Saturday, 9 June 2018

Astoria, Oregon

As soon as I saw the crowd gathered by the grandstand next to Buoy Beer, on the Astoria Riverwalk, I was so glad I had not succumbed to my usual desire to stay home in my garden.

There are probably not many Pride events with a tsunami evacuation sign as back drop.

MC Dida DeAngelis

I saw Ilwacoans Todd and Annie, and reflected on Seattle pride marches of the past when teachers wore bags over their heads with signs “Teachers with Pride Still Have to Hide.”  Todd is a local school principal and Annie is a teacher.

Astoria’s parade is open to all who want to show support and solidarity with the local LGBTQ community.

Here comes the parade!

The face on the banner is that of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “The Notorious RBG”, Supreme Court champion of equality.

Pacific Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

And then the sound of drumming and tootling…

I got completely choked up, as I did last year, about OUR town’s high school marching band being in the parade.  What a glorious change from when I was in high school in the early 70s.

Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo

left: Ilwaco city councilwoman and school booster Missy “Lucy Dagger” of the Beards Hollow Pirates

Maddy of Pink Poppy Bakery and North Coast Food web, with her daughter Quincy.

You may remember Maddy is last year’s parade, also with Quincy.


Our next door neighbour, Jared of Starvation Alley Farm (and Ilwaco city councilman)

our new neighbour, Willa (Allan’s photo)

Astoria roller derby grrls

Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


The cast of the Astor Street Opry’s annual play, Shanghaied in Astoria (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Poison Waters and Friends, the drag revue which would provide entertainment at the Block Party, rode in the Astoria Trolley.

I followed along rather far behind for many blocks of the Riverwalk….

before the long walk (which would not have felt long a few years ago)

The Columbia River

Allan’s photo


Rainbows marked the way to the Astoria Pride Block Party.

When I arrived, I got a good seat to enjoy the funny, moving, expertly professional entertainment.  It had not rained on the parade, nor did it rain on the block party.  The Poison Waters and Friends revue was so good that I forgot about my gardening plans and we stayed for the afternoon.

food vendors (Allan’s photo)

Our gardening friends Mark and Brian were there.

ambassadors from local small towns

The drag queens lip synched so convincingly that I’d forget they weren’t singing.


Allan’s photo

She sang a soulful song like a church lady.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Daylight, from Astoria (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

local drag queen Ginger Vitus (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Ginger Vitus, from Astoria,  was hilarious and adorable. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The Astoria Q Center Choir

The block party would go on for hours with assorted bands, but we left because there was no topping Poison Waters and her friends (and I did have gardening to do).

Just to complete our glorious outing, we saw a killdeer along the trolley tracks on our way back to our parking spot.

Allan’s photo



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.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Today we will have used up all of our green jugs of rain water and now are completely dry.


Allan pulled the last three from under the dryer vent.

These are kitty litter jugs and so useful!

We began work today with watering at the ….

Depot Restaurant

…where I fretted over the escallonia ugliness.

If it were mine, I would take the sides back to the new green growth inside.

But that might look even more ugly for a public place.

Allan found frogs on the hose reel.

I have to get sorted whether this message on the sprinkler system means it only runs once every seven days…

north of the dining deck

white camassia

SE corner of dining deck

Long Beach

welcome sign

The welcome sign is still blah.  Why are the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ so slow to bloom this year?  Our work does not involve the sort of bedding out for every season that some city gardeners do.  We have to wait for the summer show instead of making an extra late spring show.

We checked on Fifth Street Park….

Fifth Street Park’s four quadrants

NW Fifth Street Park

I saw that the Dorothy Perkins rose was in a terrible mildewy state.

disgusting; was chosen by a landscape architect

Meanwhile, just across the street to the south, Rose ‘Super Dorothy’ is doing wonderfully as always.

Super Dorothy, chosen by me and Parks Manager Mike on a trip we took to Heirloom Roses

Allan took another section of poor old Dorothy, and I trimmed the one by Captain Bob’s Chowder.  I seriously think it should just be removed.  Because of rose replant disease, it might be hard to put Super Dorothy there, plus she is so strong she would soon hide the restaurant from view.

We watered the downtown planters.

I got asked several times about the identity of the Allium christophii.  One passerby who asked said that they were beautiful “but one is broken a block further up.”  It certainly was.

finger blight!!

I took the flower home, and as I write this a week later, it still looks good.  I would rather it was looking good in its planter than in a vase at home.

LBT’s pots (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

My next goal today was to mulch another section of the beach approach garden.  However, with an ominous feeling, I looked at Facebook to see if the Columbia Pacific Farmers Market was opening soon.  My plan changed when I saw it opens tomorrow (Friday afternoons, starting June 8th), so we had to tidy up the Veterans Field gardens.  They don’t even show much because booths block them during market hours, but I still must have them looking good.

I have gone off planting Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’.  Despite such pretty blue flowers, her foliage is floppy all over the place before bloom.  Most of the Vet Field time was spent pulling the foliage off, which is surely not advisable yet never seems to affect her coming back just as messy the next year.

Allan’s photo from a previous year: Brodiaea at the Ilwaco community building, showing the messy foliage

Look at the caption on this old photo.  I followed through, to my regret today.

Note: Plant Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’ in Vet Field garden. Great blue for early summer.

In the corner garden of Vet Field, I found an agastache that I had failed to pull (probably buried with brodiaea foliage).  Having had the opportunity to grow out of its diseased foliage, it did not, and the foliage still looks awful.  I am not going to name and shame the non-peninsula nursery that refused to give a credit on all these bad plants, but shame, shame, shame on them.


When I realized that the roses by the police station were encroaching on the sidewalk, I felt overburdened with responsibilities.  I sheared back the worst offenders, feeling grumpy.

After Long Beach, Allan watered the Ilwaco planters.  I was hoping for rain tomorrow so did not water the boatyard.  If no rain, will have to water it Saturday.  I wanted to get the Shelburne watered today, rain or no rain, but I could not find the energy to spend two hours working there while Allan did Ilwaco.  (Don’t ask me where he gets his energy; I am amazed.  He is famous for it among those who know him.)  We had dinner plans for eight with our garden gang.

Instead, I went home while Allan watered Ilwaco and rather surprised myself by spending the time vigorously shifting some heavy pots and tables around on our patio.

Allan got done with the planters in jig time and we were able to water the Shelburne after all.

Shelburne Hotel

back west garden

back south garden

Front garden, Nicotiana langsdorfii

Front garden, phlomis (Jerusalem sage)

front garden: success with evening scented stock from seed

We saw Thandi of the Sou’wester Lodge with her darling daughter, who had somehow managed to turn from a baby into a little girl.

Dave and Melissa joined us for our North Beach Garden Gang dinner meeting.

Dave’s French onion soup

Allan’s drink, an Arnold Palmer

tired working gardeners

Melissa and I comparing the effect of hard work on our hands

At home after dinner, I just happened to notice on the counter that one of the seed packets in my gift of a Gardeners’ World magazine is one of the plants that is high on my must have list after seeing it on the show.

I must sow them in July in a prepared seed bed and keep them moist.  Wish me luck.

We have two rewards for today.  By working a 9 hour day (Allan did, anyway), we now can take three days off.  If the rain comes, we might even get four days off.  One day includes the Astoria Pride parade, which I feel duty bound to attend even though, as always of late, all I want is to be home in my own garden.


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

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

We had an easy day planned, with a garden tour and a garden visit after work.

The Red Barn Arena

bees on California poppies (Allan’s photo)

I dug out some more wilted Helianthus, determined to grow only plants here that will look good without much watering.

This little patch of helianthus might get enough spill over water from the barrel, which gets watered more often than the garden does.

doesn’t make me happy to dig these out

in the barn (Allan’s photo)

horses going to pasture

Two coreopsis in a barrel also came out.  They have been wilted the last two times so they cannot live here anymore.

out they came

I need plants here that will thrive only on our once a week watering.  It is a windy area, which makes it even harder.

By the front gate, drought tolerance is even more necessary as water has to be schlepped out there.

Delosperma ‘Fire Spinner’ (not invasive here)

Diane’s garden

We weeded and did not need to water.

allium going to seed (Allan’s photo)

our good friend Misty (Allan’s photo)

Diane’s roadside garden

The Planter Box

I found a few succulents for the planter we had taken the coreopsis out of.

dazzling pelargoniums at the Planter Box (did not buy these for the barrel)

Klipsan Beach Cottages

We weeded and tidied for an hour, and took photos for the KBC Facebook page.

a bud on Salvia ‘Black and Bloom’, an improvement on ‘Black and Blue’

This will be our last summer in this garden because managers/owners Denny and Mary are retiring.  It feels odd.  Can’t do planting for the future here.

Thalictrum ‘Elin’ and rugosa rose


fern by the clam shed (Allan’s photo)

the pond (Allan’s photo)


Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

Rose ‘Jude the Obscure’

Now that KBC is the only job we have north of Long Beach, we try to sometimes add a fun north end garden tour or some such thing to make the round trip (about forty minutes driving) worthwhile.  (Next year, not having KBC will probably give us an extra day off on some of the summer weeks.) This time, we visited the Oysterville garden (which will be tomorrow’s post).

This was at the Oysterville Church afterward.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

behind the church

If you are ever taking a walking tour of Oysterville (a map is available inside the church), it is useful to know that there is a sani-can behind the church.

On the way back south, we stopped briefly in Ocean Park at

Mark and Brian’s garden.

You may remember our tour of their garden last summer.  Today, we were just picking up some Japanese anemone that they had potted up for us (to go in the bogsy wood).  Of course, we did have a good walk around the garden.

calendulas and marigolds

the front garden

The air immediately becomes cooler and fresher when one enters the back garden with its two waterfall pond.

Allan’s photo

a garden expansion in front of the pond

rock dragonfly

fancy pelargonium

succulent pot

hellebore foliage

Rhododendron ‘Pink Walloper’

Rhododendron ‘Pink Walloper’

Brian with maples from seedlings found in a parking lot planting

the deckside garden (The deck has an enviable view of the pond.)

a gift of Japanese anemones. I gave them a six pack of Cosmos ‘Cupcake’.

a bit more work

On the way home, we swung by the Red Barn again and bunged some succulents and gaillardia into the barrel.  I also put in a small, perhaps too small, sign that says “Water me!”  The poor erysimum got awfully dried up, but I left it in there for now because it is blooming so well.  The bulb foliage (in an awkward place) is tigridia.

Allan’s photos

After we got home, Allan watered at the J’s….

and the Norwoods….

The forecast still calls for rain on the weekend.  We hope so…as long as it does not fall on the Pride parade in Astoria.



Tuesday, 5 June 2018

We are starting with an almost blank work list, as we transition to the maintenance season.

The at home list remains as long as ever, including indoor tasks that never got done last winter because I was so poorly with shingles.


We checked on the fire station volunteer garden…

sunflowers have germinated!

healthy looking cosmos at the Ilwaco post office

Last year someone left a miniature rose at the post office, so we had planted it in the planter there.  Unfortunately, the deer have discovered it.

chomped rose

Long Beach

We tidied the small Culbertson field garden.

A darling dog named Mr. Happy came by on a walk from the nearby South Pacific County Humane Society.

He had an adorable personality, not captured in this photo.

There seems to be no sprinkler getting water into this little garden, so we gave it the two jugs of water that we had with us.

We collected buckets of Soil Energy mulch from the city works yard and mulched one smallish area of the beach approach.

Both the electrical workers and the city crew were out there at the same time.

We checked a memorial planter that some family member had added plants to and not watered….and the plants are still not watered and are dying.  The only ones doing ok are the ones we planted during rainy seasons so that they could get established.

sad drying up lavender, right, one of several

I posted about it again on Facebook, saying that if the new plants are totally let die, we will have to pull them.  Quite sad.  We don’t haul bucket water out here.

Finally, we tidied the city hall garden.

This trillium looked unappealing and got cut back. (Allan’s photo)

All the rest of the photos are Allan’s today.  I felt so tired, for whatever reason, that I lacked energy to reach for my camera.

The Shelburne Hotel

We added some Eupatorium ‘Elegant Feather’ for texture in the totem pole garden (shady).

A crow visited the bird bath from its nest in the big laurel.

I happened to look up to the top of a flight of stairs that goes to a small deck and saw a dry and unattended rose.  We have now added watering it to our agenda there.

I don’t think anyone has been watering this rose. That is the laurel where the crows are nesting.

I was pleased to have time to weed part of the front path.

Allan got a drift of creeping sorrel out of the north end of the garden.



looking north

looking south

Port of Ilwaco

We finally, after years of difficulties, have every business on board along the curbside gardens with letting us use their water, so we weeded the last area that we had not done.  It had been so dry with soil like concrete that I just plain would not weed it without being able to water it.  We had time to weed and water four other adjacent garden beds, as well.  This week, we are gambling on the rain that is predicted for the weekend and we are not going to water the beds at the east or west end.

a special eryngium (not the usual ‘Sapphire Blue’)

watering happy plants

lavender and California poppies

We then had time to water another two garden beds: the port pavilion and Jensen architecture office.

watering the new plants that were transplanted from port office garden last week

If it does not rain on Friday, we will have to water the rest of the port gardens after the Astoria Pride parade on Saturday.


Monday, 4 June 2018

Long Beach

I decided we had better do a big clean up in the oft neglected Coulter Park, just north of Dennis Company.

the back way in (Allan’s photo)

the dreaded rose patch with salmonberry coming through the fence (Allan’s photos)

The salmonberry comes under the fence on powerful runners and pops up all through the roses.  It’s infuriating on many levels.

the mother….plant on the other side of the fence

Allan’s photo

after; unfortunately, all the bad roots can’t be gotten at (Allan’s photo)

after (Allan’s photo)

Meanwhile, I weeded around the front of the park and then limbed up some conifers on the north side so that we could get the bindweed, salmonberry, blackberry, and garbage out from under them.

before; impossible to weed

I pruned as much as I could and then Allan crawled in and sawed off the stubs.


another one, before


spider babies dispersing when touched

If mama spiders were like mama bears, we would not get much done.

a paper towel dispenser…why and how? (Allan’s photo)


more salmonberry invaders

I’ve sort of given up on the north side of this park. All we can do is cut these salmonberries back, and they regrow quickly.

It looks cleaner and better even from afar.

I thought you might be interested in the sign on the Long Beach depot building in this park.

the old train depot

“I just knew there was nothing in the whole wild world that would ever be as exciting and wonderful as a Sunday at Long Beach.”

I’ve made the photo a bit bigger than usual in hopes that it might be readable when biggified by clicking.

self seeded cerinthe in the rocks, even though the nearest one is a block away.

With that done, we went on to water the downtown planters and street tree gardens.

Agastache and Cosmos ‘Pop Socks’

Cosmos ‘Pop Socks’

‘Copper Pot’ California poppy

Dianthus ‘Charles Musgrave’

I got to pet this little dog named Gizmo.

We still have alliums.  On the third street intersection, 12 are left out of 24 that were planted there.

Allium christophii

Allium christophii

Allium christophii with cosmos and cerinthe

one of the most windswept planters (Allan’s photo)

cosmos (Allan’s photo)

California poppies (Allan’s photo)

Cerinthe major purpurascens (Allan’s photo)


  I meant to water and weed at the boatyard; I really did.  However, I had hit a wall of exhaustion and since the watering was not critical (I’d watered it just last Friday), I left the weeds to thrive and went home with the excuse (valid!) of having more of the monthly billing to do.

Allan watered the Ilwaco street trees and planters.

downtown planter

a self seeded columbine