Archive for Oct, 2018

I continue with the memories, a year after his death, of my beloved heart-cat, who lived with us from January of 2012 through Halloween of 2017.


mother Mary, center, with Smoky and Frosty, her sons.  1-7-16


mom wins…


1-8; I recommend the Seaside Knitters series.


1-13, our last winter of reading together

1-14, a crowded lap




When I read a book, he sat quietly underneath or beside it.  When I watched telly, he’d scoot up and put his head on my shoulder.

2-2; the blocked cat door must mean someone was recovering from an injury so all had to stay indoors.

wanting OUT

Unlike Skooter, our present day cat, Smoky would never spray in the house to express his disgruntlement.

Mary and Smoky, 2-13

2-13, helping me blog about my mother’s garden diaries

2-15, bookends


2-18, cat door is opened

on the desk where I use my computer on rainy days off

Smoky, Mary, Frosty, 2-21


2-26, he loved a taste of morning tea

2-28, Mary and Smoky

2-29: In case you are wondering, the cats wore Birds Be Safe collars.

3-1, as I began to work on my Grandma’s Scrapbooks side blog.



In mid March, Mary suddenly showed extreme breathing distress.  A trip to the vet revealed that she had end stage lung cancer, probably from living in a smoky motor home for 7 years.  We lost her on March 18th, 2016.  I wrote a memorial to her starting here, with a some of same photos of her and her favourite son.


A visit from neighbor cat Onyx

bereft brothers 

just three now

Smoky and Calvin

3-19, sleeping alone without mom

3-22, Smoky and Frosty

3-23; I was happy to see the brothers getting closer.

3-24, Smoky and Calvin in the garden




4-10, rainy reading day

4-12, more rainy reading with the brothers















7-28, with Patti Jacobsen

7-31, with garden company (a visit from Pam and Prissy)



8-7, campfire night

8-13, three lap cats

8-14; Smoky’s ears were always cool and silky.


8-19, blogging

8-20, watching new cat Skooter try to figure out the cat door



8-21, with Frosty


9-5, with Calvin

9-11, campfire night

9-16, the after work greeting

9-16, campfire night




9-18, with J9


10-8, Allan’s photo

10-9, campfire night with Smoky on my lap

10-10, campfire night








11-9, my constant companion

11-13, Calvin, Smoky, Frosty, Skooter




11-24, first day of staycation

11-26; Calvin finally has a steady friend.

11-28, Smoky was a friend to all.



12-10; Frosty and Calvin and Skooter dine in the laundry room…

…but Smoky had his own place to eat or he would let the others have his food (especially Calvin).

12-13, Frosty and Smoky



12-16 (Calvin is the one who scratched up the arm of the chair.)













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I continue my tribute to my most special feline friend, my beloved Smoky, who died on Halloween 2017.

Smoky and friends in 2015



1-25-15, with Calvin




2-20-15, with his mother, Mary


He was the best and quietest reading companion and spent winter staycation book time on my lap.

3-27-15: He always faithfully kept me company in the garden.


3-29-15, suppertime (Allan’s photos)





4-17-15, Mother Mary and her two sons

4-18-15, a cat atop each of three chairs (Calvin, Smoky, Mary)




6-5, 8:45 PM, following me to the house





6-21, at the club, in his smoking jacket



8-8, with Frosty

8-18, helping me blog

8-22, with Frosty


9-5, coming to greet me after work







9-25, hurrying from the Nora house to greet me after work

He plopped himself at my feet.

9-25, evening walk in the garden

9-28, sharing a chair on campfire evening (Allan’s photo)




10-6, the way he talked when I came home from work




I still enjoy a campfire evening, but not as much as I did when I had a cat who loved campfires.


10-26, wishing for a campfire









12-1, three cats on lap

12-2, with a Dog Lovers’ Mystery

Smoky did like dogs, because of being brought up with the good dogs, Annie and Jasmine, of his previous home.

good old Annie and Jasmine, who were good friends of mine and of Smoky’s.


I still enjoy staycation reading time, but not as much as when I had Smoky to share it with me.  Mary was a little squirmier, and Frosty is terribly squirmy.













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It has been a year on Oct. 31st since my best cat ever, my cat soulmate, Smoky, died at age 12.  I still miss him terribly.  I meant to do this retrospective post last winter and simply could not.  Now, on the anniversary of his death, it seems time, no matter how heart-wrenching it is, to honor him with these photos over the course of four days. Our regular blog topics (Halloween 2018!) will return on November 2.

I know these posts are ridiculously long and may be hard to load, for which I apologize.  I need to do this and I need to do it in just this way.


Terry, a Vietnam vet down on his luck, lived in the RV park next door to us in our former house behind the Ilwaco boatyard.  He used to walk his two very old dogs by our house.  Once we helped him take his young cat, Frosty, to the vet.  In January of 2012, he went into a hospital two hours away, with a diagnosis of lung cancer, and asked us to take in his three cats, Mary (the mother, age 10) and her two sons, the brothers Frosty and Smoky, age 7.

Allan and a friend who worked at the humane society went into his old motor home to fetch the cats.  They found the cats with no litter box, up on the bed to get away from their droppings.  They had rarely been let outside that old, moldy, cigarette smoke filled motor home and quite possibly had lived in there for seven years.  Terry had adopted Mary when she had just had the two kittens. They were loved and doted on, but their lives were small.

When they came to us, we had only two cats, the jet black and very shy Calvin, age 7, who we had been caring for since August 2011 and who had then became ours, and Maddy, an old and cranky black and white cat who I’d had for years.  My beloved Dumbles had died early in the winter of some sort of brain seizure.

At our house, we kept Frosty, Smoky, and Mary in the big bathroom for a week to acclimate them to their new home.

Mary and Smoky hid in the closet for awhile. 1-21-12

I did not quite know what to make of Smoky.  He was so quiet and looked so plain to me, and he did not purr when petted. On the phone, Terry told us “Smoky never purrs, Frosty is the lover.”

Smoky and Frosty, 2-2-12, still in the closet

Mary and Smoky, 2-2-12

2-13-12, out of the closet

The cats seemed to love running through the house, so much larger than their motor home.  One scary afternoon early on, they got out of an accidentally opened window and I thought they would have hightailed it the ten blocks back to the RV park, but they were waiting outside and agreed to be picked up and brought back in.  Soon, we let them go outside.  They had to use the back cat door because Maddy guarded the front one for her own exclusive use.  Maddy hated all other cats.  She was with us for the first year that we added this new batch, and she died at about age 15 late in the year.

2-14-12, out the back cat door!

Allan’s photo

Smoky and Mary, 2-18-12

Soon after going outside, Smoky began sitting on my lap and he began to purr.  We just had time to tell Terry on the phone that Smoky was purring before Terry died.

3-13-12, Calvin and Smoky had become friends.

Mary and Smoky, 3-30-12

Smoky had the softest fur I have ever felt on a cat, even softer than soft cats of my memory.

Mary and Smoky, 4-3-12


Mary and Smoky, 6-17-12

Smoky and Mary, 6-17-12

I have only one more photo for 2012 due to a computer crash.

12-18-12, helping to wrap Christmas presents

Sometime over the course of the year, Smoky bonded with me more than the other three also very sweet and affectionate cats.



Mary and Smoky, 2-4-13

Smoky and Mary, 2-7-13

Frosty, Smoky, Mary 2-19-13

2-19-13, at our new water boxes

Smoky and Mary, 3-19-13

the family, 3-24-13

Frosty and Smoky, 5-7-13

the softest, 5-15-13


Mary and Smoky, 6-30-13

Smoky loved a campfire and often sat at the campfire circle, seeming to hope for one. 6-30-13


Imagine enjoying the garden life after having been indoors in a small space for 7 years.




9-1-13, with his Birds Be Safe collar



campfire evening, 9-21-13


10-2-13, with Calvin in the bogsy wood

10-4-13; He loved to lie around on the warm driveway at the Nora house next door.



11-20-13, Smoky and Mary





12-8-13, with a Joey Ramone doll made for me by Montana Mary





1-20-14, a rambunctious young dog came to visit

1-20-14, with Frosty


1-30-14; poor Frosty was not as popular with his mother Mary.







4-19-14 on the front porch



4-29-14, all four cats on the Nora house driveway


When I would come home from work and go out into the garden, I’d hear a distinctive series of little meows and Smoky would emerge from a garden bed to greet me.



6-28-14, all four















Staycation with Smoky was heavenly.  He appeared to sit on my lap the moment I would sit down and he settled in with no squirming or fussing.








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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Despite the daunting sight of wind whipping our alder grove around, we decided to try to work.  Rain was predicted at 2 PM.

Long Beach

We headed straight for city works and got 19 buckets of mulch from our pile.  That was every five gallon bucket with a handle that I could find.  We could use more if you have any to give us!

at city works

We mulched at city hall first (which also involved some weeding and some escallonia pruning).

city hall north side (Allan’s photo)

west side; I was pruning the escallonias so they would not touch the building.

Back we went to get another load.  This time, we gave the Bolstad planters their autumn top up.

I had been carrying with us some cereal that had dropped on the kitchen floor, waiting for the right birds.  Today was the day to distribute it.

Allan’s photo

We had only enough treats for a few, leaving many disappointed. (Allan’s photo)

While we were working on the beach approach, we encountered a couple of tourists (probably) who had parked at the west end of Bolstad before we arrived. A guy on a black bike smashed the window of their car and stole their belongings while they had walked down to get ice cream at Scoopers. The driver of the car saw the theft happening as they returned and ran back and chased the thief down the gravel that goes through the pines to the city from the Bolstad restroom parking lot. But the thief got away.  It was a sad encounter to see tourists’ have a ruined day. The police came, and one hopes a search was made of the beach pine woods because that’s where the culprit disappeared to, we think.

This happened to a friend’s car once when I was with her at the Oregon coast (the door jimmied rather than the window smashed).  Among my items stolen were two precious rolls of undeveloped film of our visit in Eugene, Oregon, and my leather looseleaf pocket notebook in which I had kept for years a list of books to read. Many books were unread by me because of that theft.

Back to work; I hoped the nineteen buckets would be enough for the eleven planters.  The soil in those planters sinks quickly into the netherworld, or what lies beneath.

Allan’s photo, the light layer won’t prevent beach strawberry or sedums from survival

Nineteen buckets was not quite enough so back we went for load three.  The wind was getting worse and a slight drizzle had begun.

We finished topping up the last three Bolstad planters and the west side of city hall, by which time the rain had fully arrived.

work conditions at city all

Long Beach City Hall west side

I was longing to get another load for Veterans Field, and then another load for Fifth Street Park.  The rain might stop in half an hour, said our weather apps, so we repaired to Taqueria el Jalapeño for lunch.  Yes, finally, many months since it opened, we had a rainy break to try out the new restaurant behind Lewis and Clark Square.

Vet Field

ready for a walk through the rain to the café

Inside, the decor was cheerful and delightful and the food was excellent.

I noted that the pop bottles were prettier than the Mexican coca cola bottles we had used for bouquets for an immigrant fundraiser, so we saved two and will keep saving them.  You do, too, if you dine there, please.

The rain did not cease and a 20 plus mph wind was kicking when we emerged. We gave up on getting more mulch.  We did accomplish planting two Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and four Oregano ‘Hopley’s Purple’ in the newly redone planter by the Long Beach frying pan.

Shelburne Hotel

And at the Shelburne, we removed three or four echeverias from two back deck planters to take home and winter in my greenhouse, replacing them with some hardy hens and chicks and sedums for the winter.

echeverias about to go home for the winter (Allan’s photo)

one of the pots, after

and the other (Allan’s photos)

front, looking north

Bulb Time day 11: the spreadsheets

I got the bulb lists all typed up and added.  When the last bulbs come for the welcome sign (which will be day 12), we will have planted slightly over 5332 bulbs.  (The overage is from some buckets of port bulbs from the defunct office garden that were waiting to go back in.)

The typing is not something Allan can help with because I use increasingly scrawled abbreviations for bulb names as the sorting goes on.

Only I can deal with these lists.

Fortunately, I very much enjoy sitting down to do a spreadsheet.  In another life, I might have quite liked an office job.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

(I am trying to get the blog caught up so we won’t be a week behind at Halloween.)

The Colorblends bulbs for the welcome sign arrived a day early!  The weather was dry and not windy, perfect for planting them.  We took a few more bulbs with us for a little job at

The Depot Restaurant

but could not plant them because the barrel for which they are destined is still so flowery and full.

Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’

the “after” photo we did not take after cutting back perennials in order to plant bulbs last week.

Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’

Long Beach

Bulb Time day 12

Into the welcome sign bed went about 300 tulips, red and yellow for the front and a soft pastel mix for the back.

Also single early tulip ‘Flair’ and some Orange Emperor along the front (Allan’s photo)

Now bulb time is done except for a couple of postscripts: the 15 or so tulips for the Depot barrel and the transplanting of some Lily ‘Conca D’Or’ from my garden to the Shelburne and the Post office.

We filled up 21 buckets of mulch at city works and mulched the corner garden in Veterans Field, not as deeply as I wished, because I realized the pile of mulch was not as big as I had thought.  The tarp was on a bit of a mound and the pile looked deeper than it was.

Then with ten buckets left of that load, Allan mulched five of the most beaten down street tree pocket gardens.  The rest will have to wait till next spring.

Allan’s photo

Meanwhile, I cut back one Geranium Rozanne:

And admired the flowers in another planter:

Zauschneria californica

Must have more Zauschneria californica next year.

It is much smaller across the street where it gets a bit less afternoon sun.

While Allan mulched the last two trees, I tackled a big patch of the BadAster that we have not had time to control.  He helped me finish up.

We returned to city works and gathered all the rest of the Soil Energy Mulch, 22 buckets this time and a bit more just piled in the trailer.  It all went to Fifth Street Park.

badaster bed, mulched. It’s the northeast corner of the four Fifth Street park quadrants. (Allan’s photo)

Salvia leucantha in a planter

Most of the mulch went to the northwest quadrant.

after, with mulch added (not as much as I would like)

One of Allan’s projects, before and after

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

The park still has sweet peas.

On the work board, almost all bulbs are planted, and mulch LB is erased by virtue of running out of mulch.

At home: Alycia has returned to the Nora house for a few days and so we are about to repair next door for a spaghetti dinner with “warm cookies and ice cream” for dessert.  With rain predicted, I think we will now have time off for paperwork (necessary) and Halloween decorating…oh, and cleaning the house after Bulb Time chaos and exhaustion.

Friday, 26 October 2018

After a rainy Thursday of paperwork (no time for fun reading), we took advantage of good weather to get a jump on the fall clean up.

the rain gauge (Allan’s photo)

Long Beach

before and after, Coulter Park

before and after, Lewis and Clark Square; I would have pulled the hesperantha, also.

While Allan did those, I clipped and tidied several planters.

by the pharmacy

clipped santolina, cosmos too pretty to pull

lots of snails revealed when I pulled a trailing California poppy…they are living at the city works yard now.

L&C Square planter before and after BadAster removal

hydrangeas in Third Street Park


We did a quick check up before their pre-Halloween ghostly event.

looking south

still sweet peas for Halloween

al fresco dining area


No time for a meal there; I wanted to work on a four part blog post in memory of my Smoky, starting tomorrow.  (Anyone who finds cats boring or irksome will want to skip those days and return to us on Nov 2.) And Halloween preparation begins full force on a series of days off; that’s what we’ll be doing (and then processing photos about it) while our most faithful readers try to load posts with a kajillion photos of my Smoky.




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Oct 22: happy composting

Monday, 22 October 2018

at home

Allan had found a few stray bulblets in the bags (mostly chips off the sides of a bulb) so I planted those.  And then, to prepare for the fall clean up influx of garden debris, I turned compost bin four, layering it with some green debris on the top of the heaped up bins one through three.

Skooter helped.

Bin four looked promising.  I hoped for some good compost out of it.

This is all I got after my sifting.

Is that all there is? Is that all there is, my friends?

Oh well.

Do you see Skooter?

How about now?

I managed to get more tender plants into the greenhouse, including digging some echeverias out of two big pots and putting them in a winter home.

If you think that is untidy, you should have seen it two hours earlier.

my beautiful wall of compost from behind

Some views around the garden as a dramatic fog rolled in:

Sanguisorba ‘Korean Snow’

The fog horns had been sounding for several hours before the mist settled over us.

looking in the west gate

looking past the Nora house toward the Js

Allan had spent hours sorting out and hanging the Halloween lights and then had one hour before dark to work on the greenhouse lean to.

It is going to be a sort of polytunnel for winter storage of more plants.

After dark, while closing the garage, Allan looked up at the city light pole and saw that way way up high, spiders had built webs in the wires.

(I miss the days when the lights were a warm amber instead of glaring white.)

Our Halloween decorating in progress:

Allan has installed the upright posts for the Corridor of Spooky Plants.  I cannot assemble it until the predicted midweek windstorm has passed (and until I can see if the weather will be settled between then and Halloween).

front porch

Somehow, I must find time to clean the inside of the house which is a wreck after 11 days of Bulb Time.  Tony and Scott will be hosting their/our Halloween party here at Tangly Cottage.  If you are a friend, you are invited to join us in handing out the treats; if the weather is good, we might have 500+ trick or treaters.  Last year we had perfect weather.


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Sunday, 21 October 2018

bulb planting at home

Started at 11:30, planted for seven straight hours, began to think I would not get done by sunset, but I did.

My first thought had been to clear areas as I moved along—for example, the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ in the west driveway garden.

I am so glad that I did not, because I would not have gotten done planting.  I’d decided that billows of plants, especially tatty ones, look nicely spooky for Halloween.

In that bed, some lovely autumn crocus that I had forgotten I had.

maybe from Todd

I was triumphant and exhausted by end of day and took a few photos just before going in.

Allan had mowed our lawn, the Nora house lawn, and the walking path in the Nora house meadow next door.

the meadow next door

Looking in one of our west gates:

west Willows Loop


Before dinner, I finished Marion Cran’s last book, Hagar’s Garden, published in 1941. I wept as she finally got her home and garden, “Coggers”,  back after losing it for awhile due to a heart attack followed by financial woes brought on by World War II.  She was ecstatic to have a home for her new cat, Minnie, and to begin garden plans she had made in exile.  Minnie had been neglected during the six weeks that Marion had her fostered while moving back into Coggers.  They were both so happy to be home together. But I knew that Marion would die within two years and my heart was shattered by that. What happened to Minnie?  Torn out of paradise; Coggers was sold soon after.  Marion had many friends; I do hope one of them gave Minnie a good life.

There are much sadder stories in the world and yet… Marion is my great love this autumn.  She has been gone for longer than I have been alive and I miss her so.

In a chapter called I Have Secrets, she finally wrote about her first daughter, Maidie, born of an early marriage to a violent older man.  Because Marion’s second daughter was illegitimate, in the early part of the century when such an event was shocking, and her first was raised by her ex-husband’s parents, Marion had held back from her usual personal revelations and had made the two daughters into one character in the earliest books.  Much more on this later, I hope.  I was happy to have learned that Maidie loved her mother and wrote many letters hoping that Marion (then in her mid 60s) would come live with her in America after the war.

My Marion

I reflected on how Marion had now twice revealed that she took some creative license with the plot line of her own life.  And here in this blog, I feel I have to be completely honest, to the point that if we go to one job, then another, then back to the first, I cannot roll the two work sessions into one for ease of narrative flow.

At bedtime, I began Marion’s book of essays based on her radio broadcast, circa 1925.  I was delighted to find the first two essays had Marion’s personal touch.  Even though I have read her last book, I still have a few more to go, some of which have not arrived yet.

That makes the wrench of finishing easier to bear.

From Garden Talks:

And in the first chapter, the pleasure of dividing plants:

And especially apropos is this about bulbs:

While I read in the early evening, Allan did his Bulb Time task of crossing this year’s names off of the bulb bags so that they can be easily reused, and smoothing them and putting them back into the box.



He retired this one!

I would have written in the empty space, somewhere, and used it for more years.

The work board now has the fall clean up list. That work will mostly take place after  November 5th.:

Now, in case you have been wondering what bulbs we have been planting, here is what I put in our garden.  I used at least a few of each.  I added up the cost after making the spreadsheet and am slightly shocked.  Three days of bulb work will just about pay for my own bulbs.  I blame this year’s extravagance on wanting the Shelburne to have some of all my special favourites.  The Shelburne and other places got some tulips I did not add to my garden: Flair, El Nino, Strong Gold, Suncatcher, along with Fritillaria meleagris, of which I already have plenty, and Allium christophii, of which I always want more, but I was trying to be budget-minded.

At least I divided out some of the best narcissi and some of the little bulbs to make four pots that will be a housewarming present for Mary and Denny (don’t tell!).

Bulb Time will continue in the evenings for me, or perhaps for a full rainy day, as I make all the spreadsheets for each client.

My bulb list (also, Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ and Brodiaea laxa coccinea and Tulip ‘Spring Green’, which I forgot to write down, and Narcissus ‘Sabine Hay’, which arrived a week later):

Allium ‘Firmament’

Allium ‘Gladiator’

Allium ‘His Excellency’

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’

Allium ‘White Giant’

Allium atropurpureum

Allium nigrum

Allium nigrum ‘Pink Jewel’

Allium schubertii

Brodiaea ‘Pink Diamond’

Brodiaea ‘Rudy’

Camassia ‘Blue Melody’

Crocus minimus ‘Spring Beauty’

Crocus olivieri ‘Orange Monarch’

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Barr’s Purple’

Crocus tommasinianusRoseus‘ 

Iris histriodes ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ and Katharine’s Gold’

Iris hollandica ‘Alaska’

Iris hollandica ‘Mystic Beauty’

Iris hollandica ‘Telstar’

Iris reticulata ‘Eye Catcher’

Iris reticulata ‘Painted Lady’

Iris reticulata ‘Pixie’

Lilium  ‘Black Beauty’

Lilium ‘Pretty Woman’

Lilium martagon ‘Arabian Knight’

Lilium martagon ‘Claude Shride’

Muscari ‘Baby’s Breath’

Muscari ‘Golden Fragrance’

Muscari ‘Helena’

Muscari ‘Pink Sunrise’

Muscari paradoxum

Narcissus ‘Actaea’

Narcissus ‘Cha Cha’

Narcissus ‘Cragford’

Narcissus ‘Dreamlight’

Narcissus ‘Jamestown’

Narcissus ‘Julia Jane’

Narcissus ‘Kedron’

Narcissus ‘Minnow’

Narcissus ‘Moonlight Sensation’

Narcissus ‘Punchline’

Narcissus ‘Rapture’

Narcissus ‘Silver Smiles’

Narcissus ‘Sunlight Sensation’

Narcissus ‘Thalia’

Narcissus ‘Tweety Bird’

Narcissus ‘Winter Waltz’

Narcissus ‘Xit’

Narcissus obvallaris

Tulip ‘Akebono’

Tulip ‘Aveyron’

Tulip ‘Caribbean Parrot’

Tulip ‘Green Wave’

Tulip ‘Night Rider’

Tulip ‘Orange Emperor’

Tulip ‘Purple Lady’

Tulip ‘Queensland’

Tulip ‘Spring Green’

Tulip ‘Virichic’

Tulip ‘White Parrot’

Tulip batalinii ‘Bright Gem’

Tulip batalinii ‘Salmon Gem’

Tulip greigii ‘Corona’

Tulip greigii ‘Quebec’

Tulip linifolia

Tulip turkestanica





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Saturday, 20 October 2018

Long Beach

The town of Long Beach has two beach approach roads.

satellite view of beach approach roads, Bolstad and Sid Snyder

Bolstad is at the top of the photo, is several blocks long, and has no businesses next to the planters (except for the first one).  It begins with the iconic Long Beach Arch.

Bolstad beach approach garden

Sid Snyder Drive, toward the bottom of the satellite photo, has planters flanked with two horse ride outfits, an apartment building, two hotels, a restaurant, a distillery, and the World Kite Museum.  It has more eyes on the planters and much less of plant theft.

For the past several years, we have been frustrated by the Bolstad planters because every new plant we install has been stolen.  We replant, and the plants are stolen again.  Earlier this week,  we heard the secondhand news that a local citizen complained on a city employee’s Facebook profile that the Bolstad planters looked so terrible that she wanted to plant things in them herself, and that she was thinking of writing a letter to the editor about their dreadfulness.

When we drove out there after work today, I expected to find something dire.  Perhaps in the dry weather spell, the rosemary in one planter had completely died and was a brown twiggy corpse.  Perhaps each planter was full of weeds and death.  Well….no.  The planters were their usual tatty and frustrating selves.  If it were not for the recurring plant theft, I could plant them with an assortment of more interesting drought tolerant plants.  Unfortunately, that has become a waste of time and money.  As usual. we will add mulch to the planters this fall and will sow some poppy seeds….probably to the usual failure because of the exceptionally dry and salty and windy conditions.  We could do so much more if only the thievery would cease—and no, there is nowhere to install cameras, and no one with time to review camera footage if there were cameras, and thieves steal spiky and thorny plants as much as any other plant, and I am not allowed to install booby traps.

The thief steals bulbs, too, from the planters and the ground level garden.  Using a trowel or shovel, entire clumps of bulbs are removed in flower, leaving a hole behind.

Perhaps when we retire, which with a rude person insulting our work feels like will be sooner rather than later, a new gardener will have better luck with these.  Next year, I plan to give it one more go with new plants.  I believe that the thief has been one repeat person because of the way the plants are so quickly removed, leaving holes, with no attempt to even cover up.  If we are lucky, that thievin’ varmint has moved away and no one as avaricious will take her place.

Planter Reference Post, Bolstad beach approach, October 2018

planter eleven, almost all the way to the boardwalk

The old established plants in planter eleven are two santolinas, one catmint (its partner was stolen)  and some armeria maritima (sea thrift) and some dull carpeting sedums.  We’ve tried adding some lavender, eryngium, and more sea thrift and interesting sedums or sempervivums (hens and chickens).  None of the new plants last overnight without being stolen.

Here it is in May 2017:

westernmost planter on Bolstad, looking empty in 2017 because the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ I had filled in with have all been stolen.  (Later, most of the golden oregano was stolen, too.)

planter ten

Planter ten has two established silver santolinas.  It did have two established green santolinas, till one of the green ones was stolen.  Some of the creeping sedum and some bulb foliage (mostly muscari, which does not get stolen as readily as narcissi) are all that are left, other than an oregano one one side; its mate on the other side (I like symmetry) was stolen.  It pains me greatly to have the symmetry destroyed by theft.

planter nine, the Lisa Bonney Memorial Planter

This year, Lisa’s relatives or friends added some lavender and artemisia in midsummer, in her memory.  At first, the new plants were not watered and were dying.  I trimmed them back and posted a public post on Facebook imploring that someone get the message to whoever planted them that newly planted plants in mid summer need water.  The parks manager said he would get the crew to give some extra water to this planter.  I think it worked, and miraculously, the plants were not stolen.  Despite the memorial plaque, everything Allan and I have planted there has been stolen (this being the first year we did not even try).  This is what gives me hope that maybe the thief has moved away or reformed and that perhaps we dare to try again next spring.

Can you imagine stealing from a planter with this plaque?

plaque on Lisa’s memorial planter

And yet, it happened repeatedly.  Well-loved Lisa was murdered in 2009 by her ex boyfriend very near to where this planter sits, in front of witnesses during the annual Rod Run weekend.  I knew her only in passing but several of my friends knew her well and cherished her.  Since then, an annual run to raise awareness of domestic violence begins on this beach approach road.

Here was the planter when we planted it up in 2010, before the rampant thieving started:

Lisa's planter

Lisa’s planter

Lisa's memorial planter

Lisa’s memorial planter back when

I wish the planters could be pretty like that again.

planter eight

Again, planter eight just has creeping sedum, santolina, old sea thrift.  Lavenders, eryngiums, thymes, hens and chicks, and every other attempt at beauty disappeared, leaving holes behind.  Often the established sea thrift has big chunks dug out of it, a rather futile attempt to get a free plant because it does not transplant well.

planter seven

Planter seven has rosemary planted by my friend Lily Gibson, who once upon a time was a planter volunteer for two planters out here (back when all were done by volunteers).  The rosemary is now for remembrance, because she died of ALS.  I have tried adding sea thrift, santolinas, golden thyme, variegated thyme, and other prettier plants, but guess what, they were stolen.  Now I have two bits of santolina cuttings stuck in there to try again.

planter six

Planter six has the usual two established santolinas.  I removed the shasta daisies left from volunteer days because they were ill suited and always crispy and thirsty. Even the remaining beach strawberry was crispy earlier this year before we had one good day of autumn rain over a week ago.  I have tried the usual thyme, lavender, and sea thrift planting in here…they were gone the next day.

planter five

Planter five is repeatedly so hard hit that it doesn’t even have santolina.  Just some sea thrift and beach strawberry.  Someone dug out a corner of the sea thrift, leaving a low spot.  If a planter that looked this sad were downtown, I would dig it out and start over, but here, it seems futile.

planter four

Planter four was planted by Florence Shawa back in volunteer days and still has her ornamental grasses.  I miss the days when I could add tough annuals like gazanias and statice to make the planters more colorful.  A coreopsis has been left alone on one side, but the matching one is missing.  Makes me twitchy.

planter three

Planter three has Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and lots of it, planted by a volunteer back in the day.  I added some green santolina, which I have not had time to trim for the autumn.  It is a dull planter but at least the plants are tough and hard to remove.

planter two

Planter two was one of my original volunteer planters.  It has santolinas and an old dianthus and a geranium sanguineum on one side.  The matching geranium was stolen, leaving a huge ole.  I replaced it and the replacement got stolen.  I replaced it again, and the new one is still there but quite small. This planter used to be ever so pretty…

planter one

Haven’t had time to trim the green santolinas yet in planter one.  This planter is next to a townhouse building; unfortunately, none of the windows overlook it.  It is sheltered from wind so is a bit more lush and has a bit less thievery. Has santolinas, sea thrift, some Dutch iris left from the volunteers.  We redid it a few years ago because it had gone completely to mint that the volunteers had planted, and it has managed to keep more new plants than the other planters.

Here is a photo of one of the planters back before the pilferer(s) came to town.  We would not be able to make the plants look this perky, though, unless they got regular water.

beachy planter on the Bolstad beach approach, 2013

31 July, 2012 Allan bucket watering Bolstadt beach approach planter. Each downtown planter has its own water, but not so the beach approach planters.

The above photo shows that the intense thievery started after 2012.

We resigned from the bucket watering brigade when my knee got too weak and when Allan started to feel it very badly in his back.

And there you have it.  I look forward to retiring and seeing someone else have more success with these eleven planters.  We will try again next year with a test planting of new plants…  I did not have the heart to plant new bulbs out here this fall because so many clumps of bulbs were taken away last year.

Fortunately, our downtown city planters still look lush and good and satisfying and are pretty much treated with respect and appreciation.








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Saturday, 20 October 2018

For me, this is day 12 in a row of work.  (Allan got time off while I sorted bulbs for two of those days.)

I must be getting old, mellower, and wiser because I did not think of yesterday’s planter criticism annoyance first thing upon awakening, nor had I had any planter nightmares overnight.

Long Beach

We planted in Fifth Street Park, all four quadrants, lots of narcissi, some camassia, some crocus.

Melianthus major, Fifth Street (Allan’s photo)

sweet peas still blooming (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

more sweet peas (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

It was truly Bulb Hell getting the narcissi into the hard, rooty soil in all four quadrants.  When it was done, that sort of bulb hell was over for this year, as all that remained was the welcome sign and planting in some pots.  Over for Allan, anyway.  I still have my bulbs to plant at home and may find some hard, rooty soil there.

We dumped debris at city works and covered the new mulch pile with a tarp so that weeds won’t seed into it.

The Basket Case Greenhouse

On the way north, we stopped to get two Geranium Rozanne for the planter we (Allan) dug out two days ago.

Allan’s photo at The Basket Case

Penny (Allan’s photo)


Buddy and Penny

buying and chatting with Darrell

Penny (Allan’s photo)

Klipsan Beach Cottages

greeted by Mary and Bella

and Sarah

I planted tulips in pots while Allan did some fall clean up clipping.  Half the pots will stay at KBC for the new owners next spring, as it is a tradition to have pots of tulips in the fenced garden.  The other half will go with Mary and Denny to their new home in Naselle!  They will be only ten minutes further away from us than they are now (although not on the way to anywhere we usually go).

sit spot

part of Allan’s project, before


after cutting Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Allan’s photos

Thalictrum ‘Elin’ got cut to become part of our Halloween decor.

Allan walked to the swale to pull a lot of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and daylily leaves and found, to our delight, that other KBC helpers had already cleaned it up beautifully.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I got the tulips all planted in the pots (mostly viridiflora, or green, tulips, my favourites). This year, I had been going to get some colours other than “green”.  After I got the Shelburne garden back, I had to get green ones for the green-painted inn: Spring Green, Green Wave, Green Star, Virichic, Night Rider.  Greenland and Artist and Golden Artist are viridifloras I did not get this year because you can’t have everything; budgets won’t allow it.

looking in the east gate

Billardia longiflora

the bird bath view

the pond garden

Now except for the Long Beach welcome sign (whose bulbs are not here till the 25th), we are done with bulb time at jobs.  Tomorrow, I will plant my own bulbs.

Long Beach 

After yesterday’s infuriating revelation that a citizen is threatening a letter to the editor about how utterly dreadful the Bolstad planters look, I decided we had better have a look at them on the way home.  Based on the dire complaint, I expected to find dead plants and massive weeds.  But no!  Clearly, the city crew had done some watering and the plants that remain have proved their toughness.  So tonight, I will present a Planter Reference Post for Bolstad.  As usual with PRPs, it will be rather dull.

On the way back through Long Beach, we saw a big tour bus parked at Scooper’s Ice Cream, from a “Beeline Tours” company, with a cute logo.  The bus had huge windows…

like this…(photo from Beeline Tours)

…and all lined up in the windows were folks of retirement age, each with an ice cream cone.  We found it a sweet sight to see.

Shelburne Hotel

We stopped for five minutes of cosmos deadheading.

looking north

sweet peas

Right at the sidewalk entryway, deer have eaten the roses!

front garden, south end

OleBob’s Café

After going home and unloading all the empty bulb boxes and bags and the bulb food, we repaired to OleBob’s at the port for another celebratory dinner.

tasty dinner salad ((Allan’s photo)

Chef Laura, who is from Uraguay, showed us some wonderful photos of a Brazilian beach that she will soon visit to see her brother.  The beach has a free lending library!

You can borrow books or a surfboard on Praia de Pipa (Pipa Beach)!

Why, I reflected as Laura spoke of southern countries, were we not taught at school to say the names of the countries properly? We learned Paraguay and Uraguay with a hard G, not Para-whay, the way Laura properly pronounces it.

Tomorrow, Allan is FREED from Bulb Time, and my bulbosity continues for one more day at home.  In a week, we will have the last bulb planting day at the welcome sign.  I overspent my budget this year so I WILL resist the end of season sales.

The work board tonight:




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Friday, 18 October 2018

Long Beach

Almost all the photos today are by Allan.

We started strong and moved along swimmingly with the last four blocks of downtown Long Beach trees and planters.  The more bulbs that get planted, the easier it is to sort the rest.  I had gotten organized enough to have red tulips to plant by buildings with some red in their color scheme (Hungry Harbor, Carousel, Cottage Bakery, Stormin’ Norman’s), green tulips by NIVA green, blue-ish (purple) for the police station, and so on.

The carousel is gone for the winter…

We did have to water, especially the newly redone planter by Stormin’s with its transplanted plants.

Another planter: It is a challenge to plant when a planter is still so full.

All was going well and quickly and I was in a quietly joyous mood at the approaching end of bulb time when a person from city hall approached me with a story.  She had posted on Facebook a photo of herself planting bulbs at her mother’s house, and a local woman had taken upon herself to write (I was told secondhand) a vituperative rant about how terrible the Bolstad beach approach planters look and that she wanted to do them herself if they couldn’t be done better and if not, she was going to write a letter to the editor complaining about them.  A veil of red descended over my eyes and I immediately, after telling the city person what I was about to write, dictated a quick message to the complainer informing her of all the problems with those planters and that she was welcome to completely take them on.  More on this in a moment.  I finished the day of planting in a state of high dudgeon.  Bulb Time became Bulb Hell.

It was a dudgeon break to see Heather of NIVA green.

We did get all the street trees and planters done and got the bulbs planted at City Hall.

narcissus and camassia ready to plant at city hall

And Allan suggested we dig deep and get the bulbs planted at the kite museum, too.  At a half hour before sunset, the roofers were down on the roof and we were able to do the job.  (The next day, the roofers were back, so it was good that we had not waited till Saturday.)  We worked till after sunset.

before, World Kite Museum

Planting tall alliums and Dutch iris in the center of such a thickly flowering bed is a challenge.

from the side

from the back

‘Oregano ‘Hopley’s Purple’

I had to do some thinning in order to get some tall narcissi in the ground.  I will put some of the oregano into one of the newly redone Long Beach planters.

kind of sad to thin so much


Tonight was the preview of the 6×6 Art Auction at Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  We managed to get there straight from work at 6:45, 15 minutes before it closed.

Some food was left!

tasty items

I was so hungry; in my upsetting day, all I had eaten was a candy bar purchased when we replenished our bulb food supply at Dennis Co.

6×6 art all around the room

This piece surely belongs in Steve and John’s Bayside Garden home. “There’s always one” by Richard Schroeder.

Now, the piece below…my life will not be complete unless it becomes mine.

ceiling lights reflected, me filled with longing

No, that is just silly.  I don’t need more THINGS.

When I went home, still steaming about the Boldstad planters, I wrote this personal rant on my Facebook page, set to friends only, of course.

Thanks in advance for listening to *my* rant:

So a citizen ranted to someone from the city, on Facebook, that the planters on Bolstad beach approach road (about ten in all) look so terrible she is going to write a letter to the editor about it. Then the story got passed on to me, by the person whose FB page received the unpleasant rant. So it is…secondhand news.

We have repeatedly planted out there and ALL new plants get repeatedly stolen. Even from the Lisa Bonney memorial planter. Plus this year someone planted plants in that planter in memory, plants which miraculously did not get stolen, but then there was no follow through by whoever planted them; they were not drought tolerant so some of them plotzed.

The constant theft has gotten worse over the years to the point where I cannot even plant bulbs without some of them being dug up in spring, whole clumps, and stolen, bulbs and all.

PLUS there is NO WATER plumbed to those planters so three years ago I said [to city powers that be] look, we are in our 60s, so the city needs to water those planters with their water truck (like they do the baskets), because we are no longer up to hauling over 250 POUNDS of water in buckets to keep those planters happy. The city doesn’t really have TIME for that; they do a great job keeping all the baskets watered daily! So yes, the plants need more water.

So this person, I heard secondhand, wants to do the planters herself. I messaged her with the problems, as above, and said go for it; she can get herself a city license and get bonded and insured and be sure she has thirty buckets and a truck or trailer to carry water out there twice a week. Plus park on the other side of the road, carry it across, and lift it to pour it in the planter !!!

Ready to retire from public gardening any day now. I cannot even imagine my state of mind if person writes a letter to the ed because I am already having a head explosion.

What annoys me the most is that this person did not go to someone and ask WHY the planters were dry and WHY they are devoid of new plants.

She used to live near us, and she knows darn well we do those planters.  We are friendly when we encounter each other at local events. And she did not have a garden, although she admired ours.

I felt better after my big vent and, of course, got supportive responses, but I still felt bad and imagined that the planters, which we have not checked on for about three weeks, must be all dead and unsightly to get such a major complaint.  I have spent the last three years unhappy about the thievery that makes it impossible to make them full and beautiful. I simply cannot imagine how upsetting and embarrassing it would be to see our work lambasted in a letter to the editor.  Or maybe I can imagine, and that is the problem.  (I already had two excellent local writers considering their rebuttals if such a letter appears, which may be why, surprisingly, the whole mishegas did not keep me awake at night.)  I resolved to squeeze in time to look at those planters tomorrow, if we could get done with bulbing before dark.  Have not looked at them for three weeks because of focus on other tasks; maybe everything has died in the drought.

The work board tonight, with the LB planters done:



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Thursday, 18 October 2018

We woke to the tsunami warning—but it was just the Great Shake Out drill.  “Move to higher ground; do not delay!” followed by the spooky undulating siren.  You can listen to it here.  The siren starts at about 1:10 into the video.

We began the day with planting all sorts of little bulbs, usually called “minor bulbs”, at our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco fire station: crocus, iris reticulata, brodiaea of two sorts, species tulips.  It has amused me greatly in a petty little way to plant Brodiaea ‘Rudy” around town in tribute to the nature of a former friend.  It is a cute little thing.  I hope that its foliage is not floppy and rampant like B. ‘Queen Fabiola’.  I learned this year that Brodiaea is drought tolerant so I am now hoping it will do well in the thirsty port gardens.

B. ‘Rudy’, photo from the most excellent Van Engelen bulb catalog.

Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’, lovely starry blue after floppy foliage starts to dry off

Before actually working, we dropped some orange mesh bulb bags off at our friends Keleigh and Keith’s (Beachdog) house.  Keleigh thinks she can do something crafty with them for Halloween.  Next door, I admired this:

garden decor idea from which I might have to borrow inspiration

(Allan took all the rest of the photos between here and dinnertime.)

In Keleigh and Keith’s “Fur Ridge” home:

me and Teacup

Keith and Keleigh working on materials for a South Pacific County Humane Society auction

This beautiful banner over the table was bought at a local charity auction.

And then we finally began the biggest bulb planting of the year.

Long Beach

First, we planted in the Sid Snyder beach approach planters, with Narcissus obvallaris and ‘Minnow’.

schlepping bulbs on Sid Snyder to the last planter, a block after our parking spot—the planter is to the upper left.

Allan trimmed the last of the blue globe thistle in the next planter inland…before

and after

I had not done the final sorting of the bulbs into individual bags for each planter, as I sometimes have time to do.  That only happens if I have enough rainy day sorting time. Today I put the boxes partly in the trailer and partly lined up inside the van’s side door and proceeded to sort, just staying one step ahead of Allan, who was planting.

Incredibly, some of the planters needed watering.  The incredible part is not that they are thirsty in our hot dry weather.  It is just incredible that the weather has been so consistently hot and dry with only one day of rain relief, a week ago.

I got the bulbs sorted into City Hall and Fifth Street Park and Veterans Field boxes, which got some of them out of the way, and was able to join in the planting.

Did not have time for niceties like cutting back that Geranium ‘Rozanne’. It is still a little bit flowery.

Salvia leucantha (Mexican bush sage, blooms late)

By the end of the work hours, we had only gotten two blocks of trees and planters done.  Each planter got some tall tulips (with the emphasis on ‘Strong Gold’ and its similarly tough sister, ‘Suncatcher’).  I also used some single early ‘Flair’ and some ‘Orange Emperor’ in planters that had room.  Planters that were recently redone and still have lots of room got all sorts of nice minor bulbs.  Each street tree got six narcissi added and six Dutch iris.

During our planting, we had encountered Parks Manager Mike who told us that he had delayed winterizing and left the water on (which, as you saw above, was a relief) AND that a new pile of mulch had appeared for us at city works.

So at the beginning to block three, we decided to dig out the ugly old lavenders and rampant beach strawberry from the shrubby planter by the frying pan quadrant of Fifth Street.  That meant Allan did the digging while I kept planting bulbs.

before, with plants dating back to volunteer days

This planter has the hebe that we cannot remove, a spirea that would love to be full size, and a running rampant rose that is once blooming and then looks diseased, and two very old lavenders, one of which was cut way back last week.  Why so many volunteers planted huge or wanna be huge shrubs in these planters continues to baffle me.

before, north side

We call this shovel from Fiskars our magic shovel.  Note the wide and comfy step-on part.  It has a lifetime warranty, and has been replaced for free twice when it broke while digging things out of these planters.  Allan has learned that strong though it is, it will not survive bending against cement.  It is heavy, so I prefer a lighter shovel for moving piles of mulch, but nothing beats it for digging large tough plants.

woody old lavender

after digging out

The landscape fabric had been laid pretty high up in this planter and had a mass of roots in it.  They looked to me like just old lavender roots.  If they are rose roots, we will soon know.  The rose is still in the center all tied up with the hebe roots.

before, south side

Across the street, with bulbs set up to plant, I had a chat break with Cathy of Captain Bob’s Chowder.  She likes how well her café can be seen now that we removed the tall crocosmia.

There goes our friend Max.

south side after

landscape fabric enmeshed with roots, old bulbs getting replaced

Allan dumped the debris and brought new soil while I kept planting.

glorious new Soil Energy mulch pile at city works

How can I ever bear to retire and give up the joy of a sight like that?

adding soil and bulbs



It is stuffed full o’ bulbs but I will not add new plants till we get some rain.

on a vehicle parked next to us

I was hoping to get three of the six blocks of planters done today. We still have almost four blocks of planters and trees and then some park gardens and city hall. Tomorrow should go faster because the bulbs are more sorted.

Shelburne Hotel

At dusk, I planted seven Narcissus ‘Tweety Bird’ and obvallaris that came in the second small shipment in the back garden of the Shelburne.  From Van Engelen: Narcissus pseudo-narcissus ssp. obvallaris “Also known as the Tenby Daffodil, this prized early-blooming naturalizer is a golden-yellow gem with a large, flared trumpet and shorter petals. As reports have it, the windswept Wales coastline was blanketed with wild drifts of this upward-facing bloom as far back as the 18th century. Narcissus Class: Species Wild Variants (Royal Horticultural Society Division 13). 

Narcissi are The Art & Soul of Spring.”

night lighting at the Shelburne

Phlomis fruticosa

At the pub, we celebrated that I did not have to sort any more bulbs after work.

Brian O’Connor performs on Thursday evenings.

smoked salmon reuben sandwich and fries

chopped salad with fried chicken

and my favourite dessert



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