Archive for Mar, 2019

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Today, all of the photos but a few close ups of narcissi and of nursery plants are Allan’s.

At home, fortifications keep Skooter away from a birdhouse.


It has passed inspection and they’re remodeling inside. 

Diane’s garden

I planted sweet peas along the picket fence, and we mulched with Harvest Supreme.

Last fall I cut back some annual sweet peas to the ground rather than pulling them. They’ve come back; I’m not sure what to make of this.

I hope the new sweet peas do as well as last year’s.

The raised bed in the back yard got some sparaxis, tigridia, and seeds of night scented stock.

The violas have reseeded into the gravel in front of the raised bed.

Allan saw my good friend Misty while I was still in the front garden.

That was our only job today. We had an appointment with our accountant way up in Surfside and so we made two nursery visits on the way.

The Basket Case Greenhouse

Roxanne has a broken ankle at a most unfortunate time of year, every gardener’s nightmare.

We discussed seeds and I bought some granular Mycorrhizae fungi for planting in my own garden. Just spelling that correctly made me realize I have been pronouncing it with an extra R. (It’s not micro.) The trick (per Gardeners’ World) is to rub it on the roots when planting, which is why I have been seeking the granular or powdered form.

I tend to have poor success with seeds. Roxanne will try to grow a few for me that I long for, among them Nicotiana sylvestris, Nicotiana ‘Only the Lonely’, and Eryngium giganteum.

Penny said hello with doggish vocalizations.

The Planter Box

I got some barley straw to fight off pond algae, and a proper leaf scooping net.

Lots of gorgeous spring bloomers are available right now.

Ocean Park

After our accounting session, we took a slight detour to admire the massive planting of daffodils along Bay Avenue, which runs west to east from the ocean to the bay. The planting runs almost a third of its length and was accomplished by the newly formed (last year) Ocean Park Village Club.

It is breathtaking.

Salt Hotel and Pub

In the evening, Allan attended a Salty Talk with dinner and a view of the Port of Ilwaco marina.

Smoked tuna melt


I stayed home because I had an overwhelming desire to watch more of Gardeners’ World 2013 on Inside Outside TV.

With rain due tomorrow, we intend to take a couple of days off and get back to sweet peas after the weekend.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

The Shelburne Hotel

Allan examined the wisteria that we (mostly he) pruned a month ago. The buds are just barely showing. He was able to remove some more branches. Until they fully bud out, it is hard to tell what has been cut and what is still alive.

He checked the planters on the decks and planted some night scented stock, tigridia, and sparaxis in the bigger ones.

Tulipa sylvestris is the yellow.

I got the sweet peas planted all along the fence and mulched with Gardner and Bloome Harvest Supreme.

Allan watered the garden because it has been so hot, dry, and windy.

The wind was still mildly annoying. I must say that both yesterday and today were too hot for my comfort at 72 F. But…mustn’t grumble. A cold rainy day would have been worse.

Sun and shade

My Melianthus major survived the cold here and will have its old stems cut down after this weekend’s Celtic music festival. I thought the garden needed some height right now.

Long Beach

We picked up our check at city hall and learned that it’s been suggested that planting wildflowers is a solution for the beach approach planter thievery. That won’t work out there in the dry salty wind unless the planters get watered regularly (and not by us hauling buckets). The watering has to become part of the same it’s water truck routine as the watering of the hanging baskets…not as often but at least a couple of times a week. So far, wildflowers in general (poppies, for example) are not drought tolerant enough to take the beach front conditions without supplemental water. Only the plants most desirable to thieves…lavender, sea thrift, santolina…survive out there with no summer water.

I was cheered up from my brooding about it by the narcissi on the north side of city hall…

…and later by some street tree and planter narcissi.

We planted the sweet peas in Fifth Street Park. This involved a lot of hesperantha (formerly schizostylis) removal. It is so lovely in autumn and such a pest the rest of the year.

Allan removed the horrible mildew-prone Dorothy Perkins rose on the low fence in front of Captain Bob’s Chowder. Because of the low fence height and the narrow driveway, we can hardly let it bloom at all without it sticking out in the way of vehicles, and what blooms it did have were always nasty white with powdery mildew.

Allan’s photos:

I added some sparaxis and tigridia to the two nearby planters that we redid last year.

More glorious Tulipa sylvestris

I had thought we might get Diane’s sweet peas planted today, as well. No. The park took us well into the early evening.


Over the last couple of weeks, distracted by garden shows to watch, I slowly read a book at bedtime.

While I enjoyed it, I liked his later book, Sourdough, better.

Here are my favourite bits.

The passage below reminded me of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City (San Francisco).

I have been feeling lately like I have lived an awfully long time, and also that having fifteen reasonably healthy years to go is awfully short. Here are the thoughts of a much younger character:

On the work board, the sweet pea jobs have begun to disappear. The beach approach weeding is assuming a low priority at the moment as I am more interested in a day of mulching and improving the Boreas Inn garden and another day of sorting out, deep weeding, and some rearranging of the Shelburne garden.

Read Full Post »

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

We woke up to the sound of battering wind again. I had asked about it on a local weather group. Among the usual snarky replies (“It’s called weather. Happens all the time. Shocking I know.” “Then why bother to have a weather group to discuss it?” I wanted to reply but did not), I got one informative answer: “Strong high pressure east of the Cascades and a thermal trough of low pressure along the immediate coast causes these extremely high winds. High pressure blows to lower pressure. Unusual for March more common late summer and into fall. As the winds blow down the Cascades, the air compresses and warms as it makes it’s way to the ocean beaches. Thus we are well into the 70’s. Warmer than Portland and Vancouver!”

I was pleased to learn that someone in the know agreed that it was unusual for March to have warm weather and winds over 30+ mph.

We tried to go to work at the Shelburne, based on my theory that it would be less windy there. We arrived and parked and I considered my mission of planting sweet peas along the windswept sidewalk. The wind shook our van. The bamboo and rhododendron looked like this:

Still feeling down and out from yesterday’s plant theft discoveries, I decided on “self care” instead. Allan readily agreed to not mind wasting the drive to Seaview, and we went right back home without even stepping out of the van. He thought the wind might be good for sailing on Black Lake, and after a bit of paperwork, that is just what he did. I’ll share here when he blogs about it over on his site.

I stayed well out of the 35 mph wind watching Gardeners’ World (2013) on Inside Outside tv. It made me so happy that I could feel myself smiling the whole time. Frosty was happy to have me in the comfy chair.

I was as happy as this lovely man buying flowers at the Malvern Garden Show. (I wish I knew him.)

After four half hour episodes, the wind dropped and I could no longer stay indoors without feeling guilty. As always, the compost bins are the perfect excuse to avoid all the weeding that awaits me. (I like weeding, but I like compost more.)

Bin two was half full of potentially good stuff.

I got an oyster basket of rough compost that was moderately fine but didn’t quite go through the sifter.

It went around my new Stachyurus praecox.



I reached the bottom of Bin Two…

…and got one and a half barrows of lovely sifted compost.

…with which I mulched most of a widened garden edge.

I examined the new ponds carefully for frogs and found none.

After some garden appreciation…

Corylopsis pauciflora

Bogsy Wood

Drifts of crocus


A beautiful Chaenomeles that I got from Cistus Nursery years ago.

My gunnera made it through all the snow and ice.

…I returned to Gardeners’ World for a pleasant evening.

Meanwhile, after sailing, Allan had worked on his own garden job, the Ilwaco Community Building garden.

Here is his progress report.

I want this salal refreshed by cutting it all the way down and am quite willing to help do it.

With the two day unusual wind event over, we should be able to work on planting sweet peas tomorrow.

Read Full Post »

Monday, 18 March 2019

I woke to wind battering the house, sounding like a winter storm.

I so wanted to stay home with Frosty and Skooter.  Frosty wanted nothing to do with the outdoors.

We resolved to try to finish the center parking lot berm in Long Beach, the one that mostly involves just string trimming.

The Veterans Field flags nearby showed the strong east wind.  The temperature was warm and the east wind, usually icy cold, was just a bit cool.

Allan’s photo

I started work a half hour later than Allan because Jenna (Queen La De Da) was taking some items to her new Mermaid Sandcastle just across the parking lot.


After Jenna and I put the world to right, I joined Allan on the job.

Some of the mess of the center berm, with more of the miserable-to-weed crocosmia and rugosa rose combination:

Allan’s photo

The wind blew our wheelbarrow right over.

Allan’s photo

string trimmed and tidied (Allan’s photo)

Despite the wind, I wanted so much to erase santolinas AND berms from the work board that we went out to the Bolstad beach approach to trim the santolinas in the planters.

In the westernmost planter, I found that just in the last couple of weeks, someone had removed one of the large old santolinas, a project that would require standing on the bench or the dune wielding a shovel.


the hole

Most of the small plants have already been stolen. Now the big ones are the prey.

As I walked along, I found more large plants had been dug out. Up till now, most of the plants stolen could have been removed with hand tools.

This planter is also off balance with a big santolina removed from one side:

trimmed, for what it is worth (Allan’s photos)

Santolinas that size would not even transplant well and so probably the thief ended up with dead plants.  The plants LIKED it out here in the salty wind and open air.  They wanted to be left to live their quiet lives.

windy and fuming

trimming some ground level santolinas

Of course, the many blocks long ground level garden needs weeding….but not in lousy weather of any sort.

finding another planter with large stolen santolina…or rather, without it

Just every OTHER grape hyacinth dug up and stolen…how thoughtful to leave some.

A sea thrift used to be where that hole is.

This poor fella got replanted.

These planters used to all have a lot more plants. Even most of the little sea thrifts that the Basket Case Greenhouse donated last fall have been taken.

gesturing in outrage with The Toy at more holes.

Don’t even ask why there are so very few narcissi out in these planters; they have been dug and stolen batch by batch over the past few years along Bolstad.  I don’t bother to plant them anymore; it would be a waste of time and money.

Another planter, this one with our name on it from volunteer days, had its big old green santolina missing.

We stopped at city hall because I had an urgent need to kvetch and whinge to the city staff while Allan watered the entry ramp garden that gets no rain (being under wide eaves).

One brilliant staffer had the idea that the planters could just have landscape fabric and river rock put down (by the city crew, as if they have time for that….) around the few existing plants.  I said that would be a good solution.  What plants remain would look scree-garden-y and not so annoyingly off balance.  (A layer of small pea gravel would have to go down first and then the larger river rock, so that the underwear did not show).  I just cannot imagine how the city crew could find the time. And I feel too arthritic to haul bucket after bucket of rock at a work pace.   We are 64 and 66 years old, fer-cryin’-out-loud!!

[update: That idea was rejected because people might throw the rocks. Wildflowers were suggested, but they get stolen, too, and they won’t thrive in summer unless someone has time to water them with the Long Beach water truck.)

Regarding another common couple of suggestions: There is nowhere to put cameras, no one to monitor the footage, and thorny plants like barberries have been stolen as readily as plants without thorns.

I told the nice office staffers that once upon a time, I imagined keeping the Long Beach job till I was doddering along with a walker.  Now, I just think “two more years” (what counts as full retirement age for social security), because the thievery has sapped some of the joy out of the job.  The beach approach planters used to be beautiful, before whatever happened that brought on so much thieving.

From the glory days:

one of the beach planters in 2015

Allan weeding one of the western Bolstadt planters in 2015

3 Aug, beach approach; these planters have to be relatively drought tolerant and very salt wind tolerant.

It makes me sad to compare photos of how good they once looked to how they look today.

A reader of my instagram had a suggestion that had already crossed my mind, that each hole could have a sign that said “This empty space courtesy of a plant thief.”  That wouldn’t look appealing to the tourists.

Now….I will keep my focus on the downtown planters and parks.  I am done with even trying to replant on Bolstad. I have to stop my blood from boiling about this or I won’t make another two years of living, much less working.

We went home early because the wind was unbearable at 35 mph.

A block and a bit away from home, we applied some water from big green jugs (formerly kitty litter containers) to our newly planted bed at the fire station, under a wide eave so not getting much rain.

not much going on yet (Allan’s photo)

Frosty was thrilled to have me home early.

I calmed down by making about fifty santolina cuttings (feeling just like Carol Klein!), potting up some plant sale starts, and writing four blog posts.

Berms and santolinas got erased from the work board. Sweet peas and poppies have appeared as the next round of tasks. The beach approach weeding will have to wait.

Next day I realized I must add Boreas Inn to both sweet peas and poppy lists. Susie hasn’t had sweet peas since we passed the job to someone else two years ago. One of the reasons I took it back. I hope I can have sweet pea success like I used to there.







Read Full Post »

Sunday, 17 March 2019

I had a tiny bit of birthday in the morning when I opened two cards from two friends I’ve known since we were all age 12.

from Montana Mary and Roberta

Whenever I see that garden and library quotation, my literal mind says, “But we need food and drink, also.”  Mary’s card and gift addressed this:

A cozy cat mystery is something of a tradition….as long as the cats don’t talk!

Then there was no getting around going to work, because of nice weather and because of having missed a couple of days to the Shingrix vaccine.

Long Beach

The weather forecast called for big wind on Monday and Tuesday.  We drove out to the beach approach to see if it would be too busy and crowded to work there today; it is the worst place in the wind.  The whole stretch was bustling with cars and pedestrians so we returned to the parking lot berms on the east side of downtown.

I had thought it would be moderately easy to do the south berm, based on the north berm going quite swimmingly yesterday.  It turned out to be much thornier and more hard-packed with weeds than the north berm and was a fairly miserable work session in weather that felt uncomfortably warm.

We found all sorts of trash in the beds.

Getting the crocosmia out from the rugosa roses was most unpleasant.

Allan’s photo

Years ago, an alternative school had its student parking in this lot, and there was so much backing and forthing across the beds than anything delicate got crushed, leading to the decision to plant rugosa roses.  The school has moved but the thorns are still there.

using The Toy to trim the edges


after (Allan’s photo)

clamshells in the garden (Allan’s photo) from a parking lot feast, perhaps by a gull? or humans.

tight quarters

a fasciated stem of…something (Allan’s photo)

We acquired a full trailer load of thorny and otherwise debris (Allan’s photo)


We have not had any mulch left over for the berms for years, so not only is this not a raised berm, it is sunken down to pavement level and extremely hard to weed.  I finally decided we would just string trim the open areas and they can darn well just be lawn. These three beds get no supplemental water so in late spring and summer, the short grasses will stop growing anyway.


another walk through after the strimmer


When we left to dump our debris after four unpleasant hours, our van thermometer said the temperature was 76 degrees.  It felt like 76 to me.  No wonder I was so miserable.  I then looked at the weather apps and saw it was actually 62.

After a short turn around time at home, we drove back to

The Depot Restaurant

where we were joined by J9 and Our Kathleen for a birthday feast.

wilted spinach salad

Allan’s halibut special

the famous crab mac for J9

Cinghiale for me

birthday flan

I have now entered my 65th year (turning 64).

chocolate espresso pot de creme for Kathleen

salted caramel brownie

At home, I opened the rest of my presents.  I got a haul of wonderful gardening books from Allan, all ones I especially wanted, along with a book about punk rock in Eastern Germany from Kathleen and the cat mystery from Montana Mary, and an insulated lunch bag from Mary and Denny.  (They had found us in Long Beach on Friday and their other present, chocolate dipped shortbread cookies made by Mary, was already consumed!)

Allan might enjoy Alys Fowler’s book as it is about boating as well as her own life.

The Christine Walkden book has me burning for a rainy day.  Just opening it, I could see it is a wonderful diary of JUST the sort that I adore.  Fortunately, we are due for some rain by Friday…I hope.

Allan also found for me a proper English watering can (I had told him that the metal one was too expensive) and soil sifter for topping off seed flats. The can has a push on rose rather than screw on and a place to store the rose on the can. The flat end of the rose snaps off for cleaning. It is perfect. I’ve lost all the roses on my cheap watering cans years ago by removing them in annoyance when they get clogged.

Another special birthday treat was that so many of my friends on Facebook donated to my birthday fundraiser for Pacific County Immigrant Support that by today, the amount was $251 for this important local cause.










Read Full Post »

Saturday, 16 March 2019

The annual Peninsula Quilt Guild show at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco had over 100 quilts this year.

As always, my favourites are the ones with floral and garden and nature themes.

Here they are.

Flowers by Maureen Bittner

My Machine Quilting Sampler by Judy Kraft

Dream Big by Claudia Menzia

Gloria by Toni Tweedle Healy

Fall Pumpkins by Joe Ann Reidesel

Hummingbird Wreath Banner by Joe Ann Reidesel

I liked this one because it reminded me of teatime.

Vintage Farm Girl by Kathy Averett

Wonky Pentagon by Beth Tripp

…featuring ornamental cabbages.

Fabric Frolic by Maureen Bittner

…with floral details

Flowers on Silk by Toni Tweedle Healy

This one was almost my favourite mini; I love the languid petals:

Sunflower by Janet Darcher

left: Quatro Color by Claudia Menza

Grandma’s News! by Becky Olson Evans

My grandmother made several quilts with flowers like these:

Grandma’s News! by Becky Olson Evans

A Year in the Garden by Becky Olson Evans

Nature themed quilts:

Wings Over Willapa by Toni Tweedle Healy (an amazing quilter of all styles!)

Under the Sea by Toni Tweedle Healy

Dancing with Dragonflies by Joanie Chapel

Autumn at Sunset Beach by Joanie Chapel

Got crabs? by Beth Tripp

Pelicans by Judy Kraft

Puffins by Beth Tripp

We got to pick our favourites for best mini, small, medium, and large quilt.

My pick for medium was Grandma’s House.

Grandma’s House by Toni Tweedle Healy

My first thought was that, though impressive, it was so impractical…and then I read the description and got tears in my eyes.

Looking at the details, I did think of my grandma’s house, so of course it had to be my favourite because I had a wonderful grandma whom I still miss daily.

Grandma’s sewing machine

She loved cats….

…and her little house.

My favourite small quilt (and my favourite in the whole show) was Goofy Garden by Toni Tweedle Healy, and here it is with its creator.

photo courtesy Peninsula Quilt Guild

Native Plants by Joe Ann Reidesel came just barely after Goofy Garden (only because I love the garden theme with seeds and hose and secateurs), so I am including it here as what would have been a tie had that been allowed:

Native Plants by Joe Ann Reidesel

California poppies

skunk cabbage and trillium

My favourite mini quilt just barely edged out the sunflower.

Shooting Star by Maureen Bittner.

Wildflower Album by Becky Olson Evans was my favourite large quilt.

Finally, here are three more glorious quilts that we must include even though they are not at all on the gardening and nature theme.

La Dio de Los Muertos by Diane Duprez

The Lewiston Express by the inimitable Toni Tweedle Healy

Sorenson Work Wall Hanging by Judy Kraft

I am putting photos of most of the rest of the quilts on the Our Ilwaco blog, so avid quilters might want to have a look over there.

Read Full Post »

Clatskanie River

Allan has written up his latest boating adventure!

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

8 March 2019: Logging & a Paddle on the Clatskanie River

Clatskanie, Oregon is located about three quarter the distance from Astoria to the Interstate 5 corridor. It’s just over two miles south of the Columbia River on a farming and dairy delta that I figure has over sixteen miles of rivers and diked waterways suitable for paddling.

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 10.07.16 PM.jpg

I loaded up the boat the night before to get an early start. It was definitely cold when I looked out but figured if I unpacked and waited for a nicer day, that would be another trip later. If I left now, it would be one cold trip AND one nice trip later, twice as many.

DSC03591.JPG Time for a second cuppa while I considered the fun factor.

The Beaver Creek boat ramp across from the Safeway charges $5 and was the only launch point I had known in the area until I…

View original post 748 more words

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »