Archive for the ‘journal’ Category

Pier 39 in Astoria

Allan’s latest adventure

Southwest Washington Paddle Trips

10 June 2021

Today I would be launching near the mouth of the Columbia River. The predicted SW wind would be around 13 mph and the incoming tide would peak at 3 PM. I’ve read that two hours before and after the highest tide is the best when going up tidal rivers.

Pier 39 is at the eastern edge of Astoria.

The pier has changed since my last visit. The preferred dock that I advise in my launch sites book, a low foot and a half off the water, is now closed off protecting a sailing ship project.

Alas, the poor Hawaiian Chieftain, I knew her well. She used to tour with the Lady Washington but now sits here for sale at $150,000. I was privileged in 2017 to sail on her off Ilwaco as blogged about here. There were fewer than three parking spots on the…

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Thursday, 10 June 2021

At home

Allan had gone boating by the time I woke up after a wonderful eight hours of sleep.

I was finding it hard to think of what I would do in the garden today till I remembered that I have compost bins to turn. Here they were a few days ago before taking down the plant sale tables: five bins heaped to the top.

I got a short way into shifting debris from bin two to the already heaping bin one when I remembered looking out the kitchen window and admiring Allan’s garden this morning and decided to take a break for some photos of it.

I saw that some Cerinthe was going over in the center bed, back garden, and pulled it, fetching a cooler (not yet converted to a faux stone trough) to put it in till I could harvest the seeds.

I had remembered while fetching the cooler than I had been going to dig up some bush beans that had come up outside the Catio and move them to the fish totes and then replant with pole beans, as I had originally intended (but read the seed packet wrong). I’d put red twig dogwood sticks at the back of one of the totes for climber support. One had rooted; I pulled it to cut back and pot up.

I remembered that I should plant the hummingbird sage in the shade garden, which it reputedly likes. While there, I saw some ivy trying to climb the danger tree snag.

I meant to pull it as soon as I planted the salvia but got distracted by plants. My Chilean lantern tree, though young, has given me a couple of lanterns.

The fuchsias are all flowering.

I got back to the danger tree snag and pulled the ivy. It is interesting to see its decay…

…as long as it doesn’t keel over while we are having a fire.

This maple has got to go; it will get too big. Either I must move it this autumn or give it to someone who wants to try to transplant it.

In the border next to the danger tree bed, the Syneilesis actonitifolium given me by Jane is growing well, along with a blue corydalis.

The pulmonaria all need trimming (see how the one on the right looks better)…

…so I did just one more.

Through the fence, I saw a branch down on Alicia’s lawn and investigated. Despite there having been little wind since Allan last mowed, the branch had speared into the grass in the usual disconcerting way.

Trying to get back to plant up the rooted dogwood, I admired roses, starting with Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’.

I finally got back to gathering the Cerinthe and potting up the dogwood and getting some bean seeds planted by the Catio fence, which interested the cats greatly.

In dipping some water for the now potted redtwig dogwood, I found a frog under the lid of one of the water bins, apparently unable to escape. It dove deep, so I went to the ponds for the net. The transplanted sarracenia has settled in (but needs some trimming).

I managed to catch the frog without a net after all.

Finally, I got back to the compost project, four hours after I had left it. I pulled lots of sword fern leaves out of bin two to be mowed later. They take so long to break down, even when hand clipped.

This piece of compost had almost turned into a sheet of paper.

I was thrilled to find good compost to sift halfway down, although I was sorry to see one of the pallets is tipsy.

I fetched the wheelbarrow that is just the right size…

…and got four barrows full!

They went to the edges of the center bed.

In scraping the last good compost off the bottom of the bin, which I regret digging deeper than ground level, I remembered the scene in The Dig, when the excavation at Sutton Hoo collapses on the archeologist. I got out of there. That would be an ironic way for a gardener to be buried.

I kept at it, refilling bin two with bin three contents mixed with escallonia clippings, bunny poo, campfire ashes and wool until I had to stop to pick some peas for dinner and water in the greenhouse at 8:45. I think rain will prevent me from getting back to this for a few days.

I will be glad to have an empty bin once I’m done. I doubt they will ever get this full again without autumnal debris from Long Beach.

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Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Port of Ilwaco

I had planted three salvias from Evan Bean at the Time Enough Books curbside bed before reading up on them and realizing they prefer part shade…Salvia spathacea. Moral: Don’t assume a salvia will always want sun, and always read up first. So yesterday, I had hoiked them back out and today I replaced them with some cosmos. While I did that, Allan had a look at the marina, where the yachts were congregating prior to their race to the San Juan Islands. We overheard a yachter (probably) talking on his phone about having to take his boat out of the water to fix a wonky fuel pump, and we hoped he would not be disappointed at having to miss the race. Englund Marine supply store might have what he needs.

Heading north, we had several errands to run during our jobs. First, we dropped off a plastic trough with sweet peas in it and a pot of evening scented stock on Susie’s new porch as part of a housewarming present. Next:

The Depot Restaurant

The garden is still quite green, typical of small gardens I plant to be showiest during tourist season. Our friend Roxanne of the Basket Case Greenhouse happened to be there, too, planting up the metal troughs and adding to the window boxes on the north side. She will go to a site and plant up containers for nursery clients.

The Red Barn

Both Holly and Bentley got biscuits.

Barn manager Amy and her barrel racing horse in training.
The little garden

I am amused that it appears there is a squash growing in one of the barrels. I thought someone planted a seed, but now I think it might be from a Halloween pumpkin that someone set in there!

Diane’s garden

Allan’s project was to work on weeding the gravel in front of the septic vault. Diane liked my idea to have a sort of low growing flowery wild meadow there, with places to walk, but it has gotten walked on too much so needs better planning and maybe marking off some areas. A few of the pastel California poppies I seeded there have survived (very tiny). It had more flowers last year when I didn’t even try!

Geranium ‘Orion’ and white California poppies atop the vault:

Atop the vault

I checked on the containers….

…and the roadside garden. Not wanting to start digging out the tall fireweed (rosebay willowherb) before it takes over, I just gave it the Chelsea Chop, and while doing so remembered how well a made-up song about “doing the Chelsea chop” goes with the old cockney song, Doing the Lambeth Walk

We have the first sweet pea….

…a dahlia showing a bit of promise…

…lots of seeds on the Crambe maritima…

…and a patch of achillea that worried me…

(I hope not weed killer drift….I think next time, we could dig this out and put something better there.)

The star now is a magnificent Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’.

On another errand, we dropped off some empty plastic hanging baskets at Scott and Tony’s door…

….because I just don’t like the brown plastic baskets. I kept all the grey and black and green ones that have been dropped off at our house and Tony loved getting the brown ones. Then on to…

Patti’s garden


Kirk and I discussed a willow that had suddenly got all wilted, with its weeping branches turning brown and black. I thought it might be verticillium wilt. Kirk and Patti agreed it has to go.

Ilwaco boatyard garden

We pulled bindweed from the ceanothus and cistus at the center of the garden and cut down a bronze fennel so as not to set a bad example. (It is another plant I adore which is on the noxious weed list.) I worked from the sidewalk side and Allan worked from the back.

Ilwaco Fire Station

We tidied our volunteer garden but did not water as the forecast calls for a lot of rain.

J Crew Cottage

Almost home. I deadheaded the Js’ roses.

While weeding in the front garden, I was bending over the sprinkler and thought, I hope it doesn’t come on. It did. I was well blasted in the face.

I told Allan he had better mow the back lawn right quick. He did while I checked on the tiny garden around the Norwood house, returning to Js after the sprinkler turned off to finish weeding. I hope the red azaleas deadhead themselves.

I was glad the sprinkler saturation had happened at a job right across the street from home. As for neighbor visits, Allan caught Skooter leaving a message for Onyx right in Onyx’s own garden and chased Skooter back to ours.

He is an embarrassment.

If you use Facebook and would like to see some stunning photos of the green and mossy Pacific Northwest, have a look at this recent public post by our friend Mike Starrhill.

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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Port of Ilwaco

We weeded along some of the curbside gardens. After the easternmost bed…

(Allan found an egg.)

…Allan switched to pruning the escallonia on the south side of CoHo Charters…

…while I took the wheelbarrow and tools and weeded as far west as architect Dave Jensen’s office.

We reunited and moved on to the Powell Gallery and Time Enough Books and the gardens near the port office, both sides.


The marina is rich with yachts because of a yacht race departing the port sometime this week, heading for the San Juan Islands. (It used to go to Canada but can’t this year because of Covid border restrictions.)

On Wednesday, people can go down to the docks and look at the yachts closer up, but, although it’s a boon for the port and I wish them all a fun and safe excursion, the toys of the wealthy are of no interest to me. They live in another reality. I do like to look at working boats and historic boats and Coast Guard boats.

Our friend, client, and former (and we hope future) mayor Mike Cassinelli will be the one to preside over the start of the race.

Mike’s garden

We did our weekly time at Mike’s garden, this time concentrating on the woodsy east end. We limbed up the cedar just a bit to give the hydrangea and hardy fuchsias some light.

The cleaned up circle path around the hydrangea would look more pathlike if it had some bark. The cedar dropping are too messy to make path material. It looks too bare to me…

…and the whole north side of the house garden has just looked like a mishmash since the big white escallonia came out (because of construction repairs).

It would look better if the nice tall hardy fuchsias I’ve planted would get a move on. Last year, it was pretty enough when it filled up with cosmos.

Former site of escallonia, looking drab today; I’m about to tidy it by pulling fringecups and bulb foliage.

The front is attractive, but once again I am waiting to cosmos to fill in. I swear those little cosmos I planted have not grown a fraction of an inch in two weeks.

Allan sheared the Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’ into a ball, as Mike likes it that way.

Ilwaco Post Office garden

We tended to our volunteer garden after post office closing time. I cut back some lower limbs from the laurel next door which now looms over our garden….

Before, no after

…and found myself wishing I had a chainsaw on a stick.

I am tired of the way this garden looks and think it needs a partial redo. A showy sanguisorba (I love them) right in front gets nibbled by deer, and even though people love the Stipa gigantea, I worry about it blocking the name of the town. I feel that the laurel is blocking so much afternoon light that the annuals aren’t as happy as they used to be (cosmos, of course), and I hope the deer leave the lilies alone!

At home, I was able to pick a salad for dinner with some arugula and lettuce, the first peas, three small carrots and edible flowers: rose, calendula, borage, dianthus, chives. We have had a salad gap because of getting too busy with the plant sale to plant seeds at the right time. No photo, a shame as the mix of flowers was ever so pretty. It tasted wonderful.

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Monday, 7 June 2021

After a very rainy Sunday, during which I actually cleaned house by picking up every piece of paper, seed packet, book, and tchotchke that the cats have knocked onto the floor in the last couple of months, I continued cleaning on Monday with a darned good vacuuming while Allan was away at a dentist appointment. Shocking, I know. Back when I cleaned for a living (a jewel, my clients said, and some wept when I moved away from Seattle), I noted that one client had a refrigerator magnet that read “A clean house is a wasted life”. I don’t think that was supposed to apply to the lives of folks who made a good living cleaning. I do, however, think everyone should clean up their own messes and would never dream of having someone clean for me…partly because house cleaners know so much about their clients, and I like privacy.

I wasn’t about to completely “bottom out” the house and dust everything on a nice day so after awhile I planted some long overdue veg seeds: Malabar spinach, four kinds of cilantro (a little bit of each), a carrot mix. I’ve had a lapse in being able to make salads, as I haven’t planted seeds on a regular schedule to keep the greens coming on.

Then it was my turn for a medical appointment, as it seems to be true that the reason for (half) retiring is to have time for all your doctor visits.

In the evening, I took a garden appreciation walk around our property.

In the front driveway garden:

Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’ from Xera Plants, blooming since late winter.
Eryngium giganteum (Miss Willmott’s Ghost)
Halmiocistus wintonensis ‘Merrist Wood Cream’
I’m really pleased those statice came through the winter.
A rose over the front arbor

In the back driveway area, the potatoes are doing well. I could hill them some more…but probably won’t.

In the back garden:

On the patio
Hummingbird telephoto
Rose ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ about to fully bloom.
Dustbin lid planter inspired by Danger Garden
Peony and Cerinthe major purpurascens
Rose ‘Radway Sunrise’
Rose ‘Zepherine Drouhin’

I must get some wire mesh around those posts (four of them, of the purple portal entryway to the fire circle) to help the roses and some clematis climb. Both Zepherine and Night Owl rose happily survived being transplanted this spring.

Another rose and Leycesteria ‘Jealousy’
Persicaria bistorta ‘Superba’ swamping a nice yellow rose…Sunsprite, I think. I must rescue it next weekend.

In the Bogsy Wood:

There is where I planted my new kalmia. Quite small looking now…

I hope it perks up.
Along the path to the new sit spot…
….and in the new wayback sit spot.
Fuchsia ‘Grayrigg’
I love it.

I can’t remember if I shared these photos of looking out the window into the front catio not long after Skooter’s visit to the vet and briefly thinking, “Oh my god, there is something wrong with his head!”

We still don’t know who left the Hello Kitty mobile on our porch a couple of years ago.

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Saturday, 5 June 2021

At home

We had had some much needed rain, refilling even the emptiest of our rain barrels.

I set to planting most of my new plants, some from plant propagatrix Ann Amato and some from Jane, the Mulch Maid, and some that Ann had brought from Evan Bean. Such are the riches and kindnesses of getting to know other garden bloggers…and blog readers, as I also planted a very handsome brunnera dropped off by Dawn, one of Debbie Winslow’s sisters along with a batch of empty pots for future sale plants. I was sorry I had missed seeing her on that day.

Brunnera ‘Ace of Hearts’

The funny thing is that Debbie had sent me a photo of the pots that were on offer. They happened to be sitting in front of her brunnera, and I noticed it more than the pots at first glance.

The Stylophorum diphyllum (woodland poppy) that Jane gave me last autumn is still blooming.

The Impatiens omieana that Ann brought last fall from Secret Garden Growers are sizing up beautifully.

The cats enjoyed tiny leaves from some catnip I grew from seed. A few days ago, Faerie sneezed when offered some and blew them all away. Allan said he saw that in a movie, to comedic effect, with cocaine.

Among the new plants that got planted were two fuchsias, ‘California’ and ‘Fred Swales’. Fred is a little fellow and went into a large pot.

I hacked into the damp but not underwater-in-winter end of the willow grove ditch and planted a spirea douglasii and a gunnera. It is an area you reach going east here….

And then turning right. Before:


The spirea way back in there. I may have to do some pruning to give it light.

The gunnera may have enough light, per my reading that it grows with more dramatic large leaves if in damp shade. Both will have to prevail against tall grass, bindweed and blackberries, with assistance from me if I remember.

I up-potted some basil seedlings and some tiny tomato ‘Rosella’, whose seeds I ordered and planted awfully late because I wanted to try it after Jim McColl of Beechgrove raved about its bursting good flavor. In going through the many unlabeled blank-looking seed trays and six packs on the plant tables, I was reminded of how one must wait patiently for perennials to grow. Here are two little plants of Crambe maritima that I planted last year. I’m also reminded that if I labeled, I’d know whether a plant was worth waiting a year for. (This one is.)

Tiny crambe, worth the wait, got up-potted.

Allan pruned the willow that had fallen over the fence into the Bogsy Wood swale.

Both Allan and I noticed Skooter spending the day in his favorite spot in the willow grove.

Around town

Before pruning, Allan had gone to pick up books at the library, where he did a bit of community building weeding and dead bulb foliage removal. The heathers could use a shearing but the budget doesn’t run to that.

When he took recycling to the bins at the east end of the port, he saw that Saturday Market was in session.

Even though it’s a good little market, I’m not often inclined to leave my property on days off.

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4 June: puttering at home

Friday, 4 June 2021

As usual, I got little done but minor puttering on the first day off of four. I admired all the beans and courgettes that are popping up.

One of three kinds of courgettes, and the most vigorous to germinate
Four kinds of bush beans and edamame

Last night we had broad beans for dinner. Though tasty, some of the pods only had one bean. They were more successful when eaten, pod and all, as small green beans.

I cut down the big flowering stalks, now looking tired, on the Melianthus major. The stalks were so thick and hard that I needed Allan’s help cutting through.

I invited two admiring passersby to view the garden. We walked all around. Not till the end of the visit did I find out that I knew who they were. They did look familiar. Face blindness is a curse!

Faerie enjoyed her new Catio furniture. (I have no idea why auto fill insists on capitalizing Catio.)

After some pretty inneffective puttering (even a bit of compost shifting in the bins), the day had been frittered away till campfire time. At last, an evening with no wind. I photographed some of the garden.

Diplarrena latifolia:

An epimedium whose tag is…somewhere:

Rose ‘Radway Sunrise’ and white camassia and a nice peachy geum:

My mom’s “red velvet rose”:

Rosa pteracantha:

Is it normal for Panicum grass to come up with white blades that then turn blue-green?

The beautiful but terribly annoying sweet woodruff:

Peony and my only eremurus so far:

Rosa rubrifolia and Allium christophii at dusk:

We had a campfire dinner with some dry, cut wood from the willow grove, eliminating one wood pile.

We retrieved Skooter from squabbling with an unseen adversary in the Bogsy Wood…

….and ended the day with Gardeners’ World and Springwatch on BritBox.

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Thursday, 3 June 2021

Skooter is pleased to have regained his daytime freedom.

Port of Ilwaco

We started at the west end of the curbside gardens, by Salt Hotel, which Allan weeded because walking on chunky river rock hurts my knee…

…and by the Skywater Gallery and Freedom Market pot shop.

The oxeye daisies are on the noxious weed list, although as a Class C weed, and “This plant is also on the Washington State quarantine list. It is prohibited to transport, buy, sell, offer for sale, or distribute plants or plant parts of quarantined species into or within the state of Washington or to sell, offer for sale, or distribute seed packets of seed, flower seed blends, or wildflower mixes of quarantined species into or within the state of Washington.” It is a pest in farm fields, decreasing crop yield and plant species diversity. However, in photos I’ve seen it rampant in the state park a mile away, and even though we pull a lot of it in springtime, our budget doesn’t run to the time consuming thorough weeding that would remove it….plus it grows in areas right next door to our gardens where it isn’t controlled at all and that are not part of our work territory.

So we will let it be for now, pull it again before it goes to seed and start the same cycle next year. It’s not a plant we put in on purpose, as it blew in from somewhere else, and I wish it were not noxious because I like it. It’s beloved in the UK and was in a recent garden in the Chelsea Flower Show.

The deer are still allowing the columbines to bloom!

The very west end, where the wind blows across the parking lots on both side, are so dry that even the weeds are tiny…

….and even the Libertia is distressed.

Allan worked so hard his ho mi tool separated.

We next checked on some of the other curbside beds, most of which seemed so thirsty that we hoped the predicted rain would not fail us.

My favorite beds are by the Port Pavilion.

I wish the helianthemums bloomed for a longer time.

It also comes in pink and yellow, which I should acquire. I also wish sea thrift bloomed for longer.

I hand watered precious eryngium seedlings including Miss Willmott’s Ghost, mid right, above.

The easternmost bed is another of the driest, being between two parking lots.

Allan took some photos of the fog, from which a light mist emanated, refreshing but not enough for a watering.


Our last bit of work at the port was some weeding by the Powell Gallery. This cistus is showing its best angle….

…and this eryngium is at its peak.

I chatted with a dog about town who I hear likes his freedom as much as Skooter does.

Mike’s garden

Allan defined the east edge of the wilder part of the garden while I weeded the rest.

Oriental poppy

I chatted with Mike and with my new friend, Kekkai, who dropped by for a visit.

J Crew Cottage

We hauled some rain water across the street for the roses and the one hydrangea that is missed by the hose end sprinklers. It’s easier to bring water for four plants than to undo the hose system.

Skooter had apparently been lounging about all afternoon.

Fortunately, we have been able to get him indoors in the evening to have his dose of Prozac (applied topically inside his ear) at midnight. It may take weeks to have effect at making him less anxious about marking territory.

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2 June: some damage

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

As of yesterday, we simply could not keep Skooter in anymore. He was grateful for his freedom. On the advice of several friends, I did message the vet to ask about getting kitty Prozac in order to be able to keep him in at night without him rage spraying. It will be compounded at the Long Beach Pharmacy for pick up tomorrow.

Ilwaco Post Office

We had a dvd to mail (disc one of an excellent series called Unforgotten, starring the mesmerizing Nicola Walker) so stopped at the post office. It looked so thirsty as we weeded that I resolved that it must be watered at the end of the day.

There’s a new cafe just down the street.

Port of Ilwaco

We had loaded up what I still thought of as the world’s tiniest cosmos seedlings, although now that I look at the photo, they don’t seem as small as they are in my mind.

I planted seedlings in the curbside bed north of the Don Nisbett Gallery. They’ll have a chance there because he waters sometimes, and a few in the middle bed north of the port office, where at least it’s easy to hose water because there is a faucet nearby. Allan hose watered those and the Time Enough curbside. The chalk on the sidewalk is from a drive by honking festivity for the graduating high school seniors.

An eryngium (sea holly)

I love the dwarf Stipa gigantea at Time Enough Books and wish I had another for the post office, where the full sized one gets so tall that I fear it will hide the city name. The dwarf one (from Xera Plants) is taller than I thought it would be, just perfect. It took two years to get floriferous.

With the cosmos planted and four curbside beds watered, we repaired to the boatyard garden to weed and to plant more cosmos. Allan tied back the full size Stipa gigantea.

I found a disaster. At first, I thought a new member of the boatyard crew might have sprayed round up on the horsetail inside the fence and drift had damaged the garden. Allan pointed out only one length was damaged, just the length of a boat area. Someone over sprayed something, which is totally not legitimate. Mark, the boatyard manager, was surprised and displeased and sympathetic.

I had to do a lot of time-consuming shearing, trimming, and plant removal to fix it.

Just one sweet pea escaped damage.

The California poppies were fried.
The elephant garlic was twisted and deformed.

The soil smelled all right so, hoping it was only foliar damage, I planted some cosmos in the gaps.

Looks better
This is what healthy elephant garlic should look like now..
Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’
Yellow achillea
More lupines
Baptisia in bud
Stipa gigantea

J Crew Cottage

We watered the back yard roses and a hyradrangea in the front garden that the automatic sprinkler doesn’t reach and I planted a few more cosmos.

Dutch Iris ‘Lion King’ and Allium christophii

Tomorrow: another Ilwaco work day. And….we forgot to water at the post office.

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1 June: a blank slate

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

We set off on our rounds of the non-Ilwaco jobs.

The Depot Restaurant

Trimmed the escallonia so the railroad sign shows. It wants to be ten feet high.
Roxanne’s window box planting with Calibrachoa ‘Lemon Slice’

The garden is getting lush but still mostly green.

The dining deck

In the ornamental grass garden, near a willow, Allan saw a one-eyed sphinx.

It is huge.

I asked him to check on the rhododendron by the office. Usually Chef Michael asks us to prune it later in the summer. If he does want it pruned, it should be done right after it blooms.

The Planter Box

I bought myself two plants, on impulse. I’ve tried kalmia before at our old garden and failed with it. Maybe in our woodsy garden….and I like the tall armerias and haven’t had one for awhile.

Robert once told me that in the Pennsylvania woods along the river where he played as a child, kalmias grew wild.

My main mission was potting soil.

Maybe I won’t run out for awhile.

The Red Barn

We did see orange cat Cosmo. Bentley got a biscuit and took off with it toward home, as usual.

Delosperma ‘Fire Spinner’ is showy by the entry drive.

It occurs to me we should string trim around it. Next time.

Diane’s garden

We edited a lot of the cream California poppy out of the septic vault garden to make room for other plants. It looks battered now so I hope it fills in soon.

With Diane

The roadside garden is also more plain green and sparse than I’d like. Patience!

The cold spring has the gardens running late.

Holly got her biscuit but was too wiggly for a photo.

It was a bit hotter than I like.

Port of Ilwaco

We stopped by Purly Shell to get some eggs from a friend. Puppy Ruby had gone home for being too rambunctious. Hope got a biscuit.

We admired the view…

…and did a quick tidy of the south facing port office garden.

It was now most definitely hot, and yet the wind, strong enough to blow a hat off, was still irksome.

Patti’s garden

We went back two miles north to check on Patti’s garden.

Allium schubertii

Our real mission was to meet Susie at her new Seaview house.

Susie’s future garden

Having sold the Boreas Inn, where we gardened for years, Susie and Bill are moving into their new home.

A parking spot had been scooped out by the street, leaving a pile of weed-rooty big clumps of dirt.

We saw a couple of bindweed vines but no horsetail.

If there had been a place to wheelbarrow the stuff to, I might have taken it on, but the idea of trips to the dump was so unappealing that I passed. Nor did we take on the job of pruning holly and ivy and blackberry out of a big tree behind. Allan looked relieved. Within a day, Susie had found a young fellow to clear and prepare the lot. Then we will help with some planting.

We also turned down clearing scrub and blackberries along the back yard fence.

It’s hard to learn to say no. Getting older makes it easier and more necessary.

Just down the block is a new looking house with a new looking garden. I might have seen some horsetail but thought it would be rude to stand by their garden bed and scrutinize.

On the next block to the west, here’s a sign that Susie and Bill will have simpatico new neighbors.

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