Archive for Sep, 2022

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Before work, we made a dump run. Goodbye to the debris from the ornamental plum; the thicker trunks made our campfire last night.

Diane’s garden

Holly got a biscuit.

The garden got its weekly check up and deadheading. I talked to Diane about coming every other week next year, instead of retiring. It will work out fine….if we can get someone to water the Red Barn garden next door so that a weekly visit is not essential.

I noted that a stand of what I think is Leyland Cypress next door would probably block the view of a tall building in my remaining lifetime.

As we left, Holly got another half biscuit.

The Red Barn

Allan watered. I weeded and got to pet a beautiful blonde horse named Marilyn, and Bentley (camera shy) got a biscuit, which, as always, he took away to bury.

Long Beach

Fifth Street Park

We watered the downtown planters and continued cutting back Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and the occasional santolina.

Time Enough Books

All we did was pull Crocosmia and trim a nandina to better reveal the Purly Shell sign. (I wish the sign was horizontal!) Our intention was to weed and water there tomorrow night.

Next week, we will get our Covid booster which might lead to a one and a half day work week. Why in the world are the clinics on Tuesday when most people work during the week and might need a day or two to recuperate?!

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20 Sept: also too hot

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Mostly at home

Another hot day (over 80F), so I read a book I had recently purchased.

It begins with an alarming view of the possibility of chaos in gardens.

I welcome chaos. But I also want to make a crevice garden for some new friends. However, this estimate of how much rock we will need has me scared. I feel way too old to handle this much rock, especially since we’d be moving it up a slope.

Despite those concerns, I was smitten with the photos of what could be achieved and what plants would thrive in rocky crevices. You can read an informative review, with inspirational photos of Portland area crevice gardens, on the Danger Garden blog.

In an area on Alicia’s property where I sorted out a tarp of narcissi bulbs that were piled there (with soil) all summer, I am planning to turn the now dead lawn into a garden bed for shrubs. Sometime this autumn. Probably.

In the early evening, Allan watered our volunteer garden at the post office…

…Wendi’s planter, now devoid of its tired nasturtiums….

Wendi’s Halloween window

….and the fuchsias in the clinic garden on Spruce Street, where the bindweed revival must be addressed this week.

In the cooler evening, I watered extensively at home . We are tired of watering, tired of the lack of rain.

Meanwhile, Allan found a home for items that we acquired from Butch Saari’s yard sale.

We had a campfire dinner…

…and for dessert, Allan toasted some peeps which were a Christmas or birthday gift.

In closing, here’s Faerie later in the evening playing with a catnip banana which she is treating like a popsicle by sucking the catnip out of the end.

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Monday, 19 September 2022

at home

Despite weather that I found rather too warm, again, I managed to work my way slightly through a long paper list of garden projects by planting seed flats of Eryngium giganteum and some ‘Sapphire Blue’. I don’t think the latter comes true from seed.

I visited and admired my three new trees out in the Bogsy Wood and did some cutting back of spent perennial foliage and deadheads in the garden.

The main project of the afternoon was one that I had proposed and that Allan decided to do. In the front east corner of the garden is a pitiful specimen of an ornamental purple-leaved plum, a tree that was a fad decades ago and has now fallen out of favor. It is always half dying and the leaves of entire branches always look weak and diseased in summer, with the ends of branches dying and having no leaves at all. Its lower trunk is an unattractive black color and stubby with many small side trunks that were cut off before it became ours. It also suckers like mad. I think this is the same disease-prone purplish-leaved tree that was planted as every other street tree in Long Beach and eventually replaced because they looked so awful.

No matter what we do, it doesn’t really improve the situation. I’ve planted a sentimental rose at the base which successfully uses the tree as a climbing frame: ‘Veilchenblau’, a purple-almost blue rose that is from a cutting of a rose in the garden of Bryan’s mother, Louise. It always makes me think of her. I made the cutting for my garden in Seattle, made another cutting to bring to my first garden here, moved the rose from Seaview to Ocean Park and back to Ilwaco, and then when we moved from that house to this house, made another cutting for the garden here.

Louise called it her stolen rose, because she also got it from a cutting.

It looks like we just kept pruning because we didn’t know when to stop. That’s not quite true. I was going for a lighter and airier look and more light to the shrubs that are planted around the tree.

The tree is a thing of beauty only for one week in spring when it blooms with pink flowers. So it might be time to make another cutting of the rose and start it up in a different place, or see if I can move it to climb on the fence instead. It is quite possible that if it were not for that rose climbing up it, I would rather hire someone to come cut the whole tree off at the base (leaving an unfortunately slab that would keep putting out ugly sprouts.)

Neighbors John and Ernie stopped by on their daily walk. Good old Ernie still loves his walks even though he is now so very slow.

I worried over some shrubs and trees: a hamamelis that is crispy, next to one that is not, by the front fence, and my Davidia ‘Lady Sunshine’ which looked tireder every day. I hope she is just getting her autumn color early.

Thinking of Louise’s rose reminds me of this poem that was her obituary. She and I were much alike in the way that we liked to be at home. I loved her very much and appreciated the way she kept in touch with me through all her years.

This is no sojourn,

this is for keeps, I say

My life is here. It will not sail away

to find a grail,

a golden fleece elsewhere.

I live by staying where I have to stay.

They travel most 

who most have lost their way.

Mine I have found

in this provincial air.

My life is here. It will not sail away

on thrashing errands.

Circle the seas who may:

the hub of my circumference is here.

I live by staying where

I have to stay

at home. The world

revolves me night and day

because I know

my place and I adhere.

My life is here. it will not sail away

and leave me lost.

The season only play

at journeys, then rejoin me.

Far is near to me,

still staying where I have to stay

among my kind.

Chaliced river, array

of peltry sun – –

indigenous grounds declare

my life is here, it will not sail away.

I live by staying

where I have to stay.

– Norma Farber

Louise, far left, her daughter Gwyneth, her sons Morgan and Bryan (and me) on the porch, and in the doorway Dave from the Vancouver band DOA, 1975
Gwyneth and Louise

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18 Sept: too hot

Sunday, 18 September 2022

at home

Allan went boating (yesterday’s post).

My list of pleasantly anticipated garden plans was thwarted by 75 degree weather. I spent the day churning out three blog posts and even watched a gardening show during the day and did not get outside till 4, when a cool breeze appeared.

I sifted some brown bin three compost to go on top of the green in bin two. The sifting did not produce much from such a recently sifted bin .

In Carol Klein’s most recent gardening series, she offered the wise advice to only grow the fruit and veg that you like, not just what is easy to grow. This certainly applies to me and courgettes. I have too many plants, because I was using up three different seed packets, growing too much of a veg that I don’t really like. So I pulled two big plants that were producing end-rotted courgettes anyway. Now I will have room for some winter cress and arugula and chard, which I love. With our mild winter, it is probably not quite on the verge of being too late to plant them.

The unbeloved courgette plants went into the wheelie bin.

Out in the Bogsy Wood, I admired, doted on, and watered my new trees and realized that if I move the big hollow stump, I could put yet another columnar conifer along the center path. Now I am even more looking forward to my next trip to the Longview medical clinic that is so close to M&T Nursery. I rolled the stump to a different location and planted, in a perfectly fitting pot, a rather sad crested Japanese painted fern. It is my fault that it is sad. It arrived in the mail, I lovingly potted it up, put it in a nice shady spot and forgot to water it. Thank goodness it is still alive.

New spot for stump

One of several missions that did not get accomplished was digging potatoes out of a big old (bottomless) pond form that takes up a lot of room at the corner of Alicia’s driveway for not much actual planting space. It has to go away. I managed to get a harvest of fingerling potatoes out of a five gallon pot (not much!). And some pretty courgettes from the remaining three plants. And every day I get some arugula and one or two cucumbers, my favorite items, making for a tomato and cucumber chopped salad every night. I get all of the arugula because Allan finds it too spicy.

Skooter commented on the potato harvest…

…. and then took a nap on a nearby tarp full of narcissi bulbs. The photo reminds me that I need to go through those piles of bulbs and put them into trays before the rains come (if they ever do!)

In the garden in the early evening:

I rewrote the work board …and decided to not go back to work until Wednesday.

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Allan’s latest adventure

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

18 September 2022

Flowing into the north side of Willapa Bay is the aptly named North River. Twice I have paddled its lower reaches. The first time on the North River I headed left off the main channel to check out a channel of floating homes that compelled me. I learned a lesson in floating log gates too. My second trip on the North River, cosmic signs kept leading me back to a fine day of paddling the Smith Creek instead.

There is a navigational mystery on the Columbia River near Wauna that I’ve recently read about. I would have liked to check out. Today’s low tide and a high wind changed my mind. The wind would be 5 to 15 mph from the north, and the tide on the Columbia would likely not be high enough. It would on the North River near Toke Point. Same sun and…

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Saturday, 17 September 2022

Out and about in Ilwaco

I slept startlingly late, not by plan, which was good because I’ve been averaging five hours a night and bad because we didn’t get to be early birds at Butch Saari’s ongoing yard sale a block and a half east. I still got an old metal container for a planter and some copper cut outs to put on a fence. He is putting out new stuff every day and will continue the sale for one more weekend.

Some of my acquisitions from last week (unfortunately I can’t hang the chalkware waterlilies outside near the ponds, turns out it won’t take moisture):

Allan had another excursion, a history walking tour of downtown Ilwaco put on by the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. I’d had a reservation for the tour also but had decided I just couldn’t do it; using the noisy rumbling rollator while touring plus possibly making conversation between lecture points seemed overwhelmingly daunting. Fortunately, our friend Patty from two blocks down was happy to go with Allan instead and said the tour was fascinating and inspired her to want to learn more local history.

at home

I created lots of green debris for compost bin two, which I am now filling and layering with sifted brown stuff from compost bin three.
The veronicastrum in the front garden is going to be dug up as soon as there is some moisture in the soil and air. It is too thirsty for this spot, and I could fit a small shrub or tree in here. It will be an exhausting dig. The interesting round hoop thing can go around a floppy plant somewhere else. Meanwhile, I cut the veronicastrum back.

To further fill out the compost bin, I pulled some Geranium ‘Rozanne’ from the driveway bed.

I am concerned and unhappy that despite diligent, deep watering, my Davidias in the front garden are unhappy, even ‘Lady Sunshine’ which is in such a sheltered spot that she should be fine. I think the hot smoky day was the culprit, maybe the smoke more than the heat.

I hope she will be ok.

The Japanese maple on the left is coming out of the front garden one way or another this winter. It gets too crispy and doesn’t not belong with the more drought tolerant plants. Allan has already dug a circle around the roots to give it fair warning.

Next door in Alicia’s backyard park:

Around the garden:

Looking south from front gate
Back garden, Rozanne Loop
I can’t remember what this is. (Then I remembered and then forgot again.)

Here are some photos in the garden from midweek that didn’t make it into a blog post:

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16 Sept: tree planting

Friday, 16 September 2022

at home

We had a little bit of rain, as is shown on my rollator and a different kind of rain gauge, a gunnera leaf waiting to be chopped for the compost bins.

My mission was to get my three new trees planted, two sizeable (by my standards as a gardener of small things) and one smallish. First, I sifted some compost to add to the tree areas, not too much, along with a couple of buckets of biosolids mulch to top off the planting of the two larger trees.

I read up on the trees for about the third time while trying to decide exactly where to put them, then hauled them out to the woods.

But first, the former table spot had to be dug over and weeds and roots removed. I was pleased to find a special Japanese painted fern (‘Joy Ride’), that I thought had died, languishing away under where the table had been. Out it went to the willow grove, where the beds seem to be holding moisture very well while also being raised, thus not too boggy. (It surprised me how little I’ve had to water those new beds.)


I planted the two-gallon sized Gold Rider Leyland Cypress in the new bed at the west end of the willow grove, where the paths stay drier and the bog dries out sooner, so I don’t think it will have wet soil that it wouldn’t like.

Allan had gone on the some errands in the afternoon. I anticipated his return to help me place the two larger trees just so, but what I really needed help with was digging the hole for the cryptomeria. It was to go on a mound that used to be a big alder stump with salmonberry. Although I forgot to take a before photo, this photo from last February shows it newly cleared and planted and how there was a view through to the new willow grove beds.

I wanted that view obscured to make more of a mystery. The only plants I had to move today were a young fuchsia and a tiny ‘Gentsch White’ hemlock which would be overgrown eventually. (I hope it survives.)

Allan helped dig the bed for the hemlock more thoroughly…

….and then took over making the planting hole for the cryptomeria. My balance is way off and it wasn’t a place I could easily stand, balance, and dig.

The view is now wonderfully obscured.

The lovely mountain hemlock went into the former table bed, below. It shows well there.

I probably won’t live long enough to see it reach 20 feet; I’d be happy with ten. That’s the problem with starting a new privacy screening at age almost 68, pretty much the only “problem” with the project. I no longer mourn the possibility losing my winter view of the port. My warm fuzzy feelings of being able to see the curbside gardens there and the port office building is gone because of the events that transpired with us quitting the gardens. I’d rather not look at it and be reminded but instead want to create just our own little enclosed world. It has been fascinating to create a new style of garden at the south end of our property. Some shrubs and perennials will have to be moved as bigger, faster ones grow. I want it to look full in the meantime, so I’ve planned for that. The central willow grove beds at about six months old:

I still don’t know if they will be in full wind or behind a windbreak building, or in partial or full shade, or maybe even some sun like they have now.

My only concern for the property line is to see the frog bog preserved. If a passle of daycare children are playing in a playground beyond it, I’ll find it nostalgic to hear them. I grew up (at my grandma’s house) near a playground and it’s not something that would bother me at all. I do think they would enjoy the educational opportunities of a small frog boggish wetland.

However, I still think it’s a mistake to change the nautical feeling of the port. Surely I am not the only one who loves the maritime sights of crab pots being stacked and nets being laid out and repaired in the grassy field, which looks to me like the last open space at the port available for those activities. (Another field that used to be used for net mending, past the south of the boatyard, is now fenced off.) If I am in the minority on this, then never mind.

I am pleased with today’s tree planting results. Please let the trees be as happy. Now I am looking forward to my next ear doctor appointment in October so that I can go back to M&T Nursery for more treasures. I sure do hope they will be open that day.

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Summer 2022

Summer is not a good reading time for me except for a chapter or two at bedtime. Two books that are pertinent to the topics of this blog were my favorites this past summer.

Walks in Wild Yellowstone, by Cliff Murray

This book was given to me by my friend Montana Mary, who lives near Yellowstone National Park. The author is a friend of hers. I’ve read an excellent and amusing novel by him, which is about zombies, and intend to read its sequel this winter. This book is on the quieter side of life, about his several long hiking and camping trips in Yellowstone. No zombies to avoid, just bears. I think you will enjoy the beauty of his nature writing in these excerpts. I did, even though I am not a hiker; gardening is about as outdoorsy as I get.

The following is also true of the beachy tourist community where we live. Tourist season used to end in mid September and now goes on and on; there is no longer a shoulder season.

The Essential Earthman, by Henry Mitchell

This book I loved years ago. I acquired a copy of my own to reread. Here are a few of my favorite bits from this gently witty and droll garden writer.

(There is much of the referring to all gardeners as men or “he/him/his”, making the book seem more old fashioned than its copyright date of 1981.)

On “the defiance of gardeners”:

Come to think of it, both of these books were a great deal about weather.

On garden design:

On garden-making:

On bulbs: I also appreciate the different small shapes of species tulip bulbs.

On narcissi (my favorite flower):


My favorite:

He has one more book, a sequel called One Man’s Garden, which I will reread soon.

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Summer 2022

Seaside, Oregon

Trips to appreciate the Seaside, Oregon downtown gardens by Pam Fleming (Nature’s Helper) used to be a treat a few times for us each summer when we went shopping for plants down the north Oregon coast. Because we haven’t been there since 2019, I was most pleased when she sent me these photos of this year’s gardens. You can read here about a walking tour we enjoyed in 2016 which gives an idea of the layout of the garden beds.

As always, I am filled with unseemly envy that all of her curbside beds have irrigation!

All photos in this post are from Pamela Fleming. I have captioned just a few.

Nicotiana langsdorfii
Pam takes care of the hanging baskets, too.
Salvia patens
The river that runs through town
Pink turtlehead

Thanks, Pam!

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15 Sept: all the jobs

Thursday, 15 September 2022

All the gardens are dry and tired and so are we.

Diane’s garden

Diane, Holly and the horse trailer were gone today. We weeded and deadheaded.

The Red Barn

Cosmo got lots of pets and Bentley got his biscuit. I said hi to some horses while Allan got water for the barrels by the gate. I didn’t charge for my time because all I did was talk to the animals.

Long Beach

Because we had some extra time, we worked some more on tree and planter clean up. This is a process that will take quite some time. Allan pulled Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and trimmed pink cranesbill geranium under the tree by Malai Thai Restaurant…

…while I tidied up two planters, removing self seeded California poppies and tired foliage of Geranium ‘Rozanne’.

Aster douglasii is a pushy plant that I pull all summer long. This results in just enough left for a pretty display here and there. Otherwise, it takes over and when crowded gets powdery mildew.

We drove by city hall on the way to dump. A bindweed sighting called for an emergency stop.

The city works yard has a wealth of good “urbanite” at the back of the field.

Ilwaco Fire station

We watered our volunteer garden. Allan pulled crocosmia (which we didn’t plant).

Ilwaco Freedom Market

We watered and weeded.

I confirmed that the two roses in the improved entry garden are just boring browny-red flowers from the root stock, assuredly Dr Huey. So I will be thinking about what to replace them with, not with roses because of the deer. This was their only flower so far this year.

Time Enough Books

Karla had the sprinkler running, meaning we didn’t have to water. Some light weeding and removal of our wooden Slow Drag protection stakes, and we were done there.

In the field behind our property, fisherfolk were drying and repairing their nets.

Ilwaco street trees

When I announced at Monday’s city council meeting that we had run out of budget for the street trees, the budget was extended to keep them watered till the rains come. So Allan did it. Some of the little gardens hardly look worth the trouble despite all our efforts.

He photographed the second saddest one. Others are better.

Jay Crew Cottage

I watered where the timed sprinkler doesn’t reach and then went home, across the street, and did the half monthly billing.

Of course, every single day includes some watering at home. We and the plants long for good autumn rain.

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