Posts Tagged ‘Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’’

Monday, 4 December 2017

After a good long sleep, and the reading of news over breakfast, I got back to the shifting of compost from one bin to another….one of my favourite gardening tasks.

Outside the front door, in Allan’s garden:

a golden conifer (don’t know the name)…

…and bright new leaves of Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’

It occurs to me that this Hollard’s Gold has never bloomed.

Jasminum nudiflorum, with green stems and yellow flowers, has been blooming for a couple of weeks.

not a good photo, but there you go: Jasminum nudiflorum, an excellent winter bloomer

It is time to trim the hellebore leaves.  They cannot go in the compost because the old leaves are always diseased and yucky.  The windfall apples can go in the compost though.  It is a shame, but we were too busy to harvest and most of the apples fell from the old tree.  The crows did have a feast.

windfall apples and hellebore in Allan’s garden

By the compost bins, the columnar golden apple tree (given to us by Sea Star Gardening) had gotten tilted and rocky, planted in an old garbage can.  I finally decided on a place to put it in the garden.

Here, it gets strangled by the honeysuckle.

I hope it will survive its transplant into the west garden bed.  Perhaps next year it will have more than one apple.

At 1:30, I turned back to the most enjoyable and exciting task of shifting compost from bin two to bin three.

out of focus progress photo from dusk last night

Allan had replaced the rotting wood and had removed one of two screens from a good sized sifter that we had found.  I do not know why someone thought that doubling the screen would make it a better sifter.

much better than the small one, and now with a single screen

By four o clock, I was down to the bottom of bin two.

I had chopped any large stems up smaller while shifting to bin three.

Yesterday and today, I got six red wheel barrows of compost (some old potting soil, and some actual compost).

beautiful sifted compost

Because it is going on beds of shrubs and perennials, it does not have to sifted as fine as for a vegetable garden.

I worked on the project till after sunset.

looking southwest

Progress: Bin three is heaped up high and bin two is empty.  Tomorrow, I might be reach the point where this area looks tidy again.  Allan picked up all the windfall apples and brought them to me in buckets.

4:45 PM

I thought today about making a sort of U shaped area with a sideways bin at each end.  But even though the path is wide, that would not leave room for wheelbarrowing.  It would be grand to have five bins, for now.  As we age and work less, and bring home less debris from jobs, I won’t need that many.

Meanwhile, along with working on compost sifters and picking up apples and clipping hellebores, Allan is making progress on the window boxes for the workshop.

fixing the old sifter (Allan’s photo)

window boxes (Allan’s photo)

apples (Allan’s photos)

If we ever cut back on work enough to not have fall clean up time be such a busy season, I might be able to harvest apples and make apple sauce for the winter like my grandma used to do or dried apple slices like my mother used to do.

Tomorrow, we have a tiny bit of actual work to do, and I also hope to continue the thrilling composting saga.

At bedtime, I started a book that, had I not been tired, I might have stayed up till 4 AM to finish.  The first couple of chapters are riveting.  I am showing a partial view of the cover because I will NOT have a photo of the execrable DT in my blog.


A real time alert:

Rally to protest the arrest of ‘Rosas’ at Okie’s Thriftway in Ocean Park
Friday, December 8
Meet at corner of Bay Avenue and Vernon (intersection with 4-way stop sign), Ocean Park
3:00 – 4:45 PM
Rosas was arrested when going to Okie’s early in the morning of November 27. When he asked why he was being arrested, ICE officers said “My supervisor asked me to come find you because of what appeared in the newspaper.” We want to speak out against this arrest and on the attack on his rights to free speech. Please join us!

a hard working man, respected and valued in the community

The original story in the Seattle Times (my home town paper) is here, and well worth reading.

The follow up, after the arrest of Rosas, is here.

He appears to have been sought out because he spoke (under a nickname) to the Seattle Times.  ICE did not detain him earlier, even though he asked them why they took his family and not him.

This story has drawn the attention of the Mexican consulate and has been picked up by national and international news, including the Washington Post and The Independent, UK.

Here is a link to the gofundme where you can contribute, to help him and his family, who were deported to Mexico.  (His children are American citizens, who went with their mother.)

Another article about a different man, and another example of how difficult it is to become documented, is here.  “My dad wanted to follow the rules. He has been trying to adjust his status with the help of relatives since 2001.”


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Sunday, 24 April 2016

I was thrilled to wake to the sound of the predicted rain, meaning a day of reading book two of the Cazelet Chronicle.  I set aside Love All because I simply could not wait to read Marking Time, both by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

It was hard to put down Love All as one of the characters is a garden designer of about my age.  From Love All:


[Gardeners] don’t come cheap, but if they’re good, they’ll make all the difference.”  !!

I had been so absorbed recently in the first of the Cazelet Chronicle that I simply had to start the second book.


But wait….shortly after I settled in with Marking Time the sun came out.  NOOO.


Brightness outside, interfering with reading bliss.

Although plagued with gardening guilt, I did stay in to read the entire book, after thinking about which I would rather have done, weeding or reading, if it were my last day on earth.


The three cats agreed and also stayed in.  Calvin is on the back of the chair and Frosty is by the cat door.

Just one sight from the kitchen window drew me briefly outside:


a welcome mat of fallen rhododendron flowers by Allan’s shed


Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’


mermaid birdbath


Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’ and hellebores almost over


in Allan’s thoroughly weeded garden

Within less than five minutes, I had returned to my book.


From Marking Time

Marking Time is set in the time of the London Blitz.  If I believed in reincarnation (my favourite afterlife possibility), I would be convinced that I had lived during the Blitz because everything about that time resonates with me when I read a novel or see a film set during that era.  I read up on it a bit more online whilst reading the novel and learned something new to me:  German planes drifted off course while intending to bomb a Royal Air Force site and accidentally bombed civilian London.  The next day, Churchill sent bombers to Berlin in retaliation.  Germany then focused its bombing runs on English cities.  In a perverse way, this actually helped the British war effort because it gave the Air Force time that it desperately needed to repair its severely damaged air fields and it took the brunt of Germany’s bombs away from what was left of English war planes.

“Beginning on September 7, 1940, and for a total of 57 consecutive nights, London was bombed. The decision to wage a massive bombing campaign against London and other English cities would prove to be one of the most fateful of the war. Up to that point, the Luftwaffe had targeted Royal Air Force airfields and support installations and had nearly destroyed the entire British air defense system. Switching to an all-out attack on British cities gave RAF Fighter Command a desperately needed break and the opportunity to rebuild damaged airfields, train new pilots and repair aircraft. “It was,” Churchill later wrote, “therefore with a sense of relief that Fighter Command felt the German attack turn on to London…””  (from The History Place)

For whatever reason, it particularly moves me to read about it.  I recommend the series The 1940s House to get a feeling of what it was like to live in England during those years.

While I had me nose in a book, Allan was absent from the house and I could hear the lawnmower chugging along.  Later, he showed me photos of the other big project he had accomplished:


progress from last week (viewed from Nora’s back yard)







He made cheese toasties to keep my strength up (fortified with some bacon jam given us yesterday by Our Kathleen).


We unpacked yesterday’s door prize of dog treats to give to Dave and Melissa, and gave our cats the two toys.


Frosty looks less than thrilled.

I finished Marking Time and have made an interlibrary loan request for the third book, Confusion. Our day closed with two more episodes of Love in a Cold Climate, keeping with the historical English theme as it is set in the 1930s.


1995 (age 71):

April 24:  Planted the 4 bags of red and yellow onion sets 4 rows east of path and the rest in rows in asparagus patch.  In the fall till the asparagus bed and next year plant veggies in that area.  Started planting the new begonia tubers in “window” boxes and pots.  [The quotations are because they were window boxes not actually installed under windows.]

1997 (age 73):

April 24:  From about 12:30-5:00.  Planted strawberries.  I thought I was done but just before I quit I found another tray so I guess I’ll plant them tomorrow.   I also planted the pots of Gordon’s perennials from last fall into trays.  Most of the dianthus were ok but some of the others didn’t make it though the winter.  I am exhausted.

1998 (age 74):

April 24:  cool—rain—hail  I was going to put tomatoes but it was too cold so I started planting seeds in the kitchen.  I mostly planted low annuals for my color bowls.  I planted from noon to 8:30 with time out to eat.  Tomorrow I should take the new trays to the greenhouse—there’s not room in shop until I pot up the begonias.



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Monday, 4 April 2016

The rainy and windy day with sun breaks kept us both home.  One of the longer sun breaks let Allan mow the lawn.  It had been on his mind.  The power drive quit working and he had to push; I think a mower made to be a power drive is harder to push when it is broken.

He tinkered…


“The ‘internet’ says these transmissions are only about $100. Its really buried in there. Oh,oh.”


“Ah ha! The belt is off the pulley!”

… and fixed it.

I got my sweet peas planted (partly in a cold rain), leaving only one place left to plant a few: the Ilwaco Post Office.  I soaked the seeds for five hours first in warm water, and I hope I remember to keep putting Sluggo around where they will sprout.


Crab pots are one of the sweet pea areas.

After that, a 4:30 o clock sun break made the garden glow, and I walked round for some photos…some of the same flowers I have been photographing for the last couple of weeks or more.


Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’





Ribes speciosum




Tulip acuminata, a tad expensive but so worth it


Tulip ‘Elegant Lady’


Tulip ‘Orange Princess’



Dutch iris, Pieris, and lots of weeds I haven’t had time for


front garden east side


from a white narcissi mix


front garden


front garden


by the garage



Tulip batalinii ‘Bronze Charm’


Garden boat ‘Ann Lovejoy’



Today Allan planted the Mary Rose rose on kitty Mary’s grave.


a stray tulip from yesteryear, with horsetail and muscari


center bed


center bed


looking north


in the bogsy woods


outside the back gate


What’s that on the other side of the bog?


It’s the port’s derby tickets sign blown all the way in here!


looking back; a storm fallen branch from not long ago


Darmera peltata


Darmera peltata flowers, to be followed by large leaves


by greenhouse: a Heuchera and, in background, Zaluzianskya blooming quite early


Solanum laciniatum already blooming in the greenhouse.


and a poppy seedling


out the front window just before some more rain


Devery stopped by for a visit.  (Allan’s photo)

After that, I had not such a pleasant evening and night….

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

My day

I’ve decided to share something personal that might be helpful to locals, and maybe even anxious non-locals….anyone who is anxious and fearful about having a colonoscopy.  I had one today, under the care of Doctor Weaver and nurse Karnofski (daughter of Jim “BioChar’ Karnofski!) at Ocean Beach Hospital, and neither the prep nor the event itself were as scary as I expected.  I was in a state of panic for a week before because I had put the test off till age 61 and was sure I’d have something wrong.  I’m thrilled to report that Dr Weaver told me as soon as I woke up that I have NO scary stuff!  But my point is that it likely won’t be as bad as you imagine.  (Even the liquid prep solution that Dr Weaver provides does not taste awful. In fact, it was as tasty as a tonic and lemon drink, but I don’t recommend it for thirst quenching.)  And if you are lucky enough to be local, you can go to kind and skilled Dr. Weaver, who has the bedside manner of an angel and is funny, a perfect combination to make a person feel comfortable and at ease.  I read a lot about it beforehand, including some frightening things I should have steered clear of, including articles that claim that having an FIT test (so much easier!) is just about as effective.  The telling point for me was an article that said that any FIT test that has bad results ends up with the person having a colonoscopy anyway, which may skew the results for which procedure is effective.  Like many personal stories online said, I woke up from the anesthesia saying “Have you done it yet?” and it was already over.  I personally know of two valued, beloved people and much-missed people who died of colon cancer and who might have been saved if they had had their first screening at age 50.  I hope this has provided some reassurance about the procedure to anyone who is as terrified (and I mean bone chillingly panic attack terrified) as I was.

While I dozed off the effects of the anesthesia and then read part of a most excellent book…


a birthday present from Allan, well chosen

…Allan had a couple of outings of his own. (Tomorrow’s post.)

Calvin and Smokey enjoyed the extra lap time.   I was sorry to miss a good weather day but was simply incapable of activity other than reading and napping.  As I read, I missed my round furry ball of a kitty, the late Mary cat.


Calvin taking Mary’s lap place

In the evening, we found a kind sympathy card dropped off by friend Carol, wife of master craftsman Bill Clearman.  That was perfect timing because of my missing Mary so much today.  (Smokey misses her, too; I don’t think her other son, Frosty, is very deep.)  Thank you, Carol and Bill; that card meant the world to me tonight.


Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

1995 (age 70):

April 4:  Replanted all tomatoes.  Put them in two trays each on top of a new heating mat.

1998 (age 73):

April 4:  noon-4:45  I was determined to finish digging the strawberry plants but when I quit at 4:45 there are still lots left.  I got rained in to the garage 2 or 3 times.  Tabby seems ok but I’m having trouble getting the medicines into her.

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Before we get back to the beach approach garden, here, at the special request of Our Kathleen, are some cropped and blurred (to disguise the business) photos of the planter that was dissed in the story at the end of yesterday’s post. This planter was, I was told, “a little bit better in 2015″  but before that was “terrible”, and was still “not very good”…


July 2014 (accidentally photographed with “Vibrant Color” setting)


August 2014


August 2014


October (!!) 2014


November 2014

Thank you to everyone who commented on yesterday’s post, both on the blog and on Facebook.  I especially felt moved by the comment from Pam, Seaside’s city gardener, about how “public and vulnerable” it is to do our job.  In fact, that brought a tear to me eye.  (“Are you CRYING now?”)  I was simply shocked to hear that Ann Lovejoy, to me a garden goddess above all, hears criticism of her volunteer maintained public gardens.  Reminds me of when a passerby last year lit into me about the beach approach being weedy, when we had quite simply had NO time to get out there to weed.  Speaking of the beach approach, now that we have passed on several of our private gardens to Sea Star Gardening and also no longer do Andersen’s RV Park (because it sold last year), we have had the time to get the beach approach weeded early-ish this year…or rather, we are TRYING to get it done.

Friday, 1 April 2016

at home

The UPS truck arrived with my Mary Rose rose, from Heirloom Roses, for kitty Mary’s grave.  I was so happy to see it but did not have time to plant it yet.


shipped much earlier than expected!

Before work, I simply had to take some photos of our own garden.  I wish I had time to explore all of it.  I only get quick looks nowadays and am sure I’m missing something wonderful off in a corner.


Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’


center bed back garden


center bed, looking southwest




tulips and muscari


Tulips and Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’


I have to time to deal with the horsetail!


garden boat ‘Ann Lovejoy’




east side front garden


front garden, Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ and Tulip ‘Exotic Emperor’


front path looking east

I said to Allan that I felt like picking a bouquet of tulips and taking them to yesterday’s insulting Shopkeeper for shopkeeper’s sick relative.  Allan said “Don’t!”, just like City Hall folks had said when I commented that I felt like doing that.  What happened to kill ’em with kindess?  I picked tulips anyway but instead took them to a local business where we are always treated well.


a bouquet for Salt’s weekend

While I delivered the flowers, Allan popped one perennial into the Time Enough Books garden.


Geum ‘Mai Tai’ (Allan’s photo)

We planted a few plants in the Ilwaco planters and then back to…

Long Beach

The Bolstad beach approach garden


before, with a head start from yesterday (Allan’s photo)


Bolstad beach approach today, before, 12:15 AM


before: our goal is that planter with the light pole and banner

All of the “during” photos are Allan’s today.


before (Allan’s photo)


It has not been weeded since July, but most of the weeds came in the fall and winter.


Allan’s photo

Our neighbour Jared walked by with a friend from Ohio and with the two dogs, Rudder and Yarrow.  As he often does, Rudder ignored me…


…but he did let me pet him on the way back and even gently wagged his tail.


in the thick of it


Allan’s photo

I apologize for no photos of Allan swinging the pick to get the roses out from the streetside edge.  My ever so comfy clothes (free, passed on from a friend, my favourite clothing price) have no good camera pocket so I only take photos of before and after out here.  Why, why, why are pants made without pocketses?  So just picture him swinging the heavy yellow handled pick all day long, kind of like this guy, with pick instead of hammer:


John Henry


Allan’s photo


planter goal achieved! (Allan’s photo)


4 PM: beginning the next section!!




A distraction: a sirening police car went tearing out to the beach, a gazillion miles per hour it seemed, and later this procession came back.


a bad day for someone being escorted off the beach


an Anemone blanda saved from the weeds by Allan



Allan’s tools (minus the giant pick)

Because we had gotten one fourth of the section done yesterday,  and because the next section did not have as many roses, we got to the end of the next section also, all in seven hours today!  A section that takes 3.5 instead of 5-6 hours is a joy.


end of today’s second section.

How I cursed the kinnikinnick around thatrock as I whacked at it with the pick and clipped with the loppers.  It is ugly after this winter, or maybe from last summer’s drought, when, by the way, this whole stretch got NO water.  It does not cover the ground well enough to blanket our weeds and therefore does not deserve to be called a ground cover.  Many bad words were said to it.


Bad words cease when people walk by (unless I know them well).


Three deer went by; this poor critter looks mangy.


‘Twas a sad day for us when the deer discovered our species tulips in this garden.


Dogs to pet are a big treat for me at this job.




Me, the pick, and an enraged attack on kinnikinnick.


As Melissa says: “Humans win!” (briefly)


I have poppy seeds; my energy was gone so they did not get planted today.



after, 7:30 PM


today’s progress


finishing at sunset


telephoto of the buoy which is our goal

We were too exhausted to dump the debris, which is lightweight (roses pulled from along the edges), so we just took it home with us.


We are this far.

at home


dusk: Tulips close their petals





The work board: only five of 12.5 sections left!

To those with an eye for detail:  I’ve started calling the approach 12.5 sections instead of 13 because one area is shorter.

Tomorrow: more of the same, but guess who comes to help us?

guest photo: J9’s cat has found the catnip!


photo by Jeannine Grey

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

1998 (age 73)

April 1:  Cool and gray but dry.  I planned to work on strawberries but the front beds are choked with two persistent weeds so I worked all afternoon in the tam area.  [former juniper tam bed turned to flower bed]  I weeded about a five foot wide area along the front and into the ditch in about four hours bending over and using my stool. MaryAnn came over to visit about half an hour and Darryl stopped by to talk.

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Sunday, 27 March 2016

I slept till all hours, getting a good nine hours.  If I lived alone, I think it would have been more like 11 but it’s embarrassing to sleep well into the afternoon.  A medium strong gusty wind and rain would have prevented work till after noon anyway.  Allan suggested he go to his own particular gardening job and I thought I might weed in my own garden.

Ilwaco Community Building

Although I advise and sometimes help out, Allan has taken on this garden for the past year as his own project.




before: His target was the reseeding wild lupins (the boring pale blue kind) and the kinnikinnick


closeup: After removing large ones last fall, new seedlings are rampant.


Bindweed is also pernicious in these beds.




room for some poppies, perhaps


an early allium emerging


caught in a squall




Meanwhile, at home:


Smokey was not eager to go outside.

I  went out, intending to weed in the front garden out of the wind, only to find the cold wind was everywhere.

I had opened a late birthday present from dear absent friend Sharon, and I placed something from it out in the garden.  I can’t show you a photo yet because I want to see if Allan notices it.

That was about all I accomplished except for a few photos before the wind and a rain squall sent me back indoors.


one of Allan’s ferns


a “black” hellebore


I do not tire of Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’


My unrealized goal had been to get the “stinkweed”, a rampant, smelly mint relative (native, wild) out of this northeast front corner.


Pieris, bright new leaves but no flowers


Another area I WOULD have weeded…


an unplanned colour echo


I should remember to plant more orange and gold tulips near that Japanese maple.


from outside the fence, in the rain

If I walked by, I would stop and stare into this garden…and often from the window, I see people doing just that.


Tulip sylvestris


an excellent bergenia

I walked just as far as the back patio, no further near the trees because of the wind.


Smokey did follow me outside.

I took a panorama, although it looks a little tilted in the middle.  I’ll do better next time:


With the rain and the lure of two almost overdue library books, I was happy to go back indoors.  Even when the rain stopped again, and the sun was out, the sound of the gusty wind soothed my non-weeding guilt.  I had some deep, intellectual reading to do:



Somehow Calvin briefly replaced Smokey on my lap.

Calvin is always noticeable as a lap sitter because he makes himself heavier than the other cats and his feet are hard and pokey unlike the soft paws of other kitties.

After the quick read of the Star Wars prequel (not bad at all!), I considered every photo in Bystander, a book about street photography that was heavy with text that did not much appeal to me.  Now both can go back to the library before becoming overdue.

I turned next to a book that I had recently purchased, having been reminded of it by someone quoting one of my favourite passages about gardening: “People go through five stages of gardening. They begin by liking flowers, progress to flowering shrubs, then autumn foliage and berries; next they go for leaves, and then the undersides of leaves.”

Here is the entire passage:



That reminds me of a cherished tiny bun of a dianthus that grows in the Wiegardt Gallery garden:


the slowly growing Dianthus mat that I hoped to snick a piece of for my scree garden

It has the tiniest, drabbest little flowers but oh how I loved it.  I tried to move a little piece to my garden; it did not take.

Getting enough sleep (for a change) and reading three books (well…two…because just looking at the pictures in Bystander did not count) made for an excellent day.  Knowing some work got done (not by me) made it even better.

I’ve added a new scrapbook post over on my Grandma blog.

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

1995 (age 70):

March 27: Planted new Stark Bros strawberries.  They really looked good from being put in straight mushroom compost.

1997 (age 72):

March 27:  Planted seeds—cabbages, leeks, more peppers in 50 cell tray.  Tomatoes in one of the APS trays are big enough to transplant into pots.  I’ll wait till its warm enough to do it outside.  Ditto with sprouted begonias.

1998 (age 73):

March 27:  I have been waking up with morning headaches lately but today it was a migraine.  I stayed in bed most of the day.  By late afternoon I felt ok.  [She had suffered terribly from migraines 2-3 times a month till she was over 60 years old, when they became just occasional.]

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From a sunnier day: I think I forgot to post this lovely crocus, the first of the large ones, back by the bogsy woods.


From February 6

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

A hard rain followed by light drizzle gave us a day off. The forecast suggests five more days of rain will follow.  I looked at last year’s spreadsheet and saw that, except for one Long Beach day at the end of January, we did not begin work till February 10th, so we have not fallen behind yet.  And we had so very much more to do last year.   Sea Star Gardening has taken on our Boreas Inn and Casa Pacifica jobs and Andersen’s RV Park was a huge spring clean up job that we no longer have (since owner Lorna sold the place in July of 2015). We have one less private garden as well, and Todd now cares for his brother Eric’s Wiegardt Gallery, so we have eight fewer days of garden clean up to do in February and March.  That makes me happy.

Before enacting my plan of settling in with a book, I took a walk around the front garden.  (I wish Smokey could have joined me.  He is still having to stay inside while his paw heals.  He is not a happy cat.)


view from the porch


Geranium macrorrhizum is certainly blooming early…



Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’ continuing to brighten the scene.


Allan’s box of succulents



double hellebores


single white hellebore


“black” hellebore


way in the back of Allan’s garden, a hellebore that escaped having its tatty old leaves trimmed


Hamamelis (witch hazel)


moved these from the back patio to front garden last weekend…


front path, looking east


last year’s allium head blown into the garden


last year’s alliums


Many hellebores need to be turned up to see their greatest beauty.  They’d be best dangling over a wall.


Crocus tommies are in a decline…soon to be followed by larger crocus.


In the front garden, with the dark foliage of a “black” hellebore emerging at lower right


Scrophularia variegata (variegated figwort sounds prettier) and hellebore.



Japanese maple in a pot not looking very lively.


Not happy about this great hellebore  being hidden behind the big pot.


Love the bright new foliage of the lamprocapnos and the promise of flower bus

What, you might ask, is Lamprocapnos?  It is the new name for Dicentra, I am sorry to say.  You can read all about the change here, where I also learned its common names aside from Bleeding Heart, including “Venus’s Car, Lady’s Locket, Lyre Flower, Tearing Hearts, Our Lady in a Boat, Chinese Pants”


grape hyacinth and a fern that needs trimming, backed with Euonymous ‘Wolong Ghost’


Iris reticulata and some fine looking soil with good texture.  And a California poppu, lower right.


first narcissi in the front garden


Daphne buds backed with Azara microphylla variegata

For readers who’ve been enjoying the excerpts from my mother’s garden diaries of 20 some years ago, I’m sorry to say she did not make any entries for February 10th.

My plan for reading a book changed to reading and transcribing her diaries and scheduling them to appear, by month, at the end of each month of 2016.  I’ll continue to add pertinent posts to matching dates in my ongoing journal of the year.


Allan brought back this photo of one of the Ilwaco planters today.


“Look at the camera!” says Ed.  Ed and Jackson Strange came over for a minute but only Allan saw them; he was string trimming the lawn while I was indoors typing away.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

noon:  On this stormy day, I continued to be obsessed with transcribing my mother’s diaries, even though a gardening book arrived from the library that I am desperate to sit and read.  I am (surprisingly not frantically) concerned about being sent to a neurologist in March; as soon as my primary care RN invoked the words “possible brain tumor, benign or malignant”, I imagined going blind (as happened to a good friend and avid gardener, Mary F., who later died from her gioblastoma) and thought, “I must get these diaries set up NOW to publish once a month through 2016!”  Yesterday I completed transcibing them through May and hope to make much more progress today, while the gardening book by Dan Pearson taunts me from the other side of the room.  The monthly entry will include more illustrations and non-gardening posts than the daily share from her diary (which I am adding to my blog posts day by day).

I remember my mother getting many tests, including CAT scans, to try to get to the bottom of her dizziness (and migraines) and she never got a diagnosis that helped to cure her of the problem.  I find that mildly reassuring.  My primary care RNs other ideas were TIAs or “maybe just glucose” so…we shall see, as the results of assorted tests roll in.

Later: I got June, July and August and one year of September transcribed.  I am a fast (if not accurate) four finger typist.  Still, how do people sit at a desk all day?

Transcribing the month my father died was a poignant experience.

Here is my mom’s entry from 21 years ago today:


1995 (age 70):

Feb 11: Supposed to be below freezing by tomorrow so: Finally I spread mulch on as many flower beds as I could before I ran out of mulch and strength.  (I got very dizzy and nauseated.)  I used all 5 bags of shredded leaves from last fall and recent shredding.  The stuff in old burn barrel was all composted below 1/3 of pile.



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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

There will be some garden photos further down as a reward for making it through the rest of this post.  Or just scroll till you see a crocus.

A Tuesday doctor visit, long avoided, turned out to be just over an hour of talking with a kind doc who makes me laugh. I had remembered that about her, so to see her especially, we went to the Naselle Clinic, half an hour away. Wednesday featured a different sort of clinic.  Poor Smokey had a nasty abscess on one of his paws (I will spare you the photo of THAT) and had to go to the vet.  We did have the pleasure there of seeing Devery with a darling dog friend of hers.  The vet said Smokey was a very good boy even when she was lancing the wound.   

Devery (Allan’s photo)


Devery’s friend


one of the office cats

 I then had my own appointment for several knee x rays at the local hospital (associated with the Naselle Clinic).  One knee does look awfully off kilter. I realized that, having cut jobs down to just the ones I love, I rarely have to do things I do not want to do.  How fortunate, or how spoiled.  The round of doctor appointments will change that, as my primary care wants me to see several, including a neurologist to track down the source of dizziness (for which some terrifying possibilities were suggested, along with some not so scary ones, all of which I am doing my best not to dwell on).


waiting room: I will have to become accustomed to more noise during this time with loud tvs and classic rock radios.

I was simply smitten with the delightful personality of the X Ray technician.  Anyone in the medical field who can make me laugh is so helpful.

The Ocean Beach Hospital is not as big and fancy as the one across the river, yet it has a huge advantage for me: not having to cross the bridge.


I appreciate their well cared for greenery…


and I find their lighthouse mural oddly comforting.

I resolve that this round of doctor visits will be educational and interesting.

At home, Allan helped me drag a comfy chair into the large bathroom so I could sit with Smokey most of the afternoon, reading the latest in the excellent Dog Lover’s Mystery Series by Susan Conant.


Sire and Damn…top rating!

I enjoyed this description of why protagonist Holly Winter has so many dog people as Facebook friends.  I feel the same way about my network of gardening friends.


Below: I might feel this way about guests sometimes, but of course never about you.


After an unpleasant incident damages a kitchen cupboard, Holly’s spouse, Steve, behaves much the way Allan would:


I agree with Holly’s assessment.

In the evening, we were invited to join our good friends Fred and Nancy from The Basket Case Greenhouse for burger night at the Depot Restaurant.


Depot entrance in the rain (Allan’s photo)


on the Depot Restaurant grille (Allan’s photo)

We’ve missed Fred and Nancy over the non gardening winter and had a good catch up.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

After my third clinic visit, this time to have a copious amount of blood drawn (which I am happy to say is NOT one of my many phobias, and also that I got another clinician who made me laugh and who understood my reference to Doc Martin’s blood phobia), our reward for skipping breakfast was brunch at the 42nd Street Café.  I now get to wait until late February for my next doctor visit; I have a feeling all the many tests are going to slowly continue on through early spring.


42nd Street Café in Seaview


42nd Street: We hit the quiet time between breakfast and lunch


My favourite Peninsula breakfast: the 42nd Street Russian scramble


Allan’s French toast


We departed as the luncheon folks began to trickle in.


An errand in Ilwaco gave me the chance to look at one of our planters.


The rosemary looks less silly from this angle.

A quick tour of our front garden revealed many signs of spring.


Crocus tommasianus at the base of tetrapanax 


hellebore, crocus, and Scrophularia variegata


Iris unguicularis almost done


Ranunculus ficaria (lesser celandine)


more crocus tommies and some tiny spears of narcissi


Crocus tommies in a brief ray of sunshine


I love the crocus, the texture of the soil, and the promising spears of bulbs


In Allan’s garden, hellebores and Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’


crocus tommies and Melianthus


I have only once before had Melianthus major come this far through winter so unscathed.

In the evening, we had our weekly meeting of the North Beach Garden Gang.  With the Cove Restaurant no longer serving dinner, we chose Salt Hotel Pub as our new place.


Allan’s photo, Salt Hotel


up the stairs to the pub

With a marina view table at the window and tasty sandwiches on offer, Salt Pub met with all of our approval.  We mentioned to its co-owner, Julez, that another regular party at the Cove was also on the loose.  Julez texted that fellow (a mutual friend) immediately saying “Hear you are looking for a Thursday night hangout” and within twenty minutes the former Cove regular and his spouse were seated at the next table.


Julez behind the bar


Allan’s ham melt


Melissa, Dave, and I had the smoked tuna melt.

At home, I was pleased to find Mary and Smokey cuddled up in his convalescent room. (I had bunged her in there to keep her son company.)


Mary and Smokey


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