Archive for May, 2018

Friday, 25 May 2018

Kilyn sent me a photo from British Columbia, of her crabby gardener art, a gift from the Don Nisbett gallery, which she has already framed and hung on the wall.

We had the usual watering rounds today.

First, we checked on the new sanguisorba at the Shelburne, which was looking perky enough.

We briefly hared up to the Basket Case to get a couple of jasmine vines for two new big pots for the Shelburne, where vines had been requested.

at the Basket Case

Then down to the real business of the day, watering the planters in

Long Beach.

First, we hose watered the planters on Sid Snyder, which are plumbed.

on Sid Snyder Drive

This horse had much to say about being left alone in the beach trail rides corral.

one of the horse rides dogs

The water was not working in the last four planters so we had to gather water in buckets, which added considerable time to the job.  I called City Works to ask that they be turned back on again.

no hose water….why…

deer by the other horse ride place (Allan’s photo)

We weeded the planters out on the Bolstad beach approach and gave just a few plants some bucket water.  We rebelled a couple of years ago on bucket watering those unplumbed planters.  I called City Works to remind them that someone needs to go out there once a week with their water truck.

Someone had planted new plants in the Lisa Bonney memorial planter.  That is lovely, but no one was watering them.  I posted on Facebook that would someone please tell her family members that they need to water these.

my despair over all these new plants drying up

our last bit of bucket water

I already had to cut back the rosemary which was browning off.

I had hoped that the beach approach garden aphids had been dealt with by birds.  Nope.  We cut off the worst of the damage as quickly as we could.

yucky grey aphids

Allan’s photo

We made sure to not take any aphids with us.  I do not have time for this to be our problem.

just enjoy it from a distance…don’t look closely.

In the last beach planter by the arch, we found some very late tulips.

held still because of the wind

Finally we were ready to water the downtown planters…til we parked and I realized I did not have my homi.  Back out to the aphid patch…

questing in the wind

Yes, I had flung it down in horror.


At least we got a better parking place on our second try, right next to Fifth Street Park.

We each watered half of the planters.

Agastache that came through the winter and Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’

busy downtown

thrilled my alliums are still here

Basket Case basket

Someone pulled up this agyranthemum and left it gasping; fortunately, I was in time to save it.

I was so mad I bought another package of earth staples at Dennis Company at the north end of the planter blocks, and on the way back down I stapled all the agyranthemums and some other special plants, for what it is worth.  Double staples, crossed in the middle, might make the plants more discouraging to yank.

pink gaura that replaced the sick agastaches…sigh…I miss the agastaches very much.

I cut back the gaura, shown above after, hoping they will bush out, and stuck the cuttings in the soil.  I live in hope.

Allan’s planter photos:

street tree garden


Armeria maritima

lithodora (left over from volunteer days) peeking through a sedum

Here are the veronicas at their peak.  Their season of bloom is short so they should not be such a main feature of a planter:

We ended Long Beach with a quick tidy of Veterans Field corner garden.

We almost forgot the welcome sign; we turned around to check on it.

It is in an awkward between-y stage.

welcome sign frog

Then on to water the street trees and planters in


I planted a few more cosmos in the boatyard garden while Allan filled the water trailer…some free plugs of Seashells, my favourite cosmos that I could not acquire this year, except for the tiny free ones, and I think they might be too small to survive. Fingers crossed.

boatyard poppies

glad the aphids are not on these lupines

This time, I walked around all of them, grooming and poking in nasturtium seeds.  Better late than never?  I had thought I should give up on the nasturtiums because deer eat them.  Recently, I had looked at photos from last year and saw that some of the nasturtiums had looked good, so I tried again.

A street tree that was taken out by a drunk driver last fall has not yet been replaced.  (That is not my job!)  I liked the little cottage garden effect without the tree…

left over from the underplanting

…actually better than the ones with trees.

Thus ends a 9.5 hour day.  Now, at last, we have three days off; my plan is to not leave my property.

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Thursday, 24 May 2018

Spending all day at the Shelburne doing a thorough weeding and editing of the garden was not to be.  We had two jobs to attend to in Ilwaco first, right on our block.

The J’s garden

getting started

Allan pruned all the dead branches off the arborvitae.  I do not know what is causing it, or whether this will stop it.  Google has an assortment of theories about it.

When we started caring for this garden, one of the balls along the driveway was dead in the same way.  Last year, another one showed signs and I clipped the bad part out, which seemed to work.  Now another one might be getting it….

so… I clipped the bad part out again.

The ball had a nest of baby spiders.

They dispersed when disturbed…

…and then formed themselves back into a ball again.

Allan’s befores and afters:

The old plum tree looked sickly, too.  We cut out one branch.


Spraying trees is not a job we are even licensed for.  It takes a special license to apply sprays in Washington state.  Not something we want to get into at all.


roses in the back yard (Allan’s photo)

As I write this several days later, I realize we did not go back and set up a hose and sprinkler as I meant to.  Our watering responsibilities are way overstretched. (Now on Monday night, with Allan just back from boating, as it is getting dark, he is going across the street to hose water it and the Norwood garden.)

Port of Ilwaco

We had another curbside garden to water at the port and decided to do it before evening because the evenings have been cold and extra windy.

To water the east garden bed, Allan has to snake three hoses across the parking lot all the way to the docks.  It is time consuming and always makes me wonder how exactly did the former powers that be at the port, during the time when these garden beds were being installed, think they were going to get watered?  Did they really think that several blocks of public gardens could be completely drought tolerant with no watering at all?  In the almost constant salt wind from the marina? Really?

Allan’s photo

I tackled a bleak little spot of vetch and the dreaded Fen’s Ruby euphorbia.  (On the following Sunday, I watched a Gardeners’ World episode in which Monty Don, saying, “I was warned”, was removing Fen’s Ruby from his garden.  Take heed.)

I know how it got in here.  In seeking free plants, I moved something from my mother’s garden to this one years ago, and the Fen’s Ruby hitched a ride even though I tried to prevent it.  I put some wee starts of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ in the empty area.  Good luck to it starting out during dry season.

A big chore awaits: The Armeria (sea thrift) is going over and all the little balls will need clipping off.

After watering, Allan coiled his hose like a highliner coiling rope.

Freddie on Deadliest Catch

We picked up our mail.  Allan noticed the short lilies growing at the back of the post office garden.  I meant to move them last year…and the year before.

Allan’s photo

Finally, hours later than I wanted to be there, we made it to the garden at the

Shelburne Hotel.

Three more pots had appeared by the bocce ball court.  I knew they were imminent so was carrying plants for them….but they had no holes so Allan had to go home for the drill (and more potting soil).

He also redid a white pot that was in an obscure spot and dry and full of an odd combo of mint and stunted helianthus.  It came around to join its brethren by the pub deck.

Allan’s photo; no one took a photo once it got put into place.

new pots (Allan’s photo)

Allan says it is better to drill four holes than the one that most people do.

As requested, no flowers (except thyme and lavender will have flowers)

I could have done something ultra sophisticated with succulents, but we are trying to carry out the “edible” theme in the back garden.

pea gravel mulch on top, very Monty Don

Finally, I got to work on the front garden.  We took out a clump of phlox, too slightly diseased to put anywhere else, and replaced it will a nice Sanguisorba canadensis (pink feather flowers later on) that I got for free from Klipsan Beach Cottages.

out with one of too many phlox

sanguisorba in (Allan’s photo)

As I write this on Monday night, I am worried that the sanguisorba might be wilting, even though Allan watered it whilst grocery shopping on Saturday.

I did not have time to do any editing along the sidewalk garden.

still lots of orange montbretia at this end (Allan’s photo)

under the big window

I was thrilled to find two of my old Allium christophii still here after ten years

looking south from north end

I had hoped to get into the corner but did not.

This zaluzianskya (night scented phlox) was scenting the whole garden deliciously in the evening.

looking south from the entry

and looking north

a ghost in the stained glass window?

I do love this building.

As happens at this time of long days, we have been working till too late for our garden club dinner.  So on our own, we repaired to the pub for dinner after another nine hour day.  (These nine hour days do not include a lunch break; we scarf down a sandwich while working.)

From the pub deck:

Dinner at last.

cranberry cosmo

avocado toast

Caesar salad

fried chicken sandwich (Allan’s photo). Deconstruct to eat the tasty chicken.

oyster stew (Allan’s photo)

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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

I was chuffed when Kilyn, who visited on Saturday, posted this on her Instagram.

Red Barn Arena

While checking on the Red Barn planters, which I am happy to report had been watered, I saw this handsome horse named Sven.  I thought he was an appaloosa.  He is, in fact, a knabstrupper.

Diane’s garden

Allan’s photo: plants on a bench to protect from Holly the puppy.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo, septic box garden

I usually do not like double narcissi, but this one…wow, so late blooming.

Narcissus albus plenus odoratus

Based on the name, I should have stopped to smell the flower.

Basket Case Greenhouse

Allan’s photo; definitely should have smelled that narcissus.

I picked up some Salvia viridis (painted sage) that Roxanne had grown.

And some Cosmos ‘Xanthos’; I had given her some seeds.  I look forward to seeing this one bloom; it is new, and said to be a pale yellow dwarf cosmos.

staff member (Allan’s photo)

Silene dioica ‘Clifford Moor’ (Allan’s photo)

The Planter Box

I wanted some more of their excellent annuals.



spoon osteos

I got myself a new Cool Blue variegated ceanothus.

Klipsan Beach Cottages

KBC has long been my favourite job. I finally have permission to reveal that owners/managers Mary and Denny are retiring at the end of this year.  2018 will therefore be our last year working there.  We certainly hope someone buys the cottage resort and we will recommend our favourite gardeners to take over when the time comes.  It is a long drive north to do an hour or two a week at just this one job, our last remaining job at the north end of the peninsula.  Not having this job will feel like having almost an extra day per week for our other jobs…maybe the end of nine hour days in summer in 2019. We need to cut back for our health and sanity, so I am not in mourning (yet). It has been an odd feeling to care for the garden with no future plans for it, no thinking ahead to “next year”.  I’ve known about the end coming for about a year now.

I was intensely relieved that all the agastaches, from the first batch of healthy plants, still look fine in the KBC garden.  Thank goodness.

Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’

I was jealous because my own Golden Jubilee was one of the later-purchased diseased ones.  My favourite, and I don’t have one.   And now I am scared to buy any!  I will take a cutting of this one later this summer.

not sure which one this is but it looks fine…

Agastache ‘Acapulco Salmon and Pink’

another healthy specimen: Sarah

a monster creeping buttercup (Allan’s photo)

After planting some cosmos and painted sage and doing some weeding, I took some photos of the garden for the KBC Facebook page (which I will, obviously, give up administering when Mary and Denny have moved on).

in the fenced garden

Next year the rampant Japanese anemone will be someone else’s problem!

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

outside the fenced garden:

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

Rhododendron ‘Cynthia’

Mary and Denny’s house

Now I do feel verklempt.  It is a beautiful garden.  Over the years, Mary has been wanting more space to show between plants.  That has been hard for me to achieve!

The Shelburne Hotel

Back south again in Seaview, outside the Shelburne, we encountered my former co gardener, Robert.  I asked his opinion on which lavender to use in some new urns there.

I liked the tall one (‘Phenomenal’).  Allan and Robert both preferred the short one.  I was impressed when Robert asked, “Is the Melianthus major still in Fifth Street Park?  I didn’t see it; did you cut it back?”  (Yes.)

We had three planters to plant up by the bocce ball court.  We used herbs to fit in with the kitchen theme of the back yard.  There is not much garden space back here; I have some herbs and flowers along the edges. The old and unkempt kitchen garden of six railroad tie squares were removed to make the courtyard.  I was amused to see that potatoes and raspberries are determinedly making a comeback.

The front garden:

north half

Port of Ilwaco

We watered the curbside gardens by Salt Hotel, Skywater Gallery, and Freedom Market.

Salt garden santolinas (Allan’s photo)

Allan liked the santolina festooned with creeping charlie.

Salt garden (Allan’s photo). The river rock is hard for me to work on.

Freedom Market garden

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The columbines also appeared on their own.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I did not plant the dog daisies.  They also appeared on their own.

looking west (Allan’s photo)

As we left, a light mist had begun to fall.  I was pleased the plants would get more water.  The drizzle would not have been enough moisure on its own.

At home, I was able to erase KBC from the annuals list.

Round 2 has appeared on the list. Then we will be done.

A 9.5 hour day.

I was hoping tomorrow could be All Shelburne.  It is not to be, but perhaps we can have a long afternoon there.

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Tuesday, 22 May 2018

post office garden

On the way to work, we saw a darling truck at the gas station.

The rocks are made of foam.

a stage comes down at the back

Shelburne Hotel

We watered.  I longed for a day to just weed and edit the garden here.  Maybe Thursday.

watering in the back garden (Allan’s photo)

snowball viburnum in back garden (Allan’s photo)

I did manage to pull the mildewed forget me nots.

looking south from the north end

Long Beach

Allan did the first watering of the street tree pocket gardens, which always required some digging out of the underground quick connect hose connections, and I did most of the 37 planters.

Allan’s photo

Allan did the bucket watering of the four planters in Fish Alley. (Armeria maritima)

digging mud out of the water connection hole (Allan’s photos)

time consuming

We crossed paths but on opposite sides of the street.

Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’ catmint (Allan’s photo)

I am thrilled that most of my alliums are still here.

found a rock

love the way this heuchera is spreading


Stopped off at home to get the water trailer.  The fremontodendron shows how miserably hard the cold wind was blowing.

I almost postponed my part of the watering until I remembered that tonight is Deadliest Catch. It would be embarrassing to have been a weather wimp and then watch hard working crab fishermen from my comfy chair.

Allan hooked up the water trailer and, while he filled it at the boatyard, I began watering the boatyard garden.  The north wind had been 20 mph and ever so cold all day.  I was lucky that the faucets down the inside of the fence all had hoses hooked up, and none of the hoses were pulled up into boats.

watering through the obstacle course from inside the fence

One feels small under the big boats.

cold; I had changed into winter clothes

a curbside poppy

boat guy working

deer are eating the columbines


Sadly, I had to trim the Stipa that was hanging over the sidewalk.


after (there is a difference)

The low sunlight made it hard to see the weeds, and the wind was pushing me around like a bully.  I managed to weed a bit along the back of the fence where the wind was less strong.

It takes Allan an hour and a half or more to water the Ilwaco route (depending on how well the pump and hose behave).  I was awfully glad when he was done so that we could go home.


Allan’s photos while watering the planters and street trees:

at the north end of the boatyard

sign going up on a new café

in the window of Wendi’s Attic

setting sun

one of the planters

While watering the post office garden, Allan saw this hole…

and thought a plant had been stolen.  It was just where I had yanked a diseased agastache that I had thought would look so good there….

view from behind the Stipa gigantea

and from the front

Allium christophii

Allium bulgaricum and Dutch iris

AKA Nectroscordum siculum

and aquilegia (columbine)

Another nine hour day.

Deadliest Catch featured an arctic hurricane. I was glad I had not let winds of maybe 25 mph stop me from watering.

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Monday, 21 May 2018

I had fantasized about taking today off. That was impossible because of lack of rain in the forecast; we had too much watering to do.  Allan began by watering the Norwood garden….

Mary N’s Dutch iris

the little north shade border

and he watered the J’s across the street:

roses in J’s back yard; I think those leaves have rose mosaic and should be picked off.

Meanwhile, I did some necessary watering at home of the ladies in waiting and the cosmos I had planted on Sunday.  In the back garden, I found one more agastache catastrophe, a Acapulco Yellow with really weird looking mottled leaves.  I pulled it and added it to the big bag of lost plants in the garbage can.  As I was closing the bag over its brave yellow flowers that wanted so much to keep blooming in my garden, I burst into tears and went blubbing to the driveway where Allan was hooking up the work trailer.  I could hardly bear the thought of all the plants expiring in the big garbage bag.  I still find it almost unbearable to think about, as if they have a fear of death.  In fact, I am all teared up while typing this five days later.  So that and this time were the only times I have wept over this very expensive and time consuming catastrophe.  I miss each and every one of those agastaches and the pictures I was trying to paint with them and the beauty that I had hoped for with such happy anticipation just a week ago.

At the post office, the Stipa gigantea was at its prettiest time, when the flowers are spangled with gold.

Long Beach

We then went to Long Beach to fill in some empty areas in planters, where agastaches had succumbed and where a lovely little diascia had been stolen.

Allan’s photo; will the planting never end?

And then, in midafternoon, back to

Port of Ilwaco

where we worked for the rest of the day.  I helped Allan get started on a big pruning job for Coho Charters and Motel by candling their curbside mugo pine.

I got bored and so tried to get into the spirit of author Leslie Buck and her great memoir about pruning, Cutting Back.

Allan sheared the pine by the building with the hedge shears instead of painstakingly hand clipping it (my suggestion).


Coho Charters owner Butch likes his shrubs squared off, not only the escallonias but the little variegated box in the curbside garden, which he likes flat topped like his grandfather’s haircut.

As you can tell, this curbside garden is not my design.  I have convinced Butch to let me add a few things (Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ so far, and a heather, white, to match some other white heathers he has.  I feel that any other colour would look wrong with the lava rock.)

I will say lava rock is easier to walk on than the river rock that three of the curbside beds have.

On the south side, the escallonia outside one of the guest rooms:

While Allan worked on that job, I started, at 5 PM, dragging hoses westward along the port to water as far as I could get till he was done.  I did not even try to do the easternmost bed; it requires hooking up a series of hoses from down by the docks.  It can wait till Thursday.

eastern garden, looking east

eastern garden, looking west

I skipped what used to the the Port Bistro restaurant (and is going to be a bakery/coffee shop one of these days) because their water is probably not on, nor have I met the new owners.  My first watering was of the curbside garden north of David Jensen’s architecture office, newly moved from Long Beach to the port.  No longer do I have to rely on the good nature of the Tuna Club to provide water for the garden that is next door to them; I can now hook up to what is now the Jensen building. (All last year, it was empty with the water turned off.) The hose that used to be attached to the faucet and that made it easy was gone so I had to walk around the building three times to get our hose dragged under a locked gate and back to the faucet.  I think we have a ratty old hose we can leave there to make it easier next time.

Jensen curbside garden, looking east

big ceanothus in full bloom; this has a sort of prostrate instead of upright form.

Next, I dragged hose down to the Ilwaco pavilion, where I can reach half of the old Shorebank building (which is going to be a boutique hotel soon).  I skipped the most wind protected area; I think it will be fine till next week.

area where big shrubs came out last fall, looking east

The California wax myrtle that I asked the port crew to cut to the ground but not pull is finally leafing out.

I will be able to keep it pruned to a low, non-traffic-sightline-blocking mound.  The missing shrubs were would-be full sized arbutus.  I had finally rebelled at having to shear them so that they never flowered.  Ridiculous plant choice for the spot.

next bed, looking west, with sheared wax myrtles and santolina.  Hebe ‘Boughton Dome’ at lower middle-ish

pink California poppies

and creamy white ones

same bed, different view

Ilwaco pavilion, my favourite bed, looking west

looking east over the end that had a too-tall pine pulled not long ago, so glad to no longer have to butcher prune it

It is exhausting to drag this much hose on hour eight of work.

the drive-over garden

I was thrilled that my asclepia, after sulking in its first year, looked so good.

I took a bucket of mixed trash and weeds to dump in one of the big port wheelie bins.

looking west

looking east

Because I was weeding (for the first time in awhile) while watering, I dragged my hoses for quite some distance past the one garden whose adjacent building owner won’t let me use their water.  Which begs the question, how exactly did the powers that be think, when these gardens were installed in the late 90s, that they were going to be watered? WHYYYY was no faucet hook up installed in each one, like the Long Beach planters have?  Why does the gardener have to be at the mercy of changes of mind or changes of ownership of adjacent businesses?)  If I cannot water a garden, I find it soul crushing to weed among the thirsty plants…and I do not have time or strength to fill and haul buckets from another source. But I digress (inspired by annoyance).

Next, I hooked up to water at the port office.

port office and Don Nisbett curbside gardens, looking west

looking east

Purly Shell and Time Enough Books, looking west

OOPS, I forgot to trim this one big santolina. Maybe the only one, of many, that I missed.

the trimmed ones look round, like this, and will still flower

This Korean lilac by Time Enough Books was wafting delicious scent out to the sidewalk.

another big ceanothus, low both because it grows that way and also because I prune it after it flowers.

That is as far as I got, with the east end, Salt Hotel, Skywater Gallery, and Freedom Market gardens still to water later this week.  Allan came to get me at eight after finishing his big CoHo pruning job.

Time Enough Books from across the street

This was the first of a week of nine hour days.

Skooter greeting us at home:

Late last night, I was considerably perked up to see that Scott Weber of Rhone Street Gardens had posted this on Facebook.

Just what I needed to give me back some confidence after my agastache depression.

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Sunday, 21 May 2018

Finally, a day to weed and plant in my own garden.  I got almost all my cosmos planted, by carving out spots among the weeds.

The Geranium “Rozanne river” bed is a mess all down the sides where I wanted the cosmos to go, to replace the lost agastaches.

some space carved out for cosmos

I still have Allium christophii swamped by the vigorous Rozanne.  I tried moving some with careful shoveling, and they seemed to accept the move just fine.  So I will move all the rest of them next day off.

If I can still find them by then!

I emptied and dragged my big metal trough from here…

…where my little succulents kept getting swamped by scabiosa seedlings, to here:

below the plant table, to be refilled and replanted

Many snails were revealed and were taken for a long walk.

I got all my plants out of the greenhouse but one and then potted up two tomato plants…

And repotted my canna into the messy pond in a brand new aquatic planting basket, a container type that I had learned about on Gardeners’ World.

Have not got any of the pond plants tidied up…

nor have i trimmed or fertilized the scented geraniums, etc…

Allan helped by bucket watering all the containers.  We are trying to conserve water this month because of how Ilwaco bases its water bill on the water usage in April, May, Sept. and Oct.  My plants long for a good hose watering.

rain barrel water (Allan’s photo)

Allan is letting the wild cucumber vine take over this dogwood (one of the few original plants from when we moved here):

Allan’s photos

I do not entirely approve.

Still so much more to do:

Allan’s photo, a wheelbarrow escapeee

I repotted some but not all of my Digging Dog plants.

I so need more days off. My garden needs me. Tomorrow it is back to work for five more days.  Allan even worked this evening because the community building garden needed watering.

Ilwaco Community Building

pollen running off the mugo pines


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Saturday, 19 May 2018

I woke early in anxious misery about the Agastache catastrophe and, instead of having the day off with morning and afternoon to tidy a bit of the garden for much anticipated company, we were out chasing down the few other Estella Indigo that were planted in various places, and every one of them, no matter the location, even one in a brand new pot with new soil, had the same dire look.  But I don’t want to continue this sad tale day after day after day, even though it went on for three more days.  The cultivars affected were Summer Fiesta, Estella Indigo, Golden Jubilee, and (later) Cotton Candy.  The leaves looked even worse the next day.

I kept this one in quarantine, and by May 21 it looked like this.  I had definitely made the right decision to pull them; can’t have something so diseased on show in public gardens.

whatever it is, it’s bad.

We zoomed up to the Planter Box where I got replacement plants for three LB planters and the Depot.

Co-owner Raymond looked at our bag of bad plants and agreed something bad was brewing.  He advised us to look for fallen leaves…and like fools, we had not, so we went back to the planters and sure enough found some diseased leaves to pick up.

We yanked a ‘Summer Fiesta’ at the Depot….put in I can’t even remember what instead…and admired the new planting in front by Roxanne of the Basket Case Greenhouse.

Something good did happen on our outing.  A blog reader, MaryAnn,  had been visiting family in England and had brought back and mailed me a present which arrived at the post office today.  I practically wept with delight:

“Plants you can’t kill!” might be quite a useful article right now.  AND Gardener’s World gloves and special seeds. This made my day so much better.

We got home in time for Allan to mow the lawn and for me to water some plants but only a couple of buckets full of weeding got done.  I found that my own Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’ looked terrible….

Even though the ones from a different batch, at the Shelburne, had still looked lovely.

perfection at the Shelburne

And my lovely sweep of Estella Indigo and Summer Fiesta were all bad.  I was bereft but pulled and discarded them.  I cannot risk it spreading to other plants, especially not to the assorted agastaches that have nicely perennialized.  I did ponder finding a hobby that features inanimate objects…pottery, or boating.

I spent part of the day not weeding but instead brooding over a dish of water with cut up leaves that one online source said might reveal foliar nematodes.  Maybe if I could have found my long lost 12x magnifier.

science experiment, useless with a magnifying glass

Finally, in late afternoon, a blog reader, Kilyn, and spouse Peter from British Columbia came to visit; they had been traveling and were staying at the Cape Disappointment campground.  Of course, I was at first preoccupied with my Agastache Catastrophe, especially since early in our visit I got a call from Expert Friend who had consulted an agastache grower and learned about the dreaded Downy Mildew possibility.  Kilyn had the most comforting thing to say about it, that clearly because the plants were on public view, and there was no one to monitor their health but me, they had to be removed, and the sad episode could therefore be OVER, instead of further anxiety, fretting, worrying, going back and forth to check on them, and so on.  She has a volunteer garden in her town, so she knows what it is like to have plants in the public eye.

With that, I was able to relax (even though at almost dark, after dinner and after they had returned to Cape Disappointment park, Allan and I did go on a drive to remove two more plants whose location I had remembered).

Kilyn and Peter gave Allan a couple of books about kayaking, and gave me a set of mysteries.

We then took an extensive tour round the garden.  Kilyn met Skooter at the compost bins.

Peter heads down Willows Loop East.

I showed them my blue wall (tarp over crab pots next door):

Kilyn has read our blog from the beginning, a most unusual feat, and told Peter the whole story about how the bogsy wood used to be riverfront.  I was amazed.

Peter suggested that he help Allan move our very heavy stone bench from way up front, where it was leaning on a long, to the bogsy wood edge where eventually I will make a place for it.  (We could not set it up till I get the place figured out).

Halfway down Rozanne Loop West, they had to reconnoiter a bit and get on the same side.

They had been on different sides of the bench till Peter said they had to carry it from the same side, which is a lesson that my former spouse, Robert, had imparted to me about carrying lumber or plywood or driftwood.  It does work better.

After an hour or more wandering the garden, we all repaired to Salt Pub for a sumptuous meal with a view.  Few photos were taken because of so much good conversation.

Peter (in his glorious Australian accent) insightfully asked how much time we spend in our garden as compared to our clients.  I answered maybe 99% clients gardens at this time of year, and later on at least 80%.  Since what I want is to create my own little paradise, that gave me something to think about.  (That is complicated by a desire to create beautiful gardens for the public.)

I loved hearing about how today they had done the “blog tour” of the peninsula and had gone to the Saturday market and the Don Nisbett Art Gallery (and Don gave Kilyn an autographed Crabby Gardener card), and up to Oysterville and back, and crab rolls at Captain Bob’s Chowder and coffee at Abbracci Coffee Bar!

Kilyn and I talked about beloved blogs; she also reads Moosey’s Country Garden, the Tootlepedal blog, The Miserable Gardener,Danger Garden, and Bonney Lassie.  Peter and Allan talked about bicycling and boating.

She showed us photos of her garden, including this bicycle wheel and glass plate garden art that she made.


We talked about how to live in retirement by economizing, one example being not dining out much.  When they travel, they pack their groceries and make meals while trailer camping except for special treats like the blog tour meals today.

I would miss regular restaurant dining (and the good feeling of supporting the local economy), but I do think the time spent in my garden would make up for it.

Speaking of dining out, here is some of our dinner:

Willapa Bay seafood poutine

crab roll

my favourite, the tuna melt with side salad

After dinner:

Peter and Kilyn in the Salt courtyard. (Be sure to recycle.) Allan’s photo

Kilyn and me

I couldn’t have imagined a better, more uplifting event to bring this week to a close.

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18 May: not over yet

Friday, 18 May 2018

I was so happy that Annuals Planting Time’s hardest days were over….or so I thought.  Today, we could do just what I like…caring for the plants that are already planted.

We began by watering at

The Shelburne Hotel.

I am still dealing there with chaotic combinations that are even wilder than what I like.  For example, this Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ interplanted with an astilbe.


I spent a lot of time wielding the hose with one hand and editing with the other.  I long for a day to just spend a few hours sorting the garden out some more.

Today, I noticed a start of the goatsbeard, that used to be just at the shady end, had been planted in front of one of the signs.  If allowed to grow, its tall white flowers would block the sign almost completely.  I remembered the passerby who told me “I kept telling [the previous owners] that you couldn’t even tell there was a hotel in here.”

Even the rosemary gets too tall; at least the clippings are useful.

Allan’s photo

Allan dug the plant out for me; I took it home.  Years ago, I had shared it from a division from my own garden, and I no longer have one.

I wish I had time to weed this corner.

This eryngium will turn cobalt blue.

pretty sure this rose is just an old rootstock rose, which could come out.

fragrant rose by the entry walkway

With the Shelburne watered but far from completely groomed, we went on to water the planters in

Long Beach.

This clue of a fallen petunia on a planter bench alerted me to the fact that the Basket Case (source of the hanging baskets) had that new Starry Night petunia.

It came from above.


I was pleased that most of the Allium christophii are coming along without being disturbed.

Even though it would be easiest to go to all perennials in the planters, the annuals do provide long lasting pops of bright colour.

two bright yellow bidens on the outer edge

I was just so glad the planters are planted up except for adding some painted sage to a few of them soon.

a combo of all perennials

Cosmos, all but one decimated by snails, means this planter will need more.

an all perennials planter, looks good now, will be blah later; first time I have seen graffiti on a planter.

variegated silene

This curb shows why the Long Beach parks have such a bad horsetail problem.  It lurks beneath.

Cerinthe major purpurascens

Someone asked me about this plant, then told me that a florist told her it is called gillyflower and “comes from Piglet Island”.  I thought gillyflower was the dianthus that grows in Oxford College (mentioned in Brideshead Revisited).  Piglet Island is in the Bahamas and cerinthe comes from the Mediterranean, or so I have read.

I am pleased the plants in the SW corner of Fifth Street Park are growing tall enough to hide the messy dwarf pampas grass behind the restroom building.

I am still wanting to re-do this planter when the veronica stops blooming (because it gets boring then):

I bet I will not, though.  Maybe if I shear the veronica hard the minute that it stops blooming, it will regrow in an interesting way.

Dutch iris

Allan’s photo

more Dutch iris

Allan’s photo

more cerinthe

Dutch iris, Allium christophii, Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ (Allan’s photo)

Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ (Allan’s photo)

snail in a Crimson Pygmy barberry (Allan’s photo)

This diascia now lacks a partner because someone stole the other one from the other side of the planter:

Allan’s photos, the empty spot

and the lonely diascia

more thievery evidence (Allan’s photo)

Then the day, which despite plant pilfering had been going pretty swimmingly so far, went pear shaped when I saw this Agastache ‘Estella Indigo’ in a planter.

The leaves do NOT look right. They are supposed to be dark, not mottled.

Next to it, an Agastache ‘Summer Fiesta’ also looked weird.

I emailed the photos to an expert friend and on the way home got a reply that it might be foliar nematode and that if so, the plants had to be pulled before it spread “and bag them, seal the bag, disinfect your tools, and throw away your gloves, and do not compost the plants!”. The shape of the discoloration is the clue to nematodes.  My love affair with agastaches, which I had found so easy and reliable, turned to heartbreak.


By now, we were at home and Allan had to go out and water the Ilwaco planters.

We put earth staples, two per each new plant, in the Ilwaco planters to try to discourage easy thievery.

When Allan came back, I urged that we go pull some bad agastaches, because I had been doing further research on the damage that could spread from foliar nematodes or whatever the heck might be going on. Before it could spread to others (or to salvias, which might be another target), we spent the rest of the evening disposing of some of the agastaches with ghastly mottled leaves.  Thus we now have four planters that need new center plants and so Planting Hell is back in session.  It has truly turned hellish now, not a semi-lighthearted name anymore.

I want a perennial with a long bloomtime that needs little deadheading. Agastaches fit the bill perfectly last year.  Now, how can I trust them?  Later, an agastache expert was consulted and said it might be “downy mildew” which he said looks much like foliar nematodes and also has pretty much no cure, and can spread.  They looked beautiful and perfect when planted, so the source nursery (not one on the peninsula) would not even have known they had a problem.  I was so sad and I felt so terribly sorry for the plants, who just wanted to live and give pleasure.

Long blooming penstemons instead, I thought?  Research says they can get powdery mildew and botritys.

I then thought about retiring.  It looked tempting.  My headache came back.

Further research tells me that the Kudos series of agastaches from Terra Nova are supposed to be downy mildew resistant.  All the agastaches from last year that came through the winter look great, and I hope so much that they stay that way.  I love them so, so much.  They seemed such a perfect plant and their foliage smells so lovely.  I am devastated.

We were so exhausted out doing plant patrol till dusk that we decided to dine at the Shelburne.  The ambience and food (and drink) were comforting.

Shelburne by night

cranberry cosmo

potato salad, garden sandwich, smoked salmon reuben

Before bedtime, I found a half hour episode of Gardener’s World to watch, also comforting.

Monty and his compost bins








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Thursday, 17 May 2018

Skooter waking up.

Todd and I had gone in on an order from Digging Dog nursery.  It arrived in the morning, and took an hour to unpack.  Allan’s photos:

I found it time consuming to unpack the shredded paper and to look at my list of which were for Todd and which for me.

Crambe cordifolia did not look happy.

I felt skeptical about this angelica gigas.

The rest of the plants looked promising.

just a few

more (and a hardy orchid birthday present which I have not figured out where to put yet)

While I sorted and listed, Allan went across the street to mow at J’s.  We have fallen far behind.

good thing it is a small lawn

rhodie from next door to J’s

Before we left, I picked some snails to take for a long ride to a place with wild plants.

on my alliums!

Mike’s garden

We finally got a start on getting Mike’s garden back into good order.  I decided to not plant any cosmos there so I don’t have to worry about watering them.  (All work photos today are Allan’s.)

Me and Mike discuss the prospect of getting rid of a suckering and not very floriferous lilac, at the same time that two slowly dying conifers get removed.

While I weeded, Allan’s project was to reshape two Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’ to the round form that Mike likes.





Ilwaco boatyard garden

We did some weeding, and I planted cosmos.  Oh, what a difference the mulch made (applied last fall).  Last year I was hammering away at gravel to plant the cosmos.  This year, it was easy peasy.

euphorbia and columbine

This euphorbia came out. (There are plenty. It had reseeded too close to the sidewalk and was old and woody.)

We added two more of our signs.

As for the man who was caught picking flowers earlier this week and told a port office person that “no one is going to take care of them so I am saving them”, I fumed for awhile while planting.  Just exactly where did he think all these cool plants come from?  The garden was in pretty good shape; what did he think an uncared for garden looks like?  I got up a good head of steam.  I fervently hope the port comes up with some official no picking signs.

fresh cosmos

Stipa gigantea

Stipa is at its best right now.

Talking with the nice boatyard head honcho Mark about plant thievery.

stems from picking

It might seem inconsequential to pick poppies, but I have no way of knowing if someone who is picking is going to also pick the alliums and the eryngiums that only bloom once, ONE CHANCE for beauty.

For example, after the cosmos were all in, we went to the Ilwaco pavilion garden to water some new plants.  Here, the Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ are blooming.  If someone picks them, that is the last we will see of them because each puts out just ONE flower.

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ and Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’

our garden

At home, I walked back to the Bogsy Wood to check on some newly transplanted fuchsias and took a few photos on my way there and back again.  I was terribly sad at how weedy my garden is and how I do not have time for it, and yet there is still much to admire.

Thrilled to see my severely coppiced cotinus finally putting out new red leaves. Whew! I did not kill it!

dreamy Ceanothus ‘Oregon Mist’

I picked up all the weed piles I left on the lawn last week, and Allan mowed.  It had gotten so long, Frosty had to pick his paws up high.

Skooter was staring intently….

…at his next door nemesis, Onyx.

viewed over the most unweeded part of the garden

My mom’s beloved rhododendron, originally from her garden, then moved to Golden Sands when she lived there, then to here:

Rose ‘Radway Sunrise’

The snails are enjoying my compost bins.  I long for time to turn the compost.

I even had time to sit down and finish this book by my favourite cartoonist, Roz Chast.  It is due back tomorrow.

She poses an interesting question, hearkening back to when her parents would spend a day in the city:

I remember taking many long walks as a youth and not carrying a water bottle.  How was that possible?  Now, I take water with me pretty much everywhere.

I was able to erase Mike’s garden and Ilwaco from the work board Annuals Planting Time list, leaving only Klipsan Beach Cottages and here.  This means the worst of the APT pressure is over.  No wonder my headache decreased today.

The one thing that I sadly have not had the time for the past two days is watching even a short episode of Gardener’s World.



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 Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Looking out my window (over the storage/water trailer/garbage area), I saw that the driveway was wet, oh joy!  Such a relief to know the gardens got some water.

Ilwaco Fire Station

I planted some assorted sunflower seeds at the fire station.

Ilwaco Post Office

I wanted to quickly plant 12 cosmos in our volunteer garden at the post office.  Quickly was not the word because of how weedy it had gotten.

It took an hour to make space and get the plants in.

While we were gardening there, someone from the port office came to get mail and told us that yesterday evening, she had seen a man and a boy picking an armload of flowers from the boatyard garden.  When she asked him not to, he was argumentative and said “No one is going to take care of them and I’m keeping them from dying.”  (“No one is going to take care of them”!!!!!!) She and I had a good conversation that I fervently hope will result, and soon, with some official “Do not pick” signage from the port.  Our polite little “Please leave the flowers for everyone to enjoy” signs are not working.

I thought of a few more things to say so I went to the port office while Allan planted cosmos in the office garden (south side).  The baskets from Basket Case Greenhouse had been hung.

Couldn’t get a long shot because the port truck was there.

curbside gardens on the south side of the port office

I did not want to look at the boatyard so we went on to add more to the planters in

Long Beach.

I am tired of planting.

I asked Allan to make room for a blue felicia daisy by the blue painted Benson’s restaurant.



The golden variegated vinca in that planter is beautiful but much too aggressive for my taste.

Allan was entertained while planting by motorcycle tourists.

taking pictures of their bikes

They asked a Long Beach crew member to take their photo with the frying pan.

The south east quadrant of Fifth Street Park:

Gunnera and Darmera peltata

Later, Allan photographed a hole where a trailing plant had gotten stolen.

I am upset. And tired of this.

We added a few cosmos to the west side of city hall.

Shelburne Hotel and Pub

Today was Melissa’s birthday.  Allan and I worked on the Shelburne garden for 45 minutes until the birthday dinner at the pub began.

the back edible and shady totem pole garden

front garden looking north

and south

In the pub:

avocado toast

chopped salad

pub burger

cranberry curd tart

Melissa declared her chocolate pot du creme the best ever.

Allan took an amusing group photo.

We stayed till well past closing time (with permission from bartender Juan).

On the way to our van, after Dave and Mel had left, we went into the back garden to see if the tiny daisy flowers of the Zaluzianskya (night scented phlox) were scenting the courtyard.  They were, intoxicatingly.

the lawn by night (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo, pub deck

At home, I was able to make the work list shorter by erasing Long Beach parks and planters.

*Annuals Planting Time AKA Annuals Planting Hell

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