Archive for the ‘garden touring’ Category

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

We were pleased to have time to visit the Oysterville garden, which has been on my mind.

looking in (Allan’s photo)

from the road

looking north inside the front border

below the terrace that always makes me misty eyed

chair pattern echoes the window

Allan’s photo

Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) was working there today.  I asked her what the soft white ball plant was and she said some kind of geranium!  I asked on “Plant idents” Facebook group and before I had added five more photos, I got the answer.

Geranium maderense ‘Guernsey white ‘

foliage of G. ‘Guernsey White’

Geranium maderense ‘Guernsey white ‘; Allan’s photo shows flower and foliage together

Melissa hard at work, applying liquid fish fertilizer (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looking south from the terrace

Allan’s photo for scale

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

the allée of Hydrangea ‘Incrediball’

the west end of the allée

the south-north path

Allan’s photo

tree fern unfurling


Allan’s photo


looking south

returning to the allée

looking west

looking back after emerging onto the lawn

clematis climbing a tree

the north bay of the lawn

inside the front border

along the front walkway


The lawn sprinkler turned me back along the way I came.

Melissa had kept fertilizing the pots (with fish fertilizer) the whole time we were there.  Allan had pitched in to help her.

the driveway from inside

Meanwhile, next door, a friend of the gardener has moved in and the garden is being expanded across the front of his house.

across the road, a meadow and Willapa Bay

Allan’s photo

looking across the front of the Oysterville garden before departing

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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

While Steve and John were away rhododendron touring overseas, we took a walk through their garden.  This will publish a couple of days after their return so that they can see some of the beauty that was happening at home during their absence.  Because we did not have their guidance, this entry is all about the beauty and not at all about education and plant names.

We walked down to the irrigation pond and back to the house again.

north driveway bed near the house

sword ferns (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

north side of the house (and a corner of the pump house)

Allan’s photo

the depth and layers of the garden, looking west

Some folks might be interested to know that at this point, frustrated with the misbehavior of my Sony camera (which will no longer zoom one little bit), I switched to a refurbished Lumix which had just come in the mail.  Some might also be interested to know that within a day it had already twice told me “Turn the camera off and on again”—not a good sign for longevity!

west side of house with look through to Willapa Bay

Allan’s photo

overlooking Willapa Bay and the evergreen huckleberry dell

south side of driveway near the house

north side of driveway

Allan’s photo

The light was very bright and dark.

south side of driveway, the grove of old rhododendrons, almost done blooming

tall white one in full bloom

another cloud of white

Allan’s photo

looking southwest to the newer part of the garden

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

north side of driveway, toward the irrigation pond

the irrigation pond

as we walk back up toward the house

at the house again; west side

the garden between the two wings of the house

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

window reflection

Welcome back, Steve and John!





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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Because of getting home early due to weather, I had time after blogging to finish a wonderful book.

Some impressive accolades:

I loved it all, especially the parts about Elliott’s own experiences.  Here are some of my favourite bits:

Because I have been an Anglophile since I first saw The Avengers at about age 12:

I wish there were a word for Anglophilia that included Wales and Scotland and Ireland.

I had thought that English ivy was not considered a noxious weed across the pond as it is here in the Pacific Northwest, but…

I have waffled about whether my alder grove is to be properly called The Bogsy Woods or Wood (a name suggested by my good friend Sheila (Harley Lady).  My question is now answered: Wood, for sure:

My favourite chapter is called Garden Touring.  I was interested to read about the organizers making sure the gardens were “up to snuff” and that a garden must provide forty minutes worth of interest.

I am a fast garden tour-er and it is the rare garden that keeps me for forty minutes on a tour day (when I am always anxious to see every one of the six or so gardens on offer).  Some that can keep me that long, even on a tour day, with ease are The Bayside Garden (which I must visit again soon….as soon as our beach approach job is done!) and the Markham Farm garden and Floramagoria.  I don’t think even my own garden could keep me busy for forty minutes if I were to tour it as a stranger.  By the way, I hear tell that the Markham Farm garden is going to be on the Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific County garden tour this July.  I am excited to see it again.

On an ordinary day, even a smaller garden could keep me fascinated for forty minutes as long as it has interesting plants.


I can’t find that garden online anymore, but another one mentioned, Garnons, is still there.

The Booby Trapped Carrot is a chapter about what I call Finger Blight.

Objects would be easier to trace than plants:

£50,000 in lost plants!:

I always picture my plant thief in Long Beach as being an older woman with a bag and a trowel:

And I always hope that she does not read this blog….

…and of course, thieves and tramplers are why our beach approach garden is now almost all rugosa roses instead of prettier and more delicate and choice plants.

This makes me want to cry:

In modern times with real life bomb scares, even in little Long Beach, we dare not even joke about these methods of deterrence:

I like this quotation by William Cobbett (from a book published in 1821, A Year’s Residence in the United States of America):

Elliot recommends three books by E.A. Bowles (for whom assorted plants are named) which I hope to read: My Garden in Spring, My Garden in Summer, and My Garden in Autumn and Winter.

I did not know this about contorted filbert (hazel):

This finally (sort of) explains to me what a laid hedge is:

If you are lucky enough to have access to the Timberland Regional Library, Elliot’s book is in their collection.  I am going to put all of his books of gardening essays on my reading list.

Two days later: Like the best books, this one kept me thinking about which gardens I have toured that would easily keep me engrossed for forty minutes.  Here are more that stick in my mind (and not all of them were huge; it is not all about distance and some smaller and intricate ones require walking around more than once).  You can click to embiggen the photos in the older posts:

Taming a Hillside in Aberdeen

For the Birds in Aberdeen

Froggy Bottom in Dupont

Fairbrook Garden in Olympia

Deerly Missed in Salem

A garden near Eugene

Danger Garden in Portland

Rhone Street Garden in Portland

I do not think my own garden could take 40 minutes unless I get it together to paint up a lot of signs with good gardening quotations.  I had them in place but the lettering faded off.

Charles Elliot suggests drolly that tea (tea and biscuits) or more elaborate “teas” (with finger sandwiches) keep guest lingering longer.  None of the above gardens had refreshments on offer and did not need them to keep me there.

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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Because we were on the north end of the Peninsula to see our accountant, we took the opportunity to take our first walk this year through the beautiful Oysterville garden.

The pear in the tree and a collection of hellebores were my first hint, a few years ago, that an amazing garden was being created here.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

A good friend of the gardener now owns the house to the south, and so a path and the lawn go through.  I would love to be neighbours here.

Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) fetch poop from the home of two fine horses, Skyrocket and River, in order to mulch this garden.

Most horse poop is weedy, but not this stuff.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo, along the driveway

The south side garden bed will be up to the height of the windows in summer; it is planned that way.

The perfection of the terrace always makes me weepy.

Allan’s photo

on the terrace

Hummingbirds were all over this callistemon.

Allan’s photo

The blue hills in the distance are across Willapa Bay.

Pittosporum backed with Melianthus major

Melianthus major (Allan’s photo)

Melianthus major (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Down the driveway, by the shed, are enough wheelbarrows for when a larger crew works on the garden.  (Sometimes Todd joins in, and the gardener himself works in it whenever possible, rain or shine.)

We crossed the hydrangea and hornbeam allée.

west end of the allée

the north-south path, looking north

a new boxwood back drop

Some old scrubby trees to the right (out of frame) have been felled, opening up the garden to more light.

Rhododendron ‘Rex’

Rhododendron ‘Sinogrande’

another R. ‘Rex’

tree fern in the garden

hellebores throughout

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looking east up the allée, with Allan taking a photo. Hydrangea ‘Incrediball’ was cut back for winter.

This is the telephoto he was taking, showing the steeple of the Oysterville church next door.

looking west

Allan’s photo

the lawn (east end) with the scrubby old trees gone

on the north side of the hornbeam and hydrangea allée

looking east

a stunning hellebore, wish I knew its name

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

peony foliage

in the front border

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looking across to the bay

I was ever so glad we had had an excuse to skive off work and go garden touring for an hour.



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Friday, 12 January 2018 

From my chair, written on my iPad, and inspired by Ian Whitcomb (see my previous post) to blather on a bit more than usual. 

I made it out to water in my greenhouse, the furthest I have gotten into the garden since picking bouquets for Allan’s party on January 2nd.  

The rain gauges showed the rainfall that has made staying indoors for the past week not too frustrating. 

Skooter accompanied me. 

Bulb foliage is emerging in the new window boxes. 

I hope I will be well enough to cut back the epimediums soon. Positive thinking: I will be. 

The fern that Todd gave Allan for his birthday:

I think back to that glorious January 2nd birthday and how wonderful it was to surprise Allan with a bigger party than he had expected. I remember how healthy and energetic I felt (little knowing I would be felled by shingles less than two days later) and how well chuffed I was to have managed, with the help of friends, to organize such a splendid shindig.

 I thought about how once a friend had sternly told me that no one should have a potluck party; it simply was not the thing to do, and no party should be held unless one could pull off a dinner worthy of Martha Stewart. She was not joking. I secretly thought, “Okay then, you won’t be invited to my 60th birthday.”  That conversation was the moment when I knew the friendship was doomed by a class difference too wide to cross. She was too rich for my blood. Something about the conversation disheartened me enough that I  later solved the 60th year party problem by decamping to the Sylvia Beach Hotel five days. 

Not only did I need to surprise Allan with potluck items for his big 65th (or he would have realized how big the party was going to be), but… working class people have potlucks and that is just the way it is. 

After Allan’s party, I kept thinking of people I wish I could have invited. My criteria was to invite people who have invited  us into their homes. I figured that then the invitation would be a pleasure and not a burden.  But I am sure I forgot some. I also forgot to give a shout out to J9’s party helper business, Have Tux, Will Travel.  As a guest, she slipped into party help mode, including washing up, and made everything easier. I also forgot to make a little fuss of celebration at the party that it was the 12th anniversary to the day of Allan moving here. 

My next big party plan is for July 2009, which will mark the 25th anniversary of when I moved to the town of Ilwaco.  That can be a garden party. 

Today, once I returned from my very brief foray outside, I settled in with an interlibrary loan. 

Here’s a clear shot of the cover. 

I had discovered this garden while on a walk home from a Capitol Hill housecleaning job to my home in Greenwood in the late 1980s.  I used to walk miles between work and home. Sometimes a two hour walk would be faster than taking three buses and would be a way to discover wonderful places. I nosed around the hillside garden, not sure if I were really allowed to be there, and visited it several times, without ever meeting the owners, before I left Seattle in December 1992. Recently, I saw that the garden was to be featured on a (very expensive) Pacific Horticulture garden tour weekend. Recognizing it by one photo, I learned its actual name and found its website, at streissguthgardens.com. (The website seems to be down as I write this so I can’t link to it yet.) 

You can read more about it here.  And here.

The beginning of the gardens is the perfect story of gardening neighbors:

I have sort of an obsession with gardening neighbors, especially after finding a chapter on that topic in the book Gardening from the Heart: Why Gardeners Garden. 

I have longed for the glory of a gardening neighbor and never quite got there. Once I thought I had, with someone nearby but not quite next door. I was wrong, and it was deeply disappointing. I have felt envious when touring garden neighbors’ adjoining paradises on garden tours in Portland and Aberdeen.

Back to the Streissguth gardens.  I enjoyed reading about gardening on a hillside of blue clay, as parts of my previous Ilwaco garden was like that.  I had had no idea of the battle to save the hillside from development.  The solution of donating their garden to the city was genius and so admirable. 

I appreciate their use of human powered tools. 

One of the principles of the Streissguth Gardens that strongly speaks to me : “a good garden and its house should be a gift to its neighbors.”

Those of you who live in or visit Seattle, do visit this garden and send me some photos, if you would be so kind. 

The last time I visited the garden, still not knowing its name, was with a friend in July of 2003. Not even sure if I could find it again, we drove Capitol Hill streets until we came upon it from above. 

Here are my photos from that afternoon. 

Looking down the hill to the garages at the bottom of the garden: That may have been one of the garden owners. We didn’t chat as she seemed very busy in the vegetable garden (and I was shy).

Looking to the north side into the private part of the garden, well described in the book. 

Down by the old garages at the base of the hill:

The damp areas by the pond that catches water run off:

The beauty of a hillside garden:

The friend I was with, lost now in the mists of time, was not a gardener and could not understand my rapture over the garden. I’m glad I took photos anyway (before digital camera) and wish I had taken more.

Back in 2018, I finished the day of a convalescent with a suspense novel. Quite good, and set in the wild forests of Oregon. 

While I’ve been immersed in books, our friends Scott and Tony visited Oysteville,  and Tony took this photo of THE Oysteville garden. 

Photo by Tony Hofer

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Sunday, 10 December 2017

I wrenched myself away from gardening projects today, and Allan from writing his boating blog post (the one that published a couple of days ago) to attend a housewarming party for our friend Sarah, author of The Marble Game.   We arrived in the last hour of the party.  The conversation among her friends turned to how some of us just like to stay home, but we all wanted to see Sarah more than we wanted to stay home that day.

Sarah has a brand new little house.  It would have been a tiny house had there not been rules in Ocean Park that a house cannot be smaller than…600 square feet?  It is a LITTLE, darling house, so new that it does not yet have its final coat of exterior paint or all of its indoor trim.



an ocean view from the kitchen, and a fire circle

stairs to the loft

looking down (Allan’s photo)

the lofty view (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

We enjoyed Sarah’s potato leek soup and some bread, with cookies for dessert.  I loved seeing Sarah’s good dogs again and her brand new kitty, Wally.

Wally is a snuggler.

a very relaxed kitten


and Piper

We had the perfect housewarming card for Sarah, from The Card Lady.


The yard is on two levels, open in the middle around the house, and surrounded with evergreen huckleberry shrubs.  Sarah was a garden designer on the east coast.  I’m excited to see what she does with it.

north east corner, overlooking evergreen huckleberries

After we departed, we took ourselves on a driving tour of the neighbourhood.

I do love a tower.

an enticing path

sign says “CAMP…something…”

outflow from Loomis Lake

Those yellow outbuildings by the slough, above, are by a manufactured home for sale right on the slough…with a double lot as big as mine.  OH how I want it!  I miss having a natural water feature in my garden.  If it had been for sale when we were looking in 2010…I wonder if I would have picked it.  Maybe one of you will buy it so I can visit.  Maybe one of those outbuildings could be a tiny house…

Further west:

fancy porch

We drove to the Ocean Park approach (Bay Avenue) to see the sunset.  Allan’s sunset photos:

Part of our mission was to go to Oysterville after dark to see the lights at THE Oysterville garden and another house nearby.

While waiting for dusk to end, we passed the time at Oysterville Sea Farms…

Allan’s photo

on the deck overlooking Willapa Bay….

looking east

looking south (Allan’s photo)

…and we bought a jar of cranberry butter to “pay” for enjoying the deck.

in the shop

Oysters are the main feature.

We then found the lights we were seeking.

At THE Oysterville garden, only two of the boxwood balls were lit up; we’ve heard that on some evenings, more of them are:

Back in Ilwaco, while dropping a couple of books in the library drop box:

Ilwaco Timberland Library

Now, back to the garden for me for at least three more days of this almost summerlike weather.


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Monday, 27 November 2017

We joined up with Scott and Tony to go on a real estate jaunt.

Rudy welcomes us to Scott and Tony’s place. (Allan’s photo)

Bailey and Rudy had to stay home.

inside Scott and Tony’s townhouse

The Old Church

Up north in Ocean Park, this old 1940 church had come up for sale, for the second or third time since I moved to the peninsula 25 years ago.  If it had been for sale in 1994, Robert and I would surely have bought it instead of our Ilwaco fisherman’s shack, and we would have been north-enders instead of Ilwacoans.

the back

The lot is only 5000 square feet, but if with it had come with the chance to also buy the lot behind it, it would have been a good enough size.

big empty lot to the north

In 1994, we lucked into a double lot to buy in Ilwaco.  I think that if we had not moved it Ilwaco, I would have been content with the church’s 5000 square feet to garden in, as my Seattle garden was only 3000 square feet.

The old church is walking distance from the Bank of the Pacific and Okie’s market…

That’s the Bank of the Pacific and some shops, from the back yard.

…and Jack’s Country Store, Oman and Son Builders Supply, and the Ocean Park Library.

While waiting for the realtor, we took an appreciative gander at all of the adorable cottages on the block.


Rock Lobster Cottage

His and Hermans

Fat Captain Cottage

right across the street

At the church, we were joined by Scott and Tony’s friends Robb and Cheryl and their adorable dog, Skipper, AKA “The Chosen One”.


Realtor Mary Kay Ramage arrived to let us in.

front porch view looking west

and east (It is next to Ocean Park Resort.)

Inside the church, we found that there would a be a lot of work to do to make it liveable.  I will say that back in 1994, I could have managed to live in it pretty much as it is, with the addition of some sort of mini-kitchen.  You’d understand if you saw the primitive and rustic conditions of the Ilwaco fishing shack where I did live for 14 years!

the ceiling in the foyer

the entry foyer

Allan’s photo

Above us was a mysterious door way up high, under the square tower.

Allan’s photo

just inside

the nave? a baptismal spot? We wondered about the two tension cables that seemed to be holding the side walls together.

Allan’s photo

Above, I wondered if the big hatch in the floor had once held a baptismal tub.  We don’t know what kind of church it was.  I wish I could find its history.  So far, my online search has failed. Perhaps it was a folly rather than an active church.  Ocean Park was a church-oriented community when the town was first built.

I could live here. Or…I could have when younger.

a little stove for heat (Allan’s photo)

Tony thought maybe this back room with four doors and a buzzer was some kind of confessional.

Allan noticed that there had been a little stairway leading up to this door to the nave.

the bathroom, and a book bag from Powell’s Bookstore in Portland

in the very back, a drop down storage space

This dream was beyond all of us at our ages.  As one of us said, “I’d be dangerous if I was thirty!”  I think I might have been tempted at age 55 when we were looking for a new place in 2010…but I trust Allan would have had more sense than to go from one rustic space to another.  By then, after 14 years on a double lot, I would have soon felt frustrated by the tiny gardening space.  Tony and Scott had thought it might make a wonderful vintage and antique shop.

Maybe YOU could do it.  Here is the listing.  There is a big part of me that so regrets not going to live in that amazing space.

Deer Lake

After all our dreams died because of the church needing too much work, the four of us drove north to Surfside to visit Lorilyn, a friend of Tony’s who had attended our Halloween party (as had Robb and Cheryl).  We wanted to see her parents’ park-like property.

over the garage (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

It has a pet cemetery (“very Stephen King”, said Lorilyn).

blessings to Trouble and Fluffy

and to Our Buffy

A temporary fort, for the grandchildren, had been built in the summer and will be rebuilt next year.

mossy paths

Lorilyn and Allan

One side of the large property is bordered by the delightful small Deer Lake.

I would love to live by this little lake.


On the way back south, Tony picked up a couple of delicious U-Bake pizzas from Jack’s Country Store, and we dined on pizza and salad Chez Scott and Tony.

Rudy hoping for scraps (He got a healthy treat instead)

Shoeboxes of Joy

While driving south again, Allan and I stopped at Coulter Park to make a monetary donation to the annual Shoeboxes of Joy project.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

You may recall that we tidied the garden along this ramp last week.

wrapped shoe boxes waiting to be filled

Assorted treats and supplies will go in the boxes.

Each box will be topped with a mini Christmas stocking filled with candy.

There are boxes especially for folks with diabetes, and extra boxes of cat or dog treats for people with pets.

Six to seven hundred people are served by this program, and the organizers are always trying to find more to make sure no one is missed.  They get help in this from various local societies and from the Long Beach and Ilwaco mayors.  Any boxes left over get taken to the Christmas day  dinner at the Elks.

Tomorrow: Rain or shine, Allan is going to help decorate the Crab Pot Christmas Tree.









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