Posts Tagged ‘garden touring’

Saturday, 24 July 2021

WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor Tour

Today’s tour features three large country gardens in the countryside around Elma and Satsop, east of Aberdeen. Each had so much to offer that three gardens easily took up all the tour time.

As we approached the first garden, I had a lovely chat with a gentleman whose garden had been one of my favorites on a previous north county tour.

the sign on a shed

There was a lot to look at even before we got to the official ticket check in table, starting with the orchard and berries, where a wealth of information was provided.

Two outbuildings lured us away from the check in table.

A fairy garden for the grandchildren (and grandmother, too):

In a bed of ferns, we admired a cleverly enhanced pump house.

Looking across to the fenced garden

We finally checked in like proper tour guests.

Our next exploration was of a border that was two years old. Allan overheard someone say, “Last time we were here, you were chopping wood in this area!”

We turned our attention to the planting at the side of the house.

We walked the passageway between the side of the house and the fence.

I like words in a garden.

Where the path continued…

….we turned to the garden on the other side of the house.


Who did we then see but Debbie and her sisters! Debbie told us they had found out about the tour through our “real time update” in a blog post.

Dawn, sister in law Laura, Debbie, Dana

They had been touring since earlier in the day and were able to give me some reassurance about a long gravel road that would take us to the next garden.

We had a delightful natter until I suddenly realized I was much too hot and had to get out of the sun. The temperature was approaching 80 degrees. On the side of a large shed, I found a shady dell with a fire circle.

A farewell look back to a paradise

As I left there and emerged back into the sun, it was time to move on to the next garden.

From our vehicle, driving away, we had one last view of the orchard and berry patch from below.

This garden left us well pleased. The long drive from home had already been proven worthwhile.

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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock, Washington

We continued our exploration of Castle Rock public gardens with the

Castle Rock Visitor Center.

According to an article in The Daily News, the majority of the $247,000 project was completed by community volunteers and public works employees…including the landscaping around the building.  The center opened in May of 2016, so the garden is still young.

I walked this path away from the building…

…and back again.

By the wheelie bin enclosure at the end of that path, we had found a picnic shelter and pretty bed of annuals.

The hanging baskets were padlocked.

Allan’s photo

The enclosure had some useful posters.

More posters described assorted trees.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
the tree our bogsy wood is made of

Across the big parking lot….

…is a pollinator meadow.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

I could not find on my phone the location of the old jail, so we drove back downtown and got out and looked for a pedestrian to ask.  We found one just as I saw, across a parking lot, a garden that looked promising. Indeed, the pedestrian said it was the place we sought.  I noticed his t shirt for the Crosscut Taproom, which was one of two restaurants recommended at Nancy’s garden.  He was the owner, so that settled which one we would dine at (the other was Wine Down Dog).

Old Jail Park

Allan’s photo

The walls are reinforced with scrap iron and old horseshoes.

Allan’s photo of a horseshoe

A diseased tree had been recently cut…

…resulting in some scorched hostas.

Allan’s photo; beds are sponsored by local businesses.

downtown Castle Rock

We took a two block walk up and down one street a block from the park.

Allan’s photo of a poster behind the window display.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
a curbside garden and an apartment building

One of the apartments had its own little garden display, freshly watered and next door to the library.

The double baskets are gorgeous, as they were two years ago.  Then there were more trailing potato vines; this year, the theme is pink.

In the containers, the theme was green.

I liked it very much. The big containers had plants which I feel sure like lots of water.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
another street heading off south (Allan’s photo)

It took me till now to realize that Wine Down Dog is a pun (wind down).

Allan’s photo

We ate at the Crosscut Taproom, having gotten directions from its friendly owner.

We got there just before it got busy with the dinner crowd, including a large party who recognized us from today’s garden touring.

We enjoyed teriyaki rice bowls, cider and ginger beer…

Allan’s photo

…and petting a nice dog named Loki on the way out.

He was maybe a little tired from having had attention from many people.

As we drove away, we saw the other side of the apartment building with another sidewalk garden, one which I think I noticed two years ago.

Allan’s photo

We got home by dark.  I am already looking forward to next year’s tour.




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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock, Washington

 The Gardens at Sandy Bend 

The last private garden belonged to plantswoman Nancy, who is the Castle Rock Bloom Team Leader of the  downtown volunteer gardens program, Castle Rock Blooms.  You can find her on Facebook at The Plant Station.  We had already admired her opulent container plantings at the Partridge’s garden.  More big containers marked the parking area at her home.

I wish I could grow abutilons as huge as hers.

I think it takes more heat than we get at the beach—and I don’t like heat—but wow!

Abutilon ‘Red Tiger’ planted in the ground.

Her tomato display also credited the warmer inland weather.

Below the parking area, I was drawn to a magnificent shrub border (and later I heard her invoke the name Dan Hinkley about at least one of the specimens).

Allan said, “That car won’t hold many plants.” I thought it toned well with the big cotinus (smoke bush).

Nancy has Buddleja lindleyana and assured me that it is not on the invasive list, backing up my research with authority.  It does not set seed, she said, but does spread from runners (as I know, which is why I have three now).

Buddleja lindleyana

Looking back to the house…

entering the front garden

variegated climbing hydrangea
on the porch

For some reason, an attack of the shys I guess, I did not go onto the enticing porch.  Allan did:

Allan’s photo

I did look thoroughly at the intricate planting in the entry garden.

Abutilon ‘China Bells’

 I am pretty sure that the tree below is one that had us all circling and admiring and wanting to identify on a Hardy Plant Study weekend tour a few years ago.  Nancy’s labeling is superb so today all I had to do was read the tag.

‘Trost Dwarf’ birch

I was lured into an enticing winding woodland path, similar to the one at The Gardens at Stillmeadows.

The Secret Trail

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo, deer fence?

Allan was coming the opposite way.
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

wisteria climbing a ladder and tree
returning to civilization; note the giant greenhouse to the left

This must be where Allan entered the secret trail:

Allan’s photo

I meant to explore that path…

Next to the greenhouse, I was about to fall in love.

This kitten had come to visit from next door.

Its fur was even softer than my Smoky’s fur.

Nancy works with Proven Winners and the local high school students to test new PW plants and to propagate plants for the downtown gardens.

On the back porch is some more of her container magic.

I turned away from the back garden because of a couple of railing-less steps and because of a kitten distraction.  Usually, I would find my way around the other side of the house to avoid the steps.  Somehow I managed to miss the whole back area.

Allan took some photos but said he did not realize he was the only one photographing it.

I missed a pond with fish!

When Allan and I reunited…

…he did not know that I had not found the back yard garden.

We talked with Nancy about the downtown gardens and saw the fertilizer and pots that they use.

The hanging baskets have a water saving system that Nancy says actually cuts down on watering. It was a pleasure to talk with her about the Castle Rock gardens, mostly maintained by volunteers (although the city crew waters the baskets).

Proven Winners had provided stacks of free catalogs.

As you will see, the Proven Winners partnership with the volunteers is helping Castle Rock’s downtown gardens thrive, and the hanging baskets are amazing.

As we left, the kitten was being petted by a little girl. I saw this road with bamboo and banana trees…

…and I might have found a vegetable garden had I walked back there.  In fact, as I wrote this, Allan said “There was a second garden down there that may have been hers!”  No wonder it is called the Gardens (plural!) at Sandy Bend! Next year, when I hope it will be on the Bloomin’ Tour again, I am determined to miss nothing of this place.

By now, it was 3:40 PM.  Our plan to see all the nurseries and private gardens by 4 PM (tour end time) had worked perfectly.  I would even have had time to see that back garden!  Now we still had daylight to find four floriferous public gardens in Castle Rock.




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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Cowlitz River Dahlias and Succulents

We drove down a long woodsy road, one lane with turn outs for oncoming cars…

…till we arrived at a field full of dahlias.

You could wander the field with a clipboard, writing down which dahlias you wanted to mail order.  I could have but did not because I already have so many assorted ladies in waiting at home.

Allan’s photo

My photos:

The fluffy ones are amazing and have great colors, especially when they have speckles or are two toned…

…and picotee.

This one almost looks fasciated.

I love the spider dahlias.

The huge dinner plate style, though astonishing, are not my cup of tea.

My favourites are the ones with tidy spoon shaped leaves, especially the smaller pom pom ones (didn’t see many of those here).

Allan’s dahlia photos:

Apart from dahlias, we saw chickens…

and succulents and a few perennials (including Salvia ‘Amistad’, of which I bought two). I got me one of these:

Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ (Allan’s photo)

I had to get me one of the Albuca ‘Frizzle Sizzle’—new to me.

Albuca spiralis ‘Frizzle Sizzle’ (Allan’s photo)

Also had to try one of these (sorry, no photo was taken of the plant, yet).

For next year’s Bloomin’ Tour, I intend to be mentally prepared to order some dahlias, speckled, picotee, and spidery.

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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock Nursery

331 Buland Dr
Castle Rock, Washington
(360) 274-8388

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I did not want to be greedy when offered free annuals.  I would take them all for compost!  So I only took a few geraniums and begonias that I might be able to winter over.

Allan bought a fern.

Allan’s photo

The Book of Lists is an excellent book of plants that thrive in various conditions, and other such things.  It, and another book called Plants for Problem Places, were invaluable to me before the World Wide Web. I was pleased to see a book like that still in use.

Allan’s photo

Again I wished I still had my grandma’s old sewing machine (at least the stand).  I actually did used to sew on the old treadle machine, back when I sort of knew how to sew simple things, and it was the only one I had.

I saw a gorgeous tall Panicum and asked what it was.  Our garden host did not know.  When I saw three pots of Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ and its base, I was astonished.  Could the little knee high Heavy Metal Panicums under a tree in Long Beach get that tall if they had good water?

the three pots of Heavy Metal and the big specimen

But then the daughter and plant expert returned from lunch and said the tall one was Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’.  There were two gallon pots of it left and I snagged them both.

Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’

Any other admirers would be out of luck because of my buying the last ones.

I did later google ‘Heavy Metal’ and learned that it could get to four to five feet in better conditions.

I also bought some small gauras because I want them at the Ilwaco Fire Station. Someone at the nursery told me, and I later confirmed, that gaura is the official flower of Castle Rock.  Could be true of Long Beach and Ilwaco, also, as I sure do use a lot of them.

Here is where you pay.
Allan’s photo

That was such a pleasant shopping experience.  I hope to visit again next year, when perhaps the Bloomin’ Tour will be in early August rather than early September.  May would be even better…if it were less than a two hour drive from home.  I imagine that it is the shopping hub for gardeners of the Castle Rock area.

Next: a deliriously delightful display of dahlias.



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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock, Washington

Partridge’s Garden

The Partridge’s garden had been fairly recently installed by Backyard Blitz Landscaping, with one area toward the back still under construction.  The whole yard was beautifully laid out and of interest even though it was so new, and the house itself, also new, had an appealing and pleasing design.

from the street

inside the gate to the left
and to the right
and to the left again

I so appreciated that the bark mulch is brown and not red.  It makes all the difference, avoids that raw look and is restful to the eyes.

Allan’s photo

The garage doors were also soothing in appearance.

We admired the tilted posts on the house….

And, of course, we were most impressed with the pots.  The garden owner told us that they were planted by Nancy, whose garden we’d see later in the tour and who is big in the public gardening of Castle Rock.

On the east side of the house, a tall privacy screen blocked part of the house next door, and the new shrubs were given room to grow.

Allan’s photo

We had wondered why not all the fencing between the two houses was tall for privacy, until we found out that the owner’s son lives next door.

 Behind the house, we found a covered patio and more gorgeous Nancy pots.

Allan’s photo

…and lemonade and cookies on offer.

 We were invited to go next door, through an open room and onto a pool patio, to see more stunning pots.

I do wish I could get the chartreuse ornamental sweet potato vine to thrive at the beach.  We just do not seem to have the heat.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

I had made a new friend.

Allan’s photo

We returned to the big garden next door.

To the back, this area is soon to be completed.

On the other side of the large outbuilding, we found a productive kitchen garden.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

We continued our walk around the new ornamental garden.

Allan’s photo
at the front again
a last look

We saw the owner of this garden again later, at Nancy’s garden, and she agreed that her garden could be on the tour again to show its progress.  We would be interested to see that.  One thing that I appreciate about this tour is that the landscaping company is given credit where credit is due.  In fact, they were hosting this garden, but we did not get to meet them because they had gone to lunch.

Next: Castle Rock Nursery.


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Saturday, 7 September 2019

When we had discovered the Castle Rock public gardens two years ago on a drive to Evan Bean’s garden, we had just missed the annual tour by a month.  Last year, the tour didn’t happen, so I’d been looking forward to it for two years!

We left Ilwaco at 8 AM and arrived at the first garden, east of Castle Rock, just before 11 AM.

The Gardens at Stillmeadows

The garden name had made me eager to ask if the garden owners were fans of Gladys Taber, a favourite author of mine who wrote memoirs about her home called Stillmeadow. No, Still Meadows Lane is the name of the road along which you will find this large garden and overnight retreat.  You can read here about how the owners transformed “a mess of brush and blackberries” into a rambling garden acreage.

As planned in advance, we met Debbie, Dana, and Dawn from up north as we arrived and as they were leaving for the next garden.

me, Bailey, Debbie, Dawn, Dana

This was the only time we saw them all day because they were running an hour ahead of us on the tour.  We had a good but short visit (and they gave me flower pots and some garden decor, thank you!).  Allan and I then walked up the hill toward the garden, guided by our new friend, Bailey.

The gift shop, to the right on the way up the road, was closed for the season.

Now I so wish I had my grandma’s old treadle sewing machine.  (I sold it before leaving Seattle 26 years ago; it was so heavy) Something like this idea is genius for making a window box without attaching hardware to the window frame area….or just the idea of using something other than a standard window box.

To our left, we followed the sound to a waterfall.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
a bit further uphill

The first of two houses is a manufactured home similar to ours. (Of course, I loved that.)

It has an intricate front porch arbour.

Between the first and second house is the entrance to a secret garden.

Allan’s photo

We continued to explore the entrance garden on the way to the retreat office, located in the second house.

one of four elusive kitties

Take a drippy paint can and turn it into a vase with same colour flowers.
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

A large seating area near the office would be perfect for dining al fresco while staying in one of the retreat rooms.

We met the friendly garden owners and then wended our separate ways down the hill into the lower gardens.

path to the sauna

A path gravel worked its way gently downhill.

looking back

Allan’s photo

The tour was perhaps not as well attended as it should have been.  I saw only two other people in the garden, a couple who delightedly commented about the imagination required to create such a space.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
lower right, above, seed heads of a favourite of mine, eryngiums
Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’, one of my favourite late summer bloomers

At the bottom of the hill awaited an impressive stand of sunflowers, cosmos, and zinnias.  I love zinnias but don’t seem to have enough heat to grow them at the beach.


A dahlia garden came next as one turns to another path back into the lower garden.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

Looking back at the dahlias…

Past the dahlias, a bridge over a river of blue fescue leads to a reflective pond.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

That must be the back of the sauna.

Past the picket fence, a path wound sinuously through the woods….

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

The woodsy path emerged at the base of steps leading up next to a waterfall.

Allan’s photo of a clever break in the railing as it crosses a stream.

Even though the stairs were easy enough, with a sturdy railing, let’s go back around the long way, retracing some of our steps to see more, including a closer look at a grove of Acer griseum (paperbark maple).

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
returning to the upper level (Allan’s photo)

As we were leaving, we met Rosemary from St Helens (a lower Columbia River town in Oregon), who had sent me a beautiful greeting card after happening upon my plant sale last May.  What a lucky encounter today.

Rosemary and me

I do hope we meet again.

And I hope to visit The Gardens at Stillmeadows again in late spring or early summer.





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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Cindy’s Garden

Terri of Markham Farm took Allan and me, Teresa, and Kilyn and Peter to see an excellent garden that had been on last year’s garden tour.

Peter, Terri, Cindy, Teresa, Kilyn (Allan’s photo)
sloping garden by Cindy and Carl’s parking area
Cindy, golden Leycesteria, and a bouquet from Terri
Just inside the garden entrance
shed wall
great wall of china
Allan’s photo
house wall; Cindy said she is going to re-do this area
steps going up to the She Shack, greenhouse, and new gazebo
at the top of the stairs

the garden shed (other side from the wall of china)

Carl has built all of the buildings on the property.  All Cindy has to do is come up with an idea and he makes it appear.

Peter and Allan, feeling inspired?
Peter in the new gazebo (Allan’s photo)
Cindy’s She Shack
in Cindy’s She Shack (Allan’s photo)
a wood stove for cozy winter days

We moved on to the shade garden.

the fourth wall of the big shed

I think these boxes are from a flower bulb farm.
Allan’s photo
along the woodsy side of the garden
Allan’s photo

This little shed had been shaked since our last visit.
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

a most beautiful primrose that Cindy grew from seed

She swears by a technique called winter sowing.  I must read up on it.

She explained how she found an easier method than milk jugs, but I can’t remember because the whole process was new to me.  Something about using pots instead, maybe…Oh I do wish I could remember.

I just about wept over the beauty of that primrose last year.

Cindy found the wood base of the table below in an alley in the nearby city of Aberdeen!

We emerged from the shade onto the big lawn with sunny borders along three sides.

the front of the newly shaked shed
a monkey puzzle tree in the middle
view through to the wall of china
sunny border


Allan’s photo
monkey puzzle (Allan’s photo) I learned they are dioecious. These catkins 2/3 the way up indicate this is a male tree.
looking back
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

variegated horseradish

We thanked Cindy for opening her spectacular garden to us and then we all returned for one last hour or two at

Markham Farm.

Terri had made clam chowder and served it with cheese and crackers, crudités, and watermelon slices, as we sat around the fire circle on the deck.

me, Kilyn, Terri and Bill (Allan’s photo)
relaxation after much garden touring

I took one last walk around the deck…

Down by the barn, Teresa and Terri and I gleaned some seedlings from the European bladdernut tree; Teresa had also collected some hydrangea cuttings.

The back of our van was full of plants from the garden tour plant sale, and the plants that Ann had brought me yesterday, and some from Terri today.

I felt deeply verklempt to part ways with Kilyn and Peter…just till next summer’s tour season, I hope.  They would have a long drive back to Canada on Monday.  After they had driven away to their Ocean City campground, I found a bottle of wine from them on the seat of our car, one that I greatly enjoyed with dinner for the next week.

Next year’s WSU Master Gardeners tour will be in Satsop and Montesano areas.  It’s the best tour on the coast.  I’m already looking forward to it and hoping for a reunion with good friends.

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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Markham Farm

morning sun, tea and a pastry at the cottage

We were honored to be able to stay at the cottage, which is really not used as a guest cottage.  It is more of a library.  The real guest rooms are up some stairs in the old farmhouse, and Terri and Bill were so kind to offer us a one story dwelling out of sympathy for my physical problems.

We packed our belongings and drove down to the barn so that we’d be ready to go garden touring later.

by the driveway
Ilsa awaiting company

Teresa of The Planter Box had already arrived from an overnight at Ocean Shores, and Kilyn and Peter soon arrived from their campground at Ocean City.

Peter and Ilsa

We walked all around the garden.

The European bladdernut tree (Staphylea pinnata)
Ilsa, Kylin and me
Teucrium ‘Purple Tails’ and a rose
a bright little bird
Woody, the old blind horse, is over 30 years old.
one of many hydrangeas
garden art
Terri, Teresa, and Kilyn
more hydrangeas
smokin’ smoke bush
another idea I want to copy (if I can find a big enough pot)

We found a frog by Waldo Pond, named because one looks for frogs in the pond like “Where’s Waldo”, and of course, a pun on Walden Pond.  As usual, it took me a long time before the pun dawned on me.

Allan’s photo
More frogs were in the pond. (Allan’s photo)
The beautiful water globe was a Costco find.
the blueberry field (for the birds)

We went down the trail to the beach.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo, Teresa and Ilsa

Back to the garden…


We went down the east slope to see the river of Geranium ‘Rozanne’.

at the bottom of the hill

a side path on the way up
looking down

After our Markham morning, we caravaned in three vehicles to visit Cindy’s garden, just a few minutes away.

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Saturday, 20 July 2019

Markham Farm

We arrived back at our guest cottage at 6:45 and had a look at the little garden there, where I saw tadpoles in the pond.