Archive for the ‘garden touring’ Category

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Surfside Yardscape Tour

We continued our tour with four gardens on one block at the north end of Surfside.  Each had a septic vault, common with new septic systems.

3. “RV lot designed for easy care, easy access. See a new septic vault installation.  Compare to the vault just across the street, to see the transformation!”

Surfside allows RV dwellers, with some restrictions. I think that one rule is that the RV can’t be left all year.

In this small lot at the north end of Seabreeze Lake, we viewed new planting on a new septic vault.

A lake view sit spot…

…..would make for wonderful birdwatching.

4. “Gorgeous front yard planted with mature, low maintenance varieties for the above ground septic vault.”

Right across the street is a mature septic vault planting.

This garden wrapped around to the back of the house.

love the driftwood fence and arch

The back garden segues into the wild woods.

a handsome gunnera
Allan’s photo

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

Cellophane gives the look of water. (Allan’s photo)

We like the list of questions that most gardeners answered.

I could be very happy with that woodsy back garden view.

5. “Another easy-care, low water use yard, with planted above-ground septic.”

Allan’s photo

I love the look of the boardwalk, although one of the advantages of a septic vault garden is that it is the perfect height to weed while standing next to it. It is too wide to reach the middle, though.


Allan’s photo

I am a little uncomfortable about the Round Up.  Let’s just say it is not what we do.

Allan’s photo

Next: Just down the block, a wonderful garden that we have visited before.  I have heard that its owner was the inspiration and helper for the septic vault gardens all down the block.



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Saturday, 29 June 2019

Surfside Yardscape Tour

Surfside is directly across from Oysterville on the ocean side of the Long Beach Peninsula  Its addresses are “Ocean Park”, which may be why it’s hard to find a map showing it by name.

We began at the Homeowners Association office.

Yay, a garden tour!

Inside, informative displays and handouts were on offer.

The neighborhood has two particular fire hazards, beach pines and dune grass.  The unamended ground is sand.

Excellent.  This was a serious garden tour.  I picked up the current Washington State noxious weed pamphlet and other useful literature and the attractive trifold tour pamphlet.

We each were given a free packet of seeds along with the tour guide.

view out the window of the Surfside canal

 I was sorry to see that Surfside resident George Miller’s garden was not on the tour. I had been sure it would be, having seen his many photos of its beauty on a local gardening Facebook group.

On to the first two gardens, one on a small lake and one on the oceanfront.

1.  “See what you can do with a small space and waterfront property.”

The north end of the peninsula is where sand dollars are to be found.

Seabreeze Lake

The owner had a Green Goddess calla lily and had hoped for a white one.

I told her I’d be happy to trade a white one for some starts of that green one!

blue and white lithodora (Allan’s photo)

2. Beautiful, owner-created front yard, easy-care, water-wise perennials, deer-resistant plantings.”

Allan’s photo

The house fronts onto the dunes.



We learned that our friend Ed Strange (now retired from landscaping) had helped design and install the hardscape.

This dwarf buddleia was much asked about.

We saw the informative handout and realized that every garden had one; we had missed it at the first garden. What an excellent idea.

As we drove on, we passed the free chipping site for residents.  It’s a good idea because it prevents flammable piles of debris.

Surfside has a somewhat controversial ordinance that all shore pines on properties on the flatland must be pruned to a certain height to preserve the view of the people on the hill. We had just missed a lecture from the knowledgeable Arbor Care arborists from Astoria.  I would be interested to know if they feel that all that topping affects the health of the trees. It must create a lot of chipping material.

Next, three septic vault gardens (or as we call it in Diane’s garden, “raised box”; now we know the real name).


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Monday, 24 September 2018

McCormick-Stephens garden

We ended our garden tour day with Beth and Ketzel at Steve and John’s garden.  I always like to save it for last, because it is the biggest, because each specimen plant needs proper attention paid, and because a visit usually involves some pleasant lingering and a nice cuppa.

I had learned earlier in the day that Ketzel is an aficianado of species rhododendrons.  I’d had no idea.  This was the perfect garden to show her.

an exciting start by the front door

All day, she had been “flying under the radar”; either our earlier garden hosts were playing it cool or they did not know that she is a BNG (Big Name Gardener).  Steve and John did know.  Beth, renowned Cannon Beach and north Oregon coast gardener, had met Steve, John, and our earlier garden host, Ed, when she had attended the annual garden tour this past July.

John had his binder full of garden maps and names to identify the plants.

Ketzel asks for the names of the blue leaved rhododendrons.

upper garden near the house: left to right) R. ‘Senator Henry Jackson, unidentified, R. degronianum ssp. yakushimanum ‘Ken Janeck’ Form

Allan’s photo

I am RESOLVED to do a notebook like this for my garden.  (As I have said for the last two years.)

dahlia and kitchen garden by the pump house

We walked down to the bay side of the house, where two small rhododendrons tucked into the mound of an old stump were petted and doted on.

R. keiskei var ozawae ‘Yaku Fairy’

(neighbour house in background)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

R. degronianum ssp. yakushimanum ‘Yaku Angel’ Form

Steve and John’s house, by local architect Erik Fagerland.

the evergreen huckleberry dell

Beth knew from having been on the recent garden tour that there are 80 huckleberry balls.

variegated eucryphia at the SE corner of the house

We returned to the west side and began our walk through the several acres.

north side of driveway near the house

Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’ (left)

Steve and Ketzel

My favourite rhodie, Rhododendron degronianum ssp yakushimanum x R. pachysanthum.  I do not have that memorized.

Rhododendron ‘Cherries and Merlot’ (Allan’s photo)

We moved across the long driveway from the woodsy garden into the sunshine.

looking south across the irrigation pond

golden textures

looking south

Beth, Ketzel, Steve

Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Rotundifolius’

textures in burgundy

John’s notebook

one of the dahlias listed in the notebook page shown above (Allan’s photo)

(Background wooden boxes are on property next door.)

Allan’s photo

on the return walk up to the house

between the two wings

early evening light

Allan’s photo

We gathered in the kitchen for tea and biscotti.  Steve and John had Ketzel’s book ready for her to sign, with a pen made from the wood of Rhododendron ‘Duke of York’ and a photo of said rhododendron.


This interesting book was also on the counter and well recommended.

We lingered till an hour before dark and then departed because of the long(ish) drive back to Cannon Beach and Manzanita.  All were in agreement that it had been an excellent day.



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Monday, 24 September 2018

We continued the Oysterville part of our Peninsula garden tour with Ketzel Levine and Beth Holland.

The Oysterville Garden

For posts which show how this extraordinary garden all ties together, see here, here, and here.

Today, we wandered through in bright sunshine which was not conducive to photographing any shady/sunny areas.

It is aster time in the Oysterville garden, where the gardener collects them because they are his mother’s favourite flower.

cotinus viewed from the road


Joe Pye, a grass, alliums

looking in the driveway

by the south terrace

on the dreamy terrace

Beth, Ketzel, Allan on the terrace

Allan’s photo

The bright sunlight made it difficult to capture the allée of Hydrangea ‘Incrediball’.

at the north end of the north-south back path

emerging from the allée onto the big north lawn

This lawn is what I think of every time I am tempted to make my grass areas smaller in order to have larger garden beds.

asters aglow

Ketzel and Beth

Discussion was had about two kinds of ilex.

One was taller; one had redder berries.

Allan’s photo

We wished we knew the names of the assorted aster cultivars.

curving back around to the front of the house

Allan’s photo

On the front porch…

We stood and admired the white begonias.

looking north

at SE corner of the house

front border

Gomphostigma virgatum (Allan’s photo)

We turned our attention to the garden to the south, now owned by a friend of the Oysterville gardener, who has extended the garden theme onto that property.

looking south into the neighboring garden

I think this is Senecio ‘Angel Wings’, also seen in the Kuestner garden last month.

Beth botanizing

We viewed the garden from over the picket fence.

outside: barrels with mounds of armeria (sea thrift)

Beth said some of the armeria cultivars keep their neat round shape.

a green echinacea

looking north

Allan’s photo (Solidago ‘Fireworks’)

Allan’s photo

an aconitum with shiny leaves

Leaving Oysterville after viewing its three most excellent gardens, we drove south down Sandridge Road to finish our touring day at Steve and John’s bayside garden.




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Monday, 24 September 2018

Our garden tour continued in Oysterville.

Martie and Steve’s garden

For a detailed and orderly tour of this garden, see here.

north side of driveway

At this entrance to the garden, Ketzel and Beth stopped and marveled at the silence of Oysterville.

Schefflera admiration

schefflera and restio (Allan’s photo)

Joe Pye was much admired.

still north side of driveway

south side of driveway

front lawn, looking northeast

on the front garden with Tetrapanax

south side of front lawn

south side of the house with Melianthus major

Allan’s photo

the croquet lawn with their guest cottage to the far left

astelia on north wall of pottery studio

(To my surprise, I learned that astelia works in dry shade and now I am strongly interested in acquiring some.)

looking into the pottery studio with Martie and Steve

the house from the studio

fire circle and also raku pottery kiln

Ketzel likes this bonsai.

northwest back garden

Allan’s photo

from behind the house

at the sculpture (Allan’s photo)

looking west from the deck

kitchen garden

Panicum next to the deck

Allan’s photo

on the deck

We heard about some of Martie’s future plans for the garden and then departed to continue our tour.

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Monday, 24 September 2018

When we went garden touring down to Manzanita in late August with Pam and Prissy, we had been joined by Beth Holland and Ketzel Levine,  When they learned we gardened on the Long Beach Peninsula, Beth and Ketzel were eager for a tour.  So today they arrived at our house at ten AM for a tour that I had arranged.  (We were almost joined by Ann Amato from Portland but she could not make it, and Pam and Prissy, unlike us, were working instead of skiving off.)

I had been pretty socially anxious about arranging the tour, having long been an admirer of Beth’s gardening from Cannon Beach to Astoria and having read all of Ketzel’s gardening columns when she wrote for the Oregonian.

You’ve seen hundreds of photos of our garden and our work gardens, so we will zoom through those.

our garden

Ketzel meets Frosty (Allan’s [photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

You can imagine how pleased I was that they liked our garden.

Next, we drove past the boatyard and the Port of Ilwaco curbside gardens and then on to the garden at

The Shelburne Hotel.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

from the pub deck (Allan’s photo)

Candles had been hung in the laurel for a weekend wedding.

We continued on for a brief look at Fifth Street Park in

Long Beach.

Allan’s photo

Darmera had seeded itself into the top of the Fifth Street Park waterfall.

Fifth Street Park (Allan’s photo)

Beth, me, and Ketzel

Allan’s photo

Ketzel was taking photos for a talk she was giving the very next day at the Nehalem Garden Club.  (I would have done my best to attend this previous talk at that garden club if I had known about it back in February!)

Ed Strange’s garden

We next went to our good friend Ed’s garden in Tides West.  Beth and Ketzel expressed appreciation for being taken to a garden on a small city sized lot as well as to parks and grand estates.

Ed was there to greet us.  Ketzel liked meeting Ed’s sweet dog, Jackson.

The day was perfect faux summer weather for garden enjoyment, not so much for taking photos.

Ed had recently cut back the huge leaves on his gunnera.

He described how he gets many seedlings by just laying the long seedheads down on the soil.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The placement and quality of Ed’s phormium was much admired. (Allan’s photo)

on the porch (east side of house)


between house and garage

Artistic upcycled plant stand

The back garden has recently turned from shade to sun from the cutting down of a substantial number of trees to the south.

south garage wall

west side of back garden

We then drove north toward Oysterville.  As we approached Nahcotta, everyone agreed that a lunch stop would be a treat. We were fortunate that one of the best cafés on the peninsula was open.

Bailey’s Café

Bailey’s, like the Depot Restaurant in Seaview, is housed in a former stop on the old Clamshell Railway.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The art on the walls was given a close look before and after lunch.

The tuna pita wrap is my favourite sandwich on the peninsula.  I don’t have it often because we don’t often pass this way.

the best!

With a burst of energy, we returned to our tour and headed on to see two gardens in Oysterville.








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Sunday, 16 September 2018

Sarah of the hilltop cottage had invited us to a party given by friends and former neighbours of hers.  We knew it would be pleasant to visit anyone she likes, so despite my usual non-party mode, we decided to go.

I went into our garden to pick some flowers.  My Lumix pocketcam is doing the oddest thing and randomly taking photos on its own when it is turned on.  So it got this:

Frosty went right with me.

It is not set on burst or multiple photos…such a mystery.  Click, click, utterly randomly timed click.

We’d had this much rain since yesterday:

a substantial amount, somewhat of a muddled rain gauge with weeds and buckets

I went into the greenhouse to pick some tomatoes on my last plant and had to move a spider to get in.  She had started her web again by the time I had the tomatoes picked.

upper right-ish, creating a web in the doorway

I am always in a rush when going out and I don’t pick a good backdrop for a bouquet photo.

Sanguisorbas ‘Korean Snow’ and ‘Pink Elephant’ are the stars.

And off we went.

The sign at the party location had a meaning that went right over my head.

As soon as we arrived at the little brown cottage where the party was held, Sarah appeared and also someone I fell in love with immediately: Bismarck, a huge and adorable Newfoundland.

Sarah, me, Bismarck and Mabel. (Marty’s photo)

Allan’s photo

A random camera click caught our host, Marty, in a welcoming pose.

There was also a kitty.

And another sweet dog, Lefty, so named because that is the paw she lifts to shake.


I was smitten with the little pond by the garage.  It is made from a swoopy shaped plastic pond just like the one I gave away because I could not figure out how to make it look natural.

I clearly did not try hard enough.

near the pond

Our hosts Marty and Bob had provided delicious burgers and sides for party food.  Because the weather had been predicted to be rainy, we dined at two tables in the tropically decorated garage with the big door open.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Bismarck and Bob

I learned that Bismarck is ten and has been part of the household since a few months old.

Allan’s photo

Bismarck’s post-lunch nap

Allan’s photo, me being the life of the party (not)

During after-lunch chatter, I learned that several guests were Sherlock Holmesians and had been attending a Holmes convention in Astoria, had walked around Astoria in costume and that the Andaman Island Resort sign refers to a Holmes story, The Sign of the Four.

I have to confess that I never managed to read all of Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories.  I have loved various incarnation of Holmes on telly, my favourite being Jeremy Brett.

And Tom Baker, my favourite Doctor.

After some literary conversation (with me just listening), I went out to take a turn around the garden.

in a cottage window

Bob likes trees.

In the back yard, Bob built an impressive walkway and stairs going down the steep hill.

Allan’s photo

My nutty camera caught my hesitation.

a pond in progress at the lower level

Bob’s plan is to have a waterfall going down next to the stairs.

road to the beach

The beach is just down there.

I returned to the party and Allan set off to see the boardwalk and stairs. He was impressed with the construction

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

During the talk about costuming and Sherlock Holmes, we had been shown a whole shelf of boxes labeled “costumes”.  I had a feeling that Marty and Bob might enjoy Halloween in Ilwaco so invited them to our second annual party, hosted by Tony and Scott at our house, saying they would not have to dress in costume.  Marty’s funny response was something like try to KEEP her from dressing up in a costume.  I do hope they come.

On the way home, we drove by the port gardens so I could assess their condition.  A new sailboat had appeared in the boatyard, perfect for sailing off to Andaman Island.

For the rest of the day, I journeyed into the past with the third memoir/garden book by Marion Cran, The Story of My Ruin.

Marion on creativity in the garden (written in 1924; she knew plenty of women gardeners):



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