Archive for the ‘finger blight’ Category

Yesterday’s post about gardening partners elicited such good comments that I was inspired to remember and add some photos of Bryan helping in the garden. I had forgotten about that. Go back one day and have a look if you were one of the readers who responded to that post. I think you will like them.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Long Beach

Before we began our project, we saw our friend Jan and her nice, soft-to-pet dog out by the beach approach.

Allan’s photo

We set out to weed one section of the Bolstad beach approach and to plant assorted California poppies (me) in the planters out there.  I know I said I had totally given up after the recent disheartening plant theft but….hope springs eternal.

While planting, I found more plant theft holes.

We found a santolina that had grown from cuttings tossed (by me) behind the planter; Allan dug it up and I put it in one planter to replace a big stolen one…for what it is worth.

Allan’s photo

I also dug a couple of starts of the native beach grass with its wide blue blades, where it was growing right by the road. It has mostly been pushed out by European beach grass.  Maybe it will be left alone to grow in the hardest hit planter…

…or maybe not. So much has been stolen that the grass might as well fill up the whole planter.

I got to see our very good friend Mitzu, who was on her way to a beach walk.

I thought that maybe the Lisa Bonney memorial planter (which is just a few feet from where she was killed) had been left untouched by thieves.  Loved ones of hers have planted new plants in it.

Then I looked closer:

one side still complete…
stolen well established sea thrift from the other side

I left about four of the planters unplanted with the poppies in a moment of panic when I thought I had lost my camera.  (It was in the van.) So that task did not get erased from the work list.

The beach approach garden, at the beginning, looking east:

Satellite view:

the long narrow Bolstad garden
Allan’s photo

I remember that moment from late last fall, on the last or almost the last workday, when I stood at this spot and felt an odd surge of enthusiasm for weeding this blocks long garden in the spring.  I wish I could feel it again.

Allan’s photo

While weeding the westernmost section of the approach, I had a brainstorm.  Instead of saying that the approach garden has thirteen sections (counting two end caps as one section), I will divide it further.  Each section has a clear halfway point, and so I am putting 26 sections on the work board.  That way, on a day like today when we have other places to be, at least I get to erase one number.  And my right hand is so arthritic now that combining the beach approach with other, less painfully repetitive tasks, is a good idea.

Allan’s photo, after today’s work

Boreas Inn

I planted a few plants, including a Verbascum ‘Cotswold King’ and ‘Southern Charm’ and a Salvia ‘Amistad’ in the west side gardens, along with more poppy seeds.

Allan’s photo

I have learned from Monty Don and Carol Klein that I should have more success with the sort of seeds that one covers only lightly if I press them down hard.

Allan wheelbarrowed some bucketed mulch to the east entry garden, followed by mulching and then pruning a hardy fuchsia (me) and trimming some ivy (Allan).

what’s left of the five yards of Soil Energy (Allan’s photo)
entry garden sit spot
Allan’s project, before

We would never plant English ivy.  It is considered a noxious weed now but is firmly entrenched in some places.

The work board tonight, with revised beach approach sections.




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Monday, 18 March 2019

I woke to wind battering the house, sounding like a winter storm.

I so wanted to stay home with Frosty and Skooter.  Frosty wanted nothing to do with the outdoors.

We resolved to try to finish the center parking lot berm in Long Beach, the one that mostly involves just string trimming.

The Veterans Field flags nearby showed the strong east wind.  The temperature was warm and the east wind, usually icy cold, was just a bit cool.

Allan’s photo

I started work a half hour later than Allan because Jenna (Queen La De Da) was taking some items to her new Mermaid Sandcastle just across the parking lot.


After Jenna and I put the world to right, I joined Allan on the job.

Some of the mess of the center berm, with more of the miserable-to-weed crocosmia and rugosa rose combination:

Allan’s photo

The wind blew our wheelbarrow right over.

Allan’s photo

string trimmed and tidied (Allan’s photo)

Despite the wind, I wanted so much to erase santolinas AND berms from the work board that we went out to the Bolstad beach approach to trim the santolinas in the planters.

In the westernmost planter, I found that just in the last couple of weeks, someone had removed one of the large old santolinas, a project that would require standing on the bench or the dune wielding a shovel.


the hole

Most of the small plants have already been stolen. Now the big ones are the prey.

As I walked along, I found more large plants had been dug out. Up till now, most of the plants stolen could have been removed with hand tools.

This planter is also off balance with a big santolina removed from one side:

trimmed, for what it is worth (Allan’s photos)

Santolinas that size would not even transplant well and so probably the thief ended up with dead plants.  The plants LIKED it out here in the salty wind and open air.  They wanted to be left to live their quiet lives.

windy and fuming

trimming some ground level santolinas

Of course, the many blocks long ground level garden needs weeding….but not in lousy weather of any sort.

finding another planter with large stolen santolina…or rather, without it

Just every OTHER grape hyacinth dug up and stolen…how thoughtful to leave some.

A sea thrift used to be where that hole is.

This poor fella got replanted.

These planters used to all have a lot more plants. Even most of the little sea thrifts that the Basket Case Greenhouse donated last fall have been taken.

gesturing in outrage with The Toy at more holes.

Don’t even ask why there are so very few narcissi out in these planters; they have been dug and stolen batch by batch over the past few years along Bolstad.  I don’t bother to plant them anymore; it would be a waste of time and money.

Another planter, this one with our name on it from volunteer days, had its big old green santolina missing.

We stopped at city hall because I had an urgent need to kvetch and whinge to the city staff while Allan watered the entry ramp garden that gets no rain (being under wide eaves).

One brilliant staffer had the idea that the planters could just have landscape fabric and river rock put down (by the city crew, as if they have time for that….) around the few existing plants.  I said that would be a good solution.  What plants remain would look scree-garden-y and not so annoyingly off balance.  (A layer of small pea gravel would have to go down first and then the larger river rock, so that the underwear did not show).  I just cannot imagine how the city crew could find the time. And I feel too arthritic to haul bucket after bucket of rock at a work pace.   We are 64 and 66 years old, fer-cryin’-out-loud!!

[update: That idea was rejected because people might throw the rocks. Wildflowers were suggested, but they get stolen, too, and they won’t thrive in summer unless someone has time to water them with the Long Beach water truck.)

Regarding another common couple of suggestions: There is nowhere to put cameras, no one to monitor the footage, and thorny plants like barberries have been stolen as readily as plants without thorns.

I told the nice office staffers that once upon a time, I imagined keeping the Long Beach job till I was doddering along with a walker.  Now, I just think “two more years” (what counts as full retirement age for social security), because the thievery has sapped some of the joy out of the job.  The beach approach planters used to be beautiful, before whatever happened that brought on so much thieving.

From the glory days:

one of the beach planters in 2015

Allan weeding one of the western Bolstadt planters in 2015

3 Aug, beach approach; these planters have to be relatively drought tolerant and very salt wind tolerant.

It makes me sad to compare photos of how good they once looked to how they look today.

A reader of my instagram had a suggestion that had already crossed my mind, that each hole could have a sign that said “This empty space courtesy of a plant thief.”  That wouldn’t look appealing to the tourists.

Now….I will keep my focus on the downtown planters and parks.  I am done with even trying to replant on Bolstad. I have to stop my blood from boiling about this or I won’t make another two years of living, much less working.

We went home early because the wind was unbearable at 35 mph.

A block and a bit away from home, we applied some water from big green jugs (formerly kitty litter containers) to our newly planted bed at the fire station, under a wide eave so not getting much rain.

not much going on yet (Allan’s photo)

Frosty was thrilled to have me home early.

I calmed down by making about fifty santolina cuttings (feeling just like Carol Klein!), potting up some plant sale starts, and writing four blog posts.

Berms and santolinas got erased from the work board. Sweet peas and poppies have appeared as the next round of tasks. The beach approach weeding will have to wait.

Next day I realized I must add Boreas Inn to both sweet peas and poppy lists. Susie hasn’t had sweet peas since we passed the job to someone else two years ago. One of the reasons I took it back. I hope I can have sweet pea success like I used to there.







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Tuesday, 4 September 2018

The day began stressfully with a letter from the Social Security administration saying that Allan had been dumped off Medicare.  Two hours on the phone ensued.  There had been a misunderstanding (his) re how the full amount gets paid—too complicated to explain how it happened.  The money got sent as soon as the phone calls were done and meanwhile we are waiting in hope that he is reinstated without having to reapply.  I am glad that I did not know that he was only partially ensured when he drove to Ocean Shores and back on September 1st.  (Update, ten days and many lengthy phone calls and emails later, he has still not managed to get reinstated and they will not cash the darn check.  My teeth hurt from grinding them in my sleep.  Like many women I know, I fear becoming destitute because of medical bills  I am worried about this situation on the daily.  It is the unwritten undercurrent in the next ten days of blog posts, since the blog is running ten days behind.)

A friend who works with the elderly said she sees piles of Medicare related paperwork in their homes.  She used to wonder why they did not just get it sorted out, until she became Medicare age herself and found out how complicated it is.

So I worked today in an intensely worried frame of mind, and we got started over two hours late.

Long Beach

Watering the street trees and planters…

We are deadheading as usual but leaving tatty looking plant foliage just to keep the planters full through Rod Run, in hopes that full planters will discourage sitters.

I look forward to trimming them up next week.

Why is one Geranium ‘Rozanne’ across the street red leaved and dry looking?

I went back across the street and watered it a second time.  The leaves did not look diseased on close examination.

I hope.

Hesperantha starting to bloom, a sign of fall (Allan’s photo)

New paint job on Carnival Gifts.  I like a blue building.

I found a rock from Yakima Valley Rocks.

Although the sky was as blue as the rock, the cold wind made it a challenging three hours of watering.  The east side of the street was much colder than the west side, and fortunately I did the east side first and was pleasantly surprised by the west side being less miserable.

You might recall my sadness while working on my cat memorial garden last weekend ago and my missing Smoky so much.  And my revelation that it’s because a really affectionate and bonded-with-me cat had not come along, not to replace him, but to be a comfort.  As I was close to the end of watering, an acquaintance came up to me and said she had 16 cats to rehome, from a cat collector who had recently died.  I asked if any of them were lovey dovey lap cats and she said “Mittens!”  I said “Text me after Rod Run and we will come have a look at them.”  If one of those cats is the special cat I need to help me stop grieving daily for Smoky, I might stop being a cynic about all things “woo woo” and might think something cosmic has happened.

There is also a Newfoundland dog…my favourite breed….a non drooler!  And he is used to being left home during the day.  But no.  No, I mustn’t.  I like my sleep too well to be getting up in the night or early morning to let a dog out.  Surely.  (Update ten days later—I have not been contacted about the cats. Maybe it is just as well; I would rather adopt a new cat during staycation.)

We got done at four. (Allan’s photo)

We did not have time to water the Shelburne.  I was ever so glad we had done so on Sunday after Cella’s party, or we’d have been in even worse trouble today.  (I don’t mean trouble with the Shelburne owners, just trouble with how to fit in all the watering after starting late.)


I put on my sweatshirt and winter scarf to weed and water at the boatyard, while Allan watered the downtown trees and planters.

Why must I find pulled up elephant garlic every time?

I break up the cloves and replant them.  Often, the puller-upper does not even take the flower.

After an hour of weeding, I watered from behind the fence.  I was concerned because one of the ceanothus looked all brown on the back side.  I hoped it was not because someone had sprayed any weedkiller or random boat chemical.

The second ceanothus looked fine.

I trimmed the burnt looking foliage off the first one.



On further thought, no one would spray roundup that high up.  So the mystery remains.

I hope nothing bad spreads to the middle and front of the ceanothus.  I have a matched set and if one dies, the symmetry will be thrown off in a way that would be most distressing to me. (Update ten days later; they both look fine so far.)

There are two ceanothus and a cistus, and one rosemary (because one died, and I have not managed to replace it).

Stipa gigantea

Allan picked up me and the trailer of weeds and took us both home, where I watered containers while he went back out to water our volunteer gardens at the post office and fire station.  Yesterday, at Cella’s party, he pointed out to someone that I come up with these volunteer gardens and then he is the one who has to water them.  True.




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Thursday, 26 July 2018

The Depot Restaurant

weeding, deadheading, watering….

a vignette at the Depot

Amazingly, the dierama wands have not been broken by parking cars.

Long Beach

We started by tidying the garden at city hall.

elephant garlic before…

and after (Allan’s photo)

One of the clothing shops has been painted a deep red, the color of my grandma’s little red house (and with white trim, too).

We watered the planters, and these two are the only other photos I took on the main drag.

I love all the healthy agastaches, here with Calif. poppies and the great ‘Hopley’s Purple’ oregano.

a meadow effect with golden oregano

Allan’s photos:

Fifth Street Park

We ran out of downtown time before trimming the Alchemilla mollis.

After downtown, we watered the eight planters on Sid Snyder Drive.

It was dinner time at one of the horse ride corrals.

I’d been hoping to see a pony in the little corral.

We next checked on the welcome sign, where the cosmos are refusing to bloom, and gave them some bloom fertilizer.

lush and feathery with no flowers


a couple of flowers on the back side

I have had all sorts of cosmos problems this year.  At the Shelburne, some are fine (especially the new one called Cupcake) but others are tall with no flowers.  At Diane’s garden and the Depot and Long Beach’s Fifth Street Park, some that should be tall Sensation mix are short (but not short enough to be a mislabeled Sonata mix).  I did not fertilize each little plant while planting this year, having read that fertilizer can make them shoot up tall with no flowers.

I have always had cosmos in the welcome sign, and have had this problem before but not this badly.  I think perhaps I need to give up there and try a different plant—something with enough height to stand up to the Geranium ‘Rozanne’, something that will take our cool climate (no zinnias, for example), and an annual so that it can come out for the spring bulbs (and for horsetail clean up).

Shelburne Hotel

This is where I had been longing to be. We watered, weeded, deadheaded.

a good healthy agastache

in the back courtyard

‘Sunset’ runner beans grown by Roxanne of Basket Case Greenhouse

Front garden, looking south, with white phlox and Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’

Nasturtium ‘Phoenix’

Front garden, looking north (I noticed the pub sign had not been hung up for the day.)

lily, with billows of unblooming cosmos

looking south from the north end

I resolved that we must mulch the frustratingly sparse looking north end.

The most northern, outside the fence bed was apparently a repository for all sorts of extra perennials, and all we have done to it is weed it.  I’d like to make it more interesting next year.

rather dull with lots of asters and orange montbretia, which have got to go.

I don’t know why I didn’t already make it better; we started this job in late February, as I recall.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Euphorbia characias wulfenii can stay.

We also learned that one more upstairs room had a balcony with a miserable little pot of half dead plants.

Allan’s photo of the private deck of room 11

He schlepped it out of the room and down the stairs.

We will replant it with something next week.

I looked at the garden from various sidewalk aspects.

This patch of Crocosmia is slowly succumbing to rust, due to too much shade and not enough air circulation.  I later came up with an idea for next year.

I longed to finish the day with a meal in the pub, but we had to leave so that we could water…


I gave the boatyard an hour of weeding and a half hour of watering while Allan watered the street trees and planters.

boatyard garden

the west side of the boatyard

Across the street from the smaller boats to the left is my old garden. The fellow who bought it from me, an accomplished and creative carpenter, has it almost paid off.  I would love to see the remodeling he has done.  I dream sometimes about going there and finidng it all changed.

My “please don’t pick me” sign on the Echinops appears to be working.

watering from behind the fence

I’m going to divide this vigorous helianthus into several more clumps.

same audience every time I water here

One of the two chickadees posed as a figurehead.

I am pleased the deer don’t eat the lilies.

Meanwhile, Allan had pulled the flower-jacked gladiolus corms.


I still do not know who sticks glads in the planters.  It is not working out well as the flowers get so frequently stolen.

I went with Allan to weed while he watered the fire station garden when he’d finished the planters (at 8 PM).

our volunteer garden at Ilwaco Fire Dept.

my two terribly slow ornamental corn plants from seed

When we got home at twilight, I was pleased to see that the Norwood house had been painted a pretty pale blue by Precision Coast Painting, which had accomplished this excellent job quickly and quietly without a noisy paint sprayer.

A pretty addition of colour to our street



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23 July 2018: 

I photographed 17 of the 18 downtown Long Beach street tree gardens for my reference. I often feel that these are miserable little gardens.  They get walked on, kids and dogs rootle through them, bicycles get parked on them, and they only get watered once a week. Many of the plants are free divisions that I scrounged up back before there was much of a plant budget.  I always tell myself I will make these tree gardens better.  It is a struggle because of the difficulties just described and because cool new plants will get stolen.  The cooler they are, the sooner they’ll be swiped. (Thorny plants do not prevent theft.) Annual seeds don’t seem to take well in these little beds.  I’ve tried assorted California poppies with little success.  Sometimes I manage to get a Cerinthe to grow, but by this time of summer they are done.

They all have good bulb displays in springtime.

The first four blocks going south to north have four trees each, and then a block is skipped, and the sixth block (by Dennis Company) has two trees.  The trees themselves are a columnar pear and an ornamental purple leaved plum.  We don’t prune them or deal with them other than watering or maybe pruning a lower branch.

The photos were taken while I watered planters and Allan watered trees.  I photographed some of them before he got to them to tidy them up while watering.

From south to north:

Block one:

west side, First Place Mall

I often regret planting variegated vinca in the tree garden by First Place Mall.  It is aggressive and has taken over, battled by Hesperantha, which I also somewhat regret. At least the vinca is variegated and thus rather pretty.  It’s low maintenance except for persistent big grass weeds and cutting the vinca back hard once a year.

East side, below Paws by the Sea
East side, below Paws by the Sea

Rugosa rose self seeded into this bed and I let it, thinking it was charming at first.  Now it is totally taking over, and if we shear it back and pull some once a year, it is prettier than a lot of the other tree beds.  It is smothering two Lonicera that I intend to remove this fall (and put in a park, probably).  One end seems to consistently get walked upon and is therefore bare.

east side, north tree
east side, north tree

An untrampled tree garden with lavenders, santolina, Knautia macedonica, and some blue scabiosa, Eragrostis curvula (grass).  There are no busy tourist businesses nearby so this one fares pretty well.

west side, Credit Union

Only slightly trampled, has santolina, some sad hesperantha, some well behaved (so far) Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, some Knautia macedonica, some low sedums. I wish it looked more interesting.

Block two:

east side, Anchor Realty

A vigorous Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ reigns here, with the edges having golden oregano and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ that get walked on just a bit.

West side, bike rental place

Golden oregano with Pennisetum ‘Heavy Metal’, which I am sure looks like a weed to most passersby.  Some badasters crept into this one, and some actual weed grass. If only people understood how cool ‘Heavy Metal’ is, this would be a success, especially since this tree has no working plumbing so has to survive on Allan’s bucket watering.

east side, Benson’s restaurant
east side, Benson’s restaurant

I suppose that huge and rather tatty lavender could go, but it would be hard to get a new one established, so it stays.  This bed has a big creeping sorrel weed problem.  Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, a white catananche, some oregano, some lady’s mantle that snuck in here.  This tree garden seems to hold its own.

west side, Malai Thai restaurant

Has Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, beach strawberry that I do not want because it gets in everyone’s business, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ behaving itself on one side, looks good in spring because it has a good yellow primula. Verbascum and yellow evening primrose which I have gone soft on pulling this year.  Despite how full it looks, people have parked their dogs and their large baby carriages right in this garden.

Block three:

west side, Marsh’s Free Museum
west side, Marsh’s Free Museum

Too much hesperantha.  A catmint, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, a Hebe ‘Boughton’s Dome’, an invasive running blue “ornamental” grass that was given to me by a nurseryman with “try this”—regret quickly ensued.  Hesperantha looks pretty good when it blooms, but in the summer it is so thirsty and looks yellowish. For some reason the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ has not run rampant in this one.  Some golden oregano, too.  Allan came along watering after this photo was taken and cut back a lot of the Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’ (I hope).

east side, Mostly Hats
east side, Mostly Hats

It was mostly Geranium ‘AT Johnson’, which goes through such a sad stage when the flowers are done.  I pulled loads of it out a couple of years ago, with big ideas of adding some hardy fuchsias.  This tree gets so trampled by kids and dogs that I have not been able to get anything new going.  The fuchsias were quickly broken off and destroyed. It is frustrating.  We recently mulched it to at least make it look fluffy.  All the tree beds were mulched well in spring (or maybe it was last fall), but some are so scuffed up you can’t even tell.

Uh oh, I missed the west side tree.  I hope I remember to photograph it before this publishes.  Here it is, taken on July 30th.:

west, Long Beach Tavern

Has mint, which I tried to get rid of and now let be there because it is a survivor and is certainly well contained.  Two little variegated boxleaf euonymous which I love.  Two hardy fuchsias which amazingly survive.

As I took the photo, I saw something in my viewfinder, across the street.

child running in garden
child number two running in garden (had just jumped in and out)
While dad gets something out of trunk, two children repeatedly run back and forth through the little garden bed.

Unless I planted full sized sub shrubs there and managed to get them established well over the winter, nothing will hold up to this.  I think, no matter what I may have written elsewhere in this post a couple of days ago, that I just plain old give up on the trees on this particular block that get so thoroughly walked on.  Shrubs tend to get broken off (yes, even dwarf barberries got kicked to pieces in the Veterans Field garden).  I’m just tired now. I don’t want valuable money wasted on things that are destroyed, so it might just be a last ditch attempt at Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and Lysimachia punctata.  Back to the tour as written up not long ago:

Block four:

west side, Castaway’s Bar and Grille

One of the most frustrating tree gardens.  Just golden lemon balm, hesperantha, and a self seeded aster.  Two years ago we cleaned it all out and planted some lovely hardy fuchsias.  Within a week, we found a bike and later a large dog parked here, and the fuchsias were completely decimated.  So we gave up and let the horrible aster come back.  Pointless.

east side by Funland

This Lysimachia punctata is under this tree only, and it blooms for such a long time that I am thinking of adding it at least to the tree across the street.  I wouldn’t plant it in anyone’s garden.  There’s quite a lot of it at the Shelburne Hotel garden, and I am trying to eliminate most of it there.  It certainly stands up to all damage caused by pedestrians, dogs, and bikes.

Here it is from across the street:

west side, clothing shops

The plumbing is broken on this tree garden so it only gets an occasional bucket of water hauled from another tree’s faucet.  A low hardy geranium, one hardy Fuchsia magellanica (the other one got smashed to bits), and Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’, which is drying up by now, and Japanese anemone and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.  It will look quite sad by mid August due to drought.  It was planted when the plumbing still worked.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to redo it with succulents? But they would be swiped.  Here it is from across the street, showing how dry it is already:

east side by Pharmacy and Home at the Beach
east side by Pharmacy and Home at the Beach

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ has absorbed most of this tree garden, with some reseeded rose campion.  I don’t like Lucifer’s pushy ways, usually, and yet I am considering adding to a couple of the tree gardens that are terribly walked upon.  It also has Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson and a very prickly eryngium.

Block six:

west side, Dennis Company

Has some tough little sedums, self seeded alyssum, a variegated iris on one side (the other one got destroyed somehow), a helianthemum that does well but has such a short bloom time.  Major chickweed problem and one end gets constantly trampled, I suppose by people walking around the front of their parked vehicles, so is bare.

east side: Hebe ‘Boughton’s Dome’, catmint, sneaky badaster, santolina, dog daisy. Doesn’t get walked on much so does well in its own rather dull way.

One of the things I would enjoy most about retiring from Long Beach is seeing someone else figure out some better plantings for these tree gardens.

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Monday, 23 July 2018

Long Beach

We watered, deadheaded, and otherwise tidied the street trees gardens and planters. The wind was annoying but not terribly cold…yet.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo


Variegated bulbous oat grass, which to some looks like a weed.

But look! It’s variegated! (At least unless it reverts to green blades and then out it goes.)

Allan’s photo: Funny hats are a common sight in Long Beach.

new lilies in Fifth Street Park

For those familiar with Long Beach, you will know where I mean when I say the two garden beds just south of Funland are not ours to care for.  Funland just mulched them with these pine needles; both Allan and I found that interesting when we walked by it at different times.

my photo

Allan’s photo

Allan got done before me and pulled horsetail from the corner bed at Veterans Field, where he found a sign of the Friday Farmers Market:

among the Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’ (Allan’s photo)

I recently read that Brodiaea likes dry conditions and so am going to try it out at the port curbside gardens.

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ at the Vet Field flag pavilion

I wonder if after we finally retire from LB someday, will someone put in a more traditional red, white and blue garden?

I took photos of 17 of the 18 street tree gardens and am going to publish a reference post (just once, not every month) tomorrow morning. (There is a long, non-bloggable story of why just 17.)

Shelburne Hotel

We watered, including Allan checking on the upstairs balcony and deck pots.

room 4 deck

The rose that got moved to the room 4 deck is going to flower. I hope it is a good one and not some old root stock.  It is happy here.

I love working at the Shelburne.  The garden makes me happy.  Today was an intense session of thinning and editing, including pulling a sheaf of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ had appeared to have gladiolus rust and needed to depart the garden post haste, bagged.  There is way too much Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ spread all around anyway, although I did not feel as much that way when it was in full bloom.

Along the railing (right) is where I pulled suspect crocosmia.

I debated in early spring about whether to prune or remove that ‘Helmond Pillar’ Barberry. Glad I pruned the pitiful branches and let it revive itself.

The garden got some breathing room by the pulling of running aster, mostly.

I keep cutting back the Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ so it won’t block the pub sign from the street view.


When we left the sheltered Shelburne garden, we realized that a strong cold wind of at least 20 mph had kicked up.  It was blasting fiercely along the boatyard garden, where I had to water.  I felt tremendously sorry for myself, wearing a winter scarf in late July and so very cold.

not enjoyable at all

my audience

I wondered if the birds were cold, too.

The larger boats gave me some temporary shelter from the cold north wind.

I had no will to weed in the icy gale.

horrible horsetail

After watering and deadheading a few sweet peas, I just walked by the garden and on home.

Someone had picked more blue globe thistle right under one of the signs…

“Please leave flowers for everyone to enjoy.”

…and had pulled some out by the roots and just left it there.

Perhaps a passerby interrupted the thievery or perhaps the thief decided the stem was too stickery.

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ is looking brown instead of silver.

too much wind? not enough water?

?? why?

santolina with pesky self sown orange montbretia

I’d like to pull swathes of floppy California poppies, but not today.

My walk home:

mystery paths in the field across the street

First Avenue

Behind the museum is the Discovery Garden, which is now maintained by the Pacific County Master Gardeners.

Interpretive sign from the original park installation.

This was formerly a recirculating stream.

formerly upper pool of little stream

Our friend Bill Clearman helped to construct this memorial wall.  I feel that these big planters distract from viewing its beauty.

This was the unobstructed wall years ago.

The tiles are by Renee O’Connor.

As for the plans that the MGs have for this garden, you can read about their project here.  I am not a Master Gardener so am not involved in this volunteer project.  I admit to a prejudice against “native plant gardens”. It is a rare artificially created native landscape that doesn’t look just scruffy, in my opinion.  It can be done, by the brilliant Leslie Buck, for one.

I hoped to see some of the feral cat colony (featuring many orange cats with quizzical faces) further down the block.  They were all sheltered somewhere out of the wind.

On Main Street (which is not very “main”, being only two and a half blocks long).

Meanwhile, Allan had watered the Ilwaco street trees and planters with the water trailer, also not enjoyable I am sure (but at least it is a little bit in and out of the van and thus with breaks from the wind).

for those interested in the mechanics of watering the Ilwaco planters

We did not plant gladiolas in any of the planters.  Someone persists in planting them in the planters, and someone (else, I am sure) persists in picking them pretty much every year when they are at their best.

finger blight

I told Allan later to just pull out the foliage and corm when that happens.

I texted him when I got home; he had just started hose watering our volunteer gardens at the fire station and the post office.  A nine hour day for me and longer for him.


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I am trying to get this blog to be only one, not two, weeks behind before the next garden tour which is, in my garden-tour-experienced opinion, the best of the local tours by far, and so reasonably priced.

**Tuesday, 26 June 2018**

Our main mission was to water.  Fortunately, the weather had been cool and occasionally misty here at the beach so no plants were distressed by our five day absence.

Ilwaco Post Office

Ilwaco post office

Long Beach

Lots of people asked me to ID Allium christophii.

Allium chrisophii

California poppies, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Cosmos ‘Pop Socks’, Agastache (Allan’s photo)

Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’ and Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Alchemilla mollis in flower reminded me of how Riz Reyes defended it as a good plant.

sign of summer: a WSDOT (Wash. State Dept of Transportation) traffic counter (Allan’s photo)

I found out that a big healthy hydrangea had been removed and this area rocked over because someone thought hydrangeas were invasive.  It made me think about the Hardy Plant lecture about the book Planting in a Post Wild World and about how important green spaces are rather than heat reflecting paving and rock.  I was sad. Also flummoxed because who thinks hydrangeas are invasive??

Gunnera reflected, Fifth Street Park

I was disappointed as we drove home to catch someone we sort of know, who often passes by our gardens, who has agreed with us that picking and stealing is damaging, picking herself a big bouquet out of the Long Beach parking lot berms.  When I asked her to stop, and she turned, I knew who she was, and I was sad.  She said sorry, but I realized she was the same person that the city manager’s wife had seen picking.  How disheartening.

To go on watering required a dose of ibuprofen and tylenol.

Shelburne Hotel

elephant garlic

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ (Allan’s photo)

the first sweet pea (Allan’s photo)


I watered the boatyard while Allan watered the street trees and planters.

audience (Allan’s photo)

Allan left me the trailer for weeds.

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ and santolina

When we got home, we found that our dear friend Tony Hofer had toured the garden and left us a watermelon.

Thanks, Tony!

**Wednesday, 27 June 2018**

The Depot Restaurant


The Red Barn Arena

The “water me!” sign has been working.


Diane’s garden

Allan’s photo (showing the house next door and the big Red Barn horse trailer)

Diane wanted more flowers in one of her containers that just had subtle hardy begonias and a heuchera so we went to

The Basket Case

a welcome rain as we left the Red Barn (where we leave our trailer to go to Diane’s because her driveway is tight)

Basket Case greeters

my buddy, Buddy (Allan’s photo)

Greeting is hard work.

Basket Case co owner, Darrell (Allan’s photo)

Diane’s again

some filling in on the septic box garden

The new roadside bed is taking a long time to fill in….I should have planted more. (Allan’s photo)

Must remember, re perennials: “The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap.” But I should have filled in with more annuals.

The Planter Box

I was on a quest for some plants for a restaurant friend.

The neighbour’s cat was visiting Teresa.

Klipsan Beach Cottages

We got there pretty late, but we did get there!

birdbath view

The garden is full to overflowing, the way I like it. Beloved friend and KBC manager Mary likes more space between plants, likes some ground showing.  Now I have Planting in the Post Wild World to cite!

The tall plant is Thalictrum ‘Elin’.

Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ (with ‘Seashells’ in the corner)

Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’

OleBob’s Restaurant, Port of Ilwaco

In the evening, we redid some pots for our friend Chef Laura of OleBob’s.  They had been full of dead and dying pampas grass, of all things.

before, June 15th

Someone had pulled the pampas grass out, which saved us some time.

working on it

after, with pancho. Lemon balm and lemon verbena included for Chef Laura to garnish her tea. (Allan’s photo)

At home, I found THIS MANY snails on one cluster of lilies.  They went for a long walk.

my cute little nemesis

**Thursday, 28 June 2018**


I do love an all Ilwaco day.  Our mission was to water as many of the port curbside gardens as possible.

We started at the fire station where I was furious that someone had stolen a cheap little silly celosia.  Stealing from a volunteer garden and even worse from the volunteer firefighter’s garden!

There used to be three.

Fire Station garden (Allan’s photo)

We went on to weed and water along the port curbside.

the only eremerus of many that bloomed, and it is short. (Allan’s photo)

Let it be known that except for Time Enough Books and the Freedom Market gardens, we do the curbside only (left) not the business properties (right).

one of my favourite beds

When I got to my most favourite bed to take my usual photo, I yelled.

Someone had put great gaping ugly holes in my photos.

The santolina will recover. The lavenders might not.

I was livid.  I went to the port office, where I have been mildly agitating for some signs at the boatyard, and waved my arms around.  Of course, the office staff was supportive and upset on my behalf because they all love the gardens.  I posted the photos on Facebook, too, with an accompanying rant, and our dear friend Artist Don Nisbett spotted it.  He emerged from his gallery with this, which by the time he found me watering nearby he had already shown to the port; they just wanted him to add the word please.

He is going to laminate signs and the port will get them installed in my most favourite curbside beds and at the boatyard.  The number is the non-emergency police number.  I know they have better things to do than go after plant thieves…but…it was a brilliant idea to add that.

I am not a hugger, but Don got a big hug.

When we got home, Allan dug out a sickly hypericum stump for me, the one I cut back and later regretted…

I had time to sift out a couple of barrows of compost for the now empty spot.

looks like bin four is full of good stuff

I got one of my new ladies in waiting planted in one of my new troughs.

tag by Dan Hinkley, I do like that sort of thing.

At the end of the day, Don came over with a present for us.

T shirts!

Oh, why the crab, you might ask? Ilwaco is a fishing community and one of its biggest fisheries is crab.  Don had already made this “crabby gardener” art.  I don’t know who he was thinking of when he painted it. 😉

**Friday, 29 June 2018**

I woke up feeling like a cough or cold was brewing in my lungs.  This worried me because I am a hypochondriac AND because I am obsessed with getting to the Grays Harbor garden tour next weekend.  I canceled our Garden Gang dinner because of feeling poorly.

Skooter behind the garage

J’s and Norwood gardens

We started at the J’s, kitty corner across the street.  I heard meowing and looked at our house and saw Skooter watching us.

He is to the right of our driveway.

Blackberries that were coming from next door got cut.

Allan’s photo

Weeded the Norwood shade garden, too (two doors down)

our post office garden

Long Beach

Welcome sign finally has some colour, but is no Withey Price masterpiece…sigh.

We checked to see if the rugosa roses had been machine-trimmed on the beach approach, which I was hoping for.  They were not.  I felt very sorry for myself as I started to shear them.  They were out onto the road a few inches and this will not do for the heavy traffic of Fourth of July.

poor pitiful me

I sheared and Allan picked up. After, Allan’s photo

There was no street parking downtown, so we parked in the big parking lots.  I wondered if we are going to have to string trim the big center berm…and when?

We watered all the city planters in town but not the ones on the beach approaches.

I was grumpy because a new fence is blocking an alley where we have ALWAYS walked through with our hoses when there is no main street parking.

While working, I met a nice blog reader named Peggy, which cheered me up considerably. She offered to bring a crew of friends to help us put up our heavy cement bench!  I demurred because the garden is a mess and I have to focus on weeding for company next week.  It was awfully sweet and I may end up taking her up on it in August.

Allan’s photo

The nice Wind World Kites owner took my heavy bucket of water and walked it to the far planters in Fish Alley.  His greeting is always “How’s the hardest working girl in Long Beach?”

Thank you!

Shelburne Hotel

We watered.

Salvia ‘Black and Bloom’ in the back garden

Allan went up to water the sad rose on the balcony above the pub deck.  I was watching because it worried me; if it gets too much water, it will overflow onto the deck where people are dining.

casting a suspicious eye

It was going well, with the drained water from the rose pot going into the gutter.  Then it turned out the end of the gutter was missing and whoosh, a small waterfall went onto the deck, just missing a diner.  Thank goodness she was a cheerful and understanding sort.  I was so mortified I cried out NOOOOOOOO as the water fell, and then went and hid in the van. fretting that the episode would end up on Trip Advisor.  “I was dining on the deck and the gardener poured water on me and the other gardener was in the garden yelling NOOOOO and it was not a pleasant dining experience.  One star!”  We will NEVER water than rose again when anyone is dining.

I dared to emerge again and did some weeding along the front and was soothed by guests enjoying the garden.

sweet peas

front garden


Allan watered the planters and street trees and the post office garden while I watered and weeded the two west beds at the port.


after, with many oxeye daisies cut back or pulled.

I met two lovely people who just moved to Ilwaco.  I was so sure I’d remember their names, but have forgotten now.  I had pulled some elephant garlic out of this part of the Freedom Market garden…

…because people use it as a walk through. The new folks and I agreed that it is unexpected that people would walk and jump over the log.  But they do.  I gave them the bulbs to either eat or replant in their new garden.  I was so tired I was not up to finding a spot for them.

Meanwhile, Allan had been watering.

watering at the post office (Allan’s photo)

sanguisorba at the post office (Allan’s photo)

We finished at sunset.

Allan’s photo


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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

at home, an allium about to doff its cap

J’s garden

We weeded and watered.

Allan used his new blower to remove the rhododendron leaves from river rock, something otherwise difficult to do.

Allan’s photo

Ilwaco Fire Station

We checked up on our three month old volunteer garden.  I wish it would fill in faster.

Mike’s garden

More weeding.

Dianthus ‘Charles Musgrave’

Alan worked on the woodsy back garden area, which we have neglected due to lack of time.  His photos:


Long Beach

We collected another bucket brigade of Soil Energy mulch from our pile at City Works and mulched one of the 13 sections out on the beach approach.

rugosa roses


Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

single rugosa rose…

and doubles (Allan’s photos)

After coveting (again) the stone troughs of the Oysterville garden, I had cast my eye covetously on these old concrete thingies at city works that were removed when the water meter system in town was changed to something more modern.

Allan’s photo

Shelburne Hotel

Today we had time to give the garden some thorough attention.  I have realized while working here that it is the only place where I get the same sense of peace, kind of a floaty feeling, that I get in my own garden.  Not quite as much peace, because I cannot check on it every day, but almost as much.

a Shelburne frog (Allan’s photo)

A blog reader named Tina came up to me and introduced herself.  I always find that surprising and pleasing.

looking south from the north end

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ and ‘Jade Frost’, beloved of bees

Allan’s photo

callas with fallen rhododendron flowers (Allan’s photo)

the old rhododendron (Allan’s photo)

looking north from the entryway

In back, the totem pole garden

front garden, from the sidewalk as one approaches from the south

Port of Ilwaco

Because we did not have to water, we were able to work along a good long stretch of the curbside gardens just weeding.

east end of Howerton Ave

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

CoHo Charters

Allan weeded the Coho lava rocks.

passersby (Allan’s photos)


They were on their way to the store about ten blocks away.

Ilwaco Pavilion

The cry of outrage disturbing the evening peace of Ilwaco was me upon seeing that someone had stolen all the flowering stems off of one of the eryngiums in the newly planted area.

finger blight

Those plants were moved from the south side garden of the port office, which now looks like this:

Time Enough Books is doing a good job with their little planters this year.

More curbside Eryngium photos by Allan:

It was a ten hour day.

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Thursday, 7 June 2018

Today we will have used up all of our green jugs of rain water and now are completely dry.


Allan pulled the last three from under the dryer vent.

These are kitty litter jugs and so useful!

We began work today with watering at the ….

Depot Restaurant

…where I fretted over the escallonia ugliness.

If it were mine, I would take the sides back to the new green growth inside.

But that might look even more ugly for a public place.

Allan found frogs on the hose reel.

I have to get sorted whether this message on the sprinkler system means it only runs once every seven days…

north of the dining deck

white camassia

SE corner of dining deck

Long Beach

welcome sign

The welcome sign is still blah.  Why are the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ so slow to bloom this year?  Our work does not involve the sort of bedding out for every season that some city gardeners do.  We have to wait for the summer show instead of making an extra late spring show.

We checked on Fifth Street Park….

Fifth Street Park’s four quadrants

NW Fifth Street Park

I saw that the Dorothy Perkins rose was in a terrible mildewy state.

disgusting; was chosen by a landscape architect

Meanwhile, just across the street to the south, Rose ‘Super Dorothy’ is doing wonderfully as always.

Super Dorothy, chosen by me and Parks Manager Mike on a trip we took to Heirloom Roses

Allan took another section of poor old Dorothy, and I trimmed the one by Captain Bob’s Chowder.  I seriously think it should just be removed.  Because of rose replant disease, it might be hard to put Super Dorothy there, plus she is so strong she would soon hide the restaurant from view.

We watered the downtown planters.

I got asked several times about the identity of the Allium christophii.  One passerby who asked said that they were beautiful “but one is broken a block further up.”  It certainly was.

finger blight!!

I took the flower home, and as I write this a week later, it still looks good.  I would rather it was looking good in its planter than in a vase at home.

LBT’s pots (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

My next goal today was to mulch another section of the beach approach garden.  However, with an ominous feeling, I looked at Facebook to see if the Columbia Pacific Farmers Market was opening soon.  My plan changed when I saw it opens tomorrow (Friday afternoons, starting June 8th), so we had to tidy up the Veterans Field gardens.  They don’t even show much because booths block them during market hours, but I still must have them looking good.

I have gone off planting Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’.  Despite such pretty blue flowers, her foliage is floppy all over the place before bloom.  Most of the Vet Field time was spent pulling the foliage off, which is surely not advisable yet never seems to affect her coming back just as messy the next year.

Allan’s photo from a previous year: Brodiaea at the Ilwaco community building, showing the messy foliage

Look at the caption on this old photo.  I followed through, to my regret today.

Note: Plant Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’ in Vet Field garden. Great blue for early summer.

In the corner garden of Vet Field, I found an agastache that I had failed to pull (probably buried with brodiaea foliage).  Having had the opportunity to grow out of its diseased foliage, it did not, and the foliage still looks awful.  I am not going to name and shame the non-peninsula nursery that refused to give a credit on all these bad plants, but shame, shame, shame on them.


When I realized that the roses by the police station were encroaching on the sidewalk, I felt overburdened with responsibilities.  I sheared back the worst offenders, feeling grumpy.

After Long Beach, Allan watered the Ilwaco planters.  I was hoping for rain tomorrow so did not water the boatyard.  If no rain, will have to water it Saturday.  I wanted to get the Shelburne watered today, rain or no rain, but I could not find the energy to spend two hours working there while Allan did Ilwaco.  (Don’t ask me where he gets his energy; I am amazed.  He is famous for it among those who know him.)  We had dinner plans for eight with our garden gang.

Instead, I went home while Allan watered Ilwaco and rather surprised myself by spending the time vigorously shifting some heavy pots and tables around on our patio.

Allan got done with the planters in jig time and we were able to water the Shelburne after all.

Shelburne Hotel

back west garden

back south garden

Front garden, Nicotiana langsdorfii

Front garden, phlomis (Jerusalem sage)

front garden: success with evening scented stock from seed

We saw Thandi of the Sou’wester Lodge with her darling daughter, who had somehow managed to turn from a baby into a little girl.

Dave and Melissa joined us for our North Beach Garden Gang dinner meeting.

Dave’s French onion soup

Allan’s drink, an Arnold Palmer

tired working gardeners

Melissa and I comparing the effect of hard work on our hands

At home after dinner, I just happened to notice on the counter that one of the seed packets in my gift of a Gardeners’ World magazine is one of the plants that is high on my must have list after seeing it on the show.

I must sow them in July in a prepared seed bed and keep them moist.  Wish me luck.

We have two rewards for today.  By working a 9 hour day (Allan did, anyway), we now can take three days off.  If the rain comes, we might even get four days off.  One day includes the Astoria Pride parade, which I feel duty bound to attend even though, as always of late, all I want is to be home in my own garden.


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 Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Looking out my window (over the storage/water trailer/garbage area), I saw that the driveway was wet, oh joy!  Such a relief to know the gardens got some water.

Ilwaco Fire Station

I planted some assorted sunflower seeds at the fire station.

Ilwaco Post Office

I wanted to quickly plant 12 cosmos in our volunteer garden at the post office.  Quickly was not the word because of how weedy it had gotten.

It took an hour to make space and get the plants in.

While we were gardening there, someone from the port office came to get mail and told us that yesterday evening, she had seen a man and a boy picking an armload of flowers from the boatyard garden.  When she asked him not to, he was argumentative and said “No one is going to take care of them and I’m keeping them from dying.”  (“No one is going to take care of them”!!!!!!) She and I had a good conversation that I fervently hope will result, and soon, with some official “Do not pick” signage from the port.  Our polite little “Please leave the flowers for everyone to enjoy” signs are not working.

I thought of a few more things to say so I went to the port office while Allan planted cosmos in the office garden (south side).  The baskets from Basket Case Greenhouse had been hung.

Couldn’t get a long shot because the port truck was there.

curbside gardens on the south side of the port office

I did not want to look at the boatyard so we went on to add more to the planters in

Long Beach.

I am tired of planting.

I asked Allan to make room for a blue felicia daisy by the blue painted Benson’s restaurant.



The golden variegated vinca in that planter is beautiful but much too aggressive for my taste.

Allan was entertained while planting by motorcycle tourists.

taking pictures of their bikes

They asked a Long Beach crew member to take their photo with the frying pan.

The south east quadrant of Fifth Street Park:

Gunnera and Darmera peltata

Later, Allan photographed a hole where a trailing plant had gotten stolen.

I am upset. And tired of this.

We added a few cosmos to the west side of city hall.

Shelburne Hotel and Pub

Today was Melissa’s birthday.  Allan and I worked on the Shelburne garden for 45 minutes until the birthday dinner at the pub began.

the back edible and shady totem pole garden

front garden looking north

and south

In the pub:

avocado toast

chopped salad

pub burger

cranberry curd tart

Melissa declared her chocolate pot du creme the best ever.

Allan took an amusing group photo.

We stayed till well past closing time (with permission from bartender Juan).

On the way to our van, after Dave and Mel had left, we went into the back garden to see if the tiny daisy flowers of the Zaluzianskya (night scented phlox) were scenting the courtyard.  They were, intoxicatingly.

the lawn by night (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo, pub deck

At home, I was able to make the work list shorter by erasing Long Beach parks and planters.

*Annuals Planting Time AKA Annuals Planting Hell

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