Archive for Sep, 2019

Allan’s latest adventure, part one

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

21 September 2019

This last summer, while on a paddle trip up the Welcome Slough on Puget Island, I met a couple of guys working on a sailboat. They were fitting a bimini one of them had fiberglassed together. We admired boats, shared travels, and also where I soon might see sunbathing turtles if I pedaled further. It was entertaining enough to keep all of us from our tasks for a while. These two were part of the crew that help put together the annual Cathlamet Wooden & Classic Boat Festival every August. I went away with an email address and a high priority to attend and help with the festival. Their facebook page is here.

Now that I was in the loop, I found out about other small boat messabouts in the northwest . Come September, I reserved two nights at Elochoman Marina in Cathlamet for camping and boating…

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Friday, 20 September 2019

at home

Through the window, I saw a crow perhaps indicating that the yellow apples are ripe.

But no, he tested an apple from the old gnarly tree and flew away.

Allan drove away on a two night “boating messabout” camping trip with a boating club.

Frosty and Skooter spend a lot of time next door lately.  Maybe it is warmer there without so much garden around them.

I tried turning some compost.  Hot (to me) weather sent me back inside to read for awhile.  At four, I emerged to try again to get some gardening done.  My big idea: to spread out the grass we had cut at Long Beach City Hall and chop it with the mower, like I had chopped leaves last weekend.

I kicked the clippings around till they were flatter and was sure my idea would work…till the mower spit the grass sideways out the bottom and made a slow unhappy noise.  I had forgotten to have Allan show me how to rev it up.

Never mind.  I chopped the grass into shorter pieces with The Toy™ and started to layer it into bin one with brown compost from bin two, sifting the bin two compost as I worked. I was surprised to get good stuff since it had only been turned last week.

But dusk caught up with me before I had a full wheelbarrow.

On an evening walkaround, I noticed that the Geranium ‘Rozanne’, that had gotten trampled while I changed the water in the canoe pond, was coming back all green and fresh.

My Nicotiana sylvestris is blooming, and indeed does have narrower flowers that N. ‘Fragrant Cloud’.

However, I am not sure I like its ridiculously huge leaves, at least not where I have it planted. You can see on the left that the leaves of Fragrant Cloud are smaller.

The balmy evening would have been perfect for a campfire.

I did not want to have one alone, hadn’t thawed out any campfire dinner makings, and our friend who wants to come for a campfire hurt her foot in a fall and was not available.  Ah, well.  I had been looking forward to an evening of quiet reading and some iPad BritBox.

On tonight’s Gardeners’ World, Monty wielded a mower with an enviably wide mowing path.

The hour long show visited a delightfully tall forest gardener, who anoints himself with lemon balm to soothe his social anxiety when he has to go to a party.

I found his youtube channel here.

Jazmin watched gardening telly with me and we caught up on the Tootlepedal blog.

My thoughts were full of continuing to turn tomorrow’s compost.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

In the quiet house, I slept for ten hours—an amazing rejuvenating feat.  It did mean another late start, all too typical on days off.

My compost goal had become to sift all the older compost from bins two and three and see if I could pack it all into bin one. It took a lot of sifting to get a wheelbarrow full.

first load

Needing more green, I went to the front garden and began removing old foliage from the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ in the driveway bed.


Who should come driving by but Scott and Tony and two of their friends.  I was happy to leave my project and walk with them around the garden.  They left with two big pots of Cox’s Orange Pippin apples.

Then back to my gathering of compost greenery…and to Skooter sampling my Stipa barbata.



An hour later, I had another wheelbarrow of compost dumped into the garden.

Nearby, the urn-shaped hips of Rosa moyesii:

Bin two was now empty, but could I fit the contents of bin three into bin one? Tomorrow will tell.

Tonight reading took a back seat to an episode of the nature show Winterwatch 2019, followed by a show with six short episodes called Harbour Cops.

I enjoyed it immensely because it is set in a Welsh seaside town where the population is six thousand in winter and a whopping 75 thousand in summer tourist season.  The stories reminded me of living in our own seaside towns….but with more British charm.

They use this wee ambulance when the roads are blocked by seasonal events.

The final show ends with the town getting its quiet beach back when the thousands of tourists go home.

That is when I would like to go be a tourist there.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

at home

In Friday night’s Gardeners’ World, the virtues of continuing to deadhead well into autumn were espoused.  At work, I deadhead diligently.  At home, by this time of year, I don’t mind seeing the garden going to seed.  If I were retired, I might try harder to keep it going. In the garden boat, the cosmos is downright seedy but still blooming.


We’d had this much rain:


Surely that means that watering season is over!

I continued compost sifting with the rather nutty goal of getting all the compost into bin one.


Bin three produced some lovely stuff.  I had a wheelbarrow of rougher compost for the bogsy wood and finer stuff for more refined beds.


first double load

I heard voices.  Scott and Tony had brought me some of Scott’s delicious Cox’s Orange Pippin apple crisp!


Two pieces gave me strength to keep compost sifting.

I did it! I got three empty bins for incoming autumn compost.


The result is more than a little wonky. The biggest challenge was windfall apples that kept rolling out.  The softer ones, I could squish flat with a gloved hand, like popping balloons.  That was fun (and I am not joking).


Another finer and rougher load went out into the garden.


The fine stuff had been enough to mulch almost all along one edge of the center bed. I got done after sunset.


In between composting on each of these three days, I had worked on potting up assorted plant starts for my 2020 plant sale: elephant garlic, Egyptian walking onions, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and more.

Allan returned from two days of boating adventures, which will comprise the next two blog posts.

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Thursday, 19 September 2019

I was disappointed to see this news on Facebook:

I admire their determination to keep going.

We delivered the water trailer to Ilwaco city works, the end of our more than a decade of watering the Ilwaco planters.

While Allan got our mail on our way home to attach the work trailer, I was able to admire the post office garden from across the street.

We deadheaded at the Depot Restaurant and forgot to take a photo and then spent the rest of the day in Long Beach.

At the welcome sign, Allan walks a narrow ledge to deadhead.

My plan today had been to pull crocosmia all over town, and then have the satisfaction of erasing it from the work board.  I changed my mind when I saw that some of it still looked good and upright.

I am changing the work board so that job will be on the October list. We did pull enough of it to make half a trailer load of debris for city works.

I am loving the restroom garden in Fifth Street Park.

Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’ recovered from its caterpillar attack and is fronted with pale pink hesperantha, either ‘Viscountess Byng’ or ‘Mrs. Hagerty’.

I pulled the sweet peas from in front of Captain Bob’s.

One of my santolinas along the front died…why?

A good clumping blue aster will get divided and made into three later on. It is a  deeper and prettier blue than this photo captured.

Fall crocus bloomed in the park quadrant across the street.

Allan’s photos

with Phygelius ‘Cherry Red’ (Allan’s photo)

The Wind World Kites crocosmia were spared for now.

But the ones by Long Beach Tavern got yanked.

I found this…and did not open it.

We deadheaded any downtown planter than needed work and had time to check the Bolstad beach approach, where we found what looks a lot like plant theft from the Lisa Bonney memorial planter.

I heard that a photo on Facebook by one of her family members showed the planter looking lush with new plants in her memory just before Rod Run, which would be the anniverary of when she was murdered by her ex boyfriend near this spot.  I want to find out if the family took the plants back out, perhaps for her gravesite, or were they stolen? It looked like this today.

Later, a Facebook friend found me a photo of what the planter looked like on Rod Run weekend.

It sure looks to me like some of those plants were planted into the soil. I long to know if the family took them out later, perhaps to plant in a cemetery. That would be fine. I just want to know whether or not the plants were taken by strangers.

[update two days later: I did find out that Lisa’s family did not remove any plants, and so it is confirmed that a thief is the culprit. Is there no shame?]

To friends who suggested deer did this–which would be a pleasanter thought–I replied, “….no, because I can tell the difference. Not all the holes show in this photo, and not all of the missing plants were represented by holes, and some of the plants were deer resistant. If deer, some would have been eaten and left. I can tell because I have worked in a multitude of deer chomped gardens. In the LB and Ilwaco intersections whose planters are heavily chomped by deer, they never look this denuded. And some of missing plants were ones that had been established in this planter for over a year: a rosemary and some artemisia that Lisa’s loved ones planted last year. They would have had to be dug out with a tool.”

In the beach approach garden, a pale blue lupine soothed my nerves.

We cut back Miscanthus variegatus that had flopped toward the sidewalk at city hall.  If I had it to do again, I would plant the similar but less floppy M. ‘Cosmopolitan’.

after (Allan’s photos)

My last sight in Long Beach, as we bought some potting soil:

Allan’s photo

(Yes, I am going to trim that variegated ivy when we do fall clean up under this tree!)

On the way home, we visited Seaview Sarah so she could try out The Toy (the Stihl HSA 25 trimmer).  She liked it and said she understands now why I call it the toy; it’s fun to use.

Sarah’s dog observed…(Allan’s photo)

It was an incredibly short work week and I am awfully glad to have four day off now. It is just that time of year, when the gardens are sort of in stasis and not ready for fall clean up.

The very next day, I saw a happy update with which to end this post:

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18 Sept: Ilwaco plus

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The rain had saved us from any watering.  In fact, I do think I can declare watering season over.

All photos today are by Allan.


I had planned for us to dig up and replant a rhododendron at Mike’s garden.  Allan’s plan for a camping trip this weekend made me rethink it.  What if he wrenched his back and his messing about in boats weekend was spoiled? I postponed that project till next week.

I gathered some plants to enhance some of the beds at the Port of Ilwaco curbside gardens.

First, I added two baby santolinas at the post office.

We worked our way from east to west along the port, with some trimming included.

Only the gardens with good soil got new plants, not the river rock ones that are impossible to mulch.  The exception was CoHo Charters lava rock bed that got three heathers and a couple of santolinas in its sandy soil.

We were sad to learn that the Ilwaco Bakery is closed on Wednesdays. Our picture of coffee and a treat al fresco was dashed. We were happy to see that work has begun on adding the second residential story that precedes the opening of the indoor cafe in 2020.

The silvery grey David Jensen building got some silver santolina.

Allan lightly trimmed some wax myrtles.

I added rosemary and oregano to the At the Helm bed, to make it more of an edible theme for the pub.  It also has a carpet of beach strawberry, which I am trying to thin out.

My favourite bed by the pavilion:

We also are working on removing way too many beach strawberries at Time Enough Books. These had been planted before we took on the port gardens.

adding a gaura and two Markham Farm plants, a teucrium and a penstemon

After adding some more gaura and eryngium to the west beds, we dropped some empty pots off at a friend’s apartment in Ilwaco.  There, I almost got to pet a shy cat, who I thought would be very soft.

not quite!

Diane’s garden

I pulled all but one of the sweet peas at last.  Allan attended to the septic vault garden, where he dug out one of the two big clumps of bad aster.  We had left the trailer at home for easier parking so were only hauling clean compostable debris: sweet peas, deadheads and broken cosmos stems.  Digging both clumps of aster would have made Diane’s wheelie bin too heavy, so I won’t get to erase that project from the work list, yet.

septic vault
rust-prone running asters, before

Red Barn Arena

The area in front of the garden had been cleared of grass except for the very edge, which we cleaned up.

Boreas Inn

We deadheaded and tidied for half an hour, not including the garden suite garden.  Guests were sitting on that deck and so we did not disturb them.

Ilwaco Fire Station Garden

More tidying.  The ever dignified Ernie came by with his guy, John.

Ernie came up to me for pets.  Unheard of! John said, “He’s getting soft in his old age.”

fire station garden, helenium

At home, Allan got the water trailer prepared for hauling it to Ilwaco city works tomorrow.  It has been parked next door ever since May.

Tomorrow should be a pleasant day since most of it will be in the now quiet town of Long Beach.

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Monday, 16 September 2019

The rocks from Seaview Sarah found a place in the new pond edge. All sorts of fun decorating can be done here.



Allan’s photo

I reorganized the area where my Panicum ‘Northwind’ had suffered, removing some old Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and a sanguisorba and rearranging the relationship between ‘Northwind’ and Geranium ‘Orion’.

Here is a Sedum AJ that escaped the Chelsea Chop, followed by another one that got the chop and is so much more compact and better looking.


I bagged up three huge sedums and a sanguisorba for Lezlie and potted up many starts of others (and lots of ‘Orion’) for my 2020 plant sale.

When Allan and I visited Mary, two doors down, I realized I had left my property.  Mary agreed it did not count because I had walked through the Nora House back yard and not on the sidewalk.

Allan was building a pallet compost bin for Marlene.  We both worked on our projects through a couple of intense rain squalls.



between squalls

Allan took the bin over to Marlene’s garden to assemble it. (His work at home had been repairing pallets so that they did not have broken slats.)  One of her dogs helped.

I see in Allan’s photos that she does have a lot of leaves!


Just as Allan left, some Mormon missionary helpers came to do more raking.

We had an especially delicious dinner of salmon caught by Mary’s husband, Jeff, from his boat The Salmonator.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

We had planned to work.  A wind and rain storm changed our minds.


this much rain

By the time the storm had passed by noon, my work momentum was gone.  Marlene had brought six more bags of leaves and the mowing of them proved irresistible.


This time, I put them in a larger area so that turning the mower around would be easier.  It would have helped if I had turned the gas switch on and had remembered that one must hold down the safety bar to start the mower.


Ten bags, chopped:


I moved an empty black composter into place in readiness for more leaves.

It does seem not very ecologically correct to burn gas to make leaf mold, even if Monty does it.  When we retire and have less compostable debris, I may stop the chopping and use one of the four big pallet bins for unchopped leaves.

Where I mowed, the lawn is red.  I hope the leaf leavings do it some good.


Allan did a fence repair by the front sidewalk.



Lezlie came to get the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and sanguisorba I had set aside for her.  I remembered to give her a book that MaryBeth had given me, from a book sale, an excellent book that I already have: Ann Lovejoy’s Organic Garden Design School.

Lezlie says, “Thanks, MaryBeth!”


Speaking of books….

a book: The Sensuous Garden by Montagu Don


I had time to finish it this evening.  Some takeaways:

From a chapter about tools:


From one of the colour chapters, about green:


I was reminded of when a retired garden designer recently walked through my garden and was pleased with the feeling of rest provided by the large green area of the fire circle lawn.

This passage in the blue chapter helped me realize that my achusa is this one, not the one on the noxious weed list.  Whew!


On sound (I especially like the first line):


On gardening:



Great gardening book with gorgeous photos, available from Timberland Regional Library!

We almost had peace upon the reading lap, almost, because it always ends with Jazmin hissing.


After five days off, we had better go to work tomorrow.

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15 Sept: leaves

Sunday, 15 September 2019

at home

my breakfast spot

We’d had a downpour overnight.

I was excited to try out the Monty Don method of making leaf mold, which starts by chopping the leaves with a lawn mower.  Marlene had brought us four bags of maple leaves from her garden, raked before the rain. As a new resident in town, she had asked me where she could dispose of the leaves, having been used to curbside yard waste pick up.  We don’t have that here, but I had told her of my obsession with composting and leaf mold and shared my hope that I could have the leaves.

I had gotten to the bottom of my leaf mold bin.

I spread the leaves on the compost aisle….

…and started running to mower over them.

I soon learned that I needed to kick them around to make them less thick.  How fun that was, like being a child, with that happy rustling sound.  I also learned that having to turn the mower around at the end of the narrow aisle was difficult and that it would have been better to spread them all in the larger open area that the hoses uses to run across.  Next time! How handy it was that I had just buried the hoses the day before.

It took several bag emptyings…..

…and worked much better when I remembered to put the bag back on the mower. I remembered from my days of mowing lawns for a living that one can kick the bag while mowing to see how full it is.

Those four bags made this much chopped leaves.

The basket in front is the rest of last year’s leaves, whole ones that matted together and have still not rotted down enough to sift well.

Allan went off on his boat trip and I turned to sifting compost from bin one to bin two.

load one heading for the front east garden bed

I admired the way this red tree-pruned hardy fuchsia made it to the top of a tall Azara microphylla.

Frosty took a nap.

Skooter played captain.

I ruched around and found what had happened to my missing Panicum ‘Northwind’, which is supposed to match this one…

…but instead was completely buried by a Geranium ‘Orion’. I trimmed Orion back. Moving it will be tomorrow’s project.

On the other side of the bed, the grass and geranium had coexisted properly.

My sanguisorbas don’t want to stand up straight.

sideways Sanguisorba ‘Dali Marble’

Into the new bogsy wood bed, I planted a Markham Farm Japanese anemone and two sword ferns and two stray primroses.

Impatiens omieana is blooming.

And I hope my Nicotiana sylvstris blooms this autumn.  Below, it is backed with N. ‘Fragrant Cloud’.  Sylvestris has much bigger leaves and should have narrower flowers, I think.

I am well chuffed at having successfully grown a white datura from seed, and old seed at that, planted in mid summer and already blooming under the brugmansia:

In the garden:

passiflora and Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’

prolific hops

I hope for more of the same sort of day for tomorrow.















































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Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

15 September 2019

The SkyWater Gallery  is a shop just east of Jessie’s fish processing plant on the west end of the Port of Ilwaco. The owners, Larry and Cindy, sell a wide range of locally crafted art. Larry had previously been in the Merchant Marines and also worked dredging the lower Columbia River. This background and his acute observations give Larry a deep understanding of the local river.

Part of SkyWater’s business is offering boat tours. Our friend Marlene had booked a tour for five members of her family as part of her thank you for all their help settling her in during her recent move to Ilwaco. Only three could come.  Skyler and I were offered the two remaining empty seats. I accepted the kind invitation.

We assembled at the SkyWater Gallery and discussed what we wanted to see that day. The tide was good but the weather…

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