Archive for Jun, 2019


Friday, 21 July 2019

at home

My neighbours got their biscuits.

My simple goal was to plant the plants on the round table, mostly into pots.  The tiny ones are Nicotiana sylvestris, grown for me by Roxanne of the Basket Case.  Some of those got up-potted and some went into the ground.

I looked despairingly at the pots from which Canna ‘Stuttgart’ should have sprouted.  I wanted that plant so badly!

I dug out the roots to see if anything might be happening.  Nope.

I replanted them even though I see no sprouts.  This is what I hoped to have:

Canna ‘Stuttgart’, must have!

I ran a hose from a rain barrel into the ponds.

Meanwhile, Allan walked to and from the post office.

Stipa gigantea in the post office garden

And he had an errand to run to the Basket Case.

While he was there, he picked up some sale plants for me.

He also added better spines to his boating book at Time Enough Books, where Karla recommended a birding book.  Warning: it is more than a little rude!

Hmmm. I was amused by the part about how hard it is to take the bird’s photo.

Meanwhile, I completed another project, which was to remove the Pennisetum macrourum from this old bathtub.

With Allan’s help, it came out in a block.

I chopped the grasses with an axe to fit them into the wheelie bin.  If I want more, I have an endless source at the boatyard garden (unfortunately).  It has beautiful flowers but is too much of a runner.

Pennisetum macrourum at the boatyard

I filled the bathtub with soil and planted seeds of cilantro, radishes, and salad mix.  I wish I had not decided to spray paint the tub.  There was nothing so terrible about the original olive green colour, which has now faded to a more pleasant pale green.

This project was partly inspired by the chapter in The Planthunter about Ron Finley’s streetside garden.  Most people I know would be inclined to only use a “nice” planter, certainly not an old plastic bathtub from an old motor home (given to us by a friend who was in no way snobby, the same friend whose cats we adopted when he died).  But a nicey-nice galvanized metal horse trough, the classic kitchen garden container, is not cheap.

The pale green bathtub was free, has some sentiment attached, and I am sure Ron Finley would use it.

from The Planthunter (Ron Finley’s garden)

During that project, a light rain began, frustrating my plans to have a campfire with Alicia and to invite another neighbour from a few blocks away.  With Alicia right next door, the three of us changed our minds and had our fire at the last minute when the rain disappeared.

I appreciated the garden while gathering supplies for the fire.

Aruncus (goatsbeard)

I haven’t been back in the bogsy woods for ages, because of work and wind.

As we started cooking our hot dogs, we had an audience though the driftwood fence.  Cotah, standing in the next door compost bin, would have loved to join us.

Allan’s photo
me and Alicia

As Alicia and I always do, we talked about our grandmas (hers was Nora) and how much we loved them.

Quite late, I watched the new episode of Gardeners’ World on Britbox.  I love getting my “jobs for the weekend” in a timely manner.

On another subject entirely

For WordPress friends who, like me, decided to look at the new Block Editor and, like me, dislike it:  WP now has it opening for me by default each time.  Oh, how I wish I had not looked at it.  But there is a way to get to classic editor.  Start a post.  Save as a draft.  Then reopen and you will see an option to edit in classic editor.  I will have to do this every time now until I have time to learn the Block Editor, which will not be soon.  My advice: Don’t be tempted to try it out (or maybe I am completely wrong and you like it already).  I read an article last night (can’t find it now) that said WP was trying to discourage long passages of text.  Well, excuse me, the world is not all about pretty pictures (although I rarely get in trouble with pictures, just words).

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Thursday, 20 June 2019

Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose

Allan’s photo

[Good heavens, I just tried the new block editor in WordPress.  My advice: DON’T! I wasted a valuable blogging half an hour extricating myself from it.  It is bad enough that my E key has a broken cap. Anything weird-looking about this post, I blame on the Block Editor. I hope it looks ok.]

Long Beach

We watered and fertilized the planters. Puddles showed there had been some rain…

…but the planters needed attention before the weekend.

pink California poppies

Allan found a rock.

Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’ in Fifth Street Park

I so should have known better than to leave this mint in a planter:

Dianthus ‘Charles Musgrave’

In the window of NIVA green:

and inside…

Once upon a time in California, a man and his wife bought two “prancer” carousel horses to restore.  She became ill.  He restored hers for her and kept it after she died but did not have the heart to restore the second one.  He kept only hers.  Prancer is only $650, as I recall. If only I had room.

Below, this was once Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’ with variegated leaves.  In several planters, they reverted to green the first year, and got floppier and less compact.

Sanguisorba ‘Pink Elephant’ is rather too tall for planters.

I found a rock.

I still have some narcissi foliage hanging on.

California poppy ‘Copper Pot’ reminds me of my mom, who loved copper decor.

I pondered for awhile how I should have tried harder to understand her.

Prancer from the other side of the street:

Wind World kite guy again took my heavy bucket of water from me to water the Fish Alley planters.

a kind man

Someone had torn a cosmos to bits.

Allium moly ‘Jeannine’:

Allan’s photo of the planter that was cracked by a vehicle and then repaired

variagated silene (Allan’s photo)

Allan had to manuever around some items just left on and by a planter.

He also had to carefully maneuver around an allium.

Allan’s photo

After watering, we tidied the city hall garden…

Allan’s photo

..and had an excursion to see what’s new at the

Basket Case Greenhouse.

Buddy (Allan’s photo)

Some cool and collectible plants are on offer…

…including Fatsia ‘Spider’s Web’, which people have much admired in Allan’s garden.

I got myself a couple of Cobea scandens and a sunset runner bean and two taro plants (and one other plant whose name I have forgotten).

Next door, the enormous Liriodendron (tulip tree) is in bloom.


I walked the route of street trees and planters and groomed them while Allan bucket watered them.  We used to bucket water them together.  I can no longer do it.  The water trailer is a pain to use, so he has gone back to bucketing.

I admired the boatyard garden as I walked to the first planter.

santolina with an achillea poking through

Ethel’s garden north of the boatyard is so beautiful in the way that it encloses the sidewalk.  I miss my old parking strip in Seattle.

view from over the comfrey patch

Why I no longer plant golden oregano in containers:

That one will get redone this autumn. But look, apparently I could not resist putting some golden oregano back into planters that we redid last year!

I sprayed Liquid Fence deer spray on the planters with chomped Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.

also, note new paint job for Col Pacific Motel

Curbside flowers:

I like them.

I watered at the Ilwaco fire station while Allan watered the fire station.

There is a disturbing empty spot where nothing much happened with seeds.

Maybe no one will notice it.

We had dinner next door at Alicia’s house (her grandma Nora’s house).

a bouquet

pasta and pesto

Our Garden

While we worked, Judy and Larry from Ocean Park visited our garden and provided these guest photos.

rose petals on the pond

Sambucus ‘Black Lace’


center bed

Skooter was pleased to have guests.

I think that the garden appreciates guests, as well.


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Garden Tour Announcements

Tomorrow, Saturday, Surfside Homeowners Association is sponsoring a garden tour. Surfside is on the ocean side at the north end of the Peninsula. Here is the information I gleaned from Facebook.

I am assuming that some sort of map will be available at this address.

I am hoping that the garden of George Miller, whose photos of his garden on Facebook are so entrancing, will be on the tour.

Looking ahead three weeks, my favourite garden tour of the year, the always excellent Grays Harbor and Pacific County Master Gardener tour, is way way up in Ocean Shores this year. That will be good for folks up Seattle and Olympia area to maybe take a trip to the beach that weekend.

This weekend we would normally be garden touring like mad because it is the Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend, which is in Portland this year. We are skipping it this year for three reasons: My medical insurance is no good in Oregon, so an accident or injury could be catastrophically costly. And I want to focus more on time in my own garden this year. And I am saving money for semi-retirement. I hope my friends who are going take lots of garden tour photos. I’ll be watching the Danger Garden, Mulch Maid, and Bonney Lassie blogs In hope. You can already see garden tours from the recent Garden Bloggers Fling on Danger Garden and Bonney Lassie’s blogs. I wish them a wonderful study weekend!

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Hoquiam River

Catching up on Allan’s recent adventure

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

15 June 2019: From Hoquiam up the West Branch

Hoquiam is just west of Aberdeen at the mouth of the Chehalis River. Here the river opens up into Grays Harbor. Hoquiam and Aberdeen can boast that they are Washington State’s only port on the ocean and have a long history of industries (and old pilings) to explore on these waterways. Flowing through town is the Hoquiam River which I worried might be just a house lined river. It was better than that. Today I wanted to paddle up the shorter west branch.

Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 10.07.47 PM.png The Hoquiam River splits into three branches just north of town.

Last summer I discovered a small park with a boat ramp in an old section of town. A large tug boat was chugging upstream between the two nearby bridges. There were people bicycling and walking on the other shoreline in a park.

DSC02818 - Version 2 Last year the Wynema Spirit…

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Reading: The Planthunter

The Planthunter by Georgina Reed was recommended by Loree of The Danger Garden.

It is about gardeners, not actual plant hunters. The name comes from the author’s website.

I was a bit concerned at the size of the type at the beginning.

It soon settled down into normal size, but the book is anything but a normal book of garden tours. The photos do not try to pretty up the gardens. The gardeners are eccentric and impassioned. Because many of the gardens are in Australia, they were completely new to me, as were the ones from this country.

Here are my favourite takeaways.

Ron Finley’s public garden in LA inspired me and when he said this, he had me in tears. He expressed exactly what I feel when people mess up a picture I’ve created in a public garden. “I don’t like people taking my flowers…..It’s like an art piece for me. When people pass by on the street, I want them to see this beauty. The fourteen foot sunflowers are magnificent, but people desecrate them. They cut the sunflowers for themselves or just break them. It’s almost like beauty makes them feel uncomfortable.”

And “What do we value? Where do our values comes from? Why do we pledge allegiance to a flag instead of Mother Nature?

You can see him talk about his garden here.

I was equally moved when garden designer Topher Delaney said….

DSC01770.JPG I see many boring little public landscapes. I quit a business garden once when I was told the plants could no longer be allowed to touch. That landscape is now just thoroughly separated shrubs and grasses, of course.

My garden goals described perfectly by Topher:



More from Topher:


I agree with her completely about landscape architecture and about daffodils, my favourite flower.

Those were the two gardeners whose stories touched me the most intensely.  If you have had cancer, you may want to read what Topher wrote about her experience.

I love the book’s description of Bill Henson’s garden. “Bill’s garden is an entire universe.  It’s an incredibly atomospheric space, filled with a sense of mystery and beauty only he could create. While invisible, noise from neighbouring buildings can be heard.” That’s what I want.  I’m not there yet.  Give me just one year of semi retirement and reasonably good health and I might get there.

Also this!


That is why I say that a lot of nature activities are “too outdoorsy for me.”  I like gardens more than the wild world, I think because I like to see human personalities expressed. What’s more, there are (just a few) cougars in the countryside here.  I like to spend time with cats that are only of a certain size.

This, below, is everything about the garden put into words that I couldn’t come up with:


Reading about Beverly McConnell’s vast country garden reminded me in a small way of my career at the Boreas Inn, because Beverly’s gardener, Oliver Briers, is “still pottering in the garden despite having retired five times!”  I have twice passed the Boreas on to other gardeners because I like to do gardens that are more public, and twice I have returned to it. To liven up this post, see photos of that garden after my book rave.

A gardener and painter, Lucy Culliton, seeks exactly the reaction that I want people to have to my front garden:


(Or “What in the world is going on there!”)

Garden designer Cevan Forristt has some great ideas about how to design gardens for others:


I am reminded of the book The Inward Garden, one that I often recommend to anyone creating a new garden.


I don’t have anything approaching a temple in my garden, nor do I serve delicious food, but people have said they can get lost in it.


Gardener Simon Rickard:


Gardener Leslie Bennet says this, something I strongly feel at times.


There is a huge class divide here on the peninsula, and jobbing gardeners are on a lower level from the self-defined society elite.  Yes, it is not just me; some other gardeners have agreed with me on this.  I have noticed that working gardeners who come to gardening from another, more elite career, are the ones who are still part of the upper class.

David Holmgren on the power of permaculture:


(But then what happens to the people who had jobs in the supermarkets?)

A recommended book that I wish to read…


…along with a recommended blog, The Gardenist, by Michael McCoy.

Once upon a time, someone hired me to make a garden just like my garden.  And then told me she wanted it to be low to preserve the view (which was a wonderful view).  But then it could not be anything like mine, and Michael explains to me why: “The trouble with low plantings is that you always feel that you’re on them, and never in them. They can only work when surrounding features or plantings create the sense of in-ness.

More from Michael McCoy:


Bruce Dunstan, plant hunter:


I recently read an article on this very topic.

Gardener Max Gill:


Claire James on how to amicably share a garden:


That is just a glimpse of an inspiring book.  One of the especially interesting aspects is how the gardens are photographed. If you are local, and a responsible book borrower, I will lend you my copy. (The library does not have it yet.)

Here are some photos of the Boreas Inn garden, taken by innkeeper Susie Goldsmith.












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Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Depot Restaurant

We checked up on the restaurant’s garden.

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ and Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’

Baggeson’s got a bit of a haircut after that photo.

Long Beach

Weeding the welcome sign:

We trimmed back the rugosa roses in the Big Popout, as Parks Manager Mike likes for traffic sight lines.



We tidied the Bolstad beach approach planters.

Allan’s photo

The wildflowers are trying…

As planned for this week, we tackled the salmonberry, blackberry and bindweed mess in Coulter Park.  Almost all Allan’s photos from here on:

That is a miserable job that we do not do often because the park is pretty obscure.

In Fifth Street Park’s southeast quadrant, in a rooty bed that is just about impossible to weed, Allan wielded the string trimmer.



Darmera peltata and Gunnera

The back corner has become so shady that the hydrangea won’t bloom.

I planted a few Iris ‘Black Gamecock’ in a damp area across the street as an experiment.


Yesterday evening, I had noticed that the fabric was showing again at one of the Howerton Ave gardens, because the adjacent business had pruned their escallonia.  We fixed it.

Gardner and Bloome Soil Conditioner

I got home in time to read my book (next post)!  A kind Ilwaco resident came by with a gift for me, a canna.  I had given her a start of goldenrod from the boatyard last year.

a poor photo of a fine specimen

So, of course, we toured the garden together.  I still had plenty of time for my book, at last.


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Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Before work…

We’d had this much rain.

Night Owl rose
Saxifrage ‘Maroon Beauty’


We began at the boatyard, where we left off yesterday.

today’s starting point (Allan’s photo)
Allan’s photo
Ceanothus is buzzing with popularity.
Allan’s photo, with Jackman’s Blue rue
Stipa gigantea
The Port Office staff on their lunchtime walk
a boat on its way out of the boatyard

A former client, Fred of Care-away Cottage in Seaview, drove by and stopped for a chat.  He now lives in Portland.  He said, “You have done something here that no one else even thought of doing.”  I said, yes, I had started the boatyard garden from nothing but mowed weeds back in about 1995.  He remembered that.  It may be that long ago that I did a little bit of work one summer weeding at Care-away.

As he departed, Fred said, “I care about three things, truth, beauty, and justice.”

His compliment gave me much to ponder as I continued weeding.  While I try to warn new people that the more you know me the less you will like me*, my mission to focus on beautifying the public gardens on the lower Long Beach Peninsula has been successful enough that I feel good about my life.  I also contemplated how long I keep most jobs, generally around twenty years for Klipsan Beach Cottages, Andersen’s RV Park, the boatyard, Jo’s garden, Diane’s garden, and Long Beach, and I mentally planned out a new “why I quit jobs” post for this winter.

Boreas Inn

This plant, dug out of my garden, had gone to work with us.

It is the very same plant from this photo.

Susie wanted it and she now has it.

I planted a few more plants left over from my plant sale and weeded while Allan string trimmed around the lawn beds.  He is the most skilled strimmer, never damaged a plant.

Allan’s photo

I planted one of my special little Eryngium (not so) giganteum (yet) that I GREW FROM SEED!

I want Susie to go out after dark and smell the night scented stock.  This photo was so she would recognize them.

Matthiola longipetala, night scented stock

I have it planted by the garden suite, by a bench, and over by the hot tub hut.

Delosperma ‘Fire Spinner’
Verbascum ‘Cotswold King’
Verbascum ‘Southern Charm’
sit spots
looking west
looking east

Long Beach

The planters were still damp enough from rain that we did not have to water.  Joy!  We had time to give extra special attention to the west two quadrants in Fifth Street Park.

Across the street from where we parked, Zoltar had moved from Stormin’ Norman’s gift shop to the fun rides.  He said to us, “I see you over there!  Yes, you!  Come over here and let Zoltar tell your fortune!”

Dorothy Perkins rose is already mildewed, as is her wont.

trimming off the bad bits

Allan tackled a patch of the BadAster…


…while I went on horsetail patrol.

The nearby planter has all of its alliums.

Allan turned his attention to the damp and shady southwest quadrant.

In the northeast quadrant, he made a lavender look (and feel?) better.

That is a sort of forgotten little spot under the window of the new barbershop.  I find it hard to access because one has to walk on large river rock to even get to it, uncomfortable for me.  I might put some plants in there this autumn if I find it has a working sprinkler (which is doubtful).  Once upon a time the spot was filled by a glorious ornamental grass that the city crew removed, probably because it blocked the water meter box.

in the narrow bed, also by the barber shop (Allan’s photo)
Phygelius ‘Cherry Red’ (Allan’s photo)

I get many compliments on the wild and tangled selection of flowers in the narrow bed approaching the barber shop.

A handsome car had parked in front of us.


We could have been done with work at 5:30 but that felt weirdly early to me, even though I wanted to read my new book.  So we returned to finish the boatyard garden.

Stipa gigantea in evening sun

I even had time to cut a rough half moon edge behind of fence of the south stretch of garden.


Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ (Allan’s photo)
Allan’s photo

When we returned a couple of days later, the lawn had been nicely mowed.

We finished just before eight.

At the south end of the boatyard stands one of the spruces which has been decimated by spruce aphid and drought.  All over the Pacific Northwest, these iconic trees are in deep distress.

 *Am I joking? Just a tiny bit. Longtime close friends of 50, 40, 20, and 10 years perhaps prove my theory wrong. The loss of two beloved friends, by their choice, in the last five years might prove me right and inspires me to put out a warning to anyone new. I also, of course, have a book recommendation. I gave this one five out of five stars.




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