Archive for Oct, 2018

Oct 17: Bulb Time, day 6

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

on the way to work!

Diane’s garden and The Red Barn

I set up bulbs along the roadside garden and Allan and I both planted them.

A spider was in our shortcut spot so we went around, from kindness, not fear…

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Although we did some deadheading of the roadside cosmos, I told Diane we are pretty much letting them go after this.

In the back yard, Allan did the bulb planting in the center of the raised box garden (which requires climbing up)—not easy because it is still so thick with cosmos and more.

Allan’s photo

statice almost over (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

I planted all around the edges and in the pots by the back porch.

Allan’s audience while he watered the pots (Holly and Whiskey)

At the Red Barn, I put a few tulips and narcissi in each of the barrels while Allan planted some narcissi in the ground.

Allan’s photo

Allan found a rock.

from Snohomish County.

Allan’s photo

We then tried to plant at the Kite Museum garden but could not.

Roofers up above the garden! (Allan’s photo)


With the kite museum planting delayed, we went on to plant at our two volunteer gardens in Ilwaco.  Or so I thought.  On the way, I realized how dry the Ilwaco planters were.  With two hours till dark, we had 14 bulbs (in a small batch that arrived today) to plant at the port’s west end, and then Allan had to go water all the Ilwaco planters!  He dropped me at the post office garden, where I planted all the bulbs for there.  A passerby told me about visiting Holland and ordering tulips to be shipped from there, ones he had picked out on his trip, and planting them all, and then the deer ate them.

I then carried the bulbs for the fire station in a heavy bucket (just two blocks).

seen on my walk to the fire station

At the fire station, a bumble bee was happy in the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’.

I planted till dusk, banging the bulbs into the terribly hard soil.  Mayor Gary (also a firefighter) stopped by and I said I intend to mulch the garden (again) and that I have thought of putting out a plea on Facebook for someone to donate some money toward that.  (I can’t have any old mulch donated because it might be weedy if I don’t pick the right stuff.)  But, I told him I don’t know how to keep from getting TOO much money if I ask on Facebook…odd but true.  He might have an idea for a bit of funding for supplies, we will see.

Once I was going to put a donate button on this blog, but I could not figure out how!

As darkness fell, I saw the bumblebee was asleep on the helianthus flower.  I did not know bumbles did this until I read about it in a Marion Cran book.  She wrote that they sleep on flowers at night, rather than go home to a hive, and they die in winter.  Makes me sad, although the sleeping part is mighty sweet.

night night

fire station garden at dusk

on my two block walk home

Meanwhile, Allan had watered the planters…

while filling the water truck at the boatyard by the deep blue boat

nasturtium that trailed into the parking zone…

tidied up

volunteer watering after dark

I had to keep sorting till after ten PM because Long Beach is next.  Usually I sort the bulbs into batches for each block but ran out of time and energy; tomorrow, I will have to sort madly on the job to keep us going from planter to planter.  At least I got it done, with the rest of the bulbs divided between Long Beach and my garden.

work board, jobs done are erased and jobs sorted are all checked off!

You might be wondering what bulbs we have planted.  I will reveal the list on day ten of Bulb Time.





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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

We began by buying more bulb food at Dennis Company and then planting bulbs at the…

Depot Restaurant

‘Twas this hot as we arrived there.

We battled our way through the still tall and blooming garden to plant the bulbs.

Allan’s photo, before trimming down the solidago to just get in there.

I wanted an after, showing much more space, but we both forgot to take one.  The goldenrod was all flopped open so had to be trimmed to make room for bulbs.


The weather was uncomfortably hot.  Fortunately, our next job was in a garden that has a feeling of coolness.

The Shelburne Hotel

sweet peas still blooming (Allan’s photo)

up on the room 4 deck (Allan’s photo)

I sent Allan up to the decks with an assortment of species tulips and narcissi, little ones, to go in three of the large planters.

room 4 deck (Allan’s photo)

a frog on Allan’s tool belt

I don’t know the story behind that! (Later: frog lives in a planter on the center deck and jumped onto the tool belt. After posing for a picture it hopped back to its planter, sticking to the side.)

Soon it hopped down and hid while Allan finished planting its planter.

While I finished planting the last of a rather huge number of bulbs, Allan watered the entire garden.  Watering in mid October … Is that the new trend from now on?  Rain is not expected for another week so it had to be done.

totem garden in early evening (Allan’s photo)

the mini bog garden (Allan’s photo)

Got done just at sunset…6:20 PM, front garden, looking north

sweet pea longevity

and south, with cozy lights in the pub windows

I got some of pretty much all my favourite bulbs for the Shelburne, just wait and see!

I would love to have had a meal at the pub.  Instead, I had to sort bulbs for tomorrow till about ten PM.  Allan kept me going with a cheesy melt and a fine cuppa.

Sorting involves more standing than sitting and makes me tireder than actually planting the bulbs.

I only have time to read one chapter a night of Marion Cran’s final memoir, Hagar’s Garden.  Reading a chapter at a time is diluting the emotional impact, which means less weeping over it on my part.  And it is delaying the moment when I come to the end of her story.

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Tuesday, 15 October 2018

We had an all Ilwaco bulbing day.

J’s & Norwood’s & Mike’s garden

We started at the little blue cottage across the street.  I had noticed in a recent photo that some blue fescue looked old and tatty, so it got removed (by Allan) and new bulbs put in its place. Meanwhile, I set the bulbs out across the street at the Norwood garden and then Allan planted them while I planted at the J’s cottage.

At the J’s: azalea oddly in bloom last week, with tatty grasses

bulbs are now where fescues were

Every bulb I planted around the J’s birdbath required banging a hole through the stupid landscape fabric that is underneath this garden (not installed by the Js; it was there when they bought the place).

At the Norwoods, Allan’s befores and afters of the north side (he weeded, too, mostly pesky creeping sorrel):


after (I see the area where a big pieris came out needs some small shade plants added …when the weather gets damp again).



We will mulch the south side bed when we start our mulching rounds.  It is narrow and was planted by the previous owners of the house.

south side

Next we planted white and pink and blue spring flower bulbs (narcissus, tulips, crocus, iris Dutch and reticulata and assorted whatnots) at Mike’s.  His garden was looking quite fine with pink hesperantha but not one photo was taken.

Port of Ilwaco

Planting at the boatyard and the port came next.  The hot weather was more manageable down by the water.  Today, there was no wind, so our bulb bags did not blow away.  That was a treat.

boatyard garden

ceanothus and lavender

I am pleased with the tapestry of flowers.

Even the BadAster is pleasing here.

rue, euphorbia, cosmos, santolina

hot sunshine, a bit too hot for my preference

looking south from the gate

We headed down to the curbside gardens along the port with an assortment of narcissi and some species tulips that I hope are small enough to not entice deer.  I wish I could plant lots of crocus and Iris reticulata there.  It was heartbreaking a few years back when crows or seagulls pulled out almost all of those little bulbs as soon as their early green sprouts started to show.

on the way to the port…hot

Allan’s photo (obviously)

Ilwaco pavilion garden  (Allan’s photo)

Ilwaco pavilion garden

By five thirty, we had made it all the way down to the west end, putting some new bulbs in almost every bed.

west end (Allan’s photo)

shockingly hot at 5:30!

At home, the evening was pleasant, warm, windless, even after dark.  I would love to have sat around the campfire but instead I had to sort the next batches of bulbs for several more hours, with the front and back garage doors open with the van parked in the driveway to give me some privacy from the street.

work board with port and boatyard erased and more sorting done




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Sunday, 14 October 2018

Allan briefly visited the Cranberrian Fair while I did some last minute bulb organizing.

our friend Jan Bono

We made a quick visit (with a small amount of social time) to the Boreas Inn to deliver some narcissi to innkeeper Susie G.  We hope she finds time to plant them!

some interesting growth in the Boreas entry garden

Ilwaco Community Building

We planted at the community building in hot and windy weather.  So windy paper bulb bags flew away when empty and even shifted somewhat when full.  Not pleasant.

I got Allan to move some saxifrage in a too-dry spot…

…too a shadier spot by the library entry.

Allan’s photos

The saxifrage had originally come from his mother’s garden.

Ilwaco Timberland Library entrance

Good news, per local newspapers: No library branch will be closed this year, giving the board a year to figure out their budget (and hear from concerned patrons).  Not sure about the South Bend branch, which was closed because mold was found in the unused basement.  Have been too bulb-busy to follow that story.

bags of tulips tossed out for Allan to mix and plant (Allan’s photo)

I learned slowly over the years that it works better to toss the bags out into the garden than tossing loose bulbs on the ground to roll around and get lost or hidden in bright glaring sunlight.  Works well on rainy days, too, easy to pick up bags and go home if a sudden storm comes.

the light as we finished, after 4 PM

the tiered garden in front of the Ocean Beach Alternative (high) School

autumn blooming crocus

I felt like I physically could not, and yet I did, dig deep enough to get us down to plant in the garden boat and curbside at Time Enough Books, where no photos were taken because we were so darned tired.

Getting to cross TWO things off the work list was the satisfying reward.

I then sorted bulbs from six to eight PM and was able to add some more check marks to the work list, indicating a batch being sorted.

At eight, we rolled out our back garage door and into the back door of the Nora House next door, having been invited to dinner by Alicia (Nora’s granddaughter) and Brian. They had been painting the cranberry colored trim on the house (now Alicia’s house). They had prepared delicious steaks, baked potatoes, with salad and corn.  They are night owls like us and were pleased to hear that we often dine at home at ten PM or later.

At dusk, they had been amazed to see a doe stroll out the driveway, right past them in the back patio, not scared at all.

Allan’s photo

The pleasant dinner invitation had saved me tonight from feeling that I must sort till 10 PM with my head swimming with names and numbers.  Alicia and Brian and Coco would be dream neighbors if they moved here full time…but city life is what they enjoy.

Alicia’s cat, Coco, entertained us.

Allan’s photo


sitting on Allan’s lap!

She is a good girl.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Tomorrow, back to more daytime bulb planting and evening bulb sorting.  The clear weather cannot be missed.  Bulb Time is much easier if I get a couple of rainy days to sort all the bulbs at once.  Not this year.  This year is brain-hurting mental chaos of keeping just one step ahead on the sorting.



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Friday, 12 October 2018

The bulbs arrived. As with every year, I thought I might have the garage and clipboard all organized before the arrival.  This year, the bulbs arrived the earliest ever, so that is some excuse for the first part of the day being devoted to getting the sorting space organized.  I spent the rest of the day doing the intake, with a lot of arithmetic that even with a calculator hurts my brain.  By the end of the day, I had the packages all sorted into an area for big tulips, small tulips, big and small narcissi, alliums, crocus and muscari, and assorted small bulbs.

In between printing and binding copies of his boating book, Allan kept me sustained with snacks delivered to the garage.

I got a nice message today on my Our Ilwaco Facebook page.  A woman named Kathy Moyer had painted the flowers in one of our Ilwaco gardens.

art by Kathy Moyer

At midnight, I was able to read a chapter of Hagar’s Garden by Marion Cran.  I do wish I had finished it before Bulb Time.

Skooter has turned into a lap cat.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Allan went shopping across the river. Although I wanted to get right to bulb sorting, I walked down to the Cranberrian Fair at Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, hoping that “The Card Lady’ would be there.  The superb creator of homemade collage greeting cards for all occasions was absent this year.  I do hope she is well.

at the Cranberrian Fair

The Bog Bus will take folks up to the Cranberry Research Station and Cranberry Museum on Pioneer Road.

Dudley’s Harvest, a cute local book about a cranberry bog dog.

Rose Power and her creations

Karen Brownlee at the wheel

I love her cranberry plates.

Karen’s maritime butter dishes

Harmony Soapworks of Oysterville

blacksmith demonstration

I got the smithy’s email address, having recently read three pages about blacksmithing in one of Marion Cran’s books; I will send him photos of those pages.

The Nahcotta railway car was open for touring today, evoking my longing to ride on the Clamshell Railroad.

Nahcotta railway car

I had a look at my favourite part of the museum (other than the Nahcotta), the “village street”.

newspaper office

Nearby is a display about the seining horses of yesteryear.  I found an interesting video about the old timey fishing with horses, here.

I can’t imagine the horses liked it much.

Allan’s book, Southwest Washington Paddle Trips, is now on the shelves in the museum gift shop and at Time Enough Books at the Port of Ilwaco.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum gift shop, top right

at home again

The weather was warm and calm and lovely.  I felt sorry for myself having to be indoors sorting; then I reminded myself of my friends with office jobs who have to be indoors every day.

With Allan gone, there was no van parked in the driveway to give me a sense of privacy.  The garage was hot with the big door closed and just the back door open.  Finally, in a stroke of genius, I built myself a barrier inside the big door….

…and then I opened it and could breathe fresh air again.

Allan’s photos upon his return:

a few jobs sorted and ready to go

I managed to get enough clients’ bulbs sorted and bagged and boxed and ready so that we could work Sunday and Monday.  I would have continued to sort on into the evening, had not Nora’s granddaughter and her partner come visiting her house next door.  This inspired me to knock off bulbing at dusk so that the four of us could have a pleasant campfire dinner.

Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’ aglow just after sunset around the campfire circle

Allan’s photo


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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Long Beach

At last we had time to do a project that had been weighing on my mind: dig out the wire vine, Muehlenbeckia axillaris, from the planter in front of Stormin’ Norman’s.

I planted it years ago, thinking it was a cute little trailing house plant that would not make it through the winter.  After a very few years, it had done this:

before: a great splodge of Muehlenbeckia axillaris (wire vine)

It had been cute and then had gone suddenly berserk.

We dug it out, but did not take all the soil out because we thought we could control any wire vine that popped out from pieces of root. (And oh, how we had tried to sift through and get all those pieces.)



The wire vine has returned throughout the planter despite semi-diligent attempts at control.

We were incredibly lucky during the digging out stage to get a parking spot right next to the planter.

Allan moves the trailer closer in.

such a lucky spot!


Allan’s photo

cleaning the perennials

After all the plants were out, as Allan removed the soil in the wire vine planter, I pulled the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ from the next planter.



Most merchants don’t like tall plants in front of their shops. The Wind World Kites guy loves the crocosmia and jokes that he now has nowhere to hide.

After much digging and removing all the soil and the tattered years-old landscape fabric that separates soil from gravel, we found roots down IN the gravel.  This is ominous.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

We hauled the heavy debris to city works and dumped it in an inhospitable spot and returned with buckets of the last of the mulch pile and some landscape fabric from the works shop.  It was utterly exhausting, heavy work, especially because this time we had to park half a block away and haul everything

My back was panging, so I answered some garden questions while standing straight against a wall.  Part of the job is to be friendly to tourists.

The woman in blue was from England and had lived there till 1958.  I asked her if she had heard of garden writer Marion Cran.  She had not.

with new fabric to keep the soil from migrating into the rock

I had had rather a stroke of genius; we also brought the last two hanging basket innards and used that soil to extend what we had.

Allan’s photos

putting plants back in

Allan deadheaded a block worth of planters while I re planted.

Allan’s photo

Upon his return, the planter was done.  Many bulbs were also replanted.

Last week:

Stormin’ Norman’s

Today, after:

I was able to salvage all the perennials by carefully inspecting their roots.  I will be watching closely for any sign of wire vine emerging from them; if it does, out they will come.

Across the street is a planter I quite like (even though the matching santolina was stolen).

I have enjoyed Cosmos ‘Xanthos’.

pink gaura

I used the pink gaura to replace the bad agastaches in the Agastache Catastrophe (a batch with diseased leaves).  The gaura has been good and has bloomed longer, with no deadheading, than the agastache does.  I will use it again next year, along with perhaps the shorter white one, ‘So White’.

colourful Long Beach

After our project, we deadheaded and tidied a few more planters.


a rogue white flower stem

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and yellow chrysanths

pink chrysanthemums starting to fade

I love the chrysanthemums that have perennialized in some of the planters.  They take up too much room to have them in every one.

The Shelburne Hotel

We had time to tidy up the back garden at the Shelburne.  Chef Casey had found akebia fruits on the south fence.  I sought them out under cover of the vine.

the akebia vine that I planted years ago

akebia fruits…I saved one to try out but I have forgotten to do so.

(I did try it a couple of days later.  The insides have a sweet pulp that is so full of seeds that there is little food to offer.)

Asian pears on the west fence

Someone had filled the bird bath with bean seeds. (Allan’s photo)

The beans in pots are well past their prime.

I picked off some moldy old beans….

…and then realized I remembered the hotel’s Halloween event and realized I should leave them till after Halloween.   I then decided to leave the old Joe Pye Weed and some other plants to add a spookier ambiance to the front garden.

spooky Joe Pye weed

“Get ready to sit, sip, and talk to the spirits at the Shelburne Hotel. Will be having Chariot reading Tarot cards by appointment (starting at 6pm on 10/26), Adrift Distillers Amaro release (10/27 from 5pm-7pm), seasonal cuisine, and cocktails that represents the spirits at the hotel.

Will be playing the Shining in the Inglenook both nights as well.


So join us for our haunted gathering at the Shelburne. Dine and drink with the ghost…maybe even say hello?”

The Shelburne’s sister hotel, Adrift, suggests something about a ghost in the garden!

Hmmm.  I’m not saying whether or not I have ever seen Annie May in the garden.

front garden, looking north

and south

Halloween is a good reason to leave the long, draping wisteria till November before a preliminary pruning.

We rewarded ourselves for an exhausting day with a tasty meal and drink in the Shelburne pub.

As diners arrived at the pub, Brian O’ Connor began to sing, as he does every Thursday.  You can sit in the living room to listen and dine, or sit in the pub with the music as ambiance.

His deep and distinctive voice has an emotional quality that draws a regular audience on Thursday nights.

We heard part of the performance during our relaxing meal.

chop salad with fried chicken, fish and chips, cranberry cosmo

The bartender and I agreed that even though we are not usually fans of fried chicken, the version offered at the pub is delectable.  (I get it as a side on the salad.)

so good

fish and chips (Allan’s photo)

My favourite dessert on the peninsula these days is the pub’s cheesecake tart with blackberry topping.

On the way home, we checked out some Halloween decorations in Ilwaco.

Lake Street

Spruce Street

Lake Street (Pirate Lucy Dagger’s house)

We have accomplished all our little work board projects other than mulching.

accomplishments still don’t include the indoor at home projects left over from last winter

I enjoyed the partial emptiness for a moment before adding Bulb Time.

That list is even missing two small job.

Tomorrow, the bulbs come and the sorting begins, a rather dreaded task that hurts my brain.






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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Depot Restaurant

Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, pink gaura (Allan’s photo)

We did nought at the Depot but a light deadheading and window box watering.

Diane’s Garden

The weather for the first part of the work day was almost uncomfortably warm.

I pulled over half of the tired sweet peas off of the roadside picket fence.

The big trucks passing by were extra scary to me today because I do want to live long enough to finish reading my Marion Cran books.

In the back garden, I used to plant Helichrysum ‘Limelight’ to scramble through the barberry.  The shrub has gotten so big in its barrel that this year I planted Limelight in front in a separate pot.

Diane likes these two plants together.

That barberry predates my time on this job.

For the record, acidanthera is blooming.

Allan deadheaded the raised box garden and counted over 1200 deadheads along the way.

so many cosmos deadheads!

In my own garden, I have quit deadheading the cosmos weeks ago.

Holly watched Allan at work.

Allan’s photo

The Red Barn

I was relieved to see (and pet) Cosmo the barn cat.

inside the dark barn

garden view from the barn

The Planter Box

We stopped in to purchase some more potting soil and some bulb food.  The pumpkins have arrived!

Klipsan Beach Cottages

We did a couple of hours of serious fall clean up.  After maybe two more sessions, we will have the garden all cut back and plants somewhat labeled for the new owners and new manager.  It feels odd to know this year is our last fall clean up here.

looking in the east gate

inside the fenced garden

Next time, we will dig up some lilies for Mary and Denny to take to their new home.  Many of the lilies came out of my mother’s garden when we sold her house in 2010.

the birdbath view

sit spot under the tetrapanax

autumnal blueberries

by the greenhouse

Tiger Eye sumac

cobwebs by the basement entry

my good friend Bella in the basement

I will miss Bella, and the sister cats Timmie and Sarah, and Mary and Denny, much more than I will miss the garden.  Fortunately, it looks as if they might be living just half an hour from Ilwaco, only ten minutes further (in another direction) than they are now.

At home, I unloaded three wheelbarrows of compost debris from our trailer—but first, I shared a snack of cheese with a friend.


Later, Rudder hoped Allan might also have some cheese.

Along with dinner and our far from highbrow Wednesday shows (Survivor, Modern Family), I almost finished Marion Cran’s Gardens of Character.  I was just too tired to make it through the last three chapters.



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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

A sunny day turned reading plans into work reality.   I had rearranged today’s work in order to stay to home because we were expecting a cable telly repairperson in the afternoon to replace our suddenly plotzed DVR box.  I had briefly pondered if it were a sign to give up cable telly and just watch shows online.  I could not find the energy to figure out a new thing so had resignedly waited the two days for a repair appointment.


I planted the Conca D’Or lily bulb into the fire station garden while Allan photographed a couple of Ilwaco houses that are further along with Halloween prep than we are.  (We have not begun.)

on Spruce Street

another Spruce Street house….

…wherein lives a friend sympatico with us (not shown in the window).

I wonder if she had just gotten back from a demonstration we had not heard about?

Allan helped by deadheading at the fire station.

We dug out annoying plants from two of the city planters kitty corner from the boatyard.

part of the boatyard garden

the north side of the boatyard

I once had a garden running partway along the north fence as well as the full length of the east fence.  Only the east garden remains because a pipe laying project about fifteen years ago put paid to the north garden.

A teucrium (?) of great vigor had completely filled up one of the planters, and in another, a golden oregano had repeatedly been crispy by watering days.

Allan’s photo

We had a bag of potting soil that had an unfortunate large vein of sawdust in it.

Allan’s photo

formerly swamped with golden oregano (Allan’s photo)

after (Allan’s photo)

I should have dumped the whole bag of potting soil into the wheelbarrow and mixed it up.

We took the teucrium (?) and golden oregano down to the port and planted it in curbside beds where a reasonably vigorous plant is welcome.

east end

port crew member at work tidying the bank of the marina (Allan’s photo)

Allan at work at the west end

While waiting for the cable repair, we worked across the street from our house at the J’s.

ghosts in Jay and Jodie’s tree

azalea oddly in bloom

Looking at that photo, I think that I will remove those blue fescue.  They are well past their prime.

The only irksome thing about waiting for the cable repair was the several automated phone calls from the company wanting to be assured that we had not changed our mind about the two hour window for the appointment.

The situation reminded me of how people say “First World Problems” about things like cable tv or mobile phone woes.  This excellent essay explains why the phrase is problematic—and inspired me to read the novel Open City by Teju Cole.

In case you don’t click the link, here is part of what Cole wrote about “First World Problems”: “I don’t like this expression “First World problems.” It is false and it is condescending. Yes, Nigerians struggle with floods or infant mortality. But these same Nigerians also deal with mundane and seemingly luxurious hassles. Connectivity issues on your BlackBerry, cost of car repair, how to sync your iPad, what brand of noodles to buy: Third World problems. All the silly stuff of life doesn’t disappear just because you’re black and live in a poorer country. People in the richer nations need a more robust sense of the lives being lived in the darker nations. Here’s a First World problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.”

Here is another essay on the same topic.

And The Guardian eloquently weighed in right here.

Right after another automated call let me know that the repair would take place in a half an hour, two cable guys arrive, one a trainee, both efficient and pleasant.  The new DVR box is smaller and yet also so subtly grumbly at all times that much later, while reading at midnight, I thought we had a dripping leak somewhere. It was just the disk making a faint racket, the sort of racket that most people would say only bothers me (but Googling proved it does bother other people with sensitivity to noise). Every appliance we have had to replace this year, (refrigerator, washing machine, and now the DVR) is noisier than the old one we had before.  I wish the engineers would realize that quietness is a worthy goal.

I failed, by punching the wrong menu number, to correctly take the survey in yet another phone call right after the appointment was over, so I missed my chance to give the guys a good review.

But I digress.  In one of Marion Cran’s books, she mentions being told that her books were “discursive”.  The kindest part of the definition is “rambling, digressive, meandering, wandering, maundering, diffuse.

After the repair, we had time to garden for two more hours at

The Shelburne Hotel.

I went into the north side garden by the pub windows to dig out the utterly silly echinops, AKA blue globe thistle plants there.  From the original clump I planted in the sun years ago, these had been moved all over in my ten year absence.  They won’t bloom in this deeply shady bed.


I like the short, narrow bladed, and very controllable round-handled shovel when I am working by the old windows.

after plant removal and then shifting of a pulmonaria and scrophularia, both with white or silver leaves.

The last of the sweet peas are still good enough to stay.

looking north

looking south

from the south end sidewalk

Meanwhile, Allan had checked the plants on the second floor decks and balconies.

dahlia on the room four deck

He then sheared down the Persicaria ‘Firetail’ that had been planted under the rhododendron at the south end of the property.


My former spouse and former co-gardener stopped by for a chat.

In the mail today arrived three books by Marion Cran.

Garden Talks has transcripts of her 1920s gardening radio show. She is said to be the first gardening broadcaster.  The little book is Garden Wisdom, excerpts from her various books. Gardens of Character is her second to last gardening memoir.  I set aside the final memoir, Hagar’s Garden, and sat down straightaway to read halfway through Gardens of Character (with a break for dinner and This is Us).

12:30 AM: Skooter usurps the late night reading lap space

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  Sunday, 7 October 2018

Rain brought another Marion Cran reading day.  I will be sharing a great deal of words and thoughts about her when staycation gets underway.  For now, I offer a few snippets as I go along.

She wrote eloquently of finger blight:

A bit later:

Monday, 8 October 2018

I took a very quick turn around the wet garden to check the rain gauges.

much rain!

hips of Rosa rubfrifolia (R. glauca)

Salvia leucantha


And then I was so happy to get back to reading Marion Cran.

I read The Garden Beyond (1937)  about gardens in Kenya.  She visited her daughter and son in law there.  Unfortunately, her books are marred by her belief in the imperial colonization of other countries and the superiority of white English folk.  Oh, Marion. If only we could talk about this. Because in other ways she was progressive and egalitarian, and because her racism was not hateful and vindictive, I have hope that she would have been enlightened had she lived in the modern day.  More of this when I blog about her books…

She made her living from writing.  Her fame enabled her to move in high society, and yet in many ways her heart was with the working class.  Her appreciation for small gardens and those who make them is a thread throughout her books.


I am trying to read her books in order, yet I did not realize at first that ALL her gardening books, even ones that appeared to be about garden touring, continue her very personal life memoir.  Two of the late 1920s books had not arrived yet, nor had the 1939 Gardens of Character, not due to arrive till October 23rd.  (I am mostly getting them from Abe Books, thanks to Allan’s skillful online shopping, and most of them are coming from England.)

So I had to begin the last one, Hagar’s Garden, about her life when she lost her garden due to ill health.  I could not wait till the next book arrived; by then it would be Bulb Time and close to Halloween and if the weather is good, I would have no rest for reading till November.

Oh, how I wept through the first half of Hagar’s Garden; her beloved third husband. a romance that had simmered for years till they married in their 50s, had died after they had just three years together.  Her finances were dire because she had a small heart attack and because of WWII drying up all writing commissions, and she could not maintain her mortgage and so had to let her house and stay with friends.  I was only a third of the way through when my day of reading ended.

I had done the math wrong (not unusual) and thought that when she died two years after Hagar’s Garden, she was 63—my age.  This lit a fire under hypochondriacal me to want to finish the book before I followed suit.  (Then I did the math again; she died at 67.)

Meanwhile, when the rain turned to mist and then stopped, Allan had gone to work at Coho Charters at the port, shearing two escallonias.  He finished in the return of a light mist.


I hoped for a rainy Tuesday to finish the book.  Maddening though it is to read them out of order, it would be a comfort to have three more books left to read after the last harrowing story of one of my worst fears: losing one’s home and garden.

It was calming after that to watch a neatly solved crime in the late evening in the detective series Vera.

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I had had a sort of plan to take a break next week, because the 15th of October is the 8 year anniversary of buying our house on Lake Street.  That year, we took two weeks off to paint the dark and gloomy inside of our double wide and then to move in and begin to unpack. No one seemed to miss us at work!

However, when I learned the bulbs were due to arrive on October 12th, that idea was kiboshed, because I want to get bulb time over with.  This might therefore be our last long weekend till November (unless we get a spate of rainy days).

Friday, 5 October 2018

Glorious rain meant that I could spend a guilt free day indoors reading Marion Cran. But first, we delivered a bouquet to Don and Jenna for art night.  I was glad I had picked it just before dark the night before.

pouring torrential rain and some wind (outside the garage door)

tried to capture the way rain drops were sharply cascading off the front arbor

the bouquet (Allan’s photo)

Don and Jenna at Don Nisbett Art Gallery (Allan’s photo)

At the gallery: new Harmony Soapworks soap, with art by Don, with the scent of S’mores!

view from Don Nisbett Art Gallery

At home, the cats were in for the day.



I settled into my chair, with no guilt when I glanced at the window.

I then turned to Marion Cran’s 1933 book, I Know a Garden:

The descriptions of birds at Marion’s bird feeder should delight my favourite blogger, Mr. Tootlepedal.

Later, at a friend’s house:

And later:

About weeds:

Allan was busy all day printing books for his book fair table tomorrow.  At 5;30, I briefly considered going to Art Night.  I did not relish walking in the rain and wind, and my book held me fast to my comfy chair.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

We’d had more rain than the rain gauge shows; it had been full of compostable debris during the storm.

after removing the debris

Allan was gone to the book fair by the time I woke up.  A beautiful day, as predicted, thwarted my desire to read another Marion Cran book.

I planted a few of the plants that Todd had brought me.

in a “stone trough”….

I had little ‘Quaint and Queer’ years ago and am happy to have it back.

Skooter helped, and you can see that the grass has turned green again in the dry areas where it had gone all brown and crispy in August.  I may have already mentioned that we’ve had the driest summer in about 60 years.

He wore himself out helping.

After a happy afternoon of layering compost in the bins, I decided to dig up and transplant some Conca D’Or lilies (tall and pale buttery yellow) to make a better view through a part of the west bed.



I think I will remove one more clump of three or four stalks and take them up to the Shelburne, later. One well cleaned bulb will go to the fire station garden. The ones I dug today got spread around three new areas of the east and west bed.  I have to be careful because some of the thicker clumps of bulbs cannot leave the west bed; they are infested with the Saponaria ‘Flore Pleno’.

Look, my new white persicaria from Digging Dog nursery is blooming!

Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Alba’

I was suddenly inspired to slightly reduce the width of the grass path on Roxanne Loop West.



Allan returned from the book fair just in time to dump two barrows full of sod for me.

Allan’s day

He thought the signage needed some help.

After his fix:

Book fair:

Librarians; we love them!

Our friend Jan Bono, whose cozy mystery series we heartily recommend.

Allan sold 7 books…and bought four books from local writers!  His book, Southwest Washington Paddle Trips, may be available at Time Enough Books at the port by the time you read this.  It is for sure available on October 13th in the gift shop of the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, where you might be attending the Cranberrian Fair.

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