Archive for the ‘journal’ Category

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The weather seemed disturbingly warm as we went to work.

First, we did a couple of volunteer projects, planting a few perennials and some seeds at the fire station, and one agastache at the post office, where we happened to learn that a crew was about to power wash and paint the building.  Oddly, it seemed they did not have a hose and so they borrowed ours, and our special wrench that turns on the water.  We plunged in and moved all the rocks away from the bottom of the wall at the back of the garden.  They had been placed there by us years ago, when we dug up the lawn to make the garden and found that we had revealed an unpainted strip.  It will be good to have that strip painted and to have a path for  walking to the faucet without the rocks in the way.

Of course, I fretted about potential damage to the lilies that grow near the back.  The postmistress said she would put boxes over them.  It was not till later in the day that I realized what she meant.  We encountered Mayor Gary there and he told us we could take out the old and defunct irrigation hoses in the fire station garden.

A few blocks east, at Mike’s garden, we realized it had become painfully hot.  We weeded and fertilized and got a few agastaches and eryngiums in the ground to try to make this odd little afterthought of an area look better:

sad little narrow side garden, part sun, part shade

white narcissi

We are still fretting about one conifer dying.

It is a goner, so they both have to go.

the front garden

Suddenly I could not take the heat anymore, so without finishing the weeding of the gravel path, we went home.  I learned that it was 81 degrees, and a friend got a reading of 87 out on the Bolstad beach approach.

Skooter was snoozing on the bed.

not so little cat feet

Frosty played with his Kitty Karrot, a catnip toy made by a blog reader which has entertained the cats for well over a year.

We stayed indoors from two till six PM waiting for the temperature to drop.  I was glad to rest and finish reading A Breath from Elsewhere by Mirabel Osler,  as I am feeling puny with sniffles and sneezes and just a bit of a cough.  Not leaving my comfy chair, I made a blog post for the next morning and then accidentally published it.  I blame an overheated brain. It was still 79F at 5:30.

With two hours of daylight left, I dug up about fifteen starts of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, admiring some tulips on the way into the back garden.

Tulip ‘Cool Crystal’

Narcissus with a tiny green cup, and Tulip ‘China Town’

We quested fruitlessly for our faucet wrench back at the post office.  We did find the sort of boxes that the postmistress used to protect the lilies:

Allan’s photos

She is wonderful.  The priority mail boxes made me laugh.  They were boxes that customers had opened up the wrong way.

At the fire station, Allan removed the old hoses from the corner garden while I planted the sedums along the west side.

No before photo was taken of the corner garden hoses.  I have this one from earlier.

And tonight:

On the south side of the port office, we planted Agastache ‘Acapulco Salmon and Pink’ and ‘Sangria’ and some santolinas where Allan had dug out old, woody lavenders.

looking west

looking west

looking east

At home, the work board had gotten a tiny bit shorter:





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I accidentally published this morning’s post yesterday afternoon.

Here is a bonus photo, by Allan, of Arisarum proboscideum (mouseplant):

He took a better photo of the bluebell woods:

And a drift of meianthemum outside the fence; if only it would stay there.

He returned to the house slightly wounded from a battle with the blackberries out beyond the south fence:

Allan has a new blog of his own, Southwest Washington Paddle Trips, where he is gathering together all of his past and future boating adventures.

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Monday, 23 April 2018

Dispatch from my comfy chair.  This was supposed to be tomorrow’s post, but I got a bit punchy and somehow published early.

When I am too lazy to sit at my desk, I blog with my iPad, which does not allow as many formatting options.  All my photos today were taken with my phone, as I had a feeling I might want to blog from my chair.

Today, I felt poorly with a tight chest and sneezy sniffles. And yet the weedy garden plagued my mind.  In between reading Mirabel Osler’s A Breath from Elsewhere, I made a few brief weeding forays into the garden.  The weather, slightly over 70F, was too hot for my liking.

In the front garden…maybe I posted this yesterday, as well:

This is the single flowered Kerria that I mentioned recently, backed with a Goldflame spiraea.

Parts of the back garden look like the gardener passed away and nature is taking over.

Especially the Ficaria (lesser celandine):

In a bed by a big alder, near the campfire, the planting is a muddle with no feature.

The feature is supposed to be a variegated hydrangea that, after two years in the ground, has one pitiful leaf.

It was planted as a tiny thing. I still ponder turning that bed into a raised pond. If I had the building skills, I would. Or if I could find a huge and attractive old wooden hot tub or some such thing. For now, I think I will put some sort of big pot in the middle.

Maybe I could drag forward my big phormium-in-a-garbage-can!  That is statement…of some sort.  You can just see a bit of it the photo of the area, above.

On one trip into the garden, I got a whole edge of the east bed weeded in a rather half-arsed way, and Allan kindly dug out a couple of huge African love grasses along there that I have gone off. I lacked the energy to place the pots on the pavers.

A before from two days ago:

and this evening:

At almost sunset, I made another short foray to free my Acanthus ‘Whitewater’ from weeds. It was perfect weather then, a campfire paradise if we had not both been sick.



I walked back into the Bogsy Wood and was delighted to see that Allan had trimmed the sword ferns and had deadheaded narcissi. Now if I only felt well enough to weed.

Outside the south fence:

Our “bluebell wood” (just Scilla):

I wish a had taken a better camera. Maybe tomorrow.

Plant table:

I must remember to fertiLize the gunnera; I did manage to get my roses fertilized today.

After my Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’ apparently plotzed in the front garden, I replaced it but could not bear to not give it one more chance, in another back garden spot that looks like the gardener is long gone:

Mirabel Osler wrote:

“There is the particular kind of happiness–never commented on by poets–which comes from seeing a shrub you’d assumed dead, one day has minute specks of green on an otherwise lifeless stick. As this occurs more often than you would expect, no gardener should pounce in despair to pull out an ailing plant.” (I first learned that from Ann Lovejoy.). I do think I have killed this one. I will give it a few more weeks.

Asphodel at sunset:

Skooter toyed with the idea of being a lap cat and then changed his mind.

Meanwhile, Allan had weeded and trimmed ferns in his own garden.

Allan’s photos in his garden:

Arisarum Proboscidium (mouse plant)

And dead-leafing the bogsy wood sword ferns:

In good company:

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Sunday, 22 April 2018

When I first tried to continue with my weeding of the front garden, an attack of sneezing sent me rushing indoors for allergy medicine.  The local weather report explained that I was probably not alone.

I am skeptical about the sources listed; I think pine pollen carried by the cold strong wind (again!) was the culprit.

I would rather have worked in the less windy part of the garden, but I could no longer stand the idea of sidewalk passersby being able to see so many weeds.  So after reading A Breath from Elsewhere for a half hour till the medicine took hold, I returned to the front garden, where the wind was literally whistling overhead.


I forgot the after from the above angle.  Will get one tomorrow.

Next day. I will be repainting the bamboo poles!




My after is all blurry; I will try again tomorrow.

Next day

I have decided to take one more day off to weed at least a couple more areas that are so terrible.  Fortunately, they will be in the back garden where the soil is looser and more pleasant to work in.  And I must fertilize all my roses.


The front garden was created by digging up all the sod (because I wanted to plant bulbs straight away), and the soil is still tighter and more difficult than in the back garden, which was made by the newspaper method.

front garden, 8 November 2010

14 November 2010, showing part of a pile of soil energy.

That sod digging was absolutely exhausting!

16 November 2010

Newspaper method in the back garden:

22 December 2010

December 2010, garden beds slowly expanded as I got more newspaper and soil down.

5 January 2011.

Eventually, I cut the old rhododendron down (right) because it blocked my window view of the Cape Disappointment bluff and of the port office weather warning flag.

This method of newspaper, soil energy mulch, cow manure, and homemade compost made the most luscious and easy to weed beds.

From yesterday, a repeat photo showing how they look now:

You can the whole sequence of initially creating the garden starting here.

Back to the present: Due to the cold wind, I suppose, Skooter had had no interest in joining me outdoors today.

In the afternoon, Allan went to work on his own, “just” to dig two woody old lavenders from the Port Office garden.  It was a more difficult job that either of us had expected.  I felt bad at having delegated, and yet I don’t think I would have been much help.  It was a job for one strong person.

Port of Ilwaco

the garden boat at Time Enough Books

Port Office, south side, before

a tough, rooty job

bleached out bulb foliage fro being hidden in the lavender

before, other end


just across the lawn

south side, port office, after

I think I might plant Agastaches instead of lavenders, for no reason other than my great love for Agastaches (and because a couple of lavenders remain in the middle of the bed).  The reason the lavender sprawls so much is that in the summer, hanging baskets give an increasing amount of shade.

a surprisingly large load of debris

I had forgotten how huge those lavenders had become.

In the evening, we watched this film, based on a great book by the author of Ethel and Ernest, which we had purchased because we could not find it otherwise. (I think it might be available for online viewing. I like to watch films on a nice old fashioned DVD, from the comfy chair.)


“A naive elderly British rural couple survive the initial onslaught of a nuclear war.”

And then, as happens sometimes, i suddenly came down with all the symptoms of having caught Allan’s cold.

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Saturday, 21 April 2018

I actually do think that weeding, in my own garden, among plants that I like and  therefore enjoy a close look at, is fun.  Sort of. I don’t mind it, if I have time to keep up with it.  I started in on the west front garden (between our driveway and our neighbour’s driveway) while awaiting my social engagement.

MaryBeth came by with a gift of a generous clump of her Kerria japonica (with pompon-like flowers), and we walked into my back garden and I got her a clump of my single-flowered Kerra japonica.  She also brought me a book written by the husband of Margaret Drabble, one of my favourite authors.

Allan will enjoy it, too: “Michael Holroyd confronts an army of automobiles in this charming book. Weaving together memoir and historical anecdote, he traces his relationship with cars through a lifetime of biography.”

Soon after, Our Kathleen arrived for our lunch date at the Shelburne Pub.  She had picked up some violas for me and helped me, by un-potting them, while I bunged them into the edge of the front garden (for edible flower garnish).

Shelburne front garden, looking north

and south

This may have been Kathleen’s first time dining in the pub, at least in its new incarnation.  We had good food and a good long talk; it has been awhile since our schedules coordinated.  I look forward to her living here full time after retirement.

I am working my way through all the non-oyster items on the menu, so this time I tried the crispy, crunchy, and satisfying fried chicken sandwich, an unusual idea that I have never seen anywhere else.  The “Fisherman’s potato salad” has smoked herring in it, also innovative and delicious.

Kathleen had the pub burger.

Followed by bread pudding:

A musician played mellifluous guitar in the living room.  We were there at the quiet hour before the early dinner crowd.

I put some money in his hat.

Back at home, I finished my weeding project:

before (from a couple of days ago)

this evening

The back garden at 7 PM:

two cats


window box detail

In the window boxes, the redtwig dogwood twigs that I put in for winter interest have rooted and will go into the garden when I change the boxes to annuals. The tulip is ‘Princess Irene’.

It would have been a good day for boating had Allan not been still recuperating from his cold.

Because the chill wind prevented weeding till dusk, I had time to finish In the Eye of the Garden by Mirabel Osler.  After watching the harrowing film, Detroit, I returned to peaceful garden reading at bedtime with Osler’s A Breath from Elsewhere.

Guest photos:

I thought you would enjoy these photos from a neighbour’s walk in Beards Hollow, a woodsy trail to the beach about a mile west of us.

photo by Missy Lucy Dagger Bageant

photo by Missy Lucy Dagger Bageant

Beards Hollow, via google

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Friday, 20 April 2018

We are taking three days off to recuperate from a difficult week.

Because the weather was rather chilly, I took the excuse to read.  I have two sets of three books by two authors.

Mirabel Osler and Alan Titchmarsh

More on Mirabel Osler when I finish all three books.

Neither Skooter nor Frosty was interested in the outdoors.

I finished A Gentle Plea for Chaos, then walked to the Norwood garden to plant four ferns.

two sword, one autumn, one maidenhair

At home, I walked around our garden just to show you the real story of how weedy it is.  But first:

Facebook gave me this memory of how the front garden looked this week in 2011, seven years ago, our first spring in this house.

Here it is today (although would be better if I had weeded the front today as I had originally planned).

I had planned to weed this, and had read instead:

inside the front gate, pleased with the growth on this climbing rose

more shotweed I meant to weed today

unclipped sedums!

good: Erythronium in bloom

front garden mess

good: Ribes speciosum in bloom

Ribes speciosum

Allan’s garden has just a touch of shotweed. I love the Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’.

The trick is to give Allan a part of the garden, and he will then keep it weeded.

Allan’s garden

pear tree

bad: unweeded pots of hardy fuchsias

window box

window box two

Compost bin two needs turning, but I read instead.

weedy; I’ve been noticing the dock, bottom middle, for weeks and still not removed it

rain spotted tulips

good: an area I got more or less weeded last week

between the cats, the stump of the smokebush I think I killed by coppicing too hard.  I need to get those pots put on pavers and filled with soil.

So weedy near the Bogsy Wood

the horror of lesser celandine now that I know it is a noxious weed

a huge amount of reseeded poached egg plant, maybe good, maybe bad (with shotweed mixed in)

huge dandelions overtaking an Acanthus ‘Whitewater’

good: my Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’



It has been too wet and slippery to do anything in the Bogsy Wood!

I loathe this pushy native foam flower in the garden.

haven’t deadheaded the hydrangeas yet! Good: corydalis and pulmonaria

the horror of native meianthemum (nature wins again)

lilies looking strong

the future cat memorial garden not worthy of ashes yet

pitiful weedy patio

from the double gate

As I returned to the house, I pondered that it is not that I lack energy for gardening.  I just use it up at work at this time of year, and I usually don’t get my own garden into satisfying condition till the end of May.

Did I weed? No, I started Mirabel Osler’s next book, In the Eye of the Garden, and read 100 pages before writing this and yesterday.

Mirabel on garden photography:

Neither cat had accompanied me outdoors.

Allan’s work in the afternoon

Meanwhile, Allan had gone to the library and done some deadheading at the Ilwaco Community Building and the Port:

(Mirabel Osler does not like heather, which dominates this garden in a plain winter blooming white form. “…..Heather, how it mutilates gardens with its puréed fruit-pulp appearance, its neutered growth and depressing meanness.”)

Dog daisies are budding at the boatyard.  Mirabel Osler wrote a passage about “dog” plants being named as an insult (dog daisies, dog roses, dog mercury).

At the port office garden, all the narcissi needed deadheading.  We are going to replace those old sprawling lavenders soon.

old pot of hostas behind the port office

Tomorrow I may have a lunch with Our Kathleen, and maybe Sunday I will do some gardening…although I confess that reading continues to hold a stronger lure unless the weather is inarguably perfect.

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Thursday, 19 April 2018

I was surprised in the morning when Allan woke me up by saying breakfast was ready and that he wanted to go to work.  As (I think it was) Mark Twain said, the proof that worrying works is that most of what we worry about it does not happen.

Skooter having a drink on the plant table (Allan’s photo)

I picked a bouquet for the Shelburne.

Allan dug some borage and red mustard starts for the Shelburne.

removing a deadhead at the Ilwaco Post Office.

The post office garden is looking drab.  Mulch would cheer it up but there is a limit to how much mulch I can provide from my own budget.  Soon the plants will cover the grey looking soil.

I told Allan we could have a light day with just some fertilizing, planting, and deadheading. (The usual story!)

Our first stop was at

The Planter Box 

to buy some Dr. Earth fertilizer.

Allan’s photo

at the Planter Box

With our bags of Dr. Earth loaded up, we headed south again to

Long Beach

and gathered up the very last of the pile of Soil Energy mulch.

all gone, need more

We weeded and deadheaded at city hall and added the mulch to the wide part of the west side garden, where it had been looking beaten down and sad.

much better

even better with horses

Horses make the landscape more beautiful. –Alice Walker

Allan’s photo

We weeded the narrow beds along the side; we did not plant the top tier and would not have chosen so much Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, because it has a short season of bloom.  I’ve mixed some elephant garlic in along the top because the office staff loves it so.  Last year, the flowers got stolen as soon as they opened; I hope that with MUCH elephant garlic, some will be left.

We checked on Veterans Field again, the main site of this weekend’s Razor Clam Festival, and I remembered that I had wanted to plant some chives in the corner garden.  I happened to have a bucket of chives with me and realized the red mustard would look good there, too, evoking the Farmers Market that takes place there on summer Friday afternoons.

species tulips and nigella (love in a mist)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I have realized that the red monarda is spreading like mad throughout this garden, even though I had thinned it earlier.

monarda all over the place; will have to thin it some more.

We went after more of the scrimmy little horsetail and too much hesperantha (schizostylis) in Fifth Street Park and added Dr Earth to this area.

looking much better

Instead of putting the Dr Earth bag behind Allan’s van seat, I put it behind mine so I could access it better when parked in traffic.

camassia just colouring up (Allan’s photo)

I stopped a sweet dog named Bananie from running into the garden to snuffle the fertilizer.

Good Bananie. (His person was nearby.) (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

We saw a U Haul with interesting artwork.

We like garter snakes. They eat slugs.

On the way back to city works to dump our debris, we remembered to deadhead the little garden at Culbertson Field.

We also remembered to deadhead by First Place Mall….

Tulip ‘Silverstream’ (I still forgot to check it for scent and for silver edges to the foliage.)

Tulip ‘Silverstream’…I can see the variegated foliage in this photo by Allan!

Tulip ‘Silverstream’ (Allan’s photo)

Tulip ‘Silverstream’ (Allan’s photo)

…and, thanks to Allan, we remembered to deadhead the planters on the Sid Snyder beach approach and to deadhead and fertilize the World Kite Museum garden. Manager Patty was just bringing in the display banners.

Our “short” day had now reached 5 PM and we still had the Shelburne garden to do.  I was so glad we had spent more time in Long Beach to make it look better for Clam Festival.

Shelburne Hotel

I got the fertilizer bag out from behind Allan’s seat and fertilized the front garden.  Then I realized I had been using evergreen and azalea fertilizer.  I got the fertilizer bag (all purpose) from behind my seat and added more.  When I do fertilize, I tend to under-fertilize, so it will all work out.

Mustard and borage went into the west garden:

I added nasturtium seeds (in the front garden, too) because the chefs need many for garnish flowers.  Orchid Cream, Caribbean Cocktail, Vesuvius, Tip Top Mahogany, Alaska, Variegated Queen, Dwarf Cherry Rose.

Also some Calendula ‘Frost Princess, ‘Pink Surprise’ and ‘Kinglet Mix’ and some Bright Lights and Celebration swiss chard for some stem color.

By the pub deck and here and there where it might find a space to grow in the back garden, I planted more night scented stock seeds.

We decided to dine at the pub, as the workday had gone on until 6:45, longer than planned, and moved the van and work trailer a block north so as to not take up two parking places.  (Allan took into the pub with him a couple of disinfected wipes to spare the staff from any cold germs on his dishes.)

My bouquet still looked good (especially after I arranged it a little better than this:

Allan’s photo

looking south from the north end of the garden

from the sidewalk

From the front entry, looking south:

looking north

In the Shelburne living room, singer Bryan O’Connor was performing.

He is the spouse of Renee, the creator the tile work in Long Beach that you saw earlier in this post (the sidewalk tile and the obelisk).

I had a most tasty salmon special on black rice, and a cranberry cosmo (with Starvation Ally Cranberry Juice).

and delicious cranberry curd tart

Allan had the black garlic fried rice.  I reminded myself with one bite how tasty it is.  I could eat a casserole dish of it.

and “beeramisu” for dessert.

A local couple who were in the living room (lobby) listening to the concert bought us our dinner!  As we drove away they were just emerging, and I thanked them again. “For all you do!” she called out!

At home: I have whittled down the work board more than I expected this week, and Allan seemed none the worse for wear after a long day.

A most wonderful thing happened: I got an email from the woman who is the little girl pictured in my blog post about visiting the Isle of Skye in 1975, telling me what life was like there, then.  She is not, as I always wondered, related to Donovan, but she did know him when she was a child!

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