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Posts Tagged ‘Astoria’

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Astoria, Oregon

ilwacoastoria

From the 4 mile long bridge: lots of little fishing boats on the Columbia

From the 4 mile long bridge: lots of little fishing boats on the Columbia


buzzing about

buzzing about

Carol has a sore foot…an injury from too much walking, as walking is one of her hobbies.  So we looked for activities that required little walking, and a good restaurant where we could park right outside.

The Bridgewater Bistro

The Bridgewater Bistro

The Bridgewater Bistro

I had a cougar burger, a reference to a sports team.  Owner Tony Kischner glided by, still as graceful and personable as when he and his wife Ann operated the Shoalwater Restaurant in Seaview.  I miss having their fine establishment closer by.

made with Cougar Gold cheese

made with Cougar Gold cheese


Carol pronounced her fish and chips to be delicious.

Carol pronounced her fish and chips to be delicious.

We then took in the view from the deck on the restaurant’s north side.

The building to the north is a fine hotel.

The building to the north is the Cannery Pier Hotel.


the Astoria-Megler bridge

the Astoria-Megler bridge


the restaurant's herb garden

the restaurant’s herb garden on the sunny, sheltered south side of the building

Carol was able to walk a block to the trolley stop, as we had decided that a ride on the Astoria Riverfront Trolley would be the perfect use of our afternoon.

Astoria Riverfront Trolley

The trolley stop was by the Maritime Memorial park.

The trolley stop was by the Maritime Memorial park.


Under the bridge. A sign warned to beware of falling objects. (!!!)

Under the bridge. A sign warned to beware of falling objects. (!!!)

Carol sang a line from The Trolley Song as we waited.  It had been lurking in my mind since the last time we saw the trolley with Debbie Teashon. Later that evening, I found a delightful video that shows almost the entire run of the riverfront trolley, speeded up, accompanied by the song.  Enjoy!

The trolley runs about every 45 minutes on good weather summer days, so we chatted and waited.  The ding ding ding announced its arrival.

All aboard!

All aboard!


old boat at the west end of the line

old boat at the west end of the line

boat2

The conductors, drivers, and tour guides are volunteers.

The conductors, drivers, and tour guides are volunteers.  Carol, a Seattle Metro bus driver, said she would love to do this if she retired in Astoria.


“Ding ding ding goes the bell!”


the Columbia River

the Columbia River

riverview

the old net building

the old Uppertown Net Loft

That building was purchased by artists who were fixing it up as an art studio when the roof blew off in the 2007 windstorm. A couple of them were in it during the storm, and barely escaped, crawling along the wooden bridge to shore.  The trolley tour guide told us that quantities of art blew out of the building and were lost in the river.  The dramatic story is told here: “Around town, telephone poles snapped and car windows caved in under the pressure of the hurricane-force winds. Eddie Park, a friend of the Nebekers who had been helping board up the windows was thrown 40 feet and broke his arm against a wall. Royal and Park were trapped in the loft as winds raged around them. After 20 hours, they escaped by strapping themselves to a ladder for weight and then crawling on their bellies down the long gangplank to shore.”  Two days after I took this photo, part of the gangplank was lost in an unusually powerful summer windstorm.

The east marina, with sea lions all over the docks.

The east marina, with sea lions all over the docks.


cropped to show the mass of sea lions

cropped to show the mass of sea lions

When the trolley reaches the end of the line, passengers are instructed to take the handle on the seat backs and gently swing the back to the other side of the bench, thus enabling us to sit back down facing forward again.

turned around

turned around


passing the Mill Pond Village

passing the Mill Pond Village


Millpond Village and its many little gardens

Millpond Village and its many little gardens


the old mill pond

the old mill pond


the west end of Mill Pond Village

the west end of Mill Pond Village


historic train station (I wish the train to Portland still ran.)

historic train station (I wish the train to Portland still ran.)


by the Maritime Museum

near the Maritime Museum, a bar pilot boat


I love this mural.

I love this mural.


mural, part 2

mural, part 2


Wet Dog Café

Wet Dog Café

Note the man to the right, waving.  As the trolley clangs along by the River Walk, many passersby wave and trolley passengers wave back.

cafe

Every time people waved, I felt all choked up and teary eyed.  It really gets to me and reminds me of this line from What a Wonderful World:

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shaking hands, sayin’, “How do you do?”
They’re really sayin’, “I love you.”

And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.

on the deck of the Wet Dog Café

on the deck of the Wet Dog Café with the trolley reflected


We were waving back.

We were waving back.


looking south up an Astoria street with a fellow photographing the trolley.

looking south up an Astoria street with a fellow photographing the trolley.


The industrial waterfront is fascinating.

The industrial waterfront is fascinating.


There's another trolley reflection.

There’s another trolley reflection.

DSC07825

We disembarked back at the Maritime Memorial.  The wonderful trip had cost us only $1 each. For a slightly higher fee, you can ride back and forth on an all day pass.  Due to a non-waterproof roof, the trolley only runs in good weather.

We paused at the memorial wall.

Maritime Memorial

The Maritime Memorial park

The Maritime Memorial park

park2

park3

1

flowers taped to the wall for loved ones

2

She loved the river.

She loved the river.


Here comes the trolley again: Clang, clang, clang!

Here comes the trolley again: Clang, clang, clang!


Ding, ding, ding!

Ding, ding, ding!  These folks were not quite into the swing of waving yet.

Garden of Surging Waves

Carol moved her car to a spot downtown that was a short walking distance to The Garden of Surging Waves.  I knew she would be interested in the Chinese heritage of Astoria.

on our way to the park, some of Astoria's excellent planters.

on our way to the park, some of Astoria’s excellent planters.

Next to the park, around a soon to be developed plaza, we stopped to read some informative signs.

sign

sign2

sign3

The Garden of Surging Waves

The Garden of Surging Waves

arch

I love the wall of words.

I love the wall of words.


contrasting styles of architecture

contrasting styles of architecture

learn

“To learn and to practice what is learned time and again is pleasure, is it not? To have friends come from afar is happiness, is it not?”

Carol, visiting from afar=happiness.

Carol, visiting from afar=happiness.


We sat for awhile on a bench.

We sat for awhile on a bench.


overhead

overhead


I like this screen with names of contributors to the park

I like this screen with names of contributors to the park

Astoria Coffee House and Bistro

We skipped checking out the River People’s outdoor market as Carol had already walked too much, and drove to park near the Astoria Coffeehouse…which had, since my last visit, transformed into a fancy dinner bistro and bar.

This took me by surprise!

This took me by surprise!

Fortunately, the excellent weather meant that we could sit outside in the early evening.

with delicious chocolate cake

with delicious chocolate cake

That is the end of Carol’s visit as she must return to Seattle tomorrow.  I gave her my certificate for a free night at the Sou’wester (a door prize that I won!) in hope that she can visit again this fall.

meanwhile, Allan’s day at home

a trip to Oman Builder Supply to be able to pick up posts without me or the trailer involved.

a trip to Oman Builder Supply to be able to pick up posts without a passenger or the trailer involved.


our post office garden

He watered and deadheaded our post office garden


Life Flight

Life Flight going over Nora’s house; we always spare a thought for whoever is hurt.


before the rain: painting the gate to match the new arbour; the reason will be even more clear tomorrow.

before the rain: painting the gate to match the new arbour; the reason will be even more clear tomorrow.


seen at the marina when Allan took the recycling to the bins.

seen at the marina when Allan took the recycling to the bins.

Allan’s productive day was perhaps not happier than this fellow messing about in a boat.

DSC04408

a sign on the dock

a sign on the dock


making apple cobbler

making apple cobbler


It was delicious.

It was delicious.

We had gotten so much work done on Wednesday that we decided to take Friday off, as well.

 

 

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After three days of madly planting Cosmos, including Cosmos ‘Sonata’ in all the Long Beach main street planters, we learned a major storm was about to hit the coast.  Even if I had known of the wonderfully informative blog by weather expert Professor Mass, I wouldn’t have seen the storm warning in time to abort Monday’s planting session.  I only hope those little cosmos are holding their own as today we had the power out for two hours in the early evening and have had 55 mph winds.

Because there was no hope of actually gardening, we left a sheltered patio full of waiting plants and headed to Oregon to check out all the local  nurseries as far as the Seven Dees’ just south of Seaside, about a 45 minute drive. Locally, this is known as “going overseas’ and involves crossing the long Astoria bridge, a venture that increasingly car-phobic me does not like at the best of times. The lure of plants was strong, so off we went, hoping to beat the storm’s early afternoon arrival.

Astoria bridge work

Astoria bridge work

Astoria bridge

There’s bridge work going on with flaggers that slows down traffic. I prefer that. Big oncoming traffic terrifies me. There is nowhere to go sideways.

up the Astoria bridge

Here we go up the high part….

down the bridge curve

Here we go down the bridge curve.  I particularly dislike this part.

my nemesis

Here we are about to curve  to the stoplight to go either right toward Seaside and Cannon Beach or left to downtown Astoria.

roundabout

I’m also perplexed and filled with anxiety throughout the roundabout (left) right before the Young’s Bay Bridge, leaving Astoria for Warrenton.  Allan, who shares almost none of my phobias, has his own little problem, since he thinks those big cement blocks at the top of that bridge structure  (right) might just fall on our heads.

Young’s Bay Bridge view

I try to distract myself with the view toward the Columbia River.

We took a detour down the turnaround in Seaside, Oregon, to show you the streetside gardens there…photographed from the car, on the move, because we were in a great big hurry to beat the storm.  Sometimes I am happy because the Long Beach gardens look better.  In the spring, I can occasionally feel mine are better because I plant more tulips. But today Seaside’s were looking pretty darn good.  Their gardeners have the advantage, I tell myself, of slightly bigger curbside plantings….

Seaside street garden

Seaside street garden

Seaside street garden

view, Seaside turn around

The end of the Seaside turn around provides this ocean view.

Seven Dees nursery used to be Raintree, Seaside, not the same as the Raintree in Morton (?), and I loved the staff and was always greeted warmly.  Now there is a new staff and, in my opinion, a disappointing selection of plants to add to the Long Beach containers. Even though it was midweek, and perhaps this week’s delivery had not come, I’ve never run across such slim pickings there.  I was hoping for an exciting osteospermum or agyranthemum of a colour not available locally…just a little something to add a few of to supplement the wonderful local selection…but didn’t find much.

Seven Dees

The container gardens were nice, and if I hadn’t such a great plant selection here on the peninsula, I would have found a lot more to buy here.  In previous years, they always had something rare, something new, something I just had to have a tray of for the planters.

I do love this little tree and have three in my own garden, and cannot remember its name, and had I been seeking them would have been thrilled to find this happy batch.We stopped at Costco (catfood and coffee, not plants) and Home Depot, where I always check to see if they might have just one special sort of plant.  Usually I do find one thing, and this time it was a showy Penstemon in a gallon pot. At Fred Meyer, where some years I’ve found some spectacular and unusual osteospermums with ringed centers, I did find a whole flat of Salvia ‘Victoria’ and Salvia ‘Striata’.  I am sure that some years they have a plant nut buyer…and some years…not.road to Brim's

view from old bridge

We took the back road past Fort Clatsop so we could stop at Brim’s Farm and Garden (and Lewis and Clark Nursery, which had nothing to offer my planter collection).  I knew Brim’s would have something good; they always do, even though the nursery part of the shop is small.

Henry, greenhouse cat

Henry, with warm fur

Not only did I find a flat of high quality Armeria ‘Joy Stick’ and another of the gorgeous Viola ‘Etain’, but in the back greenhouse I got to pet this sweet and friendly cat who had been lolling in a warm spot.

Beautiful window boxes and window frames lined the walls of the outdoor section of the nursery.

container at Brim’s

container detail

I loved this container back in the greenhouse with its gorgeous echevarria.

from the top of the bridge looking down

I know people who cannot drive across this bridge at all…and others who cross it regularly without a qualm. The fierce wind pushed our little car sideways, and for once I was glad it is low to the ground.

One thing that distracts me as we come up the scary curve to the highest spot is the view of the old houses in Astoria. I wonder what it’s like to have the curving onramp to the bridge in your home’s view all the time?I have rarely been so relieved to get home; we took a short detour down to the port, where the red flag, denoting bad weather, was flying in the 55 mph winds.

My conclusion: Except for a couple of Penstemons and that flat of Viola ‘Etain’, and the flat of Salvias ‘Victoria’ and Striata’, I found little to add to our palette of plants,  and I left a message on the Facebook wall of the owner of our local Basket Case nursery (she also creates the wonderful hanging baskets you’ll see around our towns) and let her know that her nursery rules them all.

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Before I get into our trip to the market, let me warn my faithful few readers that I am having a terrible time publishing to iweb.  Much woe is me, as I love the interface which enables me to so easily add photos and links despite my state of html ignorance. There is a work-around, to “publish all”, that is, the entire blog from the very first post, every time I add a new one, but it does take hours.  I hope Apple gets this problem sorted soon; forum posts show that I am not the only one.  Meanwhile, if my blog goes for weeks without updating here, that is why.  I have set up an alternate blog spot on blogspot, where you may someday be able to find me at [2012 note: blogspot did not appeal to me and so my blog was idle in 2008 and 2009 till I discovered WordPress and later moved 2007 to here.]

Today we went to the Astoria Sunday Market for some holiday shopping.  Our busy work schedule…yes, and assorted garden tours…have kept us away from there for all of this year (as far as I can remember), and we have less than a month left to enjoy it before it ends for the year.

We can always count on finding some good plants at the plant booths, but today our quest was more for presents…some of which were for a faithful reader or two of this blog, so the results are very hush hush.  My eyes were filled by flower vendors’ gorgeous bouquests and as always by the interesting plantings outside the Alley Cat coffee shop.  We used to go in there almost weekly so I could visit their sweet dog, George, but the last three times George has snubbed me by refusing to come down the stairs for petting.  I didn’t feel like getting my feelings hurt today.

the flower booth and the Alley Cat plantings

gleaming array of vegetables and a damp view of the Liberty Theatre

There had been talk of meeting our friend J9 and her out-of-town guest for coffee but that mission was cancelled because of rain. The crowds were but plucky, though, and kept on shopping despite the occasional and unpredictable sudden waterfalls off of overloaded booth tops.

rainy market day

Too damp to even go out to coffee at Astoria Coffee Shop (it was busy and the only spot with seating was a little too outdoorsy for my chilled and drippy condition), we went on to Fred Meyer where I bought more bulbs.  Oh dear, I may now have exceeded my projected budget (slightly over $2000) for clients, as I simply had to have all of the Sparaxis that the bins had to offer.

This is what a garden of two hundred and fifty hydrangeas looks like:

bayside house with hydrangeas

No postscript with cries of woe here means these last two entries uploaded smoothly.

POSTSCRIPT!!  And cry of woe: AGAIN with the crashing while publishing.  Now must “publish all”.  Must I really move this whole venture to blogspot?

[2012 note: I decided to leave in most of the struggles I was having with uploading to iWeb because I know I was not alone.  And because it is why I got discouraged with blogging, after being on such a roll in 2007. My good friend Mary who now writes Yummy Montana had similar trouble with her Yummy Northwest blog on iWeb (mobile me) as did the writers of many sad help forum posts.  Apple did not really fix it, apparently, and in June they are shutting down the old iWeb blogs.]

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maples, rooms, wonderment

Onward we go with the Astoria garden tour, a benefit for the Lower Columbia Preservation Society.

Five years ago, two gardens were on the tour which I have remembered ever since with fond admiration.  One my friend Carol and I tried to peek at this past May but were thwarted by the Astoria landslide’s reconfiguration of the streets.  To my delight, the second was again on the tour this year: the multilevel Alameda Street garden of rooms and hidden delights created by Leroy Adolphson and David Drafall on Alameda Street.

Adolphson-Drafall garden, bridge from street level

You enter the garden from the street level onto this amazing bridge. Pardon the blurry lefthand photo; I want you to see the bench but I had to jump forward as someone was opening the gate behind me.

view down from the bridge to lower deck, and on other side, to a collection of potted plants. Clematis and wisteria grow on the railings.

From the left side of the bridge, you look down to a wonderfully enticing patio with a green mossy pond.  Once, stairs went down from the street to that level, then back up to the door.  The bridge is an absolutely brilliant solution for entering the home and has created a great deal of the magic in the garden by dividing it and providing transitions from shade to sunshine.

(above) views of the bridge from below; to the right: gate to the street. Under the bridge is a shady bench between the two garden rooms.

A moongate leads from a patio of bonsai specimens along the side of the house where, as in all the garden room, a collection of choice Japanese maples is numbered to correspond with a list of the cultivars.

Under the bridge, a bamboo wall and a gong…and the Moon gate

Passing a small burbling water feature one is suddenly dazzled by the bright back yard with its deck hovering over an exansive river view (and on the deck lounge two adorable tiny chihuahuas).

a garden of intricate details

As we return into the shade, I admire more exquisite details.  One of my companions asks the owners if they ever have a hard time getting garden visitors to leave, and he says “Yes, but I have a big dog!” (meaning the wee chihuahua).

I believe that this was Sonja’s favourite garden of the day but, because of my obsessive plant lust, mine is yet to come.

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Saturday, 14 July: Patti Jacobsen, organizer of the Long Beach Peninsula garden tour and Sonja May, local artist, and I went to the Astoria garden tour in Patti’s blue bug. The Astoria tour benefits the Lower Columbia Preservation Society. Our first stop was to visit Patti’s family members staying at the Elliot Hotel awaiting a night at the opera (yes, the opera comes to Astoria).  We informally began the tour with a peek at the roof gardens and agreed they need more wind-hardy Mediterranean sorts of plants.  Like almost everywhere on the tour, a breathtaking view of the river was on offer, deep blue on another bright hot day.  Where was Allan? Off on his red Moto Guzzi to the annual Northwest Guzzi club’s deep woods campout on Mount Rainier, thus missing yet another garden tour!

This beautifully painted house is always the ticket buying point of the tour.

Our first stop on the yearly Astoria tour is always this splendidly painted house with a view of the Columbia from its vintage front porch. Tickets and a raffle are sold at tables outside.  As we drove to the first garden, the Rose River Inn a couple of blocks away, we marveled as always at Astoria’s intricately decorated Victorian houses.

We skipped the charming healing garden at Columbia Memorial Hospital; I had spent a little, but too much, time there last year and did not want to be there at all, and my companions had already seen it.  Kudos to any hospital which adds a healing garden; such gardens have been proven to speed the patients’ recovery.

Way out in the pastures on Lewis and Clark road we toured another garden which segued beautifully into the neighbouring garden.

Elena and Steve Miller’s garden on Lewis and Clark road

Both gardens had productive vegetable gardens, but I especially liked the wildflower patch accentuating the neighbour’s deer-fenced vegetables.

vegetables and a wildflower patch

Since I am without a doubt a CPN (certified plant nut) and also a fan of gardens with clearly defined rooms, the next two gardens were the ones which made me swoon, gasp, linger, and almost refuse to leave them!

 

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Monday, 21 May: As always when my friend Carol arrives on one of her twice or thrice yearly visits, we spent a day walking around Astoria, where I was, naturally, obsessed with the gardens.  I found the lower slope of a garden which I am sure is one I toured on the Astoria garden tour about three years ago, a garden which abounds in rebar grids which are constructed with twisted wire fasteners rather than welded.  I could do that, given time and patience!  Because of the astonishing Astoria landslide, which has taken out the street at the end of this block, we could not figure out how to get around to the top side of this garden to eye it from the front.  I think that this challenging slope has been developed as a garden since the garden tour:

I would like to replicate the rebar grid.

Across the street was a house with a sign saying some kind of studio, and something about the window shutters suggests music!  The front garden had a floral sculpture and a tiny water bowl with shiny rocks.

So after admiring a parking strip of Oriental Poppies, we returned to Carol’s car and drove up and over to Niagara Street where we stopped at a little deli for juices and then recommenced our walkabout.  Now we were too high above our targeted area of old houses, in the more modern section of 40s era houses, none of which had wonderful gardens, as if the more modern houses resisted anything but carpets of junipers and lithadoras. So after a long loop on winding streets we returned to the car and to another attempt to access that certain magical neighbourhood.  Our first loop put us right back to the one exuberant gardenin the modern section, a collection of gnomic figures in a profusion of lilies.  Our second attempt found us some good old houses but no more amazing streetside gardens.  By then, I was rather tired…Astoria is all up and down, and reminds me pleasantly of the way Seattle was when I was a more energetic youth.  We found an enticing steep stairway and path but decided to save exploring it till next time.

Oriental poppy parking strip and a path of deep mystery; a secret vegetable garden was behind the hedge to the left.

Oriental poppy parking strip and a path of deep mystery; a secret vegetable garden was behind the hedge to the left.

A trolley ride along the water front sounded enticing, especially the sitting down part, but was not to be as at this time of year it runs Friday through Sunday only, so we walked along the salty lovely riverwalk and made a 45 minute visit to the Maritime Museum where I got misty-eyed over the rescue feats of the Coast Guard, and then the Andes Cafe for Peruvian food.

love these Astoria sidewalk planters

I have a feeling someone does not know that the pretty, but stinky, noxious weed Herb Robert (Geranium robertissimum or Stinking Bob!) is a big part of the planting on the left.

Meanwhile, I have not figured out how to fit into the narrative flow the gorgeous show my Virbunum is providing right now, so here it is:

Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’; double file viburnum

As always, I was impressed with the Astoria street planters, excellently planted and designed with wire sides and plants all the way around.

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Occasionally there is a film which I so much want to see that I will kick over the traces to go see it in Astoria even on a non-rainy gardening-worthy day.  So it was with Pan’s Labyrinth, which lived up to our expectations and more.  I think it is rare for a foreign language film to come to Astoria, so I was extra chuffed to get to see it on the big screen rather than waiting for Netflix.  Before the show, we had coffee and treats at the Blue Scorcher, a cool cafe; it’s a tough choice between the Scorcher and the also hip Astoria Coffee House or Coffee Girl….and being a lifelong member of “those who wear black” requires the seeking out of happening coffeehouses. The old punk in me would pick the Astoria Coffee House as a favourite, because something about it seems that little bit edgier.  Coffee Girl has the view, though, and I have a happy memory of sitting on their deck on a warm summer day with friend J9 and some delicious coffee and tabouli.

After close rapt attention to the visual feast of the movie, my mind leapt back into gardening while Allan went into the nearby hardware store. Right across the street is a garden which I have admired since discovering it last year.  Whose it is, I don’t know, as the apartment building in the lot does not seem attached to the garden in any way.  I wonder who maintains it?  It is a curvacious sweep of cistus, senecio greyii, artemisias, and a further tapestry of interesting shrubs with a picnic table tucked into a cove.

attractive Astoria garden

Yesterday gentle, ceaseless, somnolent rain kept me indoors where I read three books, including “The No Work Garden” by Bob Flowerdew, as recommended by Moosey.  Indeed, his writing style is witty in the British way that so appeals to Anglophile me, and he had many good ideas although I certainly would not describe his methods as “no work.”  (Even “low maintenance” is not a term I would ever let any of our clients think could possibly happen!)  And if gardening CAN be “no work,” why does he write with such drollness:

“…I’m often asked…how a son, daughter or friend who loves gardening can best be got work in some area of horticulture.  I plead with them not to do so. Growing plants is a wonderful hobby, and education, a pleasure, even a means of improving your table but a hard way to earn a living that will leave no time for the original enjoyment. No, instead help them find a humble home with a generous garden and some righteous employment that only demands four days a week and gives them three to garden in.  I’m sure they will be the more contented for it.”

Is gardening in ones own garden work?  The other day when we were chopping sword ferns in the rain, Allan commented “This is not fun.” And it was not.  But on a day off, we continued to do it with a sense of purpose and satisfaction because the end result would be what we envisioned that part of the garden should be.  It was work, but not dislikeable work.

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