Archive for the ‘our garden’ Category

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Allan went off shopping across the river, partly for a new string trimmer and partly for pandemic supplies—in other words, enough canned goods, rice and beans and other staples to enable us to avoid shopping for a month if, heavens forfend, there is a coronavirus pandemic here. We should be able to go to work since our work can be pretty much non-peopling. I’m not scared, exactly, but I am depressed to have to think about all this, and worried for friends who are in fragile health, and sad because Seattle Carol (a Seattle metro bus driver) will probably cancel an early April visit during this uncertain time. Of course, I am made for being a recluse but would rather not have such a potentially dire reason.
Today I did a bit of propagating for my plant sale, wondering if fate will even allow The World’s Longest Garage Sale to take place as usual on Memorial Day weekend in late May.
The big plan was to prune all my roses that are not the old fashioned kind. The ramblers and shrubs I just let do what they will except for removing dead wood.
After the front garden roses, I got distracted with other projects….

Weeding a small front garden bed…

Yesterday ….




I removed yet another Ilex ‘Sky Pencil’ that had suddenly died, as they seem wont to do…

4B339961-5D3B-4C2C-AE12-77746D5BDBCCIn the background, behind the Melianthus, said ilex had been fine till it turned up its toes just last week. I probably won’t replace it with another shrub since the Melianthus would shade it out unless I put in something quite tall to begin with.  My budget doesn’t run to that.

I decided I must get the celandine out from the two beds by the front gate. Its pretty bright yellow daisy flowers set a bad example, making passersby think that it is a lovely winter bloomer that they should have.

It has smothered out some choice small flowering bulbs that I used to have in that area. Because its root clumps leave tiny earth colored nodules behind, it will be back next year no matter how much sifting I do, thus the removal is not impressive as it might look.
In the far back garden where I dug and sifted and fretted over every nodule last spring, the celandine now looks like this, stronger than ever.
Utterly maddening.
In Modern Nature, Derek Jarman says this about a childhood memory of celandine.

Instead of pruning all of the back garden roses as planned, I allowed myself to be distracted by the second pile of compost and leaves, this pile actually on the back corner of the Nora House driveway, which is a rather rude encroachment even though I know that her granddaughter, Alicia, does not mind.
Yesterday, before and after Allan dealt with the bamboo:


My leaf bin contents had sunk during the winter and so, after moving the compost debris to the big bins, I was able to fill the leaf bins to the top with the tarped leaves. The rest were strewn onto the driveway garden bed and the final amount filled two oyster baskets.
My audience:

I had found it all so exhausting and so very cold that I almost quit several times. To finish the pile was revitalizing enough that I found the oomph to prune my mother’s two tea roses, but no more.
There is still much cutting back to do, including six Stipa giganteas….

….and two more large roses. I would have done them a disservice to prune them at the end of the day when so very tired and cold.
The last thing I managed was a brief back garden appreciation walkabout.
Oh no, some stray celandine. Was too tired to get shovel…must remember before this makes a new big patch.

We did not get cold enough weather to kill the Azolla that covers the ponds.

3FDE589F-018C-4169-B3A2-EB6C5FACB3F1In better news, I found….




Physocarpus ‘Dart’s Gold’


Corylopsis pauciflora





Thick new shoots of Dranunculus vulgaris


Yellow hellebore


Narcissi in the Bogsy Wood

…and in the greenhouse…


Echeverias flowering



Salvia Africana-lutea

…and in Allan’s garden at dusk some crocuses toning well with a hebe.

Tomorrow just had better be an all day Jarman reading day. I’m tired of waiting!

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Wednesday, 30 October 2019

It had gotten cold enough last night for the ponds to have a skim of ice.

Today’s mission  was to finish the Corridor of Spooky Plants and turn the garage into a forest grotto.  I was so grateful that Judy and Larry drove all the way down from Ocean Park to help out.

They are much craftier than I am.  I had seen some pictures last year of ghosts made from tomato cages.  They figured out how to make it happen.

It wasn’t easy to get the milk jug head (which i would never have thought of!) to stay on.

Larry has skills.

They also figured out how to implement my chipper/shredder idea.

I was worried it was too gory a thought already, so I turned down Larry’s offer of a bottle of ketchup for the finishing touch.

Meanwhile, I was cutting and hauling branches and stalks from back yard to front to turn the garage into a woodland grotto. The weather was like a perfect summer day.

white sanguisorba, before…

and after (too tired to move wheelbarrow)

After Judy and Larry departed, I made one tomato cage ghost from a couple of inside out potting soil bags…

…and only one, as it was not very successful.

A spider who had been disturbed by Allan tying some decor to the fence added herself to the decorations.

He also found what appear to be snail eggs.

A friend, Jan M, stopped by to see our progress.  I got to pet her nice dog.

Allan went out in the afternoon to help Jenna move one last large item.

Jenna’s “wishing arch”

He saw that other households had also been enhancing their decorations.

on Spruce Street

He checked the cosmos at the Port of Ilwaco office; they still looked fine despite the cold night.

Thanks to a wise suggestion from Kilyn, the Steveston Gardener, I had saved several baskets of sphagnum moss to tuck around and in the big pots lining the driveway.

I dumped the baskets out and got to work on that so that Allan could use the baskets to collect more maple leaves from the Ilwaco Community Building parking lot.

nice dry leaves

Allan encountered our friend and neighbour Kevin at the community building.  When Kevin got on Allan’s phone and invited us to join him and his family for dinner, I replied that I normally would say no because of being too busy in the midst of the Halloween frenzy—but because he is being deployed, it was important to say yes.

In the late afternoon, afraid the flowers would get frosted if I waited till tomorrow, I picked bouquets for house and garage.  With two hours till dinnertime, Allan brought two heavy benches from the back garden and got the lights strung along the driveway and inside the garage.

The cat bench will be part of the seating in the grotto.

garage as woodland grotto

A combination of gunnera leaves and landscape fabric hid the buckets from view.

I dumped the leaves throughout the scene.

6 PM

one of Judy and Larry’s ghosts

Last year, just as I had despaired that the would-be grotto looked nothing but tacky, I had the idea of putting the leaves down.  The noise of walking on them makes it magic.

We were far enough along that I had no worries about taking time for dinner.  We met Kevin and Ana and their children at the Lost Roo restaurant in Long Beach.  They had snagged the perfect corner booth, tucked away from the big screen televisions.  (It is a sports viewing restaurant.)

Allan’s new buddy

The dinner and the conversation were the sort that makes good memories.  I was so glad we went.

I am partial to the Roo’s ahi tuna tower.

Allan had steak salad, my second favourite dish.

Across the table, the choice was good old fashioned steak and potatoes.

On the way home, we admired some more Halloween decorations half a block away.

When we got home, Allan made two pumpkin pies for tomorrow’s guests.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

I was glad I had picked flowers yesterday evening; we had frost and ice!

For our final preparation, we thoroughly cleaned the front part of the house where party guests would be.  All the last minute clutter (mostly the boxes Halloween came out of) got stuffed into my room at the back, and some branches put in front of the door so that no one would open it.  We arranged plates and cups and cutlery and flowers.  Finally, after noon, I was able to get outside and string cobwebs.

Allan got the apple ghosts ready to hang up. Each is constructed with an apple and a wire hook.

This year, we hung them above the front fence among the cobwebs.

The cobwebs look so tawdry on any day but Halloween that they will only be up till late this evening.

I had arranged the treasure chests yesterday in the grotto.  With the garage door now open for the event, I moved them into place at the front so that the trick or treaters would see them. We had two little fountains running and the Halloween wreath up on the side of the garage door.

The usual time for the very first trick of treaters is around four.  Judy and Larry had arrived before then to help with any last minute arrangements.  At 3:30, I was in the back yard raking up some more of the leaves I’d stashed on the lawn over a week ago, because I did not feel there were quite enough on the grotto floor.

Finally, all was prepared.  The J’s were ready across the street.

Jodie, Jay, and Doug as the Munsters

I checked on Peggy and Robert, three doors down.

They had been carving pumpkins.

Robert’s costume was a foil wrapped “alien protection device” cap.  Which is more dressing up than I did.  Allan dressed as a garden gnome again.

his outfit last year, when our neighbour, Willa, was dressed the same

And finally, it was show time.  We could see the first trick or treaters coming down the next block.

Tomorrow: Halloween at Tangly Cottage.






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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

I was mighty glad we had some days off, because we had much to do.

Next door, Sue, “That Lady with a Tractor”, worked on clearing blackberries from the back yard.  Allan took some photos.

The blackberries did not win the battle.

I have never seen the back of the garage before!

A huge stump from a tree that was cut down years ago, and then had a rock-edged flower bed built around it, had become a haven for blackberries and bindweed. It proved daunting to the tractor…although the rock edge got mostly dismantled, after the willow branches hanging over it were trimmed.

I have my eye on the disintegrating wood for compost and mulch and on the rocks for garden bed edging.  (I have permission to scavenge them.)

By one o clock, I was able to start cutting material from the garden for the Corridor of Spooky Plants.

lily stalks and Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' will be part of it. Lily stalks and Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ will be part of it.

Tomorrow, I will be turning the garage into a woodland grotto, using long branches from the dark-leaved physocarpus.

Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ (beautyberry) will not get cut.

Skooter supervised.

after cutting the lily stalks after cutting the lily stalks

As I scrounged around for plant decor, I found some big branches down from last week’s wind.

That’s why we avoid the bogsy wood on windy days.

In the driveway, the taller stalks and branches got tied to the iron fence and the rebar posts, and the shorter ones got stuffed into pots full of soil.  It took many trips from back yard to front yard.

Jazmin enjoyed the bits of debris.

Skooter observed from next door….

…and later, worn out, napped in the laundry room sink.

In the late afternoon, the Girl Scouts came around from house to house on the Ilwaco flatlands, bringing candy from the Ilwaco candy drive to make sure that we all had enough for the hordes.

Allan’s photos

down the street at Missy’s house
and another house on the next block

I took our candy drive bags to our new neighbors down the block, giving me an opportunity to meet them. I learned that Peggy is an artist.  You can see her beautiful paintings on her blog, here. I am looking foward to a rainy day of perusing all of it, and I look forward to seeing what she paints in Ilwaco.

Peggy and Robert were glad of the extra candy.  Kevin, whose house they are renting, later told us that during his first year in Ilwaco, he had thought the candy drive was cute, because he expected just a few kids.  (We had not met him then to warn him!)  He had run to the little local store three times during that evening to replenish.  The same thing happened to us during our first Halloween in Ilwaco in 2010 (before the candy drive was initiated).  Allan made at least one emergency candy run to the little store. (No one had warned us, either!)

At 5:40 PM, we had gotten as far as we could today with the outdoor decorations.

Last year, I had the pots pulled forward to make a narrower and spookier entryway.  This year, I will let it be wider because we noticed that the costumes are getting bigger every year.

Allan went out at dusk to help Jenna move a load to her Long Beach Mermaid Sandcastle event centre. I turned to setting up the garage with buckets all down the sides, partly filled with water and ready to receive branches and stalks tomorrow.

home after dark (Allan’s photo)

Tomorrow, we have as much if not more to do.  The Corridor of Spooky plants started because we moved to Lake Street in mid-October 2010 and had to pull together some quick Halloween decor. It was a big hit with the trick or treaters of all ages (although some little ones found it almost too spooky.) Last year, because of bad weather, we moved it to the garage driveway instead of the narrow front door entry and learned that we had been missing some of the larger costumes all along. So the garage woodland grotto is now a part of the yearly preparations, because a spooky plant corridor leading to a normal, boring garage simply will not do.



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Monday, 16 September 2019

The rocks from Seaview Sarah found a place in the new pond edge. All sorts of fun decorating can be done here.



Allan’s photo

I reorganized the area where my Panicum ‘Northwind’ had suffered, removing some old Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and a sanguisorba and rearranging the relationship between ‘Northwind’ and Geranium ‘Orion’.

Here is a Sedum AJ that escaped the Chelsea Chop, followed by another one that got the chop and is so much more compact and better looking.


I bagged up three huge sedums and a sanguisorba for Lezlie and potted up many starts of others (and lots of ‘Orion’) for my 2020 plant sale.

When Allan and I visited Mary, two doors down, I realized I had left my property.  Mary agreed it did not count because I had walked through the Nora House back yard and not on the sidewalk.

Allan was building a pallet compost bin for Marlene.  We both worked on our projects through a couple of intense rain squalls.



between squalls

Allan took the bin over to Marlene’s garden to assemble it. (His work at home had been repairing pallets so that they did not have broken slats.)  One of her dogs helped.

I see in Allan’s photos that she does have a lot of leaves!


Just as Allan left, some Mormon missionary helpers came to do more raking.

We had an especially delicious dinner of salmon caught by Mary’s husband, Jeff, from his boat The Salmonator.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

We had planned to work.  A wind and rain storm changed our minds.


this much rain

By the time the storm had passed by noon, my work momentum was gone.  Marlene had brought six more bags of leaves and the mowing of them proved irresistible.


This time, I put them in a larger area so that turning the mower around would be easier.  It would have helped if I had turned the gas switch on and had remembered that one must hold down the safety bar to start the mower.


Ten bags, chopped:


I moved an empty black composter into place in readiness for more leaves.

It does seem not very ecologically correct to burn gas to make leaf mold, even if Monty does it.  When we retire and have less compostable debris, I may stop the chopping and use one of the four big pallet bins for unchopped leaves.

Where I mowed, the lawn is red.  I hope the leaf leavings do it some good.


Allan did a fence repair by the front sidewalk.



Lezlie came to get the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and sanguisorba I had set aside for her.  I remembered to give her a book that MaryBeth had given me, from a book sale, an excellent book that I already have: Ann Lovejoy’s Organic Garden Design School.

Lezlie says, “Thanks, MaryBeth!”


Speaking of books….

a book: The Sensuous Garden by Montagu Don


I had time to finish it this evening.  Some takeaways:

From a chapter about tools:


From one of the colour chapters, about green:


I was reminded of when a retired garden designer recently walked through my garden and was pleased with the feeling of rest provided by the large green area of the fire circle lawn.

This passage in the blue chapter helped me realize that my achusa is this one, not the one on the noxious weed list.  Whew!


On sound (I especially like the first line):


On gardening:



Great gardening book with gorgeous photos, available from Timberland Regional Library!

We almost had peace upon the reading lap, almost, because it always ends with Jazmin hissing.


After five days off, we had better go to work tomorrow.

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Saturday, 30 March 2019

Skooter’s mid morning greeting

Allan industriously weeded dandelions and mowed at the Nora House next door…

…and made a trip to the Ilwaco community building to cut down another patch of salal (to rejuvenate it and make it fresh and green).

At home, I spent the afternoon and early evening weeding the middle bed…

…and even some areas of the two big east and west beds.

Corylopsis pauciflora in west bed
after much shotweed removal
east bed
plant table
center bed, still have not finished cutting back the Sedums…
or combing out the Stipa gigantea.
Gold Nugget! still with no offshoots

It seems that for once I got to large stands of shotweed before they shot their seeds, since no seeds hit me in the eyes today.

I walked to the very back corner of the bogsy wood and found, to my delight, that the willow sticks I stuck are all leafing out, to become a bower one day, I hope.  No photo of that!

The Bogsy Wood
telephoto: willow bower will be in the corner to the left; tire outside the fence is on gear shed land.
Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ looking very strange as it emerges.

I was happy to go indoors as the sun set and watch several episodes of Gardeners’ World 2006 from my comfy chair.  The show was so different then, in an artificial setting (“Berryfields”) with lots of demonstration gardens and with Monty, Joe, and Carol all working together in the same place. And no delightful dogs!




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Thursday, 28 March 2019

We’d had this much rain.

The new water feature still has a slow leak.  The bow seat is still under water; the stern seat is exposed.

We drove by the Ilwaco fire station garden on the way to work…

…and then deadheaded Long Beach planters.

The welcome sign did not needs its narcissi deadheaded quite yet.

There was plenty of deadheading here and there on the main street (Pacific).

Allan’s before

and after

by Cottage Bakery

some primulas that I transplanted, blooming by Mostly Hats

Fritillaria meleagris

a bit of a color clash

I found a frog hopping along the curb.  It went into a tree garden drain pipe that I know will be parched dry this summer.  So I nabbed it, and even though I had sworn I was going to wait till frogs discovered our new pond, we took a break from work and drove froggie to our garden.

I hope it will like this better than a drainpipe next to a parking place.

Bentley, my friend next door, has had a haircut.

Allan’s photos

biscuit time

Bentley always has much to say, often in vocalizations other than barking.


Back to Long Beach…. We finished our deadheading.

By Malai Thai, our main patch of primroses

Fifth Street Park. NW quadrant

Fifth Street Park, NE quadrant

Allan’s photo

by fun rides

Tulipa sylvestris along the edge of a planter

The very pale Muscari is ‘Valerie Finnis’

Allan’s photos:

I rarely use double narcissi; they look splodgy to me.

Cerinthe major purpurascens

On to the Boreas Inn, where we finished mulching the lower and upper lawn beds.  I got an assortment of California poppies planted. Allan took all the photos:

deer tracks in bed mulched last time



after (two different beds)

I had brought my little red wheelbarrow, which I find easier to maneuver with a load of mulch.

old dahlia bed, before

so weedy; Allan tackled it while I planted poppies.


At home, sweet peas are erased the work board along with the poppies for the Boreas. We still need to get some mulch to the front entry garden at the Boreas.


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25 December 2018

The Christmas present exchange between me and Our Kathleen had a touch of O’Henry about it.

from Kathleen (Cream Earl Grey is delicious)

To Kathleen (from NIVA green gift shop)

I would love to have sent the same Liquid Wisdom teapot to Montana Mary but have a long and sad history of fragile things getting broken by the time they reach her.

We had already celebrated Christmas on Christmas eve, so I spent the afternoon potting up plants for my Memorial Day plant sale.

rain gauge

In hazy winter light, the lawn sparkled but I could not catch that in a photo.

new greenhouse lean to already full

Skooter helped with digging and dividing.

A terrible disappointment: The Eryngium, grown from seed from a reputable big name seed company, that was supposed to be Miss Willmott’s Ghost, have all turned out to be just an ordinary eryngium (and this one is blooming in winter).

I am sad.  I still desperately want Miss Willmott’s Ghost.  If anyone can bring me a real one, I will take that person out to dinner at the Shelburne Pub!

I have had a potting soil situation.  I bought the same brand from two different local stores.  One shipment is normal looking and dark.  One is extremely red and barky.

This kind, spray painted to mark the barky batch.

So I bought some from each source and mixed them, two parts good to one bad (at least, I think it is bad).

I think the red and barky soil is not as good (left).

Look at the difference, same brand!

The barky bags also had a lot of this.

What do you think about that, fellow gardeners?

26 December 2018

rain gauge and Frosty getting ready to help

Along with potting up starts, I did a little project.  The patio I made in January of 2011 had pavers at the edge, with the water boxes that were later installed.  I suddenly realized those pavers no longer served any purpose and took them out.

I crammed in some sod so that it can be string trimmed right to the edge of the boxes and will no longer be a weedy mess.

From the free wood pile by Jessie’s Fish Co, Allan brought home an armload of plastic venetian blinds.  He had asked me months ago if I wanted them for plant tags.  At that time, I was tired from work, had no intention of having a plant sale, and said no.  I had been regretting that no and was thrilled the slats were still there.

now chopped into plant tag length, four per slat

The potting continued with hellebore seedlings and divisions of golden oregano.

I am keeping track of the time I spend on this project, and the soil, and will divide that by any profit I make to see if this is a worthwhile thing to do after we retire.  (I have dreams of a plant stand at the Saturday market.)

Allan got round to photographing a gnome (made by Wendi Peterson at a Basket Case Greenhouse winter workshop) in a downtown window.

27 December 2018

I continued on a doomed mission to remove as much Ficaria verna (lesser celandine) as possible from areas of the garden where it is taking over.  It no doubt came from plants I brought from my mother’s garden.  It goes dormant in summer, so during the time when I was taking plants while we had her house for sale, its tiny corms hitched a ride.

little round leaves on the run

I am unlikely to win this battle.  I do love the bright yellow spring flowers.

I debated cutting down more dead perennial growth with The Toy, but what is left still looks beautiful to me.

Chelone (pink turtlehead)

We had made a trip to The Planter Box to get some pots back; I have been donating all my extras back to them before I decided on having a plant sale.

potted up some hens and chicks in these cute tiny pots

The only hen that has made no chicks is my favourite one that I bought for about $8 last spring:

Sempervivum ‘Gold Nugget’ is, so far, ungenerous.

After dark, I took a break from daily reading to watch just one episode of Gardeners’ World.  I know if I go down that rabbit hole, my reading plans will end for the winter so I must resist.  But…just one…

I trusted my memory so can not tell you the location of a garden right by the sea…

with a wonderful greenhouse…

…where the gardeners mulched with seaweed.

They said it helped to repel slugs and snails.

I wept with the tenderness of the visit between Carol Klein and Beth Chatto, one of my all time favourite inspirational gardeners.

30 December 2018

We’d had more rain. and now I had a semi-squally winter afternoon for more potting up of plants.

This time, I worked partly in the greenhouse making cuttings.  Wish me luck; it would be wonderful if these take. I was advised in a workshop of yore and by my friend Ann to use perlite.  I had one small bag of the stuff, but found it hard to stuck the cuttings in so I made a mix of half perlite and half seed starting mix.

I used santolina (green and silver), escallonia, rosemary, hardy fuchsia, red and gold twig dogwood, and a few other plants.

Maybe the ones in the lower right should have fewer leaves (olearia, just an experiment).

Skooter chose to not help out in the iffy weather.

sound asleep by the bathroom sink, the warmest room in the house

31 December 2018

We had ice!  Definitely a reading day.

My sarracenia did not mind the ice.

My plant sale stash is growing, but no more will be added till the weather warms up again. We did not dip down into the 20s so I did not have to cover these.

I learned this month that while planting in the ground is not a task I enjoy, I love potting up starts and making cuttings.  I found myself wishing that I had kept my previous home, which was zoned commercial, so that I could have had a weekend nursery.

Wishing you a belated happy new year as I finally got around to writing this on January 17th!

Next: some of the reading of late December.


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It is December 11th.  I had no intention of blogging, until suddenly needing to boot up my computer to add the new manager of Klipsan Beach Cottages to the KBC Facebook page….and de administrate myself. It felt odd and poignant to let go of a page I created and have administered and for which I have done all the photos since…2009.  I gardened there for over 20 years.  Soon we will be visiting former managers Mary and Denny in their new home.

Since I booted up, I might as write and schedule a few blog posts before I retreat back into my blogging break.  We began December with a streak of almost summer-like weather.

December 2nd is an already forgotten day…weeding? reading? weather? I have no idea…with no photos other than this one of Skooter in the very late morning:

Monday, 3 December 2018

We had had some rain.  Perhaps this photo tells us that Sunday was a reading day. My Sony camera sometimes does not open all the way, annoying if I don’t see that I need to push it open manually.  (The Lumix thoroughly plotzed with a “system error zoom”, after less than a year, as usual.)

yellow rain gauge, halfway full

The water boxes are full again.

summer-planted extra sweet pea seeds, grew into lots of foliage and an occasional soggy flower.

Helichrysum and bacopa still lush and happy

I spent most of the afternoon digging Ficaria verna (Ranunculus ficaria) from the east fire circle bed.  It runs like crazy through the garden.

Ficaria verna today

It tries to leave as many little brown root nodules behind as possible, which is why this is a battle where the human will not prevail.

At least I can slow it down.

The plain old creeping buttercup, also shown above, is much easier to remove.

In other garden news, I am working on widening the East Willow Loop path, which has become so narrow in summer that is had ceased to be part of the garden tour here.

opened up

At the end, to the left, was the encroaching ficaria patch.

center bed and Rozanne Loop path

I covered my gunnera with its own leaves to protect it from frost….

…and put a few leaves in the van to go to the gunnera in Long Beach.

Fortunately, the short daylight hours give plenty of time for reading in the late afternoon and evening.  I cannot remember who recommended that I read Radio Free Vermont.  Thank you, I loved it.

This is also how we feel on the Long Beach Peninsula:

For comparison, Ilwaco has under 1000 residents.  It might be growing, but it is growing slowly.


This is so true when moving to a small town:



I have read of town meetings elsewhere, possibly in Maine, in the memoirs of Doris Grumbach (whose books I highly recommend).

Radio Free Vermont is not all talk; it has adventure, suspense, and a ski chase, so give it a try.





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Sunday, 18 November 2018

Last night I was so sore from gardening for 13 (?) days in a row that I could barely walk by bath time.  I said to Allan that I simply must rest and read on Sunday no matter how beautiful the weather.

Today the weather was again beautiful and again I simply had to garden even though I awoke with aching arms and legs.

The old apple tree was aswarm with crows.  I managed to photograph just the remnants after they saw me and flapped away, complaining loudly.

Frosty shared some thoughts about my having chosen to garden rather than read.

I collected enough oyster baskets of leaves from the Norwood driveway to fill my new leaf container.  While I was in their driveway, I contemplated what I would do with the Nora House back yard if it were mine.

It has a great view of the port buildings.

From Norwoods:The Nora House yard is narrower than ours.

In our garden: leaf container almost full

Allan’s photo

I decided to add more old Geranium ‘Rozanne’ foliage to the compost bins.



My compost bounty overfloweth.

Rudder visited from next door (east) and got a treat of cheese.

Frosty was so excited to have a dog’s visit that he walked up and butted under Rudder’s chin with the top of his head.  Rudder, age 16, was not especially interested in a new friend.

Frosty is 13.  I sometimes contemplate getting him a nice dog for his dotage…He must be lonely with his mother and brother and his friend Calvin gone.

Allan chipped up the escallonia from Mike’s garden…


after, the messy work area (Allan’s photos)

I have the idea of having a long narrow shed where the debris dump/potato patch has been.  It would fit Allan’s boat.  With the required property setback, it would have to be long and narrow and would hide the unattractive work area from anyone next door.

possible space for long narrow shed, with a pole marking the setback line

Below, my beautiful wall of compost, the spring bulb window boxes waiting to be installed, a rain gauge from last week’s rain storm, and some optimistic cuttings of Mike’s Escallonia iveyi.

I am pretty sure that Mike’s white escallonia came from me to begin with.  I used to get cuttings from the escallonia at the Anchorage Cottages, which was the white E. iveyi planted by Heronswood’s Dan Hinkley back when his sister owned the Anchorage (before my time here).  A gardening business called The Elves Did It sometimes worked with me then, and got cuttings, too, and later installed Mike’s garden.

I spent the rest of the afternoon back in the bogsy woods, snapping off dead salmonberry in the salmonberry tunnel.  I enjoy the sound it makes. With a windless, clear afternoon, I wanted kindling for a campfire.

gunnera with alder leaves

fuchsia and mahonia

Behind the gear shed next door, the last stack of crab pots was moved out by forklift at dusk.

campfire with rising moon

A moonlit campfire dinner was had.

As the leaves fall from the willow grove, we can see more of the lights along the port.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Again, despite being tired, I simply had to garden because of perfect weather about to to end.  I set myself upon a project of widening a path enough so that Allan could bring his boat back, via our property rather than the Nora House driveway, to a potential new shed.  We could also use the wider path to take our wheelie bin out to the street.  I am trying to think ahead to a time when we might no longer be able to swan about the Nora House yard as if it is our own!


The garden bed between our house and the neighbouring driveway came about mainly because of a big old forsythia that I was unable to dig out.  Nora liked the long driveway bordering garden very much.

four hours later (the maple turning colour in the background is across the street)

comfortably wide now

The garden bed along the angled fence will have to be made narrower if a shed must be accommodated.  It is a perniciously weedy spot anyway.  I dug out a quantity of Egyptian Walking Onions to put elsewhere.

bed to be made narrow, left. Bed to be made into a shed, right.

The design of the garden, with the angled fence which used to just have deer mesh between the center posts, was so that Nora could see into our garden from her back porch.  She once told a friend that she saw Jesus walking there.

With my project done, I went back to the salmonberry tunnel again for forty five minutes of satisfying dead stem snapping for another campfire.  Again, the evening had no wind at all.

Skooter on the plant table backed with thinned out salmonberry

on the way back to the house to get campfire dinner fixings

I was pleased that I got the fire all started up by myself.  Usually former boy scout Allan does the fire making, but he was off getting a haircut.

We only had this much cut firewood left from last winter’s windfalls:

Behind our fence is what remains of the blue wall of tarp that, covering stacked crab pots, made the backdrop for our rear garden all summer.

I like to burn up all last year’s firewood by late autumn in order to start a brand new windfall pile.  One small half-wheelbarrow load of that wood was too wet or big to burn this evening.  The next afternoon, I would wheel it to the back of the garage and put it under cover to dry so that maybe we can have a winter solstice or very early spring campfire with it later.

Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’, still in bloom, does not provide any scent on chilly evenings.

Allan returned to a pleasantly roaring fire and a campfire dinner.

the moon almost full

Rain was due by 4 PM the next day.  Although I longed for reading time, we had volunteer plans for tomorrow.


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Saturday, 17 November 2018

first day of staycation

I woke much too early with the memory that we had a big shrub from Klipsan Beach Cottages to plant.

This rain gauge must have recorded the rain we had on the dark day last week, perhaps in the night; we did our 12 days in a row of fall clean up with nary a sprinkle during work time.

Yesterday during our final clean up at KBC, Mary had given us a large callistemon that had been in a big pot all this time.  Her plant collector brother had given it to her some years ago. Denny doesn’t like weird plants much; this one has greenery-yallery  flowers.

the callistemon at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Callistemon, now ours

quite a prize! might be ‘Shamrock’

I dug a Big Hole and Allan brought the trailer right next to the destination and helped me plant.

callistemon in the ground

I may eventually have to move the two ornamental grasses on either side of it.

In the course of making room, I dug up some Geranium macrorrhizum and took some starts over to the Norwood garden, two doors down.  I appreciate being able to cut through the Nora House back garden and its connecting gate.  The Norwood garden also got a couple of starts of Dierama from KBC, perhaps not well rooted enough to “take”.

Geranium went into the corner of this north bed.

I thought I was going to have to rearrange the hydrangeas for spacing, but they look ok to me now.

Very young hydrangeas…The one on the far right got cut off from the photo….

I snagged myself an oyster basket of fallen leaves from the driveway.

Because I was so tired from work, I set myself a simple mission, to clear out compost bin three in preparation for adding the huge pile that waited outside the west gate.


before: bin three looks promising

I sifted just this much compost out of it by the time it was completely emptied.

I could not resist starting on the hauling of debris.

the pile, before

It was a relief when the tarp appeared from under the huge pile that consisted of Fifth Street Park debris and all of Diane’s garden.

Meanwhile, Allan was using the Pencil Sharpener to chip two piles of woody debris from work.

Frosty found it amusing to have us out by the driveway, where he enjoys sunbathing.

Somehow I found the energy to wheelbarrow the whole big pile from the driveway “garden” (potatoes and weeds and debris dumped from work) and got it clipped and layered in into the compost bins, filling bin three and heaping up on top of the other three bins.  I must admit the last couple of loads just got stuffed on top with no chopping.


As I worked, I fantasized about us driving to the free wood pile at the port and finding five more pallets and making two more bins on the other side of the aisle.  I reminded myself that if we semi-retire in a couple of years, we will no longer be bringing home such large amounts of compostable material.  It is tempting, though, to expand…  I will have to wait for these piles to settle before I can start sifting again.

A new addition today is a leaf bin, made from a round of wire and a couple of rebar stakes.  Marion Cran had written eloquently of leaf mold in her books, and with my two plastic bins now full of leaves and chippings, I needed more space.  Allan set it up.

the wire clipped together

newspapers at the bottom to keep weedy grass out (Allan’s photos)

I wanted more leaves from the Norwood driveway but simply did not have the strength to hobble over there again.

the garden at dusk

When I received Allan’s photos of the day, I learned that he had also done a little project I had forgotten about: freeing the welcome frog from the jail that had happened with last minute Halloween decorating.


after; a gift from Mary of KBC

Allan noticed the Joseph’s Coat rose is still blooming.

My compost accomplishment called for the last bag of Builders Tea, because this garden was not built on chamomile.

Indoors, Skooter spent the evening, typically, in his favourite spot, where he gets petted every time someone walks by this intersection of hallway and kitchen.

He is still not much of a lap cat.






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