Archive for the ‘garden touring’ Category

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Cowlitz River Dahlias and Succulents

We drove down a long woodsy road, one lane with turn outs for oncoming cars…

…till we arrived at a field full of dahlias.

You could wander the field with a clipboard, writing down which dahlias you wanted to mail order.  I could have but did not because I already have so many assorted ladies in waiting at home.

Allan’s photo

My photos:

The fluffy ones are amazing and have great colors, especially when they have speckles or are two toned…

…and picotee.

This one almost looks fasciated.

I love the spider dahlias.

The huge dinner plate style, though astonishing, are not my cup of tea.

My favourites are the ones with tidy spoon shaped leaves, especially the smaller pom pom ones (didn’t see many of those here).

Allan’s dahlia photos:

Apart from dahlias, we saw chickens…

and succulents and a few perennials (including Salvia ‘Amistad’, of which I bought two). I got me one of these:

Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ (Allan’s photo)

I had to get me one of the Albuca ‘Frizzle Sizzle’—new to me.

Albuca spiralis ‘Frizzle Sizzle’ (Allan’s photo)

Also had to try one of these (sorry, no photo was taken of the plant, yet).

For next year’s Bloomin’ Tour, I intend to be mentally prepared to order some dahlias, speckled, picotee, and spidery.

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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock Nursery

331 Buland Dr
Castle Rock, Washington
(360) 274-8388

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I did not want to be greedy when offered free annuals.  I would take them all for compost!  So I only took a few geraniums and begonias that I might be able to winter over.

Allan bought a fern.

Allan’s photo

The Book of Lists is an excellent book of plants that thrive in various conditions, and other such things.  It, and another book called Plants for Problem Places, were invaluable to me before the World Wide Web. I was pleased to see a book like that still in use.

Allan’s photo

Again I wished I still had my grandma’s old sewing machine (at least the stand).  I actually did used to sew on the old treadle machine, back when I sort of knew how to sew simple things, and it was the only one I had.

I saw a gorgeous tall Panicum and asked what it was.  Our garden host did not know.  When I saw three pots of Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ and its base, I was astonished.  Could the little knee high Heavy Metal Panicums under a tree in Long Beach get that tall if they had good water?

the three pots of Heavy Metal and the big specimen

But then the daughter and plant expert returned from lunch and said the tall one was Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’.  There were two gallon pots of it left and I snagged them both.

Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’

Any other admirers would be out of luck because of my buying the last ones.

I did later google ‘Heavy Metal’ and learned that it could get to four to five feet in better conditions.

I also bought some small gauras because I want them at the Ilwaco Fire Station. Someone at the nursery told me, and I later confirmed, that gaura is the official flower of Castle Rock.  Could be true of Long Beach and Ilwaco, also, as I sure do use a lot of them.

Here is where you pay.
Allan’s photo

That was such a pleasant shopping experience.  I hope to visit again next year, when perhaps the Bloomin’ Tour will be in early August rather than early September.  May would be even better…if it were less than a two hour drive from home.  I imagine that it is the shopping hub for gardeners of the Castle Rock area.

Next: a deliriously delightful display of dahlias.



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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock, Washington

Partridge’s Garden

The Partridge’s garden had been fairly recently installed by Backyard Blitz Landscaping, with one area toward the back still under construction.  The whole yard was beautifully laid out and of interest even though it was so new, and the house itself, also new, had an appealing and pleasing design.

from the street

inside the gate to the left
and to the right
and to the left again

I so appreciated that the bark mulch is brown and not red.  It makes all the difference, avoids that raw look and is restful to the eyes.

Allan’s photo

The garage doors were also soothing in appearance.

We admired the tilted posts on the house….

And, of course, we were most impressed with the pots.  The garden owner told us that they were planted by Nancy, whose garden we’d see later in the tour and who is big in the public gardening of Castle Rock.

On the east side of the house, a tall privacy screen blocked part of the house next door, and the new shrubs were given room to grow.

Allan’s photo

We had wondered why not all the fencing between the two houses was tall for privacy, until we found out that the owner’s son lives next door.

 Behind the house, we found a covered patio and more gorgeous Nancy pots.

Allan’s photo

…and lemonade and cookies on offer.

 We were invited to go next door, through an open room and onto a pool patio, to see more stunning pots.

I do wish I could get the chartreuse ornamental sweet potato vine to thrive at the beach.  We just do not seem to have the heat.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

I had made a new friend.

Allan’s photo

We returned to the big garden next door.

To the back, this area is soon to be completed.

On the other side of the large outbuilding, we found a productive kitchen garden.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

We continued our walk around the new ornamental garden.

Allan’s photo
at the front again
a last look

We saw the owner of this garden again later, at Nancy’s garden, and she agreed that her garden could be on the tour again to show its progress.  We would be interested to see that.  One thing that I appreciate about this tour is that the landscaping company is given credit where credit is due.  In fact, they were hosting this garden, but we did not get to meet them because they had gone to lunch.

Next: Castle Rock Nursery.


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Saturday, 7 September 2019

When we had discovered the Castle Rock public gardens two years ago on a drive to Evan Bean’s garden, we had just missed the annual tour by a month.  Last year, the tour didn’t happen, so I’d been looking forward to it for two years!

We left Ilwaco at 8 AM and arrived at the first garden, east of Castle Rock, just before 11 AM.

The Gardens at Stillmeadows

The garden name had made me eager to ask if the garden owners were fans of Gladys Taber, a favourite author of mine who wrote memoirs about her home called Stillmeadow. No, Still Meadows Lane is the name of the road along which you will find this large garden and overnight retreat.  You can read here about how the owners transformed “a mess of brush and blackberries” into a rambling garden acreage.

As planned in advance, we met Debbie, Dana, and Dawn from up north as we arrived and as they were leaving for the next garden.

me, Bailey, Debbie, Dawn, Dana

This was the only time we saw them all day because they were running an hour ahead of us on the tour.  We had a good but short visit (and they gave me flower pots and some garden decor, thank you!).  Allan and I then walked up the hill toward the garden, guided by our new friend, Bailey.

The gift shop, to the right on the way up the road, was closed for the season.

Now I so wish I had my grandma’s old treadle sewing machine.  (I sold it before leaving Seattle 26 years ago; it was so heavy) Something like this idea is genius for making a window box without attaching hardware to the window frame area….or just the idea of using something other than a standard window box.

To our left, we followed the sound to a waterfall.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
a bit further uphill

The first of two houses is a manufactured home similar to ours. (Of course, I loved that.)

It has an intricate front porch arbour.

Between the first and second house is the entrance to a secret garden.

Allan’s photo

We continued to explore the entrance garden on the way to the retreat office, located in the second house.

one of four elusive kitties

Take a drippy paint can and turn it into a vase with same colour flowers.
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

A large seating area near the office would be perfect for dining al fresco while staying in one of the retreat rooms.

We met the friendly garden owners and then wended our separate ways down the hill into the lower gardens.

path to the sauna

A path gravel worked its way gently downhill.

looking back

Allan’s photo

The tour was perhaps not as well attended as it should have been.  I saw only two other people in the garden, a couple who delightedly commented about the imagination required to create such a space.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
lower right, above, seed heads of a favourite of mine, eryngiums
Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’, one of my favourite late summer bloomers

At the bottom of the hill awaited an impressive stand of sunflowers, cosmos, and zinnias.  I love zinnias but don’t seem to have enough heat to grow them at the beach.


A dahlia garden came next as one turns to another path back into the lower garden.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

Looking back at the dahlias…

Past the dahlias, a bridge over a river of blue fescue leads to a reflective pond.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

That must be the back of the sauna.

Past the picket fence, a path wound sinuously through the woods….

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

The woodsy path emerged at the base of steps leading up next to a waterfall.

Allan’s photo of a clever break in the railing as it crosses a stream.

Even though the stairs were easy enough, with a sturdy railing, let’s go back around the long way, retracing some of our steps to see more, including a closer look at a grove of Acer griseum (paperbark maple).

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
returning to the upper level (Allan’s photo)

As we were leaving, we met Rosemary from St Helens (a lower Columbia River town in Oregon), who had sent me a beautiful greeting card after happening upon my plant sale last May.  What a lucky encounter today.

Rosemary and me

I do hope we meet again.

And I hope to visit The Gardens at Stillmeadows again in late spring or early summer.





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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Markham Farm

morning sun, tea and a pastry at the cottage

We were honored to be able to stay at the cottage, which is really not used as a guest cottage.  It is more of a library.  The real guest rooms are up some stairs in the old farmhouse, and Terri and Bill were so kind to offer us a one story dwelling out of sympathy for my physical problems.

We packed our belongings and drove down to the barn so that we’d be ready to go garden touring later.

by the driveway
Ilsa awaiting company

Teresa of The Planter Box had already arrived from an overnight at Ocean Shores, and Kilyn and Peter soon arrived from their campground at Ocean City.

Peter and Ilsa

We walked all around the garden.

The European bladdernut tree (Staphylea pinnata)
Ilsa, Kylin and me
Teucrium ‘Purple Tails’ and a rose
a bright little bird
Woody, the old blind horse, is over 30 years old.
one of many hydrangeas
garden art
Terri, Teresa, and Kilyn
more hydrangeas
smokin’ smoke bush
another idea I want to copy (if I can find a big enough pot)

We found a frog by Waldo Pond, named because one looks for frogs in the pond like “Where’s Waldo”, and of course, a pun on Walden Pond.  As usual, it took me a long time before the pun dawned on me.

Allan’s photo
More frogs were in the pond. (Allan’s photo)
The beautiful water globe was a Costco find.
the blueberry field (for the birds)

We went down the trail to the beach.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo, Teresa and Ilsa

Back to the garden…


We went down the east slope to see the river of Geranium ‘Rozanne’.

at the bottom of the hill

a side path on the way up
looking down

After our Markham morning, we caravaned in three vehicles to visit Cindy’s garden, just a few minutes away.

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Saturday, 20 July 2019

Markham Farm

We arrived back at our guest cottage at 6:45 and had a look at the little garden there, where I saw tadpoles in the pond.

Allan’s photo

After a brief rest, I walked on down to the farm ahead of Allan.  The evening sun highlighted the garden bed that I saw the first time we visited here two years ago; I remembered that moment when I knew we had arrived at a wonderful place.

While I am not well traveled, I have toured dozens of Pacific Northwest gardens and this is my favourite of all.

One of the reasons I love this garden best: It has horses.


Woody (Allan’s photo)

Verbena bonariensis

left side of the driveway

the pollinator garden

an embrace


I kept wandering, with Barry and Gus the only residents I had seen so far.

The property includes many wooded acres and a beach.  The garden itself is three? or five? acres.

The giant white froth of persicaria above is well behaved and is not Japanese knotweed.

looking back along the driveway

I entered the shrubbery.

hypericum in foreground

Another reason I love this garden best: It is multi-layered and intricate with little or no space between plants, and yet the plants are also well defined.

Another reason I love this garden best: lots of hydrangeas.

an enviable Hydrangea aspera

dinosaur footprints, which I soon learned were a recent acquisition, destined for the grandchildren’s woodsy camp

Allan’s photo

repurposed satellite dish

Right about here, I heard rustling and met Terri and Ilsa wandering the paths from the other direction. We then wandered together, soon joined by Allan, and Terri showed us some favourite plants.  She said she had recently realized she “gardens in vignettes.”

(Terri, Ilsa, Bill, and Barry are four more reasons that this is my favourite garden.)


Waldo Pond has a little leak this year.


when Allan found us

the light at 7:50 PM

Ilsa leads the way.

daylily, maybe Ice Carnival

Allan’s photo

We walked to the other side of the driveway to admire some new daylilies.

looking toward the blueberry field/bird feasting area

Terri had limbed up the Fuchsia magellanica by the pavilion (an old remodeled garage, site of an old forge).

I remembered how I’d limbed up fuchsias in my old garden and now felt inspired to do so again when we returned home.  Another reason this garden is a favourite: it gives me ideas.

I doubt I have the story entirely right about the sculpture, below; something like…it used to be in Terri and Bill’s old Seattle neighbourhood, and then it was sitting out for free and they were able to snag it and bring it to Markham Farm.

Another reason this garden is my favourite: It abounds in garden art, much of which  is found, upcycled, or gifted, nothing ostentatious, nothing that tries to be more important than the garden.

After our garden walk, we entered the house…

..for some cheesecake garnished with three kinds of berries.  The dessert was deliciously photogenic but good conversation distracted me from saving its image for posterity.

kitchen window

We were able to return to the guest cottage without feeling the sadness of departure, because tomorrow we’d be in the Markham Farm again with friends.




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Saturday, 20 July 2019

Gardens, Sea and Art tour

presented by the WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties

Ocean Shores

Garden 8: Fruit, Berries and Roses

Allan’s photo

A path winds through front garden trees…

…to a fenced side yard full of fruits and veg.  I am always impressed with a successful kitchen garden, especially in a maritime climate.  Kitchen gardening is something at which I do not excel.

a serious deer fence (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo

lemons and oranges


Allan’s photo

roses and grapes

at the back of the grapes


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo

inside the green mesh house

Allan’s photo

potted paulownia tree

into the back garden…

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

..where a path led off into the woods.

We returned to the front garden and made our plans with Peter and Kilyn for an early dinner.

Peter contemplates the front garden

Allan and I waited till Teresa caught up and then we all met at…

Galway Bay Irish Pub

Allan’s photo

We enjoyed our meal and could see why an Ocean Shores friend had recommended this place.

bangers and mash

potato soup

Just before we left, we found that if we went through the Guinness door…

…we would come upon an dining patio that looked most appealing.

It lacked the large table that we had needed for our excellent feast.

We parted ways, till meeting again tomorrow morning at Markham Farm.

pink petunias on the way to Markham

The last page of the tour booklet:

Still to come before returning to the workaday world: Markham Farm, of course, and a return visit to Cindy’s garden, one of our favourites from last year’s tour.





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