Archive for the ‘our garden’ Category

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Skooter, joining me for breakfast (berries from the garden)

The cats have been keeping a close eye on us since we got back from our five day trip.

I had much to do to get the garden ready for company.  I still felt slightly poorly but had not gotten a cold.

These two branches hanging over the front steps are a bit annoying, but I will leave them for the apples.

I did some weeding in the worst areas.  Skooter helped.

I repainted my bamboo poles.

a bright sight outside the garage

Callistemon ‘Woodlander’s Red’

Allan set up the supports for the stone bench.  Even those are heavy.  He cleverly made a pattern for the side of the bench top to plan where it will fit.

Allan’s photo

I halp! (Allan’s photo)

rolling the legs across the lawn, which he had just mowed.

Inspired by the tabletop garden at Old Goat Farm, I redid my neglected bogsy wood tabletop garden with some of my ladies in waiting.

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Angustatum’

Athyrium filix-femina ‘Frizelliae’

Uvularia grandiflora

Asarum splendens

The table planting  had declined over the years to just the golden sedum that is now in the center front.

I will add more plants later…

I tackled one bogsy wood area.


20 minutes later

A drizzle turned to heavy enough rain to drive me inside.

I would wait to install the painted poles on Sunday because of the rain.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Allan went boating.  You can read about it on his blog; if you subscribe, you may have read it already.

Here is the driveway garden without the poles:

And after the poles were reinstalled (on short pieces of rebar that were left in the ground):

Here is the front garden without the poles (last night):

And with all the poles but turquoise (I was out of turquoise spray paint; Allan would get me some on his day out):

I like what I like.

Our friend Jan Bono stopped by with copies of her new book.  Allan took the cover photo, I helped with proofreading.

I recommend it. You could buy it by mail here.  Use the contact form to contact Jan.

I managed to get a few more ladies in waiting in the ground.

Penstemon ‘Carillo Purple’

Fascicularia pitcairnifolia, purchased from Dan Hinkley at the Hardy Plant weekend

I had asked Dan to recommend a plant that would be the envy of all.

A customer at Old Goat Farm recommended this Digitalis ‘Milk Chocolate’.

Clematis montana ‘Pink a Boo’ from Dan Hinkley

Allan returned in the evening with paint.  He had reminded me of some bamboo poles given me by our friend Bill Clearman! So I had several more to paint, which I did immediately.

Next morning before work: All the poles.



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Friday, 15 June 2018

at home

I had a newly refreshed but mercifully small batch of ladies in waiting.

The Angelica gigas from Digging Dog that had looked pitiful and then dead has put out a new leaf.  I was thrilled.

I have up-potted and I am holding it and two shrubs to plant when I have time to monitor and water them carefully.

Sadly, the variegated Azara seems to be going downhill.

I began my weeding day with enthusiasm, clearing two areas to the side of the arbour through which one enters the back garden.

No before photo, but that wheelbarrow of weeds and a half buried plant table came out of here:

The low plant table will now be useful, unless I fill it with more plants.

I was upset to find, when I went around to check on new plants, a new  baby ornamental grass pulled out of the ground and all dried up.

I am sure the culprit was a grass eating cat, probably orange, who happens to like sleeping in that part of the garden.  I threw the grass in a bucket of water, hoping for a miracle.  Now I just have to remember to get it back out of the bucket and plant it with a ground staple.

not so innocent prime suspect

Big excitement—I found this rose blooming, and I am pretty sure it is a start I made (in my usual haphazard stick a cutting in the ground way) from my mom’s copper rose, a cutting that I planted before i brought the actual “copper rose” bush to live here.

Doesn’t it look like the same rose as the on the bigger bush, below?:

Maybe not.

New lily is not the best colour combo with mom’s “red velvet rose”.

As I weeded, I saw something in the east bed that was almost buried by foliage (like the plant table had been).


after, an old leaky birdbath

After his nap, Skooter “helped” me all afternoon.

running after me

sitting on my feet

At 5:45, with only an hour to go before a dinner engagement, I began work on the east fence bed that usually gets the last of my attention.


weeding as fast as I can

one hour later

It was frustrating to stop.  Usually at this time of year, we have our North Beach Garden Gang dinner at eight.  Tonight, though, we wanted to go to OleBob’s Café at the port, which has just started their dinner hours for the summer.  And they close at eight.  Our favourite server, Lynn, works there.


named after two fishermen friends, Ole and Bob.

Todd and his son Dawson were there to meet us, and we were soon joined by Dave and Melissa.

Todd and I mostly talked about how he has, at my recommendation to the Anchorage Cottages owners, taken on that garden that Allan and I used to do.  I am glad it is in good hands because, even though we left it when our friend and manager did, we did not want it to go to weeds.

delicious crab pasta (Allan’s photo)

crab empanada dinner

I had let go of my urge to stay home and weed till dark.  I knew I had two more days off to accomplish my weekend goals.






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Saturday, 9 June 2018

at home

After our afternoon out at Astoria Pride, I did find the energy to do some gardening.

The Melianthus major, which had many weird long brown flowers, had flopped so much that I needed to cut it back.  I enjoyed the process.

front path

no longer at its most attractive

Before: Acer ‘Carnival’ is being swallowed by melianthus. That’s a variegated pittosporum to the right.

one of two barrows of weeds for the compost bins



We’d had this much rain:

Even the slowest to fill rain barrel was full.

Rose ‘Dortmund’ in the back garden

Allan mowing the lawn

He found that the Willows Loop East path has almost closed in.

Allan’s photo

a ‘Cupcake’ cosmos (Allan’s photo)

The lawn had gotten quite long.

The boat garden is tomorrow’s project.

One of my mom’s Joseph’s Coat roses (just the flower) was an accidental casualty of the melianthus project.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

We’d had more delightful rain overnight, this much:

I thought I would weed the boat garden, intended to be the cat memorial garden, and then weed the front garden.  Ha!  The boat garden turned out to be a full miserable day in hard packed soil.

Mother cat Mary is already buried there, and will eventually be joined by the ashes of Smoky and Calvin—when it is worthy of such fine cats.

before: a horrible mess

the other side, before


You may recall the above area was supposed to be a scree garden.  Then the strawberries took over again, and now they have delicious strawberries, so they’ve won for now.


That was hard and not enjoyable work.  I like weeding, but not in such a mess and not in such hard soil.  I failed on my plan to mulch all the beds last winter because of being down for a month with shingles sapping all my energy.

I got the outside of the fence weeded and some velvet and other tall grasses dug out of the wild poppy bed (hard work because velvet grass makes me sneeze like fury).



Allan mowed paths in the wild meadow behind the Nora house.

during (Allan’s photo)

and a path to the port reclaimed (Allan’s photo)

This process raised so much grass pollen that we both had to go indoors to breathe.

Monday, 11 June 2018

The rain had given us a day off work (no watering to do).  I spent it weeding the west bed of the back garden, and a pleasant weeding session it was because the soil is nice and soft and fluffy there.

Willows Loop West, before

Allan helped in the evening by cutting some overhanging branches on a willow that is on both sides of the west fence.



I was pleased with the result of my weeding.  The light was too bright and dark for photos.

In mid evening, I started weeding around the edges of the east bed, also lovely and fluffy soil.

The plants have gotten huge and it made me sad to see tags of plants planted with optimism, and later swallowed by rampant growth because I am working too much away from home and don’t monitor the garden well.

Where did you go?

Are you still in here somewhere?

Astilbe and Rose ‘Radway Sunrise’ in the bed that swallowed the actaea

Sad.  If I could be home more, perhaps I would not lose so many plants.

Skooter wanted lots of attention.

Skooter wants us to be home more.  I want to be home more.  I long for time to get all the weeding done and then turn the compost bins and mulch the hard-packed boat garden.  Tomorrow, though, we go back to work.

compost bins, honeysuckle, Dortmund rose


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Friday, 8 June 2018

at home

The rain started last night around midnight and kept on and on.

breakfast time and no room for my food

In the midmorning, I went out into it to fill from the rain barrels all my little buckets and (with some help from Allan) all the green jugs.  The barrels had been completely empty and by end of day they were full even after all the dipping out.  I found this little guy floating in one as it filled.  He must have been on the bottom—glad I rescued him in time.

I do so enjoy dipping cool water from a barrel.

Skooter observes

buckets and jugs

I walked around the garden to enjoy its happiness.

the new ladies in waiting

back garden, east bed

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’

more east bed

Mom’s copper rose

a new lily

Stipa gigantea and Rosa moyesii

cutleaf elderberry, Fuchsia magellanica, Rose ‘Radway Sunrise’

rain gauge as of half past noon

a bogsy wood clearing that needs clipping before it disappears

bogsy wood path that need weeding or mowing

The garden that was battered after last week’s weeding is all fresh again.

unweeded west side border

The white rambling rose below was grown from a cutting from Maxine’s garden…just laid into the soil in autumn till it sprouted…and then from another cutting when we moved from our old garden to here.

In the garden boat, snails ate my smaller cosmos.  And they keep attacking the dahlias so I have these thingies over some of the dahlias so I can put the bad slug bait inside without the cats stepping in it.

Rose ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’

from outside the garden

If I were walking by and looked down the Nora House driveway, I would be intrigued and excited.

Frosty watches me reenter the house.

Now for a reading and Gardeners’ World day.

while trying to read

I finished the book I’d been reading all week at bedtime.

third in an excellent series

In the book, Marie has a health scare.  I am sure most people who have had something that might be, or is, cancer, can identify with this:

I love Marie!  I read on anxiously to find out how she fared.  I was worried about a friend with a similar problem—that turned out to be a hernia, for which we were all oddly grateful.

Marie’s intake for an MRI amused me…

And I enjoyed her enjoyment of the MRI, since I found it most interesting and peculiarly pleasant when I had mine.

This is a rare occurence:

Marie, in her mid 60s,  writes, “I think of…

I think of my grandmother every day also, and am surrounded by her things (furniture, dishes, pictures).

Gene is her grandson, and Jack her son, in this passage that expresses how I feel about my house.

Marie joins Facebook in this group, and I must admit I share her cynicism about happy-all-the-time memes.

I can’t recommend these books highly enough.  As I write this, I have finished the fourth one and I hope there will be a fifth one.

I went on to have a wonderful time watching three episodes of Gardeners’ World.

I happened on an old one that was labeled 2017 but must have been from before Monty Don hosted the show from his own garden, and therefore must have been before he had a stroke and took a few years off from the show.  The setting was different.

My notes:

Rose ‘Souvenir du Dr. Jaimon’ likes some shade.

Stipa gigantea’s common name is ‘Golden Oats’.

Monty says, “You don’t get as many seeds to the packet as you used to.  But maybe that’s a truism about life.”

Thinning carrots attracts carrot fly.

In the evening, Allan and I agreed that we both would rather stay home than go to the Pride parade tomorrow, as we both feel we have so much to do here.  However, we WILL go…unless, as some forecasts predict, it is pouring rain and windy.

By the end of the day, we had had a wonderful 1.08 inches of rain, which will enable us to take Monday off instead of watering planters. Thanks to our having watered planters yesterday, the soil will stay damp even in the thickest of plantings.  The water barrels all were full again.

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Monday, 28 May 2018

at home

Yesterday evening, I sheared all of the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ to make them less floppy later on.

sheared Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, something I did in Long Beach weeks ago.

I bucket watered and fertilized all the container plants with Liquid Dr. Earth.  We have been conserving water fiercely for two months, because Ilwaco sets its water rate depending on the water a household uses in April and May and September and October.  (We have even been saving bath water in small buckets for flushing the toilet.)  If it makes a difference, it may have been worth it.  On the other hand, it has been hard to not hose water the garden or turn on the sprinklers.  Fortunately, the back yard is still damp underneath.  The front is thirsty.

My watering today used up all the water in 7 out of 8 rain collecting barrels, leaving a foot or so of water in the last one.

That took a long time.

I then plunged deeper into my garden to try to get some center areas weeded enough for planting some sunflower seeds (4-5 feet tall ones, not the giant single flowered one).  It is probably too late to plant the seeds.  (I’m not much of a seed person.)

The befores were taken at 1:30 PM and the afters at 7:30.

east bed before

after (There IS a large clear area in there now.)

east bed before


west bed before

west bed after

The biggest before and after took place over two days, with Allan’s help removing the huge winter blooming honeysuckle.



I was so pleased that the many Allium christophii that I moved to the edge of the center bed did not sulk at all.

I had gone off Lysimachia ciliata and was trying to get rid of it till I learned that Monty Don loves it in his Jewel Garden.  I am easily swayed sometimes.

He used one called ‘Firecracker’ which may not quite be this one.

You can see above how well I succeeded in getting rid of it last autumn.

More plants:

Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’


I have forgotten the name of this plant:

Skooter tracked me through the jungle all day.


Weeding this bed is next weekend’s first project.

Would this book help?

I think my garden is well beyond “two hours a fortnight” maintenance.

Allan escaped the garden and went boating, which he will share on his own blog when he has time to write it up.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how completely more at peace I feel in my own garden than working out in the public gardens.  It continues to be a dilemma, since I do feel public gardens are my life’s mission—but I want to be at home.

Guest photos from our former client Jo, who moved away and is now creating a new garden:

Look here for the beauties of the garden we used to work on with her.




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Saturday, 26 May 2018

I had so much weeding and planting to do and three days to get as much done as possible.  My goal was to not leave my property at all.

Frosty observing my breakfast

Much planting loomed ahead.  I would enjoy it, I suppose, if I were retired and not under time pressure.

ladies in waiting

more ladies in waiting

I potted up three shrubs from Digging Dog (shrublets, really) till I can plant them and remember where they are and to water them.

I managed to carve out some space among the weeds to plant some more cosmos, some painted sage, and some of the Digging Dog plants.  What a relief; now I could mostly focus on weeding for the next two days.

Meanwhile, Allan ran some errands in Long Beach (hardware store and getting more potting soil for me).  The town was busy.

Here is an interesting new potting soil, about five dollars more than the regular kind of the same brand.

Gardeners’ World presenters Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don always refer to using “peat free” soil mix.  Maybe here it is considered a renewable resource?

I had had a question mark on the work board regarding whether or not we were working Monday.  It all revolved around watering the sanguisorba that I had planted (dug up from KBC garden) at the Shelburne.  Allan stopped today and watered it in order to get Monday off.

It looks…sort of ok.

[Flash forward: I did not look at this photo till Monday night, and then I got so worried about it that I lost sleep.]

Artemisa ‘Ghuizo’, moved from one spot to another to make proper room for the sanguisorba, is happier.

Allan observed boaters and paddle boarders on Ilwaco’s Black Lake.

And fishing from the dock.

In the evening, we celebrated the calm and almost windless weather with a campfire dinner.

Allan’s photo

Camassia leichtlinii Alba …I think…  (Allan’s photo)

As Allan got the fire going, Jenna (Queen La De Da) stopped by to give me a Caturday present.

She sat with us at the campfire for awhile and was most impressed with our cordless chainsaw.

Jenna chainsawing; she wants one of her own now.

Later, a campfire dinner:

I was able to erase my own garden from the cosmos/painted sage planting.

Frosty checks out my present from Jenna:

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Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Allan’s day

This was the last of our recuperation days off.  Allan felt well enough to go boating.  He now has his own boating blog, so here is a sneak peak.  When he gets the full post written, we will share it over here.

At the post office on the way out of town:

Stipa gigantea all aglow against the newly painted wall

In South Bend, he had a treat at Elixir Coffee.

at Elixir Coffee

outside the coffee shop, a doorstop had a bright accent. 

On the way to boating adventure:

A sneak peek of the paddle trip:

Rain in the afternoon…fortunately, AFTER he got out of the water.

Rudder from next door greeted Allan in the driveway when he arrived home…

and wondering if there might be something tasty in our van.

Meanwhile, at home…

I started my day with just two half hour episodes of Gardeners’ World.  The cats also got a slow start:



I then got down to planting a selection of Agastaches (my current favourite perennial) in my garden, along with 20 each of Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’ and langsdorfii.  It is good to have some sort of continuing theme in a garden that is mostly onesies.

When I went in to get some potting soil in order to start my two window box liners, I found myself sitting down and watching just one episode of Gardeners’ World.  I simply had not been able to walk past my comfy chair and out into the garage to get the soil≥

After planting about 50 plants (and planting, you might recall, is my least favourite gardening thing), I did a project.  Here is a “during” photo:

Where the red lopper handles are, I cut down and, with great difficulty DUG OUT, a good, dark magenta Fuchsia magellanica and moved it to a new area of the Bogsy Wood garden.  It had been planted when the Bogsy Wood edge garden was quite narrow, and now it blocked the view of smaller plants further back.

after, because I did not clean up the mess.

The fuchsia went in here.

A light but drenching rain had began.

window box beginnings

The bulb window boxes will be switched out with the summer planting.

Narcissus ‘Baby Moon’ still going

rainy tulips

I weeded one more garden area of long velvet grass (which had swallowed a small fuchsia, almost irretrievably) in order to plant just one more nicotiana, and left another mess of weeds on the lawn because I had hit the wall of exhaustion and wetness.  I then found the energy to tidy up several pots.

Look how big this tulip is.

A last walk back to the Bogsy Wood…

…still did not inspire me to pick up any debris that I had left behind.

Trowel and Error

My reading has been slowed by watching Gardeners’ World.  When I went indoors, I decided I must finish Alan Titchmarsh’s memoir, Trowel and Error, before returning to GW.

I had last read this book in 2003.

I am always reassured that other gardeners remember plant names better than people names.

On one of his early gardening jobs, Titchmarsh was taught, by a senior gardener named Harry Hollings, how to plant a tree:

Alan writes, “My very first gardening book was Percy Thrower’s Encyclopedia of Gardening.”  Later, Mr. Thrower was the host of Gardeners’ World.  Somewhere in my book collection is this book, that I brought home along with other old gardening books from my trip to England in 1989:

That trip to England was in December and January, so I would not have been treated to any episodes of Gardeners’ World on the telly.

Many years later, Alan Titchmarsh became host of Gardeners’ World, and his cats took the role that Monty Don’s dogs now have.

Alan T. became the presenter when his good friend, GW presenter Geoff Hamilton suddenly died, less than a year before he had planned to retire from the show.

Thrust into the role of host with no gentle easing into it….

I was fascinated to read the inside story of how Gardeners’ World was filmed.

My favourite gardening show (maybe up till discovering GW) was Ground Force, starting Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock, and Tommy. Imagine if it had been like this initial concept:

It was much much better when they had Alan and crew actually making the gardens as a surprise for the owners.  Trowel and Error has a whole chapter on this show AND a chapter on creating the Ground Force garden for Nelson Mandela.

I like this bit about his garden helper:

I also take snails (or ask Allan to take them) for a long walk, and I always wondered if the mice than Allan used to trap and release at our old house were the same ones who perhaps reappeared to be trapped and released just days later. (See Allan’s video, Six Mice to Freedom.)

Alan T. has the same gentle side:

Every chapter of the book begins with a quotation, like this:

I kept meaning to look up all the different books later.  In the afterward, my illusions were shattered.

I was completely fooled.

I then watched another couple of episodes of Gardeners’ World with Monty Don.  I do wish I could find some of the old Titchmarsh shows to watch online.

watching Monty with Frosty

Nigel’s feline friend

the bins!

Monty expounds on the glorious compost bins.

At bedtime, I began the next Alan Titchmarsh memoir, Knave of Spades.  

Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, more planting.




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