Thursday, 9 May 2019

We had planned to plant in the Long Beach planters all day, but we were thwarted by heat.

They call this warm? It was a blazing inferno.

I received five tubers of Canna ‘Stuttgart’ from Home Depot, much bigger than the tiny one I got from Brent and Becky’s.

canna tuber

I wasn’t sure if three of the five had eyes, or buds. In the heat, I planted them in three pots that went into the water boxes and the boat. That was all the weather I wanted to experience, even though I was worried about the Long Beach planters. The plants for Long Beach spent the day by the garage door. I spent the day till late afternoon churning out the previous three blog posts.

Long Beach ladies in waiting:

Just before four, Allan watered the Norwood garden…

…where alliums were just opening up.

Dutch iris had already spent some of its bloom.

Across the street, he watered the Js as well.

Dutch iris in bud:

Even the valerian was feeling the heat.

Roses in the Js back yard, and the new rose:

Meanwhile, I had been watering all my potted plants. I’d planned to do so at end of day but they were hinting at distress.

Skooter seemed to not mind the heat.

Allan’s photo

We went out to water in Ilwaco between four thirty and eight. I planted a few plants at the port office.

my view across the lawn

The tulips in the Time Enough Books boat still look so good that Karla’s new Firecracker fuchsias got an outing to the port and back home but did not get planted yet.

I watered along the port, dragging the hose from garden to garden.

The Time Enough Books garden…

…has a mystery plant whose name does not spring to mind.

Did I even plant this?

Karla was leaving work and she did not plant it.  She will start giving the garden supplemental water, which will be so helpful.  When I dragged the hose past the Marie Powell Gallery, Mr. Marie (Randy) told me that he had watered the curbside garden this morning, so I was able to keep dragging hose eastward.

at the Ilwaco Pavilion, looking west

Dragging hose is heavy work.  I don’t want one of those little collapsible hoses for this job, though.  The port office just got one and it has lower water pressure and whips around like a snake if you set it down while the water is on.  I often set my hose down to soak an area while I pull weeds.

It feels like a long slog around the Jensen building to get to the faucet… First, across the parking lot…

…around the building and up this passage to the faucet, having stuck the hose end under the nailed shut gate…

…and all the way back around; this view is the reward.

Meanwhile, Allan filled buckets at the boatyard…

…next to a shiny blue boat.

He was pleased to see that the planter at Peninsula Sanitation had been watered.

How sad I am that the bad aster and the wild sweet pea have taken over two of the street tree squares.

How very dull.

Allan watered the fire station…

our new bed on the east side

….and the post office.

He found me at the port where I hope he was impressed that I had made it all the way from Time Enough Books to the Jensen Architecture office, including planting a few plants at the port office.

We drove to the boatyard, where I watered the garden…

…while he watered the two westernmost beds at the port.

Boatyard garden already has so very much horsetail coming back.

Because I mostly water from the inside of the fence, I cannot weed the garden while watering.

The horsetail wants to be the star, just as it is on the inside of the fence.

I sorrowed to see the middle hose running up into a boat so that I could not get at it.

I had had enough of hose dragging. I thought glumly about the heavy hose at the other end of the fence.  I found one of those soft hoses further along…

…and thought I could easily drag that to an empty faucet.  But after I had hooked it up and watered the north end, I simply could not unhook it again.  By the time Allan came back from his west end watering, I was still stymied.  He finished watering with our hose while I got to pull some horsetail at last.

the usual obstacle course

I hope these difficulties were not a portent for watering season.  Last year, I was fortunate in having excellent hose luck at the boatyard with all the hoses almost always hooked up and available.

While I went home, Allan zipped up to the Depot Restaurant to make sure the newly planted barrel had not wilted.

It had not.

The work board tonight:

Tomorrow, we must plant in Long Beach whatever the weather.


Wednesday, 8 May 2019

My Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’ is full of blooms and unbothered by deer.

Tulip ‘Carribean Parrot’ is still blooming.

On the way to work, we delivered my mom’s old battery powered Husqvarna mower to Jenna at her Mermaid Sandcastle.

The mower has a narrow deck and does not cut as low as I like, which is why we switched to a gas guzzler.  It will be perfect for Jenna mowing her small lawn.  She said later that she likes how easy it is to start and how quiet it is.

Diane’s garden

We got an enthusiastic greeting from Holly (still full of puppy exuberance) and dignified old Misty.

I looked over some perennials that a friend had given to Diane.

We emptied out some of the old, rootbound containers.  The old potting soil we broke up and put on top of the big raised septic box garden.

Tulips in the raised bed garden (Allan’s photo)

We then drove up the road to The Basket Case Greenhouse to get pastel colored plants for Diane and to pick up more of Long Beach’s order.  (All Allan’s photos)

Buddy at the Basket Case


Sempervivum arachnoideum

Roxanne figuring out a complex order

Off we go back to Diane’s.

Roxanne had grown some Cosmos ‘Sea Shells, to my delight.  It is my favourite, closely followed by ‘Cupcake’.  (I have completely gone off ‘Sensation’ because for the past few years, it has refused to bloom till autumn.)

We checked on the Red Barn garden (dry, but no time to water it! So I nagged someone about the watering) and saw Diane, a champion barrel racer, practicing with her horse, accompanied by young Holly.

Allan’s photo

Diane’s again

Allan planted the perennials and some cosmos along the roadside garden and removed some ill placed fungi that came up from some bagged Harvest Supreme mulch.

Diane has done a good job of watering.

new hebe installed

A few of the perennials went up onto the raised box.

the raised box garden
containers all planted and watered

The planting took all day, as I knew it would.  Toward the end, I mentioned to Diane something about when we retire from Long Beach in two years, but keep her and the Ilwaco gardens, we will have more time to acquire a wider variety of plants for her.  She said she was thrilled to hear that we were keeping her.  I said cheerfully, “As long as you let me be the boss,” as I do tend to tell my private clients to water, and because, within their personal taste of plant colour and so on, I am usually the one who designs the planting.  She cheerfully agreed that my being the boss was just fine.  😉

The Depot Restaurant

We met Our Kathleen, who is here for a week’s vacation, for Burger Night (every Wednesday off season) and conversation.

my burger with almost everything
Kathleen’s more restrained burger.

Mine had to be somewhat deconstructed to eat it.


vanilla bean flan
chocolate pot de creme

As we parted ways after dinner, Kathleen mentioned that the weather was supposed to be in the 70s the next day.  This was ominous news to me, as I have barely had time to check the weather.  I worried briefly about its effect on our multitude of watering responsibilities and on planting the Long Beach plants which I had spent an hour sorting and lining up before dinner.  I refuse to lose sleep over it; tomorrow’s worries can wait.

The work board tonight:

Cosmos, also an annual, has its own list, because it is a different and more complex sort of planting than bunging small plants into planters, and because it comes after most of the other annuals planting. The Time Enough fuchsias are actually hardy but somehow ended up lumped in with annuals.




Tuesday, 7 May 2019

The Depot Restaurant

We had decided to replace the rotten old whiskey barrel today.  (Allan had drilled holes in the bottom of the new one last night.)

Bright yellow Agyranthemum ‘Butterfly’ and some yellow bidens will draw people’s eyes, as yellow always does.

the garden north of the dining deck
tulips at the Depot


We returned to our town and, in a strong wind but pleasant temperature, planted some diascias and some variegated thyme and some nasturtium seeds into the 26 Ilwaco planters.  With no rain in the forecast, we will have to step up the watering of those planters now.  Our dear friend Jenna is trying to get some of the merchants to help with the watering.  Some might say “but we pay them to do the watering” (meaning we get paid). The back story is that it is such a time consuming and rather back breaking job (either bucket watering or rassling with the water trailer) that we tried to resign from in 2013, only to find that no one else bid on the job.  We love our town so have kept on with the job to help make the town look good.

Allan filled up buckets at the boatyard while I pulled horsetail along the garden.

Allan’s photos

My calf problem continues, but at least now I can step up and down off the curb without yowling and can even carry a half five gallon bucket of water.

Because Thandi (owner of the Sou’wester) will water the east facing planter outside of her Ilwaco office (in front of a garage where the Sou’wester rebuilds vintage RVs), we planted a hardy fuchsia and some bacopa there.

diascia and variegated thyme ready to go in

We use a lot of diascias for summer color because they are pretty drought tolerant.  Occasionally, they come through the winter.

Trimming Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ at the fire station planter

Our fire station volunteer garden today:

Tulip batalinii and lambs ears
watering the planter at Peninsula Sanitation

Pen San and the Sou’wester RV re-build business are two Ilwaco businesses, along with Ilwaco city hall, that do help out by giving their planters supplemental water.

At our garden at the Ilwaco post office, I admired the Stipa gigantea while we added a diascia to the final planter there.

While I watered my plant sale and greenhouse plants, Allan watered several of the curbside beds at the port (the ones I planted seeds in).

Years ago, under two Port administrations ago, all these curbside beds were installed with absolutely no irrigation and no plan for watering them other than maybe the adjacent merchants would do the watering.  Now the merchants (fortunately, all of them this year) allow us to use their water by hooking up to their faucets.  Don Nisbett, Salt Hotel, Marie Powell Gallery, the Port office staff, and Time Enough Books do some supplemental watering.  I have asked about the possibility of a sprinkler system but the port can’t dig up the sidewalks to install it.  It should have been part of the original plan, as I believe it is in most towns and cities.

Time Enough Books and Purly Shell
the still very young port office garden (which had to be re-done this year because of last year’s building repair)


Monday, 6 May 2019

Long Beach

We returned to the Bolstad beach approach garden, where we had this much left to weed and clip.  

I used The Toy on each of the three and a half sections to shear the roses back from the curbs.

Allan had the fun job of picking up after me.

The larger shrubs and thick rugosa roses at the east end of the 13.5 section garden strip makes for easier weeding, especially when we are so far behind on it that the roses are all leafed out and making the small weeds in the middle innaccessible without too much thorny pain. The closer to town, the happier the roses are because they get less wind.

Even without weeding the smaller weeds, the day had many gasps of pain from thorn stabbings.

The mugo pines emitted clouds of pollen when brushed, increasing my allergy woes.  This particular weeding job actually gives me hives from the first day that we begin. (Allan took most of the photos today, by the way.)

moving along


in the planter at the east end of the garden (Tulip linifolia, a real champ)
looking back
the sidewalk side

This is how far we have come.

And this is the end at last.

What a joyous moment.  We will do a weeding sweep over this long narrow garden before certain summer festivals.  The summer weeding sessions do not take more than a day, partly because the garden gets no supplemental water so the weeds will somewhat give up after awhile.  (I don’t have much confidence in the wildflower seeds, either, because of drought.)

We made two nursery visits in the afternoon.

The Planter Box

The Depot Restaurant needed its whiskey barrel planter replaced.  While Allan loaded a barrel and some potting soil, I looked at plants.

a nice selection of clematis
clematis and honeysuckle

Teresa kindly gave us a jar of tadpoles (Pacific tree frog) to take home to our pond.

The Basket Case Greenhouse

We picked up at both nurseries some of Long Beach’s purchases for the planters.

Boreas Inn

Susie had messaged me with a dahlia dividing emergency; she was not confident about dividing two big clumps without hurting them.  We divided them, not into individual tubers, because there is not enough room in the garden to plant multiple dahlias.  Two clumps went into big pots, and a few into the garden.

I planted nasturtiums in some window box liners, just to sit somewhere and provide edible flowers for Susie’s bed and breakfast morning feasts.  These were the nasturtiums I had acquired for edible flowers for a former job, special ones like Caribbean Cocktail and Buttercream.

We are so glad that Susie keeps her garden watered, one less thing for us to worry about.

The west lawn beds:

The inn and the hot tub gazebo:

While I watered all my darn plant sale plants at home (Whyyyyyy??? So much extra work!), Allan watered the post office and fire station volunteer gardens.


I remember when we installed the post office garden, I said I would make a garden if the staff watered it.  That was a previous administration ago so now the watering is ours to do.  This is not unusual, all volunteer gardeners tell the same story, and the current administration is deeply appreciative of the garden but did not make that watering deal.

The work board tonight:

Beach approach DONE!




Saturday, 4 May 2019

After the children’s parade, I was finally able to start the weekend of home garden projects.  It turned out to be not as full of weeding accomplishments as I had planned; instead, I had visits from friends and some cathartic conversations, beginning on Saturday afternoon with Judy and Larry.  I was finally able to return the excellent Japanese gardening books that she had lent me last summer.  Because they live in Ocean Park, and business no longer takes me up there, and it had taken me months to read them, it had been a long loan.

Judy has had more experience at pond care than I have so was able to give me some good advice on mine.  All the life we can see in our ponds so far is mosquito larvae.  She was able to assure me that mosquito dunks would not harm any tadpoles.

the smaller pond

I do not mind the water being murky as sources tell me frogs like that sort of home.  I have also been reassured by my reading that it can take six months for frogs and dragonflies to move to a new pond.  I thought it would be immediate.

After our friends departed, I set to with some weeding, my goal being to clear horsetail from the center bed around the canoe pond.


Skooter halped.

I was relieved when he had had enough of helping.


Some dianthus and oregano need a careful weeding of infiltrating weed grasses, but my arthritic right forefinger protested so much by end of day that it will have to wait.

A blue bird of happiness helped me celebrate a good day.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

The dogwood outside the kitchen window is putting on the two weeks long show by which it earns its keep.

In the front garden:

Tulip ‘Spring Green’ and white bleeding heart

the amazing Caribbean Parrot tulip

I had more home visits with more cathartic conversation and some touring of our weedy and unkempt garden, this time from Our Kathleen and then from Teresa of the Planter Box.  I also accomplished a smallish weeding project.  I decided that even though the back garden needs so much help, I should concentrate on what people see when they look over the front gate.



I did not get far into the east bed:

The city water meter readers recently assured me that they no longer need a dedicated path for access to the meter.  They now read it electronically.  I removed the rock paver path, which has always made it so difficult to weed and control the BadAster in that area just inside the front gate.



It now needs soil.  I will get some tomorrow from Susie’s Soil Energy pile at the Boreas Inn, in exchange for assorted free plants I have brought for her garden.

My gift rhododendron from Steve and John of the Bayside Garden is putting on a show.

I sent them a photo, and Steve sent me this photo back:

“These are the first of our R. triflorum blooming on the side of the driveway.”

I am concerned about my Azara microphylla ‘Variegata’.  Some of its leaves, mostly on the more shaded lower branches are turning black-ish and are maybe sort of sticky, which bodes ill.  Sooty mold?

I cut off and discarded the lower branches that were worst affected and gave the tree a good drink of water.

(the purple stems below, in the wheelie bin, are old spray painted eryngiums)

I do not have time to deal with this further.  If the tree dies, I will grieve, but it will open up an area to have a porch extension made.

Allan spent the day grocery shopping overseas, returning with provisions and with mosquito dunks.

I thought much about retirement this weekend and kept reminding myself that in three weeks, we can start our pretty regular three day weekends, I hope.


Saturday, 4 May 2019


I took a bouquet down to Time Enough Books for an author reading that would take place in the afternoon (although I had to miss it because I am so behind on my garden).

author Hasan Davis, the “Hope Dealer”

I probably would have benefited from some hope dealing.

I had a brief look round the Saturday Market’s first day of the season…

Purly Shell Fiber Arts

…and then checked out the gardens while waiting for the annual children’s parade to begin.

what a face

Allan caught the beginning of the parade downtown.

Allan accompanied the parade as it passed by the Ilwaco boatyard…

Ilwaco Timberland Library
our neighbours (and Maddie)
our next door neighbours, and Maddie and Quincy, Thandi and Cella

…and turned the corner onto Howerton Avenue.

And then the parade got up to where I was waiting for it by Salt Hotel.

I was pleased to also get to pet the pig.

You can see every last photo of the 2019 children’s parade right here.

After the parade, I hurried home to get started on a weekend of weeding. Allan spent a bit more time at the Saturday market.

At Time Enough Books:



Friday, 3 May 2019

Skooter in the morning (Allan’s photo)

I was finding it hard to get going, what with the difficulties of putting on compression stockings and knee brace, so Allan got both the Norwood’s and J’s gardens watered while waiting for me.

Norwood garden (Allan’s photo)

Stipa gigantea at the Ilwaco post office:

Long Beach

Having to water the Ilwaco and the Long Beach planters so shockingly early in the season had added extra pressure to our pre-parade-weekend gardening.  Usually, we only have to worry about making the gardens and planters look good.  The parks manager said he has never had to get the sprinklers for the lawns turned on this early.  Now watering season is piling up right on top of upcoming Annuals Planting Hell Time.  I am glad I do not have That Former Job to worry about on top of all our other watering woes.  I wonder if all gardeners realize how dire the watering situation is right now.  I’ve messaged a couple of private clients to tell them it’s time to begin!

I started by watering the two north blocks…

Tulip ‘Green Wave’

“yellow hoop petticoats”

…while Allan weeded the Heron Pond garden.

Befores and afters:

It is kind of a shame to have to weed out the horsetail.  It is a native plant, after all.  But even though it is appropriate by this pond, it speaks of unkempt weediness to most passersby.  Allan has a precarious route over the pond to even get to it.

Due to a shortage of time, he took the strimmer to the long grass.

We then watered the rest of town together, while I made a list of what annuals to get for the planters. Most of the tall tulips are done.  I just pull out the big ones; they will not come back well the second year.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

The annual first Sunday in May parade always takes place at that awkward floral time when the planters are full of dying bulb foliage that has to stay.  Fortunately, we still have some late blooming tulips on show, and lots of Baby Moon narcissi.

Allan’s photo

One of the planters has a big old Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ that looks bare and woody on one side, the side that shows the most…

..and is still blooming madly on the other.

Even though I have been planning to yank it out, I now think it deserves one more summer. Do you? Maybe it symbolizes to me something about how I have been feeling lately.

Something I have never seen before—we found aphids on Fritillaria meleagris and on a tulip.

Some nice new hardscaping at the Long Beach Tavern:

I wonder if there is any hope that my alliums will hold up to the parade audience. They did last year.

We had a lunch break at Captain Bob’s Chowder …

our weed buckets outside the door

….and then addressed the horsetail problem in Fifth Street Park.

Allan’s photo, from behind Leycesteria ‘Jealousy’

Finally, we watered and groomed the two southern blocks of downtown planters.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

The Sid Snyder beach approach planters will have to fend for themselves because we had no more energy at all, and yet we still had two more Long Beach tasks.

I trimmed down the westernmost roses on the Bolstad approach because I felt they might be traffic sightline blockers.

And we had to tidy the welcome sign, which is past its best for the tulip show.

Out of all the 100 pink and white tulips planted at the back of the sign, the voles left us this many:

We had almost forgotten to check on the Depot Restaurant garden this week.  Fortunately, they were having a special event later in the evening so the parking lot was still empty at 6 PM.

On the way home, we drove by the port and Allan hopped out to deadhead ten sad white narcissi…

and finally, we were home and done.  We will be attending only the Saturday children’s parade in Ilwaco, not the big Sunday one in Long Beach.  We haven’t had time to grocery shop in days and I must attend to my own garden on Sunday.

The work board tonight:

When the beach approach and the annuals are done, we will finally have some proper free time.