Archive for May, 2021

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

The day began with taking Skooter to a veterinary appointment because he is so grumpy and angry. He had a worrisome bump on his head, which got a good cleaning and wasn’t serious. He was glad to be back home. The vet said to keep on eye on him for the next couple of days and let her know how he was doing. It seemed a significant thing to say,so I particularly noticed. She is taking his bad mood seriously. It is hard, though, not being able to go into the clinic and talk in the exam room. Skooter was glad to get home. I will spare you the photos showing the cleaned up bump on top of his head. He’s been fighting.

We then set off with some trays of the world’s most microscopic cosmos seedlings (Cupcakes and Saucers, Seashells, Picotee, and a new tall yellow kind).

Mike’s garden

Planting tiny cosmos

Allan noticed the silver-backed foliage of the blue globe thistle.

J Crew Cottage

This photo doesn’t really capture what was bothering me: the Lion King Dutch Iris clash terribly with the bright pink azalea!

I’ll replace them with a better color this autumn.

Allan cleaned up the accursed scilla from around the young hydrangeas.

We had to get a bale of mulch from our garage to fluff up the bed where we removed a mugo pine last year. I’m sorry to say that it was raised bed and potting mix which has peat. I had not realized that till very recently.

I still haven’t figured out if I’ll put in a large feature plant. For now, the mulched bed got little baby cosmos.

I feel I might need to add another bag of some darker color of mulch.

The roses in the back garden looked aphid and thrip free.

Zepherine Drouhin

Ilwaco Fire Station

We checked on our volunteer garden. The north bed of ferns and shade perennials is slowly filling in. I wish I’d planted more.

The west side is too full and narrow for cosmos.

I managed to squeeze some in to the southwest corner, where they probably won’t get enough water to be perfectly happy. (We only water there once a week.)

Port of Ilwaco

I planted cosmos in the Time Enough Books curbside bed and on the south side of the port office. Don Nisbett gave Allan a cute little cup, having remembered that Allan had told him months ago that the previous cute little Nisbett cup had gotten broken.

Allan was well chuffed.

He weeded the curbside bed north of the port office.

Usually the deer eat the columbines before they bloom, just leaving sticks.

Megan was just leaving Purly Shell with Ruby and Hope!

They got biscuits.
A rose campion bud got in the way.

Once upon a time I would have said we must plant the cosmos at the boatyard, too, and work until 8. But those days are gone. We did drive by the boatyard garden to make sure it did not look disastrously bad.

It will do. I hit the wall on work a lot earlier in the day than I used to and did not feel up to finding room in the garden for a few clumps of cosmos.

Norwood garden

I went round the Norwood garden weeding and removing dead bulb foliage.

We aren’t the ones who pruned Alicia’s lilac!
In pruning awkward branches off that fuchsia, I seem to have turned it into a standard!

At home, the work board before and after…

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At home

Sunday, 23 May 2021

We’d had some intense rain overnight.

I woke to drizzle and also to the strong desire to do some pruning in the willow grove. I had been wanting to but just hasn’t had time because of plant sale preparation. I needed Allan’s help with this because I don’t have sure footing getting in and out of the dried out seasonal pond.

The willow grove’s seasonally water-filled ditch has the feeling of three sections. The east end is a bog which no longer fills with water and is a project for later. The center is the deepest part of the ditch and can be viewed from our Adirondack chairs that we got from the Boreas Inn. That’s where we started.

My big idea had been to lift up the branches by pruning out the lower two long ones so that the pond, wet or dry, would show better.

But when Allan got in there, I thought of a new plan, which was to open up the center so we had a veiled view of the parking lot (which bustles with summer fishing activity) and At the Helm Hotel a little over a block away. It seemed to me that a glimpse of the outside world would be intriguing. The light was so flat and misty that none of our cameras could clearly catch the view of the hotel.

Now only the upright willows on the other side of the ditch provide privacy in that one spot….

…and they are on port property. It would be rather a shock if the port cleared them away, as they sometimes do. We’d have more of a view than we bargained for.

While Allan pruned, I had string trimmed more around the chairs…

…and had removed a potentially foot-tripping line of bricks that I had installed at the bottom of the gate for reasons I don’t remember. Allan thinks to keep critters out, but I think it was too narrow a spot for critters to go under the gate even without the bricks.

The next section of the willow grove is to the west where a big willow with horizontal trunks divides the seasonal pond into a third area, one which was also hard to see. After much ongoing discussion, not always with the complete amicability, we settled on removing a large trunk to open the area up for viewing. By we, I mean Allan did the work.

After all that excitement, I spent the rest of the day puttering around consolidating plant sale plants into smaller areas, deciding that we’d have the sale one more time the following Saturday to, I hope, get the remaining plants down to just a couple of tables full, and I planted some of the plants that had been brought to me by Ann and from our tour guests from Olympia.

Polyganatum verticillatum went back to the southwest corner where it can run if it wants to.

I took some photos around the garden while planting.

Persicaria bistorta ‘Superba’
Center: Leycesteria ‘Jealousy’
Gold leaved astilbe

I planted three kinds of courgettes seeds in mounds in the winter cold frame …

…..and picked the last of the delicious spring radishes.

This is what happens when you forget to harvest a radish until it gets too big.

We’ve been eating broad beans, known here as fava beans, with dinner lately. When they are small, you can cook them like regular green beans, although it seems to be advised that one must cook them for ten minutes because of digestive problems. I don’t recall any of the British gardening shows talking about that!

Skooter loves the outdoor couch and chair cushions and probably thinks, in a feline way, that they appeared just for him.

Monday, 24 May 2021

We’d had more rain.

I thoroughly tidied the greenhouses, sorted and consolidated small plastic pots, and made room for tomatoes and cucumbers.

The Greys preferred to stay indoors during such weather.

Yesterday’s evening photo on the cat bench cushion was the last time Skooter had been seen. He had not come home at midnight, which means he has to stay out all night. We were calling to him and searching around the house and garden even at two AM. He used to have cat door access but that has changed with Nickel loudly demanding to be allowed the living room at night, which means the cat door to the outside has to be closed.

Skooter came nonchalantly sauntering back at four in the afternoon. I’d been about to call the vet, where he has an appointment tomorrow morning, to tell them we might not be able to find him. Because of the appointment, he had to stay in from four in the afternoon till the next mid morning. At first, he slept off his adventure on top of Allan’s slippers….

…but then realized he would have to stay indoors all evening, leading to much rageful complaining and bad behavior.

Meanwhile, Faerie got out onto the front catio roof twice. The first time, she meowed in fear. Allan got a ladder and rescued her. The second time, she seemed pleased with herself and stuck her claws into him during the second ladder rescue. It was almost dark by then, so the front catio has to be closed off till the breach can be found. This led to a restless and unhappy Nickel, who loves the front catio, and to just five hours of sleep for the humans, and to much self questioning of why we have cats at all. Faerie reminded me why by sleeping peacefully tucked under my chin for most of the night.

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20- 21 May: plant sale

Friday, 20 May 2021

I did more sorting, refining plant labels, and weeding.

Ann Amato had brought me two big aspidistras, which can be grown outdoors here in a shady spot. After checking they they are not toxic to cats, I planted one in the front catio and gave one to Allan for his garden. It’s in the middle, below.

Ready or not….I do wish I’d had another weeding day.

About one fifth of the table displays

Saturday, 21 May 2021

I was thrilled to wake up early and find that plant sale day was beautiful, not windy, just sunny enough.

I pulled a few more weeds and moved around a few more plants as ten o clock drew near and then just had time to wolf down my oatmeal before opening time. Meanwhile, Allan was setting up to cashier at the garage door and observing that cars had arrived and were waiting for the opening minute.

Many people arrived in the first hour. I know I missed saying hello to some. Face blindness is exacerbated by masking. We certainly appreciated that masks were de rigueur for shopping, although sometimes removed for conversation among vaccinated friends standing apart from other people. I did not even recognize Our Lezlie and had to ask who she was, it’s been so long. We were pleased to see so very many gardening friends enjoying the garden.

Joe and Mark

We even had friends from Olympia, folks we had met when they came two years ago on the garage sale weekend, our first plant sale.

Skooter got lots of attention. He reigned from an Adirondack throne in the willow grove.

At the very end, our good friend, artist Joe Chasse, came to visit and lingered for awhile. We have not seen him for almost a year.

Because we were too busy to take more photos than those above, I turn to the view from two friends. I’m always interested to see what people notice in the garden.

Tony Hofer’s photos

Marlene, Scott, and Marlene’s cute Japanese Chins.
Scott and Tony’s Rudy enjoying the lawn.

Photos by Teri Terabek Griffin

Fuchsia magellanica as a tree

Thanks, Tony and Teri, for letting us see our garden through your eyes. It was the perfect end to our day to sit down and look at these photos.

We have enough plants left for another day (even though some, like the alliums, are sold out) so are reprising the sale during the actual “World’s Longest Garage Sale” weekend, but only on Saturday, May 29th, from 10-4. Second verse, same as the first! In real time, that’s today!

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Real time alert: We are reprising our plant sale tomorrow, May 29th, from 10-4, having added a few plants and sold out of a few. This is in conjunction with the World’s Longest Garage Sale. I think that Mark and and Joe up on 270th, near Nahcotta, and Ed Strange in Tides West, are having their plant sales this weekend also, probably starting on Friday.

Thursday, 19 May 2021

Klipsan Beach

We finally got to Gail’s garden during rhododendron time, which I’ve been meaning to do for two years. She lives on a property that used to be owned by a manager of the famous Clark rhododendron nursery that was located on the bay (partly where our friends Steve and John have their fabulous bayside garden). The tour included good visiting, too, with Gail, Mark and Joe who help with the garden, and a multitude of sweet dogs, all of whom got biscuits.

And then we toured, so come along while we walk around the sizable property, giving each blooming rhododendron its due attention. This is about the middle of the flower show, as a few are past and a few are still coming on.

Allan noticed this Persicaria, which I hope to get a start of!
Sword fern

It had been a close call for the Crinodendron hookerianum when a big tree fell last winter. We are all glad it was spared.

Also known as Chilean lantern tree
Mark at work
East side of house, the slough, filled with Spirea douglasii so will be a mass of pink spikes.
A double tree
Path around the south side
On the edge of the slough.
Monty would approve of the meadow. “There’s nothing more beneficial to insects than long grass.”
An old rose rambles through this rhododendron.
Now along the entry drive again.
Variegated weigela
Mark’s support for an old rose.
We close with a green hellebore still blooming.

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Thursday, 19 May 2021

At home

Our friend Lisa M, who has the wonderful “food forest” garden called Homewood, brought a friend to see our garden. Allan took photos as we walked around the whole thing.

Skooter loves company.

It was an excellent visit. I want to go see the latest version of Homewood sometime this summer.

The Depot Restaurant

Chef Michael had emptied out two previously undrained and thus wet planting troughs of sopping soil into two piles, one of which enabled Allan to immediately raise up a bed that had been quite low and to clean up the underside of a dierama at the same time.

Michael had made a drain faucet for the troughs.

They get the overflow from the window boxes, which are planted by Roxanne of The Basket Case Greenhouse, this year featuring the mouth-watering calibrachoa called Lemon Slice. She will do the troughs next.

Does it make you salivate?

As you can see, the garden has grown lush just in the last two weeks.

Pattis garden

All we did was pull some fireweed and plant one pineapple sage.

Sweet peas

We then went up to Klipsan Beach to tour Gail’s garden; that will be tomorrow’s post. After our tour and visit, we finished the day at…

The Port of Ilwaco

We checked for big weeds along the port gardens that we hadn’t done yesterday and added some of my new plants from Evan Bean, including Salvia spathacea, the hummingbird sage. Most went into the garden by Time Enough Books where it will get the best care because bookstore owner Karla is watering well this year. Even the most drought tolerant plants need some water to get established.

Just one salvia got added to the east end bed, and then we worked our way west, weeding.

White Libertia grandiflora is making a grand show now.
Lobby of Salt Hotel

Tomorrow: visiting Gail’s garden.

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The Basket Case Greenhouse

We started our workday with a potting soil purchase at The Basket Case.

Mostly for me.

The Red Barn

We took placeholder plants, mainly Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, out of the barrels and refreshed the potting soil, then planted Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ and red diascia.

We planted a lavender and an erysimum next door at Diane’s, where Holly got a biscuit but no one remembered to take a photo.

A visit at home

We went home again to meet Ann, the amateur botannist who had brought me some cool plants from herself and Evan Bean. More on the plants later when they get planted. I had some plants that were the sort she wanted….native shrubs for her dad’s riverside property in Naselle, so we did a good trade but I got the better end.

A sweet old neighbor dog joined the plant parade.

Port of Ilwaco

We then went back to work along Howerton Avenue, where we mulched the Time Enough Books curbside garden with five bales of Gardner and Bloome Soil Conditioner.

Dwarf Stipa gigantea from Xera Plants… fabulous this year.

I checked on the port office garden and found that three of the nine tall alliums have had their tops plucked off. Disheartening.

The view just across the lawn was somewhat restorative.

We went down to the boatyard….

…just to thin a patch of thickly reseeded red poppies and move them back to Time Enough and then weed three adjacent garden beds.

At home, I watered all the potted plants. This involves going into the south Catio to turn on the house without letting any cats out.

By the time you read this, I hope to have many fewer plants to water for the summer.

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Tuesday, 18 May 2021


Allan mowed Alicia’s lawn next door….

…and the Norwood lawn two doors down…

….and the J Crew lawn across the street.

The roses look better!

At home

We’d had some very welcome rain overnight, wonderful because it puts off having to start watering at the port.

The weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, and no accursed wind!

I spent several hours rearranging the plant sale yet again to eliminate bottlenecks. I added a couple of small tables so there is no space where people might be back to back looking at plants on both sides of a path while someone else is trying to walk through. The amount of time I’ve spent sorting for this sale is ridiculous, not to mention the labeling, which I finally finished today.

I then moved my cosmos out of the lean-to greenhouse to the patio to make room to stash some not for sale plants in there temporarily. My cosmos are so tiny….

The emptier flat has tiny seeds of a salvia…

….that I’m going to wait another week to plant them. Also, I am pretty busy right now. I took time to pot on some of my cucumbers and tomatoes into bigger pots.

I took a few garden photos before I went in.

I must make sure my new Canna ‘Stuttgart’ in the ground (above) does not get swamped by Geranium ‘Rozanne’ before the canna gets tall. Its leaves are showing more of the proper white variegation.

That is the one I got from a friend. I am still suspicious of the ones I mail ordered, that they are the wrong one, because they look so yellow still.

Allan got a photo of Catio cats.

I photographed my plant sale. These are just a few of the photos that show all but two of the arrays.

The counter that I found at the port

It was an enjoyable day but schlepping around plant trays and big pots of tomatoes made me so sore I had to use the lift chair function on the recliner I inherited from my mother.

Tomorrow, back to work for two days….then Friday off for more weeding and probably more plant sale prep. The house will not get tidied. With the pandemic, it’s not open to sitting around with guests, which in this case is a good thing. There are pieces of paper that have fallen on the floor (seed packets, notes, old paid bills), along with a sock and a scarf and a hat, that I am too exhausted in the evening to reach down and pick up. I just look at them thinking, “I really should…” Maybe in June! Or on a proper completely rainy day, one without a really good book calling to me.

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Monday, 17 May 2021

At home

We’d had a bit of rain.

I realized during the night that if I moved two containers….

…I’d have more room to display sale plants without having to put up signs that certain plants were not for sale. So with Allan’s help, I did, and then spent a couple of hours rearranging plants so that they are spaced out and not an overwhelming jumble. It worked a treat

I then buckled down to weeding and got the west bed and most of the Bogsy Wood weeded. Other than some of the front yard (part of which is so shrubby that the weeds don’t show anyway), it is looking pretty darn good. Cold weather has kept back the flowers though. April showers were scarce and May flowers are fewer than usual. I only created three wheelbarrows full of weeds, a sure sign that semi-retirement is enabling me to to keep up on it better.

Fire circle and danger tree bed
Danger tree bed with lots of Impatiens omeiana.
South end of the west bed
Edge of Bogsy Wood
east edge bed
Cerinthe major purpurascens and Cistus ‘Mickie’

Allan mowed and topped up the ponds and canoe with rain water. He woke some baby spiders.

By the time he was mowing, rain had started. I kept on tagging plants (in and out of the house to write the tags), another task that is now almost done.

I was glad of the rain as it will postpone hose dragging season at the port. The cats preferred to avoid the rain.

Tomorrow, if it’s raining, I might have time to plant another round of veg seeds, tidy the greenhouse and pots that are scattered around, and maybe even tidy the house a bit. Or watch some Beechgrove.

I have been tempted to slack off on my Covid protocols. I guess after a year of the strictest protocols of anyone I know, I’ve just gotten tired. Or lazy. I’ve stood side by side with people, even someone who I knew was unvaccinated, rather than backing away. But tonight, the local health department put out a warning that nine vaccinated people have gotten Covid since January, out of 404 cases. That doesn’t seem like many, but it happens that two of the current ones are friends of friends of mine so that brings it home that it’s not time to relax. I’ll be painting a one way route through my plant sale like I did last year!

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Sunday, 16 May 2021

Guest post by Tony Hofer

Our friends Tony and Scott went for a Sunday drive in Seaview, where Tony took photos of the rhododendrons and azaleas.

A few days before, he had photographed this one near their home in north Long Beach.

And not long before that, their tulips were in bloom.

They are enjoying an idyllic retirement at the beach…

….and working on their beautiful garden which was originally created by Mary Ann Joye….

….a retirement enhanced by Scott and Tony both being culinary geniuses in the kitchen.

Scott with a pina colada cake

All photos today by Tony Hofer

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16 May: tipping point

Real time alert

Today is really May 22nd, which is our plant sale day from 10-4! 423 Lake Street, Ilwaco, is the location. Now back to blog time, which is belated…

Sunday, 16 May 2021

At home

Susie, formerly our Boreas Inn client, came over because I wanted her to look at some shrubs that might appeal to her for her new garden.

I thought she might fall in love with my Olearia traversii, but she did not.

We walked all around.

When we got to the fire circle, I saw that the dustbin phormium had finally fallen over.

Susie may not have fallen in love with my beautiful olearia, but she certainly had a lovesfest with the cats…in the Catio…

…and while sitting on a bench that used to be in the Boreas garden.

After Susie departed, Allan and I dealt with the phormium. I decided to move it to a new spot, a gap against the east fence. We found that an elderberry which I had thought was growing behind it was actually growing right through it, so it had to be cut back because its main root had to be severed.

The move wasn’t easy, even with a hand truck. I don’t know if the phormium will survive in more shade and after root disturbance.

I am no longer a big fan of phormiums, but I do wish it the best luck.

One reason I wanted to move it was that it had shaded out a nice patch of Pacific Coast Iris. The after photo is before I moved the auxiliary hose set up, which does not make a good focal point. I found a more hidden spot for it.

Skooter kept Allan company as he hauled some driftwood to the willow grove for a future project.

Allan did another project, rebuilding the brick support under a wooden box planter. Everything was skew whiff with the new bench, with a lack of symmetry that bothered me. Now it is good again, with the bench centered in front of another dustbin planter with a Buddleia lindleyana in it.

He then went indoors and printed up some of his boating book….

….while I stayed outside, sans camera,and weeded like fury, getting the center and the east bed done.

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