Archive for Apr, 2019

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Skooter in the morning:

Long Beach

Without checking on any other jobs, we went straight out to the beach approach and tackled our next section.  While the wind was strong, it was also almost warm, a nice change from yesterday’s chilling blast.

All Allan’s photos:

We found that the nasty grey aphid has already found some of the native lupines.

I won’t spray them, so those lupines got removed.  Last year, a big swathe of them out at the west end were covered in disgusting aphids for weeks.  I wished that birds would come along and feast.

Our new wind gauge is a bit disappointing because it never shows the wind as strong as what it feels like.

I could have sworn that by the late afternoon, when the gusts grew stronger and ever so much colder, that it was at least 20.


We have come this far.

We have this far to go.

I thought I had a big thorn in the side of my finger, only to find when I took off my glove the shocking sight of a burst blister, with skin that had to be clipped, and a trip that had to be made to the pharmacy to get neosporin.  Allan asked if I wanted a photo of it; I said that you folks would most decidedly not want to see it.

I will have to be careful to keep it clean; somehow dirt gets inside even un-torn medical gloves, which is what I wear to garden.

I went home to convalesce (reminding myself of far worse injuries on Deadliest Catch) while Allan went back out to deadhead and weed at the

Ilwaco Community Building.

for the compost bins


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Wednesday, 24 April 2019

At the Ilwaco post office, Allan dug out the last of the brown grasses.

Our main goal today was to weed the narrow garden bed at The Red Barn Arena.

When we arrived, I walked across a horse pasture to apply Sluggo Plus to the sweet peas in Diane’s garden and to do any necessary deadheading.  My very good friend Misty greeted me and got a belly rub.

The roadside garden:

Because Diane likes soft colours, her narcissi are mostly white or white and yellow.

At least, that was the plan!

Oh, look, an Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ that hasn’t reverted to green!

In the back yard, I was pleased that on the big raised box, tulips are not under vole attack.

But wait, how did orange tulips get in there?

All of that haze of reseeded California poppies will come out if they have turned from pink to orange.

I walked back across the pasture to the Red Barn….

….where Allan had strimmed the long grass on both sides of the garden.

Allan’s photos:

before, with lots of purple lamium weed

The garden had been neglected…by us.  I am finding, not to my surprise, that other than having last Saturday off, the quitting of a job has not resulted in extra free time.  We had prioritized that garden above all others.  Now the other jobs have expanded to fill the space.

With the garden all weeded, I planted some bachelor button seeds.

Barn cat Cosmo appeared, to my delight.

While being petted, he keeps his paws soft.

I felt sad as we drove away from him.

Long Beach

We began deadheading planters along the main street in an annoyingly pushy wind that had also plagued us at The Red Barn.

Tulip ‘Suncatcher’ and Narcissus ‘Baby Moon’
tree garden
Tulip ‘Spring Green’ (top)
Tulip ‘Green Star’
Tulip ‘Green Star’

In Fifth Street Park, we found a piece of stray litter specifically associated with clam chowder.

As usual, the city crew had made the town all clean and tidy after last weekend’s clam festival.

We gave the park some attention because of all the horsetail that wants to pop up.

I am still pondering what annual I might plant along the front.

A friend who works downtown had told me that over the weekend, she had seen tulips pulled out and thrown in the street.  I am happy to report that even though I saw the usual damage of groups of five tulips that had been reduced to three blooms by bouquet pickers, only one planter had outright yanking.

this one, with tulips yanked out of one side

Not bad for a festival weekend.

Tulip ‘Green Wave’ in bud
Narcissus ‘Baby Moon’
Tulip linifolia

Allan’s photos:

Tulip ‘Silverstream’
Tulip ‘Strong Gold’
Narcissu ‘Baby Moon’
Fish Alley
Narcissus bulbicodium

While weeding at Long Beach City Hall, I noticed how the Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’ has sized up.

Years ago, we planted this perennial forget-me-not in memory of Peggy Miles.

We mulched at the World Kite Museum….

…and deadheaded the Long Beach welcome sign, where I found proof positive of vole damage.

I will have to worry about whether or not they will damage the annuals and perennials in the welcome sign bed.  However, that is a problem for another day.

At home, the annuals list has made an appearance on the work board.  The beach approach is still my axe of doom.

Allan made delicious scones for our dessert with the ingredients that were a birthday gift from Montana Mary.

before the jam


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Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Cold and windy weather would have made it hellish out on the beach approach.  Even knowing I would be watching Deadliest Catch at the end of the day could not inspire me to go there.  So we worked on three private and our two volunteer gardens, all within five blocks of our house.

There had been a spider hatch on the mirror on my side of the van.

Allan’s photos

Norwood Garden

Allan got started before I did because I was finding it difficult to find my get up and go.  (My grandma always said “It got up and went.”)

North garden bed, before…

and after.

I am pleased with how the various shade plants I brought over from my garden are sizing up.

Geranium macrorrhizum (spotted with soil from our weeding)
geranium and epimedium and lamium

Js garden

Our former accountant and her 2 year old dog, back from a six mile walk to the lighthouse and back!

The front garden got a thorough weeding.

Allan strimmed out a line of maple seedlings along the front of the driveway.

A visitor from next door:

Allan’s photo

I long to pet this tabby cat.  She is too shy.

I went home to get some plants for the post office garden and my neighbors heard me, which made it biscuit time.

My buddy Cotah, with a ceanothus bursting through from my garden

Ilwaco Post Office garden

I was tired of the bronze grass.  It had been donated years ago when we decided to make a garden here, where once was lawn. Now the grass looked old and tired, so the sentiment of having been given the plant had to be overruled by aesthetics.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

No time today for a very thorough weeding.  Some got accomplished while Allan dug out the grasses.

A new small shovel, to replace one we had lost at the end of last season, came in the mail carefully packaged.

A person who walked by and admired the post office garden was offered the old grasses.  She laughed and said no, she couldn’t, because she has to ask her gardener (a great gardener and friend of ours) before she can plant anything.  Not that she wanted the boring old grasses anyway! I was deeply moved and told her she was the perfect client, someone who respects the knowledge of the excellent gardener who is making a beautiful place for her.  That is the kind of respect I got at Klipsan Beach Cottages, Andersen’s RV Park, and the Anchorage Cottages back in the day (and in the present day at the Boreas Inn and all the private gardens we care for).

I would be just as happy, though, working for a great gardener with a beautiful garden of the sort I like best, just going in and maintaining and doing what the garden owner wanted.  I had to turn down one job like that, because it was forty five minutes away.  Working for Patti at her Seaview garden was like that.  She has moved now, to a smaller house, and her fabulous garden is in new hands.

Come to think of it, both Mike’s and J’s garden were designed and planted by other people, and we like them as they are and pretty much just maintain the original design with a little bit of creative infill.  Mike’s was designed by  former peninsula gardener Carol Jones, and the J’s garden by the previous owner of the house.

Mike’s garden

We drove a few blocks east to weed Mike’s garden where I had noticed the scary proliferation of the little shiny leaved red stemmed weed geranium which appeared last year.

Allan’s photo with a mysterious camera setting

Now that I have more time, or at least I will when the May Day parade preparations are done in the public gardens of Ilwaco and Long Beach, I must think of something for that small and boring patch on the north side of Mike’s house.


Allan had trimmed the boxleaf honeysuckle, Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’.

Ilwaco Fire Station garden

We ended the day by weeding and planting poppy seeds on the east side of our volunteer garden. Having been battered by a west wind all day, we finally found a still place to work.

at home

I had to move a shrub that had been bringing down the tone. It is a Eupatorium (Ageratina) havanense, per Todd, who gave it to me.  It is supposed to bloom in winter but never has (it came from North Carolina, from Todd’s own collection).  It used to look handsome…

…but has gone into a decline.

The garden looks better without it. It had taken me awhile to make the decision because a gift plant is a sentimental plant.

Before and after:

I wheelbarrowed the shrub, with a good rootball on it, all around the back garden and could not find where to put it, so I potted it up in a big pot for Todd to rescue. I was so glad I made the wheelbarrow walk; I saw a plant browsed by deer and realized I had left the west bogsy wood gate open. Had I not walked back there, it could have been open all week.

Here is a happier plant, a primrose from Our Kathleen.

Allan’s photo

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Niawiakum River

Allan’s Sunday outing

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

21 April 2019: The Niawiakum River

“The destination for today was the Niawiakum River that runs in front of Goose Point Oysters, just north of the Bay Center turnoff on Highway 101. It’s one of three rivers accessible from Bay Center that also includes the Bone and the Palix. Here’s a map to give a general idea. The Bone River is north, just below Bruceport. The larger Niawiakum River is east of Bay Center and the even larger Palix River system is southeast of Bay Center.” …That was my blog’s opening paragraph on July 30, 2017. That time I failed to find the entrance to the Niawiakum.

Screen Shot 2017-08-06 at 5.31.33 PM.png

It was a quiet Easter Sunday morning as a couple of boats were putting away their gear.

DSC00059.JPG In the background, the +0.1′ tide meant there were plenty of mudflats in the bay.

The bay was rapidly filling up at a rate of 2.6′

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Monday, 22 April 2019

We were out the door to go to work, not relishing the cold air, when the rain began.  I happily retreated to my comfy chair and a book that Allan had checked out for me from the library.  It had been recommended to him by a book site while he ordered other British books. “If you like that, you’ll also like this.”

watching the weather

 A paragraph in the introduction, by Nigel Slater, had me thinking about how timid I am about what I choose to share in this blog.  I write an awful lot that I then delete, although WordPress preserves it all in the various drafts of each post (along with all the typos and mistakes that get corrected):

I am aware my writing has taken on a melancholic turn,” the author writes much later into the book, “so perhaps it is time to share a sunnier story.”  So even he pulled back from revelation for a moment.

And even later:

This was the perfect time to read a book by someone brave enough to dig deep, even though he is a well known writer in the UK and now people will know his secrets and pain.  How does he feel about that, and how can he stand the exposure? I ask that of almost every memoir I read, while at the same time being grateful for the writer’s transparency. (It is ironic that I just deleted two lines from this very paragraph.)

It had taken me a long time today to settle down and actually set all other materials aside and apply myself to reading.  Then the first page mentioned snails eating baby beans.

I had to get up again, go outside, and apply Sluggo to my baby sweet peas.

The table I painted yesterday looked wonderful in the rain.

Allan’s photos

Plot 29 goes back and forth between the present day and the author’s childhood and his search for answers about his parentage.

Well, now, this is just how I felt about several gardens I have gone in to rescue over the past 25 years…

I was excited to see a mention, all in one paragraph, of Monty Don AND one of my favourite gardening books, the book that inspired me most about seaside gardening, Derek Jarman’s Garden.

On the appearance of a gardener:

Jenkens and his allotment companions use the principles of “Biodynamic gardening” and stir up various potions.

At bedtime, I am reading chapters of Linda Chalker-Scott’s The Informed Gardener books, one chapter thoroughly debunking Biodynamics.  Oh dear.  Sometimes I am not sure what to think of all the debunking, since further scientific studies often contradict the first studies, etc.

I can tell biodynamics is just not something I would have the energy or belief to try.

Oh!  The author writes about driving: “I have only once been behind the wheel.” I am thrilled.

On his three gardens, one at a small summer cabin in Denmark, one a rooftop garden outside his London flat, and the allotment patch:

As regular readers know, once I began to read Plot 29 I could not stop to do anything until I had finished.  I so appreciate Allan finding it for me.  Locals can order it from the Timberland Regional Library.

Mr Tootlepedal had asked if I had seen any of a gardening show called The Beechgrove Garden.  I had not.  It is a Scottish gardening show, rather like Gardeners’ World, and I I was delighted to find some episodes online.  I watched one episode and will watch as many as I can find.  Down the rabbit hole!  It has been on telly since the 1970s.  Fortunately for my getting things done, all the shows are not online.

I also found in the past few days a Gardeners. World Road Show from 2005 in which the hosts go on tour to a city, visit many gardens, and have a plant swap.

They may be too big of celebrities now to do that anymore.  Perhaps a viewer over there can tell me if they still have a roadshow special each year.





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20-21 April: at home

Saturday, 21 April 2019

Instead of the working day we had planned, and thanks to dropping one job, I had a productive extra day in the garden.

I had learned that deer eat Viburnums, so I moved my stunted double file viburnum into the fenced garden, back in the bogsy wood.


still small after 8!! years outside the deer fence

I was not able to get good roots. I can tell you that three days later, it does not look happy about its new home.  Fortunately, it is not terribly rare so could be replaced if it does not revive, and better yet, it had made two rooted layers pieces….

…that do look happy in their new home.

My other achievement was to gather all the driftwood that Allan had brought me awhile back and use it to finish my privacy fence on the east side, something I have been wanting to do for months.

My garden design desire is always to “stop the eye”.  In her great book The Inward Garden, Julie Moir Messervy writes that each person has an archetype of the garden they desire.  One is the cave, and that is mine.

I recommend this book and have lent my copy out repeatedly.  I mean to reread it next winter.

I had clients whose archetype was clearly The Promontory; even though they did not have much of a view, they kept cutting down all the shrubs around the edges.  I felt so uncomfortable there, overlooked by other houses, that I had to let the job go.

Allan mowed the J’s lawn and ours.

I noticed that the old Danger Tree has a big hole in it. I can hear pecking, hammering sounds inside the tree sometimes.

In another snag tree next door, Allan saw the residents going in and out.

Sunday, April 21 2019

Biscuit time for my friends next door:


Another day of puttering, plant sale preparation, and not much weeding.

I am concerned that this wild cucumber vine, with its huge root mass (like a monster coconut)…

…is killing the dogwood that is one of the few shrubs that were here when we moved in.  The dogwood was not happy before that.  It’s in Allan’s garden.  If the dogwood dies, we could expand the front porch sunroom.

I worked more on my privacy fence, with Skooter helping.

”Wait for me! I halp!”


I painted my new table so that it does not show so glaring white from the street…

…and came up with the cunning plan to put a back and sides on it, for further privacy (with which I am obsessed).  It’s such a big table that it would be like a mini shed.

Tired out from helping, Skooter just watched.

I had a good long visit when  Susie of the Boreas Inn came by; in the good weather, we sat by the new ponds and talked.

I planted my four new clematis, Bees Jubilee, Gravetye Beauty, Duchess of Albany, and Frances Rivis.


I hope to have them clambering up shrubs.

I contemplated removing a not very happy shrub in the front garden…

….but had completely run out of steam.

Allan had gone boating all day.  At dusk, just before he arrived home, I had an Easter visitor bearing a gift of egg shaped soap.

Below is a glimpse of Allan’s boating day, when he also went to South Bend for grocery shopping and to leave one his books at Elixir Coffee.

In an art gallery there…

…he saw “Dangerous Toys” made by our friend Joe Chasse.

In Elixir coffee:

On the dock nearby:

We don’t have much hope of getting back to work on Monday because of a rainy and cold and windy forecast.  I would not at all mind a reading day.


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A year ago, I read two books by which have been sitting by my desk with markers in the pages.  I ran out of time then to recommend them here…and now have miraculously found the time,

I discovered these books when Mirabel Osler, in her memoirs, mentioned Katharine Swift as a good friend.

Some takeways from both books:

Morville is the name of Swift’s home and garden.  Based on the structure of a Medieval Book of Hours, The Morville Hours goes deep into the history of the place, making for a slow and thoughtful read. I don’t have many saved takeaways from The Morville Hours because the whole books is complete perfection, making it difficult to separate out any parts to inspire you to read it.

My cats and I liked this poem by an Irish monk:

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
‘Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
‘Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.

‘Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur’s way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

On tramps and homelessness:

On my favourite flower:


I agree with her that mole soil is “the best potting compost in the world.” It is a gift from the world below.

Next, The Morville Year, which is more of a straightforward memoir.

I have, since reading this, made the start of a willow cave or gazebo or some such thing:

My other inspiration was Ann Amato’s willow arbor.

It is time to find the time to be in my own garden:

On sweet peas:


On memories:

One of my favourite passages brought back memories of my two trips to the UK and looking into back gardens from trains and buses:

…and seguing into allotments, another favourite topic of mine…

In The Morville Year, I found the most moving poem I have ever read, Adlestrop, by Edward Thomas, “a vision of lost England recalled from the trenches” of World War I, where he was killed in 1917..

Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop—only the name
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
I learned from The Morville Year about how “the humble petunia” might hold a cure for cancer.  You can read about it here, from 2002—I hope something came of it.
On the power of a public garden:
On bulb planting:
So, gardening friends who are readers, you see why I think you must read these books.  A third, A Rose for Morville, is due to be released in December 2020, and it is promised that it will go deeper into the story of her beloved husband who left her—a man who surely made the wrong choice, in my opinion.  The release of the third memoir is something to live for.  I hope I make it that far because I long to read it.

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