Archive for Mar, 2022

Saturday, I had a glorious reading day, finishing the excellent memoir and science study Heartbreak by Florence Williams and then reading a novel by Joan Aiken, Blackground. How glorious to find an adult book by her that I hadn’t read. It was perfection. She also wrote many great books for children, including The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. The only outdoor thing I did (between books) was to plant my sweet peas.

Sunday, 27 March 2022


Oh, what a delightfully short day I thought we’d have. A bit of weeding and poppy seed planting at the port, some weeding of our two volunteer gardens, a tidy up at the Ilwaco Community Building garden and a couple of branches cut by Azure Salon. Surely we’d be home by three. I pictured myself then sitting next to a wheelbarrow of potting soil, up-potting some rooted cuttings.

Of course, everything took longer than estimated. I still have not learned that this almost always happens.

Time Enough Books

So many little bitty weeds in the curbside garden. We got it well weeded and I planted five different colors of California poppy seeds. I had forgotten to bring a few poppy plants that had grown in my fish tote veg garden, so we went home to get them. Their tap roots were so long they might not take. It’s worth a try. We also got two divisions off of the orange red watsonia from that garden, which was originally given to me by Prissy, expert gardener from Cannon Beach and Seaside.

Several passersby complimented the gardens.
Karla, bookshop owner, came out to say hi.

We tried then to go to the post office garden. I had forgotten (well, never knew) that the local theatre group, Peninsula Players, across the street, was having a matinee of their long-delayed production that was supposed to have happened in 2020. There was nowhere at all to park.

Ilwaco Fire Department garden

So we went to the fire station instead. I found that Solidago ‘Fireworks’, the formerly polite clumping goldenrod, had gone on the run like it did in my own garden, and it took awhile to get under control. The garden got a division of the almost fire engine red watsonia. We noticed someone had been using weed killer along the sidewalk edge of the west garden. This made us nervous, although it did seem whoever did it had aimed the nozzle so it did not hit the garden plants. Allan ran the string trimmer to get rid of the dead plants. Why do people think dead brown plants hit with weed killer look better than even the greenest of weeds?

Shade bed north side

Azure Salon

There was still no parking at the post office, but we found a spot by the street tree around the corner and trimmed it to reveal the Azure Salon sign.

Ilwaco Community Building

We weeded all around the various garden beds and did some trimming of the maple trees that were poking branches into the parking lot.

My favorite area is behind the wall at the entrance to the library.

It will be better when a hardy fuchsia grows tall enough to be seen from outside the wall.
White Fritillaria meleagris

Allan dug out some Sanguisorba ‘Pink Elephant’ that had seeded too close to the edge of the tiered garden.

Along the sidewalk, I loathe the salal that runs into the rhododendrons. At the north end, at least the salal is contained in its own area.

I love the white anemone in a tiny bed by the entrance ramp, and the Muscari ‘Golden Fragrance’ which is easy to lean over and smell in this raised area. Give it a sniff!

Next door to the library is the hospital and its garden maintained by a landscaping service which severely prunes flowering shrubs…in a way that pains me.

(Two days later, a Facebook memories post popped up in which I fretted about the same pruning job and posted photos that I’d taken of these osmanthus in spring of 2017, when they had briefly escaped pruning but were sheared back into tight balls a week later.)

Ilwaco Post Office

By then, it was 5 PM and the matinee was over. We spent time weeding and pulling the annoying wild onion.

The problem with using a lot of bulbs is that there is too much bulb foliage!

I broke my heart by breaking off a nice lily shoot while trying to control more suddenly belligerent Fireworks goldenrod.

Our friends the J Crew (Jodie and Jay and dogs) walked by.

At 6, I had an important phone call to make about local events, but even without that I would have been all out of energy do any garden tasks at home. I think we will have to take a weekday off to make up for today.

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25 March: poppy seeds

Susie’s garden

Friday, 25 March 2022

Allan had some important paperwork to do this morning, leading to a late start. Then work was delayed by a small social gathering of five friends on Susie’s porch in Seaview. From the porch, I could see how the very end of the driveway garden segued awkwardly into the weedy mound of brown sand which we had reduced in size by half in the late winter (and taken the sand to new beds in our woods expansion project at home). I suddenly decided that the garden must be extended to join the brown sand in a sweep down to the street. The big electrical box would keep it from being driven over even though part of the mound is not actually part of the property.

Allan was tying up the sweet peas we had planted yesterday. I started just digging into the mound a little bit when he got a phone call. So while he talked, I kept digging and then couldn’t make myself stop. I had begun by shifting sand over a low patch of weedy grass at the end of the garden, to see what it would look like, thinking that I’d deal with it next week. Instead I ended up digging with difficulty into the buried well-rooted grass. It usually takes longer for a shortcut to prove to cause more trouble than just doing it right from the start.

This is after I pulled some brown sand over the ditch of weed grass:

Allan helped pry the flat mat of grass off the edge of the driveway. We may eventually peel it off all the way to the street.

When we had it smoothed and shaped, I planted three lavenders that I’d propagated for the port gardens, a start of Russian Sage that I’d been carrying around in a bucket of water since thinning the huge clump at Diane’s garden, and some multi colored California poppy seeds, and then added some mulch.

We met a cute and friendly dog from the humane society who is being fostered right now but is up for adoption: Bandit.

Long Beach

The unplanned extension for Susie had taken so long that we only had a couple of hours in Long Beach. We weeded the two Veterans Field garden beds, as I recall reading that there might be a concert on the stage as soon as next week. Some of the red poppies I planted are coming up.


We pulled crocosmia out of the end of one of the parking lot berms in the fifteen minutes we had left in our time budget. So far, we are whittling away at the berms a few feet at a time. Next week, I hope to devote a day or two to getting it done.

I was after crocosmia only, not the Stipa gigantea yet.

We used to weed all the low grasses out, too, but is it worth it after they’ve been let go for two years? They are good for critters. It is sort of tempting because we finally have mulch to fill in after weeding, and in years past I was frustrated by having no mulch to fix a battered garden. Now we have an endless supply.

Port of Ilwaco

We did some weeding and I planted more colorful California poppy seeds and three starts of Russian sage (used to be perovskia, now officially a salvia) in the beds at the west end of the port.

A start of Russian sage, which might like this dry garden

We weeded north of the port office and deadheaded the narcissi at the south port office garden.

Many deadheads

Muscari ‘Golden Fragrance’ and the white one that Tony Tomeo liked and some small cupped narcissi, my favorite kind:

I was too tired to walk across the lawn for a close view of the marina.

The work board tonight shows projects are almost done and then regular maintenance, which is easier, will take over for awhile.

Tonight we will be revitalized with an episode of Gardeners’ World, and we have tomorrow off.

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24 March: sweet peas

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Basket Case Greenhouse

We made our first visit of the year to the Basket Case to get some violas for Diane. She loves pansies and violas. I love violas.

Veg in second gr
I like the ones with faces.
Three plants for me. I did like the very black pansy but wished it was a viola instead.
More plants outside

Diane’s garden

I organized the violas and some potted up sweet peas in a tray on my rollator and turned away. Bang, here came Whiskey the dog and flipped the plants upside down. None were damaged. I thought it was just his usual four year old exuberance but learned he had mysteriously gone blind four days ago. I feel so bad for him even though he seems his usual cheerful energetic self. He’s the same age as Holly, his sister, and lives across the street. Holly got her biscuit, but without a photo as I was quite distracted at that moment.

I planted the potted sweet peas (that I’d grown all winter in a cold frame) and some sweet pea seeds out along the road, where Allan had done some weeding.

We weeded and mulched the driveway garden, planted violas in some containers (I was still too distracted to take a photo) and Allan weeded the septic vault.

The Red Barn

Garden got weeded, Cosmo got treats, we saw pretty horses. We think maybe a horse pulled out a sedum from a boot shaped planter (it got replanted).

Long Beach

We looked to no avail for the one last on-off valve in one more planter on one of the north blocks. Allan has made a tidy map of the faucets and valves for the city crew. There are two blocks that remain mysterious to them and to us. But at least the water is on and the faucets work.

Susie’s garden

Susie had a major foot surgery recently. We weeded and planted sweet peas as a get well gift and a thank you that she and Bill pick up groceries for us when they go overseas (across the river). We may have banked some future grocery favors with our weeding session today.

Sweet pea plants and seeds went along the fence.
I planted some colorful California poppy seeds in the front garden.

Allan’s weeding was particularly notable, a strip along the house where Susie wants to put pavers. I wanted to put shade plants there like some small ferns, epimediums and pulmonarias but couldn’t talk her into it!

Port of Ilwaco

I planted sweet peas plants and and the port while Allan did some weeding to keep busy. We don’t have huge success with sweet peas there. They must battle large horsetail, bindweed and snails. The few that survive are satisfying to see.


We pruned some lower branches off the street tree in front of the Azure Salon, by which I mean I pointed and Allan pruned. Some of it was sticking out into the sidewalk in a way that could be quite annoying for someone six feet tall or more. I try to remember the tall people like Joey Ramone and Todd Weigardt when I prune next to a sidewalk.

I can see in the after photo how we could prune just two more parts of branches and reveal the business sign. We will take the chainsaw on a stick and do it.

The work board tonight:

My thoughts after the work days this week is that I had forgotten how hard it is to work this hard.

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23 March: valve quest

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

We woke to a chilly rain that, as forecast, stopped at 2:30. I had time to catch up on the Tootlepedal blog, which I like to read late so that I can enjoy the interesting and often endearing comments, and then we had some work to do.

Long Beach

Allan continued his quest for on and off valves on a couple of blocks of Long Beach planters, to no avail. There are two half blocks where the on and off mechanism is a mystery to us and the crew. Retired parks manager Mike knows the secret! Allan’s digging-in-planter photo was supposed to have an “after“ with a hidden valve revealed. It did not appear. The photo does show how tired showy tulips are two years after having been planted. We used to treat them like annuals and pull them out when they were done blooming, which did not get done last year. I’m glad, because my nice naturalized species tulips might have got pulled, too, in ignorance of the difference! Last autumn, I did not plant bulbs in Long Beach so this year’s show won’t be great…and then the tired tulips will get pulled.

Meanwhile, I weeded the area of shotweed at city hall that I had noticed yesterday. The bitterly cold strong wind made for grumbly weeding.

I had vigorously dug Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ out of that area awhile back…and it has reappeared to taunt me.

The bulbs on the north side of city hall are most ones with white flowers.

We tried and failed to find the other valve of mystery, did some weeding in Veterans Field, and that’s all for Long Beach today.

Port of Ilwaco

The curbside garden at the Powell Gallery is all rocks on hard packed rubble and sand. We added some mulch to the east end of the long strip of garden and ruched around through the rocks to bring some back to the surface so that it would more or less match the rest of the garden. I planted three agaves brought to me by Tony Tomeo and then worried that I was planting them too early in spring.

I planted some ‘Buttercream’ California poppy seeds and some called ‘Tequila Sunrise’ which will tone will with the red-orange trim on the building. It would be better if I had taken a photo of the building to illustrate my idea. The miserably cold north wind blew such artistic ideas out of my head.

Tomorrow: more sweet pea planting and maybe more than four hours of work.

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Sunday, 20 March 2022


When we went to the quilt show three blocks west, I couldn’t bear the planters full of chickweed outside the Shipwreckords and Moor shop. They were two of the many planters we used to care for downtown, most of which are now stashed at Ilwaco city works yard, but four have been brought back out and are cared for by volunteers. Just for today (I swear), I assigned myself the volunteer task of getting the chickweed out and trimming the santolinas. One of the last things we did when the planters were are job was plant baby santolinas in them. They have grown well.


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Sunday, 20 March 2022

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, Ilwaco

This third post about the quilt show features flowers, birds, critters, and nature.

This got my vote for favourite mini quilt.

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22 March, 2022

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, Ilwaco

Today, we are sharing the quilts of houses and home comforts. (It was the best category in which to fit lighthouses, too.)

This got my vote for favourite small quilt.
My vote for favourite medium quilt

Tomorrow, the third and final post about this year’s show, featuring flowers, birds, critters, and nature.

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Sunday, 20 March 2022

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, Ilwaco

This year’s show had so many glorious quilts that we are dividing them into three themed posts. Today: Patterns, traditional and innovative. (There’s at least one that fits into two categories and will get a closer look later.)

Challenge blocks:

The raffle quilt, shown below, sold 3000 tickets.

And now for the quilts, mini, small, medium and large, with some extra details of the ones that especially appealed to me. I tend to go for jewel tones.

I forgot to go back and look more closely at this corner.
Memorials for beloved quilters.
I was sad to see this; I gardened for Peggy in the mid 1990s.
This got my vote for my favourite large quilt.

Tomorrow: Quilts with a theme of houses and home comforts.

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Saturday, 19 March 2022

At home

We had a delightful visit from Tony Tomeo, garden writer and horticulturalist from California, and his chum, Rhody.

Those ears!
Under the fence to the frog bog!

Rhody sniffed and explored every inch of the garden while, lucky with good weather, the humans shared some plant talk…

…and sat around the campfire circle.

Skooter realized we had company.

Tony is familiar with Skooter from reading our blog. They met later, after Skooter had found a spot to brood over having a canine garden visitor.

When a cold wind picked up, we repaired to the shelter of Alicia’s patio.

Rhody expressed some fierce sentiments about meeting Finn, the very nice dog of Jeff and Mary Norwood, next door to Alicia’s.

Tony has brought me a trunk load of cool plants…

Some handsome Aesculus californica, which is a tree I love, also a redwood (not shown)…

Among the many interesting plants were some not too spiny agaves, which I can try out at the port (and keep one for me) …

Lots of two different cannas, some of which I can use in a damp garden bed in Long Beach, other cool plants whose names I forget (but I wrote them down) and some especially exciting large pots of watsonia. So I was able to give him in return a small division of a cool watsonia from Xera plants.

This he could not resist.

We went to the Time Enough Books garden at the port to get him a division of a orangey-red (mostly red) watsonia that I have there. When we went to look at the marina, Allan and I deadhead the port office garden….

…and Tony got a close look at some of the flowers.

Checking out the scent of Muscari ‘Golden Fragrance’, which probably no one else has even noticed.

It was a very good five hour visit before he had to depart for points north. After he left, I weeded an area.

We’d had some rain overnight.

Meanwhile, Allan went on a short excursion to …

The Black Lake Yacht Club.

He had some cleaning to do of his yacht (the one in back).

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Friday, 18 March 2021

At home

After a lovely rainy birthday of reshelving all the books I had pulled out of my shelves for one reason or another (which took hours, including rearranging the shelves, and the rest of the house did not look much tidier after it was done), I got back to gardening today.

Despite wind and drizzle, I was determined to plant four more plants that I had received from Forest Farm.

In the front garden, “Oregon sunshine” went into a vault. If it increases nicely, I’ll take some to the port gardens. I recently was impressed with it in a native plant zoom lecture.

The Vaults

Out in the former salmonberry tunnel, I planted a “climbing hydrangea” that I’d recently read about in Beth Chatto’s Woodland Garden…or was it The American Woodland Garden? Anyway, it is not a hydrangea.

Per Forest Farm:

Pileostegia viburnoides

“One of few vines which do well in part to full shade, this sturdy 15-30′ clinger has fine long, leathery bright-green leaves and, in fall, showy 4-6″ heads of small creamy-white flowers; lovely! and great with red-fruited Pyracantha. PSh-Sh/M”

In the same new bed (used to be all salmonberry), I also planted a golden aralia. It’s dormant now, next to the ho-mi hand tool, below.

I seem to recall slugs like this, which may be why I used to have it and no longer do.

I noticed that at the edge of the woods, my Syneilensis aconitifolia, given to me last year by The Mulch Maid, is happy, and so is a corydalis, neither of which has been bothered by slugs.

My new hepatica is still untouched (but I need to search for where I planted its sister).

I need to turn my full attention soon to digging out a lot of lesser celandine. I’m sure it is less solid than last year so maybe two years of digging has made a difference. I usually don’t get around to it till the very beginning of April.

The horror!
It will be impossible to remove it from under a fuchsia.

I won’t even try to get rid of the meianthemum, which I dislike even more. But it is a native, so one is praised for letting it grow, and one is judged for letting the invasive celandine grow.

A solid mat of annoying meianthemum or false Lily of the Valley

In the east bed near the fish totes, I planted Rudbeckia ‘Little Henry’ which I had a few years ago and I think accidentally weeded out. I’d rather have its parent, ‘Henry Ellers’, but the little one will do. I like its interested rayed petals. It’s tiny right now and I hope the tiny slugs won’t eat it.

While planting the rudbeckia, I noticed my clump of white sanguisorba, which I bought from Dan Hinkley under the name DJH followed by some numbers, so I don’t know if it has a cultivar name now. It gets very tall with long wavy floppy stems and blocks the path with its white feathery flowers in autumn. Here it is in October 2021.

Last spring, I tried to move it and utterly failed. Today, I called in some help.

I didn’t save the big woody center of the clump that came out with few roots…

…but I did plant six clumps in various center parts of the sunny back garden. I hope that least a couple of them take.

I put some helenium in the empty spot.

The weather had become warmer and less windy so I weeded all down the east bed (except for one corner) and removed two wheelbarrows full of weeds, mostly creeping buttercup. Skooter supervised.

In the Bogsy Wood, the metal path is visible again.

The frog bog has plenty of water.

Horsetail is just emerging in the new willow grove beds, as I suspected it would but wished it wouldn’t.

Also invasive holly is resprouting.

While I had been weeding, Allan had taken on a weeding job of his own. After cutting down his remaining ferns…

…he weeded the hard to reach grasses out of the driveway bed.

Great job!

Another Allan enhancement to the garden is the wind motion heron he got me for my birthday.

Oops, I still haven’t concealed the plastic edge of the new mini-pond.

We are expecting a part-day visit tomorrow from a knowledgeable, funny, and interesting blogger, all the way from California!

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