, I returned to peaceful garden reading at bedtime with Osler’s A Breath from Elsewhere.

Guest photos:

I thought you would enjoy these photos from a neighbour’s walk in Beards Hollow, a woodsy trail to the beach about a mile west of us.

photo by Missy Lucy Dagger Bageant

photo by Missy Lucy Dagger Bageant

Beards Hollow, via google

Read Full Post »

Friday, 20 April 2018

We are taking three days off to recuperate from a difficult week.

Because the weather was rather chilly, I took the excuse to read.  I have two sets of three books by two authors.

Mirabel Osler and Alan Titchmarsh

More on Mirabel Osler when I finish all three books.

Neither Skooter nor Frosty was interested in the outdoors.

I finished A Gentle Plea for Chaos, then walked to the Norwood garden to plant four ferns.

two sword, one autumn, one maidenhair

At home, I walked around our garden just to show you the real story of how weedy it is.  But first:

Facebook gave me this memory of how the front garden looked this week in 2011, seven years ago, our first spring in this house.

Here it is today (although would be better if I had weeded the front today as I had originally planned).

I had planned to weed this, and had read instead:

inside the front gate, pleased with the growth on this climbing rose

more shotweed I meant to weed today

unclipped sedums!

good: Erythronium in bloom

front garden mess

good: Ribes speciosum in bloom

Ribes speciosum

Allan’s garden has just a touch of shotweed. I love the Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’.

The trick is to give Allan a part of the garden, and he will then keep it weeded.

Allan’s garden

pear tree

bad: unweeded pots of hardy fuchsias

window box

window box two

Compost bin two needs turning, but I read instead.

weedy; I’ve been noticing the dock, bottom middle, for weeks and still not removed it

rain spotted tulips

good: an area I got more or less weeded last week

between the cats, the stump of the smokebush I think I killed by coppicing too hard.  I need to get those pots put on pavers and filled with soil.

So weedy near the Bogsy Wood

the horror of lesser celandine now that I know it is a noxious weed

a huge amount of reseeded poached egg plant, maybe good, maybe bad (with shotweed mixed in)

huge dandelions overtaking an Acanthus ‘Whitewater’

good: my Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’



It has been too wet and slippery to do anything in the Bogsy Wood!

I loathe this pushy native foam flower in the garden.

haven’t deadheaded the hydrangeas yet! Good: corydalis and pulmonaria

the horror of native meianthemum (nature wins again)

lilies looking strong

the future cat memorial garden not worthy of ashes yet

pitiful weedy patio

from the double gate

As I returned to the house, I pondered that it is not that I lack energy for gardening.  I just use it up at work at this time of year, and I usually don’t get my own garden into satisfying condition till the end of May.

Did I weed? No, I started Mirabel Osler’s next book, In the Eye of the Garden, and read 100 pages before writing this and yesterday.

Mirabel on garden photography:

Neither cat had accompanied me outdoors.

Allan’s work in the afternoon

Meanwhile, Allan had gone to the library and done some deadheading at the Ilwaco Community Building and the Port:

(Mirabel Osler does not like heather, which dominates this garden in a plain winter blooming white form. “…..Heather, how it mutilates gardens with its puréed fruit-pulp appearance, its neutered growth and depressing meanness.”)

Dog daisies are budding at the boatyard.  Mirabel Osler wrote a passage about “dog” plants being named as an insult (dog daisies, dog roses, dog mercury).

At the port office garden, all the narcissi needed deadheading.  We are going to replace those old sprawling lavenders soon.

old pot of hostas behind the port office

Tomorrow I may have a lunch with Our Kathleen, and maybe Sunday I will do some gardening…although I confess that reading continues to hold a stronger lure unless the weather is inarguably perfect.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »