Posts Tagged ‘bouquets’

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Instead of me finishing my cutting garden book, we took advantage of a break in the rain to put in a couple of hours at the Shelburne on two things that had been bothering me.

But first, I picked a bouquet to take with us.

window box

and another window box

Muscari botyroides ‘Superstar’

some tulips hoping to open

The rain has been hard on the tulips; it is a challenge to find nice ones to pick that are not rain-spotted.  The peony flowering tulips are in the worst state, of course.  Even the single flowers are battered.  This is one of those years when I resolve to never again grow anything but single tulips.

sad mushy double tulips

the rain gauges (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

flowers on the way

The Shelburne Hotel

My project was to get some ferns removed from the roots of a rose in the front garden, and Allan’s was to prune a climbing rose in the back garden that may not have been pruned for years.  It had much dead whippy growth.

Allan’s photos:



Pruning canes with leaves does remove some of this year’s flowers.  However, the canes were so all over the place that it had to be done.  I would have had it done sooner but was unclear whether or not this arbor will be preserved.  It is more likely to be so if it does not look like a mess!


I am flummoxed by the formerly espaliered Asian pear trees on the west fence.  What to do?

(right) The pear has shot straight up in the past nine years.  The center tree is a limbed up hawthorn.

I got the center Asian pear tree looking a little better after I took this photo; it seems this one was not allowed to shoot straight up.

The third one has also been allowed to grow straight up. Its top growth does provide a screen from a window of a nearby house, so….might be valuable like this.

In the front garden:

looking south

base of the second rose today, where before it was all mucked up with a trashy fern.  It was almost buried in soft fern fronds.  And MINT.

Long Beach

We drove through town, stopping to deadhead under one tree, and then decided that the weather, which had just become miserably wet and windy, required the rest of the deadheading to wait.

Allan’s photos

Basket Case Greenhouse

A rainy day is a good time to check on the latest new plants at local nurseries.

Basket Case Greenhouse

We acquired some violas, at the request of Sous Chef Casey of the Shelburne, who wants them for edible flower garnishes.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I cannot resist agastaches.

On the way home, we decided to not plant all the violas in the rain; four went into pots by the front door where they will be handy for garnishing.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

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Friday, 10 November 2017

If we methodically work through the fall clean up list, we might get it done by the end of this month and then be on staycation.  I’d like to be done (except for post frost clean up) by Thanksgiving (Nov 23).  This is not looking likely because of a prediction of at least five days of bad weather.

Port of Ilwaco

On the way to the port, we saw the sure signs of approaching crab season.  The crab fishing fleet has to wait for the crab to size up properly before it can begin.  They always hope for the beginning of December but often have to wait.  While they wait, they prepare their pots.

crab pots by the old Kola boathouse

I began with the small garden on the south side of the Port Office building.

port office garden with lots of lavenders to clip and one last big cosmos pulled

after (Allan cleaned up with his new, pretty quiet rechargeable blower)

It was a big advance recently when we acquired a battery operated blower.  I had avoided them because of the noise.  Allan picked out a quiet-ish one, and it does make the job go faster than a broom.  Perhaps he will insert the make and model here, for those who like specs.  ( A Greenworks 80V blower  Same battery operates our heavy duty string trimmer and could operate a replacement chainsaw or a mower in the future.)

just across Waterfront Way from the little garden

I joined Allan to help finish up his project, the final clean up of the Time Enough Books garden.

Each business has the garden or courtyard (or in some cases, just a parking lot) on the south side of the sidewalk.  The north side is the curbside garden, maintained by the port (usually by us, with the exception of a fish processing business that clips their own escallonias).

Time Enough Books, east side before

and after (elderberry lowered behind the boat, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ clipped down in front of the boat), Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ pulled by the entrance to Purly Shell Fiber Arts)

before (Allan’s photos)


Time Enough Books west side garden, before

west side, after, with elderberry and tall grasses and more cut all the way down for ease of Christmas decorating; that was one year of growth on that elderberry, which we chop down every November.

before (Allan’s photos)


after easy peasy blower clean up

The Depot Restaurant

Allan did the once yearly chopping of the bamboo in a very narrow space between the deck and the building.  I am not even sure I could fit in there.

His photos:

bamboo all up in the works


A portly repairperson would have a hard time getting to that equipment even without the bamboo

We like the bamboo for long stakes.  I realized Allan would have to run it home before we loaded up the debris that I was cutting from the garden to the north of the dining deck.

trailer with long bamboo

He made quick work of taking the bamboo home and returning with an empty trailer.

I chopped down almost everything in the north garden.


Sous chef Jamie emerged from the kitchen and I asked him if he would leave up the Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’, which I love for its tiny yellow flowers still showing way up high.

Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’

He could not see the appeal of the old, worn plant, and I figured his opinion would be shared by most passersby, so down it came.  I am extra glad now, because a great deal of wind is being forecast and it would have had to be chopped next week for sure.

Solidago ‘Fireworks’, Persicaria ‘Firetrail’, and old ferns were for the chop.


I did leave up the late blooming Sanguisorba.

Sanguisorba menziesii ‘Dali Marble‘, backed with a self sown cotoneaster and with Cornus ‘Hedgerows Gold’

There will be one more short session of clean up in this garden after the first heavy frost.

I had hoped to get a couple of Long Beach planters cleaned up.  The frost is not yet here, and yet I woke up in the morning realizing I am tired of California poppies and nasturtiums’ last few blooms.  We ran out of time, so that will have to wait.  I wanted to get home with some daylight left to pick a bouquet for a friend who is recovering from surgery.

at home:

Allan’s photo

an autumn bouquet about to be delivered to dear Ilwaco friend

I got such a touching card from my neighbors.  I love the way it recognizes the true friendship I shared with Smoky.  (It wasn’t lopsided; it just photographed that way.)

Thank you.

On the work board, as much was added as erased.  I realized the port office garden looks battered by rain and needs a bag of mulch.  And I see that I need to add the Depot to the “post frost clean up” section.

I really hope we can accomplish all the pre-frost clean up before the end of this month.  All we need is five workable days!  ….Or six, since things usually take longer than I hope.




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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

HuffPost headline:

A 5,000-mile-long belt of rain is battering the Northwest this week, an “atmospheric river” stretching across the Pacific Ocean from China to British Columbia.

The storm system, which some weather officials have described as “The Big Dark,” is expected to drop 10 to 15 inches of rain and snow over high elevations and 2 to 5 inches of rain over the Puget Sound region in Washington state.”

storm graphic from China to our west coast

In the rain, UPS delivered Colorblends bulbs (two sets of mixed bulbs for the Long Beach welcome sign).  All photos by Allan today

All I remember of Wednesday is that the expected really big windstorm must have veered north and hit the Seattle Tacoma area much worse than us.  Later, Melissa told me that the wind had been fierce at her home in Oysterville, too. I was in the garage all afternoon getting it ready for Bulb Time.  The rain never ceased.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

My morning began by being awakened by the tsunami siren. Its sound is so much spookier than the regular fire siren.  I had a vague memory that maybe there had been news of a “Great Shakeout” drill.  As I looked on Facebook to see if the siren was a drill or real, I wondered if maybe I should be grabbing my go bag, my laptop, my phone, and hobbling up the hill instead. Fortunately, it was a drill.

You can hear the terrifying siren sound here, after the talking, which I slept through.  How very much I hope I never hear the real thing.  It is a possibility that weighs on our minds here at the beach, and I have a go bag right next to my bed.

Yesterday’s rain:

Storm rain is the amount that comes with each storm; I don’t know how the meteorologists tell when one storm ends and the next begins.

rain gauge at 1 PM

The biggest shipment of bulbs arrived, yet with more to come next week.  I am thrilled that most of them arrived this early (by request).  I will have to use extra brainpower to imagine how I am going to sort the stragglers.

Allan’s photo

Crows were all over the apple tree.  The family (Pink Poppy Bakery and Farm) who usually pick the apples for cider were rather busy, having just had a darling new daughter and granddaughter arrive last weekend, so the apples are still on the tree.  Not for long, it seems.  Allan’s photos:

I went into the garden during a lessening of rain to pick a lot of flowers and foliage for a Friday night event: a fundraiser for local Hispanic families.  I would be in the midst of bulb sorting hell by then, and because my most productive time is evening, I would not be attending the event.  It also sounded to me like too much peopling for someone with bulb brain. But at least I could provide bouquets.  The cosmos had been terribly battered by yesterday’s rain and so I was only able to find a few stems with unsodden flowers.

The swale had not filled with water yet.

our biggest windfall from yesterday’s storm

and a small but deadly spear into the ground

I was in a downpour by the time I finished picking.

Bouquet ingredients in the garage to dry out. I will pick the leaves off of the redtwig dogwood, foreground.

view from inside the garage

The city crew drove by, stopping at each storm drain to clean the leaves out.

Allan’s photo

Allan set up the long tables on sawhorses.  These will be dismantled each night so the van can go back into the garage.  The small card tables in the background can stay up throughout the sorting process.

I laid out newspaper and spray painted some dry eryngiums with purple and blue paint.

spray painting at the end of the bulbs boxes

After a complete change of clothes, I started sorting bulbs.  I like to keep the big door open to get light and air.  It is hard to get my brain in gear for this part of the job.  Before an evening engagement, I managed to at least get the bulbs sorted by kind (big and small narcissi, big and small tulips, alliums, lilies, muscari, and assorted little bulbs).

In the late afternoon, the garden pickings had started to dry out a bit and I made the bouquets.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Because of my determination to finish the bouquets (which turned out to be five), we were a few minutes late to our weekly North Beach Garden Gang dinner at Salt Pub.

This week, we were joined by Teresa of The Planter Box garden centre.

feasting (Allan’s photo)

Our garden club meeting are soothing because none of us has to be “on”, or perky, or talking about anything other than gardening.

Home again, I clustered all the bouquets on one of the inward tables overnight.

Allan’s photo, flowers backed with bulbs

Friday, 20 October 2017

I picked some more light colored flowers to one of the bouquets because it did not have enough pizzazz.

the red rain gauge

the yellow rain gauge

The only photos I got of the bouquets were indoors, with messy garage backgrounds, due to bulb sorting priorities and bad weather.

The one that I improved with more colour.

I later learned that this one raised $60 at the auction to benefit local Hispanic families whose family members have been taken by ICE.

The other bouquets were “bundled” at the auction with piñatas that were filled with local treats and gift certificates from businesses.  I was glad that the flowers helped to raise some money.

One of the local activists who was involved with tonight’s event came to pick them up in the mid afternoon.  She got them all into her little car, amazingly!  We had a half an hour visit before she left, and then I finally got down to some serious bulb sorting. The sorting task ahead of me:

Allan kept me going with snacks and Builders Tea:

Allan’s photo

I did my best, and by 9 PM I had gotten all the tulips large and small sorted, all of the alliums, and most of the little bulbs.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

We had a high wind watch.

I hoped the power would stay on; sorting by flashlights would be difficult.

I had a nice break when Jenna came to visit, wearing her new boots.

Jenna’s nautical new boots (Jenna’s photo)

I sorted for hours.  By 8 PM, I was down to the last of the narcissi and was sorting by dumping bulbs on the floor.  My brain was fried.

A number of friends pool money with me; each wants to spend a certain amount so I have to make each batch of bulbs come to the right amount per person.  This also enables me to get a cool selection of a lot of different bulbs for my garden.

9:30 PM, all sorted, and the work board adjusted to just planting.  Round 2 (much smaller) of sorting will come with the next delivery.

There had been a few short stretches of time when the sun came out today, but mostly the rain went on fiercely.  At 9 o clock, I had seen water coming under the back door of the garage, even though there is a lean to structure enclosing it on the outside.  Allan put towels under the door frame and a shower curtain and tarp over the bulbs in case the garage roof leaked as it sometimes does, a bit.

bulbs tucked in for the night

I expected more rain tomorrow, not as much but enough to spend the day at home typing out proper spread sheets for each recipient from my scrawled lists.  Only I can read my hand written lists because of the abbreviations I use for familiar bulbs.

Calvin and Smoky waiting for me to join them to watch telly. (Scott and Bailey, season three)

Today’s rain:

The top wind gust was 83 mph at Radar Ridge (a high hill to the north of the bridge to Astoria, always gets the biggest gusts).  The gusts howled, the rain came under the door, and yet we kept electrical power all day and evening long, thank goodness.

This had been the most perfect bulb sorting weather.  Other years, nice weather had coincided with bulb arrival, and so I had to sort by night and plant by day, keeping only one batch ahead of the game.  It has been glorious to get round one all sorted at once.




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Friday, 22 September 2017

Although we were not quite ready for a true day off, we did get to have the easiest sort of day: short, and all Ilwaco.

We’d had this much rain.

Our day began with picking flowers for a big do at the Fire Station.  The seemingly indefatigable Jenna (Queen La De Da) was organizing the event, put on by the Ilwaco Merchants Association to celebrate our volunteer fire department’s 130th anniversary.

fire station memorabilia

The fire station burned down in 2006, destroying a lot of historical papers and photos.  The yellow fire helmet in the photo above was scorched in the fire.

We went with Jenna to her gallery to collect some vases.

outside Jenna’s gallery

Jenna had the idea of putting the flowers in fire boots.  Getting them to stand up was a trick, till we figured out that we could tie them to the staircase railing.  I’d like to have a floor like the fire station’s; the drain in the middle made getting rid of a boot full of tipped over water quite easy. Below: The bouquets are partially done; we would be bringing more flowers in the early evening before the event.

The pampas grass is from yesterday’s Long Beach clean up, and the two showy orange flowers are Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’.

We weeded and deadheaded for an hour at the port and the boatyard.

Howerton Avenue curbside (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Todd showed up for a boatyard visit with his son, Dawson, and Ansel the pup. (Allan’s photos)


boatyard looking north

lavender abuzz with bees

looking south


almost done

It was a pleasure to not have to water the boatyard or the Ilwaco planters.

At home by the early afternoon, Allan started painting his shed.

before (Allan’s photo)

I puttered in the garden and, way out in the willow grove on the southernmost edge, I saw something that I had wondered about last winter.

in the willow grove

What is that? I could get to it now because the ditch is dry.

This had blown from the port during a winter storm.

The fire station do would give me the opportunity to find out if the derby fisherfolk wanted it back.  (Yes, they do.)

4:30 PM

Allan’s photo

I did not leave myself as much time as I should have to pick more flowers, leading to a tad bit of stress.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

flowers to add to the fire boot bouquets

We arrived back at the station with bouquets at 5:30 instead of 5.  Plenty of time, as the event did not start till 6:30.

fire boot bouquets

podium bouquet

buffet bouquet

dessert table; I had broken my own rule and picked sweet peas from the boatyard!

As we walked the two blocks home to change from our work clothes, the owners of Himani Indian Cuisine (Astoria) were preparing chicken and kebabs on the grill.

superb grilling by Himani Indian Cuisine

We returned at 6:30 to enjoy the….

Ilwaco Volunteer Fire Department 130th Anniversary Celebration

new art by Don Nisbett (Jenna’s spouse)

a mug to be given to each firefighter

Don and his art (Allan’s photo)

Don Nisbett prepares to address the crowd.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

left, Mayor Mike Cassinelli, right, Fire Chief Tommy Williams

The tall ships Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington had just sailed into port a couple of hours before and the crew had been invited to feast with us.  They introduced themselves one by one, mostly young people from all over the country who had joined the sailing adventure.

Tall Ships crew members

Tall Ships crew members

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Firefighter John Grocott distributing the mugs.

John, who lives across the street from the station, played a big part during the station fire of 2006.

In the early stages of the response, Fire Chief Tom Williams was trying to put together a plan of attack. With no bunker gear, engines or equipment and heavy smoke pouring out of the building there was not much he could do. Somehow two of the bay doors opened on their own showing the 1st out engine and brush truck still intact. Assistant Chief Kerry Suomela jumped in the brush truck and Lieutenant John Grocott jumped in the engine. Lt. Grocott was able to drive the engine out of the station but the door in front of the brush truck came back down again. Asst. Chief Suomela was able to start the brush truck and drive it through the closed door.”

In the background, in caps: Our probably future mayor, Gary Forner, and our current mayor (and gardening client) Mike Cassinelli.

Allan’s photo

Fire Chief Tommy Williams addresses the crowd. (Allan’s photo)

Then came a delicious feast.

Allan’s photo

The tall ships crew members regales us with sea shanties.

Jenna and her god daughter, Nirah from Himani’s Indian Cuisine

The Ilwaco Volunteer Fire Department

retired members of the IFD

And maybe a future firefighter.

At the end of the day, we took one of the big bouquets down to Salt Hotel, where members of the Tall Ships crew were bunking for the weekend.

Allan’s photo

The night was still and almost warm, the marina was beautiful, the event had been happy and moving and it was one of those many days that I was reminded of how much I love this little town.






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Friday, 14 April 2017

I woke early to sunshine and a sense of urgency about picking flowers and going to work, then heard pounding rain and rested awhile longer.  At the usual time, I got up and then went out to gather a bouquet.


Skooter on the front steps (Allan’s photo)


Skooter helping


I did not pick from here…


and I did not pick from here…

I picked a few narcissi from the outer beds and then went for a big batch of yellow and red tulips that were in a rather hidden spot…


I wouldn’t miss these so much!

Another pouring rain drove me to take shelter in the greenhouse.  I did nothing productive like tidying up, just stared at the weather in disgruntlement.


rainy greenhouse view

I thought that I had better take both my raincoats to work in case intermittent soaking rains happened all day long.


Frosty and Calvin as the sun emerges again


a very special gold leafed Eryngium (Allan’s photo)

At the Ilwaco post office:


I love the white tiny cupped narcissus, and lots of lily foliage


I planted this little white star and now I did not know what it is.  Looked it up: Ipheion or Triteleia uniflorum.

We delivered our flowers to the Chautaqua Lodge meeting room in north Long Beach, feeling a bit guilty that the setting up of all the chairs had been too early in the morning for us night owls.  Below is artist Michele with the cut-out of our congresswoman, Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, who had been invited to tonight’s town hall but had instead decided to do a telephone town hall the night before (during which, I heard later, she only took ten questions from constituents).


Jaime will be at our town hall one way or another.


our bouquet for the town hall….our only contribution to making it all happen.


Long Beach

We settled in to the beach approach weeding.  As soon as rain began, I realized I had completely forgotten my rain coats!  I took shelter in the van for a bit.  Fortunately, the rain stopped.  A strong and cold and miserable wind intermittently annoyed me.

Because of puddles next to two of the 13 beach approach sections, we are weeding all out of order, depriving me of the pleasure of seeing the end of the garden get closer bit by bit each day.  The project is all cattywampus this year.


looking west


looking east; we started on a sort of middle section today



Allan used the pick to remove as many roses as possible from right on the edges.


It is always cheering to get to pet a dog.




one section done



another angle of admiration


We skipped this section; the hardest of all because of rushes interspersed with everything.  We need to start it fresh some day instead of when we are tired.


Allan has to detour around puddles to dump the wheelbarrow.

We can dump weeds in the tall grass but the rugosa rose roots go to the city dump.


yellow hoop petticoat narcissi replanted  by the long grass (Allan’s photo)

There is always an interesting assortment of people and dogs walking by (all Allan’s photos):




This woman was looking for places to put out some painted rocks.


this beauty


and this one all studded with tiny shells

The purpose of these artistic rocks by her and her daughter is a simple one: to bring people joy.


our second target of the day


mostly done


section two, after

We did not quite finish the second section; instead, we jumped ahead to the end cap by the arch.  I felt the roses there needed to be cut down for the sake of good traffic sightlines.


end cape, before


and after: the sign asks people to not pick the flowers because they are for everyone to enjoy.


Some had dug two plants out of the planter right by the do not pick sign.

I had planned to work till six and then go straight to the town hall.  I simply could not go on so we quit work at about five.

Town Hall

We were so pleased and relieved that an impressive number of local folks came to hear the nine speakers (none of whom was named Jaime Beutler).


I borrowed this photo from Joe Chasse.

The first speaker was on video: Brian Baird, who after his retirement was replaced by Jaime.  Blake spoke of how during his years in office he held over 350 town halls to communicate with and listen to his constituents.  He said, “In order to represent your constituents, you have to listen to them.” Rep Jaime Beutler is known for very few in person town halls.


We also heard from local Rep. Brian Blake, from the mayor of Long Beach, from the county sheriff, from a county commissioner, from a concerned citizen, from the chairman of the local Chinook tribe, from a long time school board member, and from David McDevitt, who is running against Jaime in 2017.  As the concerned citizen who gave a rousing speech said about Jaime, “If you don’t want to listen to us, we’ll find someone who will.”  (Sorry, I have forgotten the citizen’s name; she was speaking on behalf of local business luminary Karyn Zigler who had been unable to attend.)


Rep Blake, Mayor Phillips, Sheriff Johnson, County Commissioner Wolfe



I think Mr McD also looks like a good candidate to play Doctor Who!

At the end of the evening, Allan and I were asked to take Jaime home because no one else had room for her in their vehicles.


We have an idea for some shopping that she might like to do tomorrow.

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I woke very early (for me), worried about our old cat Mary’s health.  She’s lost weight rapidly in the last week, and is no longer a round ball of kitty, and has lost interest in food. I would have had her in to the vet sooner had it not been for my own medical tests.  So I called Oceanside Animal Clinic and was fortunate to get an appointment in the afternoon.  Into the second bathroom I put Mary with food (with hopeful wishes she might eat) water and litter so that we could easily find her later, and we went to work for three hours.


This Irish cheese was on my breakfast patty, for St Patrick’s Day

The Depot Restaurant

We had a bit more mulching to do and four lily bulbs and a rosemary to plant at the Depot.


Depot north side window box


not much going on yet at the Depot flower garden; lots of lily sprouts at ground level though.

My theory about lilies at the Depot is that they fill the air with fragrance when diners get out of their cars in the evening.


Allan mulched the south side rosemary and ornamental grass bed with Gardner and Bloome.

Diane’s garden

I had a couple of violas and an Agastache ‘Cotton Candy’ for Diane’s pink and pastel garden.


the roadside garden




more narcissi


Thalia, one of my favourite Narcissus


the container garden


right next door

soft wrinkly nose

And on the way to the Anchorage, a dog who often sits on a play structure had a wrinkly brow and his feet arranged just so.


Anchorage Cottages

I had an Agastache and a Symphytum variegata and some violas for the Anchorage garden.



Tulip sylvestris at The Anchorage

Long Beach

We had one hour left before kitty time, and used it to fill our buckets with soil energy at city works…


…and take it to do some mulching at Veterans Field.


Allan’s photos, before



And then…

Kitty intermission


Allan’s photos: Mary on her way to the vet


At the vet with one of the office cats



My friend Bette was there with her kitty (and note the very good dog, also)


and I got to meet a wiggly waggly puppy.


Dr Kelly (perfect name for St Patrick’s Day) checks Mary’s gums

Mary is probably 16.  Maybe a bit younger.  She needed to stay for blood tests and rehydrating and some vitamins and so forth so we left her there with a sense of deep foreboding as with a cat her age we feared kidney failure.

Long Beach again


We deadheaded the Long Beach welcome sign.

I’d been weepy to myself at bedtime last night (2 AM) about waiting for my own tests and about Mary being poorly.  Now I focused on getting more mulch onto Veterans Field garden beds and a small area of Fifth Street Park.


vet field corner garden, mulched


and more on the curved bed


leftover five buckets went to Fifth Street: Allan’s photos, before




Allan sheared some tatty schizostylus (before)



I planted two leftover lily bulbs and (in a planter) two Agastache ‘Cotton Candy’.


Tulip ‘Lilac Wonder’


Greigii tulip foliage


more short early tulips


impressed that these primroses are still in full bloom


Fifth Street Park, still too much darned weedy little alliums


These four kinds of lilies are now all planted here and there.

I felt potentially weepy about Mary.  At almost five, I called Dr. Kelly as she had requested and she expressed amazement that all Mary’s blood work came back perfect!  No kidney failure, good electrolytes, good liver function….so now Mary stays overnight for more hydration and maybe an X Ray tomorrow.  Her blood work was exceptional for an old kitty.  I felt much better, although she is “still a very sick kitty”.

We drove to city hall to do a bit of deadheading there.

On the way, in the little popout, we were pleased to see the tulips had NOT been eaten by deer after all.


Allan’s photo


City Hall garden


tulip (Allan’s photo)

Then, home, because we had an event to attend in the evening.  The event happened to be my 61st birthday.  We both changed into St Patrick’s Day green shirts and headed to the

Salt Hotel Pub

where our usual North Beach Garden Gang meeting included the full roster:  Allan and me and Melissa and Dave and Todd and Ed Strange.  It’s hard to get Ed out to one of our meetings so we were pleased he could attend.  I’m shy about inviting people to my birthday, so had stuck with just the usual Thursday line up.  Allan had asked if he should invite lots of people.  With all that has been going on lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and wanted to keep it small.  Maybe at 65 I’ll have a big big party!


Todd arrived with a crate full of the flower arrangements for which he is renowned.  Since we all looked at each one with great attention and pleasure, I’ll share lots of the details with you.  All are from his garden and woods.






Melissa, Todd, Allan




The trailing accent that looks like an evergreen branch is actually Elk Horn Moss that only grows in old growth cedar (I think he said) woods around here, and there is some like that where he lives on Willapa Bay.




The yellow puffs are Kerria Japonica







Todd, Allan, Dave




Podophylum ‘Spotty Dotty” (Allan’s photo)


Our Ed arrives!  (Allan’s photo)


our view, other than flowers


garden talk!  (Allan’s photo)


more garden talk (Allan’s photo)

We talked about plants and looked at plant pictures on our phones.


for example, from Todd’s phone: Corydalis ‘Blue Heron’


food arrives


food and flowers (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo

Madeline of Pink Poppy Bakery (our favourite baker) was in Ireland for a vacation, so Allan had turned to the Cottage Bakery to make a garden themed cake.  They did a wonderful job. Allan had coordinated with Dave and Melissa for them to pick the cake up today, thus making it a complete surprise.


Julez brings the cake!



birthday song

It was an extra boon that Heather from Niva Green (in dark shirt, with a halo behind her) had come to Salt that evening and was able to join our party.   It was extra cool that one of my presents was a gift certificate to NIVA green, my favourite shop ever.  And another was, all the way from Plant Delights Nursery via Dave and Melissa, five (FIVE!) Asphodeline lutea, a plant which I have been lusting after for quite some time.  I have just ONE in Long Beach and have longed for more.  Todd says this one is a cultivar with an extra good yellow flower.



sweet 61, not really 16


garden theme cake



Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


our Melissa (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s arty floaty photo

We left three of the little bouquets for Salt’s Laila and Julez to enjoy and sent one home with Dave and Mel.  (Ed had already left to walk his dog, Jackson.)  I went downstairs to ask Julez to just save the flower containers for Todd and then I waited outside among the greenery in the courtyard.


out of the wind, amongst the greenery, sitting on a bench, looking at the half moon way above

It’s been a long day, and I have a few more presents to open, from Klipsan Beach Cottages and Allan and my dear far away Montana Mary, so I will leave you now.

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s garden diaries of two decades ago

1998 (age 73):

March 17: Happy Birthday to Skyler.  Today I puttered around with paperwork and didn’t get out till almost 1:30.  I worked again digging out the strawberry plants.  When I got over to the asparagus bed those berry plants were nicer—probably nicer soil there.  As I dug the plants I also weeded the asparagus area which was overgrown with dandelions, etc.


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Sunday, 19 July 2015

Astoria, Oregon

After being lured across the river by a garden tour of the Bohnke garden, we took Debbie to see the gardens at the Millpond Village, especially Helen’s garden, which I had visited several times before…

in July of 2012

in March of 2013

in June of 2013

in September of 2014

I led the way our parking spot to the garden only to find a fence around it and Helen’s neighbour, Sami, on the other side sitting on her porch.  I called out that Helen had said we could come see the garden anytime.  Sami said that we could but that it was her garden now!  Helen had sold it to her, in order to have more time for other pursuits, although they still both enjoyed it.  Thanks, Sami, for letting us in!

Sami’s Garden 

The garden is a lot between two townhouse buildings that Helen purchased for the making of a garden.

Sami's Garden

Sami’s Garden

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a handsome hypericum

a handsome hypericum

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


This year Helen and Sami have experimented for the first time with having a kitchen garden.

huge tomatoes growing on the south wall of Sami's townhouse

huge tomatoes growing on the south wall of Sami’s townhouse




Allan's photo: Sami's dog

Allan’s photo: Sami’s dog

Sami's little dog

Sami’s little dog escaping the sunshine

bench by the dry creek bed (winter drainage swale)

bench by the dry creek bed (winter drainage swale)


looking west

the creek bed and drainage swale

the creek bed and drainage swale

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a garden of tiny details

a garden of tiny details

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

looking west toward the millpond

looking west toward the millpond

We appreciated Sami letting three semi-strangers with cameras swarm through her garden.  Helen arrived at her townhouse toward the end of our visit and I was pleased to see her again.

Helen and friends (Allan's photo)

Helen and friends (Allan’s photo)

Mill Pond Village

After exploring Sami’s garden, we strolled around the Mill Pond Village, one of the most garden-y neighbourhoods I’ve ever seen.  I fantasize about living there but know that we couldn’t afford it.  Or if we could, we would be amongst moneyed people who would speak of their expensive travels and lifestyles that would be so different from what we can indulge in.  A working class neighbourhood with a street full of gardeners would be a more realistic fantasy for us.

I read up on the history of the village, a former mill pond that was saved from contamination, on this website.  This particularly interested me:  “The homes at Mill Pond Village all have garages that are accessed from rear alleys. Alley access reduces curb cuts in front of homes and maximizes available on-street parking. This traditional parking design allows for ample vehicle space while maintaining pedestrian friendliness.”  I thought back to my neighbourhood in Seattle, where most houses were backed with alleyways, and realized how much that did contribute to pedestrian friendliness.  I miss alleys.  They seem to be almost nonexistent in Peninsula towns.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Here is another site with history and photos of the village.  It says “The diversity of housing allows for a range of incomes, ages and family structures. Housing types create the seaside village-like, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood.”  Hmmm….maybe I can imagine, after all.  It’s not the townhouses that draw me, just the fact that almost everyone seems to like gardening.

looking north to the Columbia River.  This expanse of lawn is just to the east of Sami's garden.

looking north to the Columbia River. This expanse of lawn is just to the east of Sami’s garden.

looking back to Sami's garden

looking back to Sami’s garden

between two townhouses

between two townhouses



one of many pocket gardens

one of many pocket gardens

hydrangea and hosta

hydrangea and hosta

hosta, hydrangea, Geranium 'Rozanne'

hosta, hydrangea, Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Well grown hostas are all the rage here.

Well grown hostas are all the rage here.

white hydrangea by crisp white railing

white hydrangea by crisp white railing

gardening between buildings

gardening between buildings

to the north, the River Walk and the tracks of the Astoria Trolley

to the north, the River Walk and the tracks of the Astoria Trolley

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

curbside garden in full exposure to river storms (Allan's photo)

curbside garden in full exposure to river storms (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

looking south, Sami's garden is on the right at the end of the sidewalk.

looking south, Sami’s garden is on the right at the end of the sidewalk.

freighter heading toward the mouth of the Columbia River

freighter heading toward the mouth of the Columbia River

In Astoria, bar pilots are employed to navigate the ships over the hazardous Columbia River Bar (long known as the Graveyard of the Pacific).

These folks had just moved from Seattle to Seaside, Oregon, and were reveling in small town life.

These folks had just moved from Seattle to Seaside, Oregon, and were reveling in small town life.

Allan's photo as the wind drove them from their reading.

Allan’s photo as the wind drove them from their reading.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo






I was ever so pleased at the ship putting on a good show for Debbie, and even more pleased when the trolley came by right on cue.

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley. Ding, ding, ding went the bell.

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley. Ding, ding, ding went the bell.

Debbie and the trolley (Allan's photo)

Debbie and the trolley (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

looking south over the village

looking south over the village

looking south at the river and Big Red

looking south at the river and Big Red

From Astoria’s History Along the (trolley) Tracks:  “The big red building out in the river was a net drying and mending shed or net loft. Natural fiber nets, which often were made in the fishermen’s homes during the winters, needed to be dried between uses. Fishermen could navigate their boats right up under the building where a hoist would lift the nets to dry. The building was used in the movie “Free Willy II.” A local artist and art professor has purchased the building and is renovating it to be artist studios and small shops.”  (It was badly damaged in the big storm of November, 2007, and since then efforts have been made to save it.)  “It was as if the top floor and roof kind of twisted and lifted up, and went over the river and fell into the river,” said Sarah, recounting the 160-mile-per-hour winds that tore through Astoria that day, ripping away the second story of the building.  …. 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.”

Read more: http://djcoregon.com/news/2012/06/04/preservationists-try-to-save-uppertown-net-loft-in-astoria/#ixzz3hcm6jFv7

We drove the couple of blocks west to the actual Mill Pond so that Debbie could get a close look at both it and the public garden next to it.

the mill pond

the mill pond; the public park is at the lower left-ish

the park, Allan's photo

the park, Allan’s photo

I espied a darling little garden right on the banks of the pond.  We took a good look at it from every angle (except for looking up from the steep bank of the pond).


black hollyhocks

black hollyhocks

It was windy!

It was windy!












Allan's photo

Allan’s photo





Allan's photo

Allan’s photo



Right across the street to the west was the cutest red house.  I had assumed you could not paint your house a colour like that in the village.

red like my grandma's house

red like my grandma’s house

small, but long...garage in the back?

small, but long…garage in the back?

It has a vacant lot next door that could perhaps be purchased for a garden.  My new dream house, if it included the lot next door.

Allan's photo.  I could weep with unrequited desire for this house.

Allan’s photo. I could weep with unrequited desire for this house.

Debbie parted ways with us as she was headed back to her home up north.  Allan and I had not intended to go the market because we’d assumed we would not find parking.  When a parking spot opened up for us on Marine Drive, we took the opportunity after all.

Astoria Sunday Market

Who should be playing but Double J and the Boys, who also play the Ilwaco Saturday Market.

Who should be playing but Double J and the Boys, who also play the Ilwaco Saturday Market.

always one of my favourite booths of tiny bottles made into hanging vases with twists of wire.

always one of my favourite booths of small bottles made into hanging vases with twists of wire.

looking south up the market blocks

looking south up the market blocks

one of several produce stands

one of several produce stands

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

dog pyjamas? (Allan's photo)

dog pyjamas? (Allan’s photo)

further south

further south

flower booth

flower booth




I've often seen this woman and her dog around the Peninsula.

I’ve often seen this woman and her dog around the Peninsula.

I saw our Long Beach friend Debbie at the Master Gardeners booth but did not have much time to visit as the market was due to close in a few minutes.  (It only goes till 3 PM.)  I needed to browse the plant displays.

plant sales

plant sales

more plants

more plants

I did buy a coneflower.

I did buy a coneflower.

jams to taste (Allan's photo)

jams to taste (Allan’s photo)

another flower booth

another flower booth: The wind was blowing hard so I think that fellow was holding the booth in place.

I bought some goat cheese from Skamokawa.

I bought some goat cheese from Skamokawa Farmstead Creamery.

There was our Peninsula Humane Society raffle booth.

There was our Peninsula Humane Society raffle booth.

Someone had purchased this enviable garden art.

Someone had purchased this enviable garden art.

some of the excellent Astoria planters

some of the excellent Astoria planters

I think Astoria gardener Jessica Schlief may have something to do with these?

I think Astoria gardener Jessica Schlief may have something to do with these?

I do wish Ms. Jessica would send me her email address so we could get in touch.

Even thought the market was packing up, the food court was mostly still open so we were able to get a meal from my favourite vendor, O Falafel!

O! Falafel

O Falafel

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


later at home: a falafel plate with hummous, baba ganoush, tabouli....O! Joy.

later at home: a falafel plate with hummous, baba ganoush, tabouli….O! Joy.

Allan actually went out watering in Ilwaco Sunday evening after all that….

while filling up the water tank at the boatyard...

while filling up the water tank at the boatyard…

cool silver painted tree at a new business in town (Paula's shop)

cool silver painted tree at a new business in town (Paula’s shop)

watering the community building garden

watering the community building garden

It feels like we have been garden touring for days.  It’s time to get back to work, with the next garden tour due next Sunday at Pam’s public gardens in Seaside.












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August 25, 2013

When I say we spent the day overseas, I mean nothing more exotic than going across the bridge to the north Oregon coast.

I had no intention of doing anything on this particular Sunday but potter about at home, until I got onto Facebook and saw, on my business page, a message from the day before.  Pam from Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart, Oregon had indeed picked up some interesting new plants from Xera nursery.   It occurred to me what fun it would be to go to the Astoria Sunday Market and to the nursery…and NOT have to go grocery shopping at Costco because Allan had done so the day before.  Allan was amenable to the idea.  I think he is surprised I want to go so many places all of a sudden.  It is because of our comfy new van.   I had not been to the Astoria market since early September of 2011!

First:  a stop at Olde Towne to change compost buckets and have some coffee.

First: a stop at Olde Towne to change compost buckets and have some coffee.

Our Olde Towne visit took considerably longer than we had planned but we eventually left the good conversation and headed east out of town.

Crossing the Astoria Megler bridge felt much more pleasant to me sitting up higher in our lovely van.

the view looking west

the view looking west (with the camera raised up….not really sitting higher than the railings)

birds on a sand bar

birds on a sand bar

In Astoria, we parked on a hill above the market.  Every block of the older parts of town have photogenic houses and gardens to offer.

by our parking spot

by our parking spot

a tall house with a view

a tall house with a view

Allan's photo: looking downhill to the market

Allan’s photo: looking downhill to the market

Columbia River beyond

Columbia River beyond


At its south end, the market widens out into a parking lot.  Here several plant vendors gather.

plants for sale

plants for sale

This is good planning because if one buys a large plant, one can easily bring one’s car to this area in order to pick it up.

One of the booths had Cryptomeria 'Sekkan Suji' for just $20.00

One of the booths had Cryptomeria ‘Sekkan Sugi’ for just $20.00

Someone had gotten to it first so I told myself it was looking a bit peaky anyway.

sour grapes...it was gorgeous

sour grapes…it was gorgeous

golden montbretia

golden montbretia

customers seeking advice

customers seeking advice

The market in Astoria has lots more options for produce than our market in Ilwaco.


Wow, I have a fortune in baby spuds in my gardening, including some fingerlings!

Wow, I have a fortune in baby spuds in my gardening, including some fingerlings!

Poor nectarines to the right must have been a lower price due to being less pretty!


The flower stalls are, to me, the most beautiful part of the market.


The vendors create bouquets on the spot from buckets of gorgeous ingredients.



I would so love to see this farm...

I would so love to see this farm…

Vendors must drive very early to get here....

Vendors must drive very early to get here….

another bouquet artist at work

another bouquet artist at work

In the book I am currently reading, A Breath from Elsewhere, Mirabel Osler writes:

Even for a time when my garden is upholstered in flowers, pure meanness stops me from doing what genuine gardeners do — pick fresh flowers to bring indoors.  But to deprive the garden, either on the rare occasions when it’s florally abundant or when it’s predominantly green and the few blossoms are countable, would be unbearable.  Instead, a visit to the local market early on a summer’s morning to bring home bunches of what other people  have striven to grow leaves my garden inviolate.




floral artists

floral artists

ingredients: reds

ingredients: reds

note how the staining pollen is removed from the lilies

note how the staining pollen is removed from the lilies…almost

buckets and buckets of flowers

buckets and buckets of flowers





focused creativity

focused creativity


I saw some familiar vendors from the Ilwaco market.  De Asis is the only big produce vendor who comes to Ilwaco.

De Asis Produce

De Asis Produce

The vendor below always has a lovely display of old windows with her little jar vases.  She came to the Ilwaco market just once and said to me that day, when I expressed pleasure at seeing her booth, that she wouldn’t be back because our market was too windy!

a fragile display

a fragile display

at the north end of the market...one block from the river

at the north end of the market…one block from the river

There are many arts and crafts booths but I must have been thinking of the blog and mostly took garden related photos at the market.

a basket maker at the north end of the market

a basket maker at the north end of the market

At its north end, the market widens again into a food court parking lot.

parking lot garden

parking lot garden, looking south east

looking north

looking north

We wanted food, of course.

the cute Tiki Juice booth; sometimes they come to the Ilwaco market

the cute Tiki Juice booth; sometimes they come to the Ilwaco market

Ilwaco's OleBob's had run out of crab cakes!

Ilwaco’s OleBob’s had run out of crab cakes!

I was seeking the Indian food booth and found it, but next to it a falafel booth caught my eye.

great Shawarma?  Hmmm!

great Shawarma? Hmmm!

falafel and shawarma booth

falafel and shawarma booth

I could not resist...

I could not resist…

and here is my review

and here is my review

Allan had the Indian food from the excellent Himani Indian Cuisine so i got to taste his tasty butter chicken.  I really do mean that the shawarma was outstanding!

On the way back through the fair, we took photos of the wonderful street planters at just one intersection.

looking west along Commercial

looking west along Commercial

I love the open screened sides of these planters.

I love the open screened sides of these planters.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


looking west on commercial

looking west on Commercial

just stuffed with plants!

just stuffed with plants!

looking north toward the river; the backside of market booths were to my right

looking north toward the river; the backside of market booths were to my right


Something is going on here but I am not sure what...

Something is going on here but I am not sure what…

a bright store front

a bright store front

hosta and white potato vine

hosta and white potato vine

Back through the market, walking west to the hill, toward the parking lot of plant vendors….


and a look back from the south end of the market…

I will return sooner than two years...for more delicious shwarma!!

I will return sooner than two years…for more delicious shawarma!!

On the way back to the car on one of the east-west streets (Duane or Exchange) sits one of my favourite houses.  I love the porch.



Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan caught this scene of intricate painting

Allan caught this scene of intricate painting

a stately painted lady, Allan's photo

a stately painted lady, Allan’s photo

tricolour box, photo by Allan

tricolour box, photo by Allan

historic market, one of many in Astoria

historic market, one of many in Astoria; this one was on a house that did not look as remarkable as its history!

three: small, medium and large

three: small, medium and large

a garden in front of the smaller house

a garden in front of the smaller house

Views of the river can be seen between every building.

looking north and downhill between houses

looking north and downhill between houses

grand apartments

grand apartments

another garden

another garden

This house really did look tilted...

This house really did look tilted…

side view

side view

After reuniting with the van and started the drive out of town, we stopped again so I took take a photo of the Flavel house, subject of much mystery and this fascinating article (one of many on the subject).

the old derelict Flavel house; there is also a beautifully kept Flavel Musuem.

the old derelict Flavel house; there is also a beautifully kept Flavel Musuem.

Next:  Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart


















































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