Archive for Aug, 2020

Tuesday, 25 August, 2020

Long Beach welcome sign

For a head start on Long Beach, we deadheaded and weeded the welcome sign because it is on the way to other jobs.

The lights that shine up onto the sign are blocked by foliage. It would be better if the sign had lights that shone down.
The deer are browsing one end of the blue geraniums on the back of the sign.

The Red Barn

Bentley, the dog of Amy, who manages the barn, made me laugh and laugh. I gave him half a biscuit because he has such a narrow nose and mouth. He looked at me like, What’s up with this half a biscuit, lady? until I took the half away and gave him a whole one. Then he trotted off to bury it, as is his wont. Amy says he digs biscuits up and moves them around.

Half is not enough.
That’s more like it.
That met with approval.

Oh, and we watered and weeded and deadheaded.

Diane’s garden

Misty got her biscuit.

the septic vault garden

Boreas Inn

I don’t have enough total control over this garden. I like total control. And if I had total control, the garden would not have lupines or lady’s mantle in the west lawn beds, because when they get cut back, the garden looks blah from mid summer on. I would put the lupines off in a side bed all their own.

I can’t have everything my way in all the gardens, but I wish I could.

And now, with the little jobs done, it was time to dive into the Long Beach job, which will be tomorrow’s post.
I am back to disliking the Block Editor, because I can’t easily find my bold and italics, and in fact, I seem to have lost italics completely. (Update: I did figure it out soon after making this post.)

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Tuesday, 26 August 2020

Today was the dreaded Long Beach day, but first we had the pleasant rounds of little jobs  

The Depot Restaurant

We did our usual deadheading, weeding, and spot watering.

The parking lot garden:

The entryway, with window boxes and barrels by The Basket Case Greenhouse.

The deck from the outside…

..and the inside. Oh, how I would love to dine there. I haven’t had a meal on the deck for over a year, as the one warm summer weekday evening last year when I wanted to, the deck happened to be closed. I love the way it is enclosed by ornamental grasses on the south and east and latticed hops on the north.

Dining out….I miss it but I’m not ready.

Patti’s garden

Stella got her biscuit.


There are so many plants in this garden that I grew from seed (in flats, at home, and some direct seeded here).

Cosmos and bachelor buttons:

CE94650A-7A10-4C8C-8E7F-D5D468DD5F8Dannual asters and calendula:


Red amaranth:

Scabiosa ‘Black Knight’ and blue agastache:

Ratibida (Mexican Hat Flower):

Around the corner from Patti’s, as we drove on toward the next job, I admired some Seaview sights.

Due to some unexpected struggles with the block editor, I have worn myself out on this post so am going to break today into more than two parts. Leaving Seaview seems a good time to stop for now. Tomorrow, the rest of the little jobs.

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Monday, 24 August 2020

Well, that’s a bit large.
There is one reason only that I am trying the block editor today. I used to spend hours trying to have text alongside a photo, only to have the words wiggle to somewhere else. You can see loads of examples of this in my much older blog posts. Finally, I gave up on being fancy. Will the “media and text” block make this vision finally come true?

Fuchsia ‘Pink Marshmallow’, a favourite of mine, not hardy.

Cistus ‘Mickie’, ever good, ever gold, stays low

Salvia ‘Amistad’. I was afraid it would not be hardy, but it is.

Following Monty Don’s advice on this week’s Gardeners’ World, I deadheaded my cannas, which oddly I had not thought to do before.

I had cut back some curry plant in the Cat Memorial Garden, revealing the cat statue that gave me a lurch in my heart because it looks so much like Mary, Frosty and Smoky’s mom.

Instead of fooling around with block editor, I should be scooping azolla out of the ponds.

So… What do you think of this experiment?
I fear that Allan is correct when he says that the text and image block makes the photos too small. So, back the usual format but still with the block editor, which seems to require about three clicks when one used to suffice.

I weeded a bit of garden bed and the inside and outside of a corner of the west fence.

Inside and outside, with no before photo to show the thick velvet grass
Outside, with some leeks preserved and two Euonymus ‘Green Spire’ planted.

After my weeding project, I went on to some evening garden enjoyment.

Roscoea ‘Spice Island’
That carrot plant whose name I forget
I love it. I think it is a biennel.
Some agastache I grew from seed and a tender grass that I winter in the greenhouse
It’s a disgrace that I cannot recall the name of this cool plant that Dan Hinkley himself advised me to buy (when I asked him what plant would be a wow at a sale where I could only manage to carry one more plant a long distance to our vehicle)
A tall white sanguisorba also from Dan Hinkley
Fatsia ‘Spider’s Web’
Box of succulents
Ratibida. I have been misspelling it with an extra i. Grown from seed.
Clematis ‘Rooguchi’
Planter with a button mulch
my latest Helenium addition. I love them all.
White phlox

Now…if you looked closely at that white phlox and the Stipa behind it, you’d see bindweed climbing the stems. That was supposed to be my weekend project. I forgot. I see that I must make a work board for home.

The horrible bindweed is creeping from across the path and across the bed by the east fence, from whence it is encroaching from the other side. This is a big problem.

It is climbing over the fence into my garden. Next weekend I must address this.

There will be no campfire tonight, even though Susie shopped for us and brought us dogs in time exchange for flower bouquets.

It is so windy that it’s not even safe to walk in the Bogsy Wood.

Allan had been working on his boat.

The project involved epoxy and poking away the runs before they set.

When the epoxying was done, I asked for his help with one little thing. From the north Catio, having two decorative things on the fence cried out for thing three.

He contributed a piece of metal art that he had purchased at a long ago Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

That is better, although then we raised up the metal piece on the left by about two inches.

Now there is a feeling of stopping the eye, which was lost when the big lemon cypress came down.

I so wish we had tomorrow off because I would love to get gravel and fill up the path that Allan photographed from low down.

I don’t want to leave our property to go to work tomorrow and the next day. And I feel that Skooter would prefer us to stay home. But a sense of responsibility will prevail.

I started this post as a block editor skeptic. Halfway through, a lightbulb went bazinga! in my mind and I finally understood it. And now I am a convert.

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23 August: path and boat

Sunday, 23 August 2020

I continued working on the path project, trying to dig down to four inches. At the east end where the plumbing probably comes in and out of the house, I hoped I would not replicate the geyser that happened once at a job many years ago when Robert shoveled into a pipe (maybe just irrigation; can’t recall the specifics except that our client was nice about it).

I was going to use the Slayer and counted how many notches made four inches, until I decided instead to use a gentler shovel that would give me a chance to not slice anything critical.

I managed to get down about three inches without any catastrophes.


I used the sandy soil to fill in behind the bricks.


I was curious about which plant was putting big white roots across the path. I think it is azaras! At one end, I have big white roots and an Azara microphylla.

At the other end, I have big white roots and an Azara microphylla variegata.

I will throw some soil over the roots for now, since we won’t be getting gravel till next Thursday at the earliest. I hope the roots won’t mind being in gravel.

I had plenty of sandy soil to throw off to both sides of the path and even into the east garden bed.

It had been utterly exhausting, to the point where halfway through I thought about how much I do not like hardscaping work (but I like the results).


Triumph. I will rake it and level it and tamp it and take out the end pieces of grass (left so we don’t fall in) on the day the gravel is due to come. (Oh please don’t let our local source be out of gravel!) We have tomorrow off, but I don’t want to order gravel and then get stuck not done and with the garage blocked for the next two work days.

Meanwhile, Allan worked on his boat. The top of the cockpit ring was missing so he used an awl to help make a new one. 


The plans were laid out straight but the part was drawn at an angle. The grain is now angled too but will probably be painted.

The deck is nailed down as I thought bending plywood over it could break it off. The next morning I heard a glue joint crack while undoing a clamp so I will add bronze screws and more epoxy tomorrow. It’s getting near paint and varnish time.

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Saturday, 22 August 2020

We had over half an inch of rain.


I emerged from the house to water the greenhouse at noon and then was about to cut down a floppy veronicastrum…

…until I saw the faded flowers were still being worked over by bees.

I do need to get it off of other plants, but I’ll give it another few days.

Instead, I got to work on digging out the front path. I intended to do a third today, a third tomorrow and a third Monday.


However, even  with an hour long break at the warmest part of the afternoon, I got it all dug up by six o clock. All but the very ends. I leave a strip to grass to keep us from falling in.

The project supervisor showed up at the end.

Tomorrow and Monday I will make it about four inches deep and even. Then next week, if I can get gravel delivered, I can finish it. I don’t want to put landscape fabric under it…I hope I won’t regret that. Because there must be plumbing lines under there somewhere, I won’t be digging it as deeply as the west side gravel paths. I will use cardboard underneath.

Allan’s contribution of wheelbarrowing the sod away to fill in low spots in Alicia’s back lawn next door enabled me to accomplish this great thing.

He also accomplished something on his boat, which perhaps he will explain. I carved out and installed a set of rudder cable guides. They are often called ‘frog eyes’ because they stick out so. They would look more froggy if they were on top.  


In other news, my Bartlett pears are ever so unattractive.

I suppose there is some sort of dormant spray that could make them better. Indeed….I read all about pear scab here and would like to believe that this was just an especially bad year because the springtime and early summer was so wet.

During my break from the sun, I painted up a Biden Harris sign, not wanting to send away for a big banner or use a small yard sign that could be stolen at ground level (as seems to be happening here). Allan put it up for me.

But then I said, But it has to go OVER the gate. Symmetry is everything. Much discussion ensued about whether or not vines would hide it there.

It is now over the gate.

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Friday, 21 August 2020

The glorious rain continued. I slept incredibly late. Allan picked up the new Simon Serailler mystery for me from the library….well, new-ish as it had taken some time for me to get to the top of the queue. I had the delight of reading all afternoon and evening with only one excursion outside. Even when the rain stopped, and before it started again, I refused to be pulled away for longer than it took to water in the greenhouse and pick some beans.

The inch bucket rain gauge:

The good old grey rain gauge:

The south Catio with my new Helianthus looking grand….

…and an impressive tree dahlia acquired last summer from Secret Garden Growers.

Fallen leaves told the tale of wind and rain.

I could have done lots of thinning and weeding in the garden beds…

…but refused to relinquish my reading day and was glad when the rain returned.

I had picked some beans from these very small plants…

…while my very tall Painted Lady beans look very pretty indeed….

…but have produced not one bean. Dr Google for gardeners says it could be too little water or (of course) too much water. Perhaps the Salmon Sunset bean will produce beans.

I have tried to be very good about finding small courgettes, yet somehow these got away from me and became marrows.

I actually don’t like zucchini much at all but have found they taste better when I can call them courgettes (and when they are just barely cooked and slathered with butter).

We had an exciting UPS delivery. Leslie Buck, author of Cutting Back, one of my favourite gardening memoirs, sent us some coronavirus safety gear for our public jobs. I absolutely love that the traffic cones are a beautiful cobalt blue.

That and some red flagging that is part of the set should most definitely keep people from barging through our work zones in parks and at the boatyard. Thank you!

To fill out today’s post, here are some of the bouquets that Susie made for the Boreas Inn from my two buckets of flowers and a few leftover flowers from previous bouquets. Photos by Susie Goldsmith.

Shockingly, the two yellow gladiolas are ones I grew…

…but the purple one is one of Susie’s.

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20 August: glorious rain

Thursday, 20 August 2020

The rain came and a lot of it. I slept hard and long as happens every Thursday after our long and stressful two day work week. It is just such a relief to be home.

Allan admired the Lake Street puddles.


I churned out five blog posts, including this one, while Allan ordered some foodstuffs online and printed out some of his boating book.

By late afternoon, Long Beach had .14 of rain and I firmly believe Ilwaco has had more that that, although with my rain gauges full of weeds, it’s hard to tell. I do have this.

Because I had time, I picked another batch of flowers for Susie, including fennel flowers which, because it’s on the noxious weed list, I don’t want to let fall back into the garden.

I think she will have fun making arrangements out of all those.

I have some thoughts about beans.

Last night I was thrilled to find some long, thin French beans on some plants that were so short, I did not think they had beans yet.

Among the French bean plants with beans were the tiny short ones around the bamboo teepees, the ones I had thought were a complete fail.

Meanwhile, on a sunny wall behind the garage, my Painted Lady and Golden Sunshine beans have been romping away with a multitude of blooms and so far only one bean. I do not understand.


In happier harvest news, today I picked a cucumber, tomatoes, scallions and greens for a salad tonight.


Just to fill out this post, here is Skooter last night in his south facing Catio before the rain.


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19 August: all Ilwaco

But first, housekeeping notes:

Two posts went out yesterday by mistake. I must be getting punchy. The second was not proofread. Our Kathleen pointed out that it said backpack instead of bacopa.  The WordPress app would not let me correct it, as it continues to try to force me into block editor.


I suppose I will have to succumb soon. Now on with today’s scheduled blog.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

J Crew Cottage

Allan mowed and then dealt with some messy Nassella grass.

Mike’s garden

Allan dug up a clump of sod from my soon-to-be-gone grassy front path…

…which we used to fill in a hole in Mike’s parking strip by the cosmos patch. I was tired of twisting my foot in it every week.

The cosmos still looks fabulous.

A pottery Victory Garden sign had appeared from the local Potter of Mystery.

I am not entirely sure about the USA part nor about some of the signs reading “Don’t Tread on Me,” which I hope is gardening humor. We now have found one in our garden, in the port office garden, the J’s garden, the post office garden and now Mike’s garden.

Ilwaco Fire Station

I am desperately hoping that the forecast of rain is correct…but we watered our volunteer fire station garden anyway just in case.

624 Weather (named for our local area code) says a 60% chance of a half inch of rain followed by an 80% chance of a quarter inch. Dark Sky says maybe some light rain in the wee hours and Accuweather says just a slight chance of any rain at all.

Port of Ilwaco

I decided to put my faith in rain so that we could skip the three hose drag of watering the east and west end of Howerton Avenue curbside gardens. Just in case, we applied some jug water to the new heathers in the CoHo Charters lavascape.

The port was bustling because the Buoy 10 fishing season had opened and this year, due (I think) to a low run of salmon, it runs for about ten days instead of the usual month.

Our town is near the North Jetty.

The fishing looks a lot like this.

I’m sure that photo is from a previous year, yet….in the evening, I listened to today’s meeting from the Pacific County Public Health Dept., where a question was asked about boats crammed full of people during this pandemic season. Yes, the health dept. spokespeople agreed, that was not advisable, but because the boats are on the river going back and forth between the Washington and Oregon waters, all they can do (I am paraphrasing here) is hope that people use good sense (something I don’t see a huge amount of lately). Never mind, we only had one new case this week which, based on social media comments, means we have nothing to worry about, right?

We could find no parking near the Ilwaco Pavilion to water my favorite garden bed and decided to really count on the rain and just water the gardens by the port office and Time Enough Books.

The bustling feeling of the port came not from lots of people but instead from all the vehicles filling up the parking lots and a certain feeling of fishing excitement in the air.

By Purly Shell Fiber Arts, I pulled a big batch of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ that was past its bloom time and had a bad case of rust.

Leaving the rest of the gardens to the mercy of the rain gods, we went on to the

Ilwaco boatyard

where instead of watering, we did a thorough weeding and clipping in a few quiet areas. It felt safe and secure because we enclosed ourselves in barriers and did not have to remain on high alert for humans. I sheared dead flowers off of santolinas while Allan weeded and dug out a clump of Pennesitum macrourum, a beautiful but pushy grass.

I like the well behaved grasses like Panicum ‘Northwind’.

We met a very likeable woman (at a distance) who is working hard on a little boat.

Under normal circumstances, I would have invited her over to see our garden while she is in town, because she likes our boatyard garden so much.

We returned home for a brief break. Skooter wanted us to stay.

I told him that we will be home for the next five days and then we returned to work on another area of the boatyard. We skipped the part where people were working on their boats just inside the fence.

I trimmed santolinas while Allan got two firmly entrenched clumped of Pennisetum macrourum off the sidewalk.

There are two other clumps of it that I am determined to dig out this fall.

It is a battle I have been waging for a couple of years.

Some santolinas, trimmed…

I like the deadheads on the Eryngiums so I leave them. I also just love this Oregano ‘Hopley’s Purple’.

The air had started to feel like rain, filling me with hope that not watering was the right decision.

I went home for a bit while Allan got offloaded debris (the Pennesitum goes into our wheelie bin) and took a photo excursion to the marina.


A6BB3C87-CE97-4B91-8A2F-5741F9DF28AE83C6F11C-8877-4BDC-B38E-F3CB399685CC869643C7-C62F-45CC-B586-534034D710D708EE4044-6273-4F0B-977E-DE53B3CB4F09I had gotten a text from Boreas Inn Susie who was in desperate need of flowers to turn into bouquets for the inn so I made her a bucket full of this and that.

Allan returned and we went to our volunteer garden at the post office, where we did water just in case.

I usually pull these yellow evening primroses….but this year I like them.

They are good pollinator plants for moths, I think.

I have been pondering whether or not to remove the Stipa gigantea from the post office garden. It does not block the signage as much as the photos make it look, because the fronds are always swaying. But I have already clipped a third of them out.

I could replace it with a group of three Panicum ‘Northwind’. Let me refresh your memory.

What do you think? Allan pointed out that the Stipa is a spectacular specimen, and it is. With it gone, I could have the three Panicums and maybe a Melianthus major. I have till next spring to decide. Grasses prefer to be transplanted in spring, and I’d want to put the Stipa somewhere else. But where? We won’t have Long Beach next year, and probably the Boreas will have sold by then, which cuts down on destination spots for orphaned plants.

Today has been a day of good accomplishments and also a day with no unpleasant human encounters. And now…five days off.

We had a dinner featuring beans, tomatoes and greens (beet, chard, orach, perilla, callaloo) from the garden.

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Tuesday, 18 August 2020

We began with the deadheading and horsetail patrol at the welcome sign, a delightfully non-peopley location. The front is floriferous. The back is just blue geranium Rozanne and Orion this year, without the white bacopa and cosmos that we would have added in a normal year. 

Next, we watered seven planters on the Sid Snyder Drive beach approach.
We love the tourists who wear masks, which are maybe half of the ones we see. We still give them room, because social distancing and masking work best when both are employed.

A batch of beach riders passed by. 


Horses behind some perfectly shaped santolinas

The westernmost planter has broken plumbing and required water hauling. 

Next, we watered the two southernmost blocks of planters, the quietest two blocks of the six downtown blocks. 

Because it was too soon to do the two northern blocks, which quiet down after Dennis Company closes, we weeded Veterans Field gardens next. 

I decided we did have time to pick up some mulch from city works, enabling us to delay the Dennis blocks for just the right amount of time and to mulch the little circle in Coulter Park…

…and then water the two north blocks. 

One of my favorite planters…

…and this week I got a photo to compare it with previous years, when we added annuals in the spring…which did not happen in this Covid year.

In a previous year

We squeezed in a check up on the City Hall garden, where the escallonias on the west side are much bigger than I usually let them get.

I found a Nicotiana langsdorfii that made it through last winter!

The Basket Case Greenhouse baskets on the east side are beautiful as always  .

We next weeded Fifth Street Park and watered the four planters at that intersection. (Three of the street trees has gotten city works mulch, also.)

I remembered to take a photo of the NW quadrant, still rather drab although it will soon have some golden autumnal flowers. 

We were racing daylight and dodging humans, so the santolinas still need the trimming that they did not get last spring. 
Finally, with about half an hour till sunset, we watered the planters on the last two and busiest blocks. 

Sometimes the wait to even get to a planter is a long one. 

Allan pulled some Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ from under a tree…

…while I did the same from a planter, the only one which still has a substantial amount of it because the Wind World Kites guy loves it.  There, on the street side clipping Crocosmia while dangerously hidden from traffic, I had my weirdest and most deeply annoying experience of the day. 
I later wrote about it on my friends only Facebook feed. 
“A resounding f….ie on you to the beautifully coifed, white-haired but not old lady who came to the street side of a planter without a mask and was fast approaching me while I was entangled in trimming some sight-blocking plants. I had nowhere to back up to other than out into traffic. I held up my hand and said don’t come near me without a mask on. No, I did not say please, because I was in a panic. I had a mask on, of course. She said, I just want to ask you a question. I said You can ask me a question from a distance. She said that she would ask from where she had stopped. By the way it was getting dark and Allan and I were racing daylight to get done. But then her angry switch got thrown with no warning and she said Never mind I don’t want to ask now and stalked away with her knickers in a twist. Well DIDDUMS. Of course I was wearing a mask so she couldn’t see my mildly friendly tourist-placating face when I said I’d answer her question if she just kept back.” The entire encounter upset me a lot  

It truly was dusk when we finished, right after the Hungry Harbor Grille had closed.  As Allan watered his last planter, I watched anxiously from across the street as he has to play dodge em with ten unmasked tourists from three different groups who, as always, did not even consider that perhaps they could try to avoid walking right next to him while laughing their happy laughs and having their loud conversations.


On Facebook: And a flip of the bird to the over ten unmasked people (three different groups) who Allan had to dodge while watering the very last of our over 45 planters of the day. If anyone thinks masking in Lb is getting better, I beg to differ.

We finished at dark-thirty. 
Now two more weeks of official tourist season. The work board shows the countdown to 2…1…

I know I am deluding myself. The huge car festival, Rod Run, takes place a week after my count down ends. Even though it is cancelled due to Covid, many people are saying that they are coming anyway.  But at least the weekdays just might be quieter after Labor Day, and maybe the rain will come and we won’t have to water for much beyond that week. Watering is the only job that puts us into close unavoidable contact with the unmasked tourists. 

note: If this post looks disjointed, it is because WordPress spent the whole session trying to force me into block editor mode while I resisted In every possible way. 

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Tuesday, 18 August 2020

The Depot Restaurant


The Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ and Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’ are mystifyingly shorter than usual this year.


Oh! I think I know why. We usually add some mulch in early spring but due to being non-essential during that time, I’m pretty sure that this year we did not.

Patti’s garden

We just stop here for a quick visit between jobs each week and don’t even do enough to charge for, just some light deadheading, and a biscuit for Stella…


…and a chat with our old friend Patti…


…and some garden admiration. I am really pleased with how much of this garden I grew from seed.


Among my seed grown plants, Scabiosa ‘Black Knight’, two morning glories, cosmos, bachelor buttons, painted sage, ratibidia, red amaranth.

The Red Barn

Our good friend Cosmo the barn cat made an appearance.


Diane’s garden

Misty got her biscuit.


The septic vault garden…


…and the ever exciting roadside garden.


I love this Chocolate Streamers sweet pea, which I accidentally picked. Finally we have some sweet peas in this garden, after a setback from lawn weed killer drift.

The Boreas Inn

Just before we started Diane’s garden, I had gotten a text from Susie who was desperate for mulch. Fortunately, we were close to The Basket Case Greenhouse and a phone call to Roxanne got her to open the gate for us so that we could pick up some Harvest Supreme.


I had been planning to do some mulching in Long Beach later with some of their new mulch pile and wasn’t sure now if we would have time. The beachy gardens of the Boreas, always a challenge because of sand, deer, and salt wind, definitely looked better. The beach is just a long walk down that path.

Next, the Long Beach part of our long Tuesday.

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