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Saturday, 15 July 2017

The WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific County present:

Garden Two: “Colorful and Creative”

Every garden tour has one garden that becomes my favourite.  Gina and Jeff’s garden is one that could be my favourite of many tours.

I was thrilled just by looking at it across the street!

Before we crossed the road, we encountered Wendy and Bill, whose garden had been my favourite on last year’s tour.  Since then, I’d learned that for many years they owned the boat Aallotar which I often see at the Port of Ilwaco.  I longed for Aallotar stories but garden touring won out for everyone.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

closer

 

closer

walk to the front porch

Allan’s photo

wooden window box looks like copper

We finally made it to the check in table!  We could already hear the sound of the river and realized that the garden, while huge, is long and narrow because the river is just past the house and down a steep drop off.

The river sounded wonderful.

a double sort of curb holding the edge of the garden; that lawn is far below

The drop off at the edge of the garden is steep and dramatic.

Allan’s photo

garden creator Gina’s friendly little dog (Allan’s photo)

This cat was also getting attention. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

I felt faint just looking at this path between the house and the edge. Folks with a good head for heights breezed along it.

Allan’s photo

Gina must have a great head for heights; she had picked every bad leaf off of the statuesque hollyhocks.

Allan’s photo

hollyhocks below the edge

I decided to explore the garden that stretched expansively from the other side of the garage.

back wall of garage

Allan’s photo

This was to cover up some sort of unattractive utilitarian thing. (Allan’s photo)

The long, narrow garden lay on both sides of the house between the road and the drop off to the river.  We began with the longest area, to the left of the house.

a sit spot (Allan’s photo)

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on the side of the garage

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detail

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looking down the expansive lawn

Because this garden is a work in progress, I have a feeling that eventually all of these beds will be as full as the ones right around the house.

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looking back

Squash and big healthy tomatoes grew in the roadside bed.  Someone commented about the fertile farmland valley silt in this area.

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Allan’s photo

One of the folks strolling toward me said (because of my knee brace, cane, and sore heel related limp), “Nothing stops you from garden touring, does it?!”

The garden beds on the river side go right up to the cliff edge.

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right on the edge….I wondered if eventually these trees would go.

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I would have to crawl on my belly to weed up to that edge!

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Allan’s photo

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plants clinging to the very edge of the steep drop off!

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Allan’s photo

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looking down (Allan’s photo)

I tip my gardener’s cap to the bold gardener who weeds along that curving edge.

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Most of the beds are more safely inland.

We turned back and walked toward the house.

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garden tour guests enjoying a sit spot

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peach tree near the garage

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a perfect rose

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I am now thinking about how this garden does not seem bothered by deer.

When Ann (Spiffy Seeds, The Amateur Bot-ann-ist) toured this garden just after we did, she especially noticed the burned tree (which went right over my head).

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photo by Ann Amato-Zorich, who says “Burned tree. Nature’s own shou sugi ban.”

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rustic woodsy planter

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from another angle

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and another….an idea I am going to emulate.

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Allan’s photo

To reach the other side of the garden, I went along the front of the house.

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Brick front porch wrapped front and right side of the house.

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front garden

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looking out from the porch

On the right side of the entry porch, the brick porch narrowed and became L shaped.  Its decor was so fascinating that I could have spent an hour there.

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This area had a concrete floor and a high roof with a chandelier and a skylight.

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story of my life!

I could almost weep with delight over all of these artful vignettes.

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Just off the porch was a waterfall pond.

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Going around the corner of the house, we found another tiny shady pool.

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Allan’s photo

Around the corner at the back of the house, we passed through an arbour to a greenhouse.

We failed to step back and get a long shot.  Ann kindly provided us with this:

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photo by Ann Amato-Zorich

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sink fountain

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Allan’s photo

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in the greenhouse

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We recently saw someone making a cool light fixture like this on a tiny house show.

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in the greenhouse

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in the greenhouse

Near the greenhouse, steps and a path go down to the river level.

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looking down

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plantings on the upper bank (Allan’s photo)

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from the path going down; garden creator Gina in view (Allan’s photo)

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photo

We learned later that the rock retaining wall was new this past year, and Gina has begun planting it up.

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Allan’s photo

I was still up on the top level by the greenhouse.

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the back porch and sunroom

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the other side of the path I couldn’t do!

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Looking down again, I could see a great temptation for reaching the river level:

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The kitty was there!

Someone told me that an easy access driveway was available at the other end of the garden.  I made my way in that direction.

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by the greenhouse, a basket ready for berries

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past the greenhouse

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looking back at the house and L shaped porch

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an easy road, with a greeter

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kitty welcoming Allan to the river road

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Allan’s photo

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along the river bank

I learned later that the river causes much destruction along this bank during a stormy winter.  The lawn survives!

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looking up the newly cleared area to the greenhouse

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The river made a beautiful sound.

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Allan’s photo

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new rock wall with tour guest for scale

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Look at the edge on that lawn.  Allan noticed that all the bare ground was weed free and carefully raked.

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the river bank, which likely gets flooded in rainy winters

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the sound of water always in the background

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the path down from below

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Allan’s photo

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We made our way back up the easy road to the top and appreciated the garden for awhile longer.

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a natural hose hanger

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photo

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Look who we met arriving just as we were leaving!

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Dave, Melissa, Todd, Pam (downtown Seaside gardener)

They would be one garden behind us all the way.  Ann and Evan arrived just after this photo was taken. We should have just slowed down and toured with them, because they would notice things that we had missed.  I am always afraid of running out of time, so on we went to the next garden.

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I’m thinking how much I loved this garden and that I did not want to leave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday, 3 July, part two

Karen and Steve’s garden

On the way south from working in Long Beach, we took a side road so that I could sneak a peak at a project whose progress I’ve been watching on occasional drive-bys: the building of a rock wall and resulting raised front garden at the home of landscaper Steve Clarke.  As we tried to subtly drive past while craning our necks, we were spotted and hailed by Steve’s spouse, Karen, and were delighted to be invited to tour the inner sanctum of the garden.

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We’ve been watching this front garden appear.

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The distortions of  (cheap) digital photography make it hard to show that this wall is perfectly level.

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well cut and fitted rocks (Allan’s photo)

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Steve’s plush carpet of new lawn (Allan’s photo)

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established bed on south wall of the house

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south wall garden

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the joy of garden touring

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Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’

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south wall sit spot

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geranium (bee) and Erysimum ‘Wenlock Beauty’, we think

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One of Karen’s artful containers

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and another

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more container combos

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containers and ingredients (new plants)

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stacked blue pots

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Allan’s photo

We walked between garage and house to Karen’s floriferous back garden.

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a mosaiced step up

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Allan’s photo

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the back garden….The house dates to the mid 1920s.

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Allan’s photo

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Allan’s photo

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I was commenting how Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’ tends to revert to green in one year.

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in the back garden

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detail

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These tall eryngiums in the foreground will soon be turning steely blue.

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Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ is already at is peak of blue.

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Allan’s photo

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detail and textures

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astilbes (love them)

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blue hydrangea

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Hedge is on the north side.

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Allan’s photo.  I think that’s ‘Orange Rocket’ barberry, which I am still trying (and failing) to successfully grow.

I briefly mistook these monkshood for delphiniums and had a pang of delphinium envy!

Colorful oxalis

Backlit continus (smokebush)

An agastache centerpiece

An exclamation point as you go from the back to the front garden.

Walking back around to the southwest side, we admired the kitchen garden.  I’d love to have something this organized.

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The lattice enclosure (right) hides the wheelie bin and so forth.

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on the lattice enclosure: a display of ‘Pretty Much Picasso’ petunias

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This kitty in the shop window was a guest for the day.

It was fortuitous to get invited into this garden created by true plantspeople.  Karen is good friends with Our Lorna, former owner of the site of our former longtime job, Andersen’s RV Park, and it may be that a campfire with Lorna and Karen at our garden just might be in the works.  I hope so!

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Saturday, 11 February 2017

I got these in the mail from a friend:

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On my last full day of uninterrupted staycation reading, I finished the huge history of WWII and then felt restless because of the sudden emergence of sunshine.

No winter gardening had taken place because of unusually cold weather.  Books (and a sore back, now all better) had won out over my plan to mulch with 6-8 yards of topsoil.  Now the first crocuses are out and can’t be buried with mulch.  I emerged from the house to see them.

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the first crocuses

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at the base of tetrapanax

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more clumps, and shotweed

The apricot scent of Hamamelis (witch hazel) wafted all over the front garden.

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raggedy yellow flowers with the most powerful scent

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a bronze Hamamelis

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not as fragrant as the yellow

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another pale one

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I added several new ones last summer.

I found myself gardening and got some more hellebores clipped back.

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before

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after

Soon, though, one more book called me back inside.  It had been recommended by a friend, had 450 small print pages and was due back at the library in four days.  I had intended to have it all read by now and instead was just beginning.

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By the end of the day, I can tell you that this is a shocking must read for citizens of the USA who were not taught by life or by school about the enormous number of small towns (many in the north and in the west!) which through violence and discrimination remained almost totally white even into the 1990s (and beyond?).

Meanwhile, in Oysterville, Dave and Mel were helping to dig up and move an enormous rhododendron several blocks down the road to THE Oysterville garden.

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Melissa’s photo

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Good weather would have had us starting work today had not two events intervened.  The first was a two hour long meeting of a local Indivisible group.  The town of Naselle, a half an hour away, had been chosen for the meeting because that location allowed an easier drive for folks from north county.  We had a group of thirty concerned citizens, sprung out of a larger Indivisible group from north coast Oregon.  Indivisible groups are forming all over the nation by those of us who are deeply concerned at the dark and ominous and non egalitarian turn our country is taking.

It was a joy to attend a gathering of like minded folk from as far north as Aberdeen, as well as the Peninsula and South Bend and Rosburg.

Next door to the meeting place was a most glorious private garden which we admired from the parking lot.

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a large Naselle garden

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Allan’s photo

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next door: the Naselle Library garden

Back in Ilwaco, we went straight (and late for the party) to Salt Pub, pausing only to look at work waiting for us in a curbside garden at the port.

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pondering work

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soon….

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Allan’s photo

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5 PM view from Salt Pub

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a private party at Salt

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Allan’s photo

The occasion was the birthday of Boreas Inn Bill, who said he did not even know he had that many friends on the peninsula!  Dave and Mel joined us because they now care for the Boreas Inn garden.  It has been good for us to have their great gardening business, Sea Star Gardening, to recommend as we cut back to a manageable amount of work.

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Pink Poppy Bakery cakes

In  the evening, I got through another 75 pages of Sundown Towns.

The cats are going to miss staycation reading days, as will I.

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lapcats Frosty and Smokey

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Frosty at bedtime

Sundown Towns is going to be a couple of days overdue by the time I’m done with it. On Monday, work season begins (with more rainy reading days sure to come before too long).

 

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 Saturday, 16 July 2016

The WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties present:

aberdeen

garden eight: “Painting with Plants”

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The last garden we toured was just a block from the two gardening neighbours.  It is always so nice (although not always possible, of course) when tour gardens are close together.

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Walking one block over; I wondered if this might be the next garden.


looking down the side street

looking down the side street

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I could see from the clock on the porch that we were going to be done with tour on time (4 PM).

I could see from the clock on the porch that we were going to be done with tour on time (4 PM).  You can see to the left where the garden changes from lawn to bark.


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

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Yes, this was indeed the tour garden.

Yes, this was indeed the tour garden.


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I like what I see from the outside.


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

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The lots to one side of the house are "painted with plants".

The lots to one side of the house are “painted with plants”.


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Who needs a sunny day when you have colour like this? (I love gold foliage.)


looking back at the house

looking back at the house


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sweeps of vibrant color from foliage


a little sit spot

a little sit spot


Three extra city lots to garden on!

Three extra city lots to garden on!


You can see how the bark will fade to brown as it ages.

You can see how the bark will fade to brown as it ages.


an outdoor pavilion

a fireplace pavilion

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Note the window frames for the back wall of the pavilion.

Note the window frames for the back wall of the pavilion.

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


garden shed at the far side of the property

garden shed at the far side of the property

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I was smitten with the heathers in this landscape.  Or are the ones that drew my ardent admiration heaths rather than heathers?  I read up on it and am still confused.  I must completely rethink my opinion about heathers.  All this time, I have been bored by the flattish winter blooming ones of dull white and off pink.  These spiky airy lovely plants are a different look entirely.

Heath or heather, that white flowering plant is all spiky and I like spikes.

Heath or heather, that white flowering plant is all spiky and I like spikes.


outside a "reading room"

outside the “reading room”


Inside, a peaceful retreat (Allan's photo)

Inside, a peaceful retreat (Allan’s photo)

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

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From comments I overheard from tour guests, the plantings in this garden have dramatically expanded since the last time it was on the tour.  I would love to see it in five more years with even more plants added.  I envy the amount of space left to plant in.  No walking around with a plant you shouldn’t have bought because there is no more room!

Below the reading room, an orchard (Allan's photo)

Below the reading room, an orchard (Allan’s photo)

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At the edge of the upper garden, the tops of trees below show the dramatic drop off where 95 tons of boulders and many loads of soil created a flat terrace.

tree tops from the garden area below

tree tops from the garden area below


the patio created by the boulder wall

the patio created by the boulder wall


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

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the lawn below the house

the lawn below the house

It was difficult to get a photo of this effect, but I overheard that the boardwalk that goes all around this big rectangular area is meant to be a photo frame.

Allan on the lower boardwalk

Allan on the lower boardwalk


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


I have always like heathers (and heaths) planted on a slope. This one will look stunning.

I have always like heathers (and heaths) when they are planted on a slope. This one will look increasingly stunning.


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


avoiding the railing-less stairs

avoiding the railing-less stairs


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


Most of the garden was easily accessible with paved walkways.

Most of the garden was easily accessible with paved walkways.

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan went down to the lowest part of the garden and took some photos for me to peruse:

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gold and purple….heath or heather…I want it!

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boulder wall and the lower part of the orchard

boulder wall and the lower part of the orchard

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the lowest level of the garden

the lowest level of the garden

Before our departure, we filled out a little survey that had been handed out asking what we thought of the tour, and deposited it in a box on the patio.  I wrote in the comments that eight out of eight gardens had been excellent.  I can’t remember ever being on a garden tour (and I have been on many) where I so much liked every single garden on offer.  Each was different, interesting, with plant diversity, perfect grooming, innovative ideas, and sustainable gardening practices.  Not one felt ostentatious or like the design and work had just been hired out.

Several of the members of the Master Gardener group that puts on this tour had assured me that it is their standard to have a tour this good every year.  I know it is going to be a top priority for me to attend it next year.  If only I could go back in time, I would love to have attended last year’s.

Tonight: a bonus post of our evening in Aberdeen.

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 16 July 2016

The WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties present:

aberdeen

One of my most longtime gardening dreams is to have a sympatico gardening neighbour right next door.  As our garden tour day continued, Allan and I visited two gardens whose creators share that ideal situation.

Garden Six:  “A Captivating Mix”

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

The front garden bed flows between the two houses.

The front garden bed flows between the two houses.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

thyme

thyme (Allan’s photo)

A path enticed me to a planted mound.

A path enticed me to a planted berm.

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

across the berm, a glimpse of the neighbouring garden

across the berm, a glimpse of the neighbouring garden

I love the melding together of the groundcovers.

Here we go around the side.

Here we go around the side.

and into the back garden...

and into the back garden…

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

 lawn in the center

 well-kept lawn in the center

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Each edge is crisply sheared (Allan's photo)

Each edge of the garden bed is crisply sheared (Allan’s photo)

an interesting planting idea to give tree roots room to breathe.

an interesting and attractive planting idea to give tree roots room to breathe.

To the side: a sit spot

To the side: a sit spot

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The paved area is next to the lawn, on the opposite side from the other tour garden.

the two matching sit spots

two matching sit spots

choice and well grown plants

choice and well grown plants

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Past the paved garden, the ground fell away in a series of terraces.

path to the precipice

path to the precipice

I didn't go closer to the edge.

I didn’t go closer to the edge.

lavender at the top of the slope

lavender at the top of the slope

shrub border next to the lawn

shrub border next to the lawn

At the other side of the lawn, we could glimpse the view of the neighbouring garden and tour guests.

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garden seven: “Beauty and the Bees”

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Many of the gardens of today had been pretty, well maintained, and pleasing to the eye in the front, with no hint of being extraordinary "behind the garden gate".

Many of the gardens of today had been meticulously maintained and pleasing to the eye in the front, with no hint of being extraordinary “behind the garden gate”.

The second front garden of the gardening neighbours

the second front garden of the gardening neighbours

the path to the back garden

the path to the back garden

Allan points out that this simple path was spaced perfectly for his natural footfall.  He is right; it was easy and natural to walk on.

and the entry to yet another gardening paradise

and the entry to yet another gardening paradise

looking back at the entry path

looking back at the entry path

garden bed against back wall of the house

garden bed against back wall of the house (Allan’s photo)

snapdragons (Allan's photo)

snapdragons (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a container of sweet peas

a container of sweet peas

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Garden beds encircle a patio.

Garden beds encircle a gravel patio.

On the other side of the patio, a peekaboo view into the next door garden (with tour guests)

On the other side of the patio, a peekaboo view into the next door garden (with tour guests)

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

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Outside the back door, a concrete patio had a table and chairs where I imagined how nice it would be to dine al fresco.

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 bouquet and gardening books

bouquet and gardening books

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one of the tour volunteers

one of the tour volunteers

A small garden bed set into the gravel patio had turned out to be half in shade and half in sun and was planted accordingly.

shade-sun bed

shade-sun bed

the shady side

the shady side

At the end of the garden, a deck seems to float over the woodland below.

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below the deck (Allan's photo)

below the deck (Allan’s photo)

underneath (Allan's photo)

underneath (Allan’s photo).  Note how even under the deck, the sword ferns are perfectly clipped (i.e. tatty old foliage removed)

view from the deck to the house

view from the deck to the house

view from the deck shows a glimpse of the terraces on the steep hill below the garden next door

view from the deck shows a glimpse of the terraces on the steep hill below the garden next door

We exited on the other side of the house where we are both 99% sure the hedge shows that deer browse here.

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Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

 the other side of the planted berm between the two front gardens

the other side of the planted berm between the two front gardens

in the front garden

in the front garden

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I suddenly realized I was looking at heather!  Since every single garden on this tour had a group of knowledgeable volunteers to help out, I said to one of them that I had not realized one could prune heather like this.  Not being a heather fan, except for plantings on moor-like slopes, I recently got involved helping to care for a garden that is almost all heather.  I had even turned the job down because of the heather overload; Allan had taken it on and, since it is a public garden in our town, I eventually joined in.  NOW I see what I can do with some of them to vary the monotony.  (They are mostly big flat winter blooming ones.)  Little did I know that another heather revelation awaited me in the very next garden.

I had been marveling throughout the entire tour at its high quality, and here I asked one of the volunteers, “Is your tour always this good?”  She said yes, and I asked, “How do you find such good gardens year after year?”  Her answer spoke volumes to me about what makes a superb garden tour, the sort that appeals both to brand new gardeners and to CPNs (Certified Plant Nuts).  She said that when they first started the tour years ago, they “dabbled in having a garden party atmosphere”. Eventually they decided that they are a serious gardening group and wanted to have a serious garden tour with only high quality gardens.  As soon as this tour is done, they will be finding the gardens for next years tour.  (I hope they take a week off to recuperate and reward themselves.)

I asked how in the world the gardeners achieve such good plant diversity in their gardens and was there a collectors’ nursery in the area?  I was told about a few good local nurseries, and that some of them drive to Olympia to shop at Bark and Garden, and that the gardeners often mail order the most cool collectible plants.

I wish I could go back in time and attend all their tours.  I had absolutely no idea that such a completely satisfying gardening event had been going on year after year so close to home.

We had one more garden left, and if it maintained standard of excellence, we would have had eight out of eight wonderful gardens.

Next: The final garden actually changes my mind about heathers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 16 July 2016

The WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties present:

aberdeen

garden five:  “The Art of Taming a Hillside”

We got a taste of how much the hillside needed to be tamed as we approached this garden up a very steep narrow road, met at the top by other vehicles that had not been able to find parking and wanted to come down.  There was just one panicky scream from the passenger seat as we backed down the long narrow slope and found a parking spot two blocks away (and a slightly less steep incline to walk up).

the view as we walked along the street to the garden

the view as we walked along the one lane street to the garden.  The water is the Chehalis River.


narrow street, narrow sidewalk (Allan's photo)

narrow street, narrow sidewalk (Allan’s photo)


The slope we had to back down is steeper than it looks in this photo of Allan's.

The slope we had to back down is steeper than it looks in this photo of Allan’s.

Because I have recently decided not to use surnames in describing most gardens (for privacy reasons), this particular program description looks a bit funny after retouching:

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It was not until I began writing this post that I saw the mobility issues warning in the garden description.  I find it so difficult to focus on garden descriptions the day of a tour that I completely missed it.  My reading comprehension suffers because of eagerness to get into the garden.  (That’s why I think it is helpful to have a Facebook page or a newspaper article with descriptions and warnings…even maybe locations of nearest restrooms!…to peruse in advance of a tour, to help with planning one’s day.)

To anyone just joining this blog: I have a collapsed knee (which will be dealt with this winter) and some dizziness and balance issues AND acrophobia.  I will work through all of these to see a worthwhile garden and a warning, even if seen, would not have stopped me from trying.

Here I blithely go, not having noticed the big "mobility issues" warning.

Here I blithely go, not having noticed the big “mobility issues” warning.


arriving at last!

arriving at last!

my journey through the amazing hillside garden

Entering the garden, past the check in table: I look to my right. That doesn't really look like the path.

Entering the garden, past the check in table: I look to my right. That doesn’t really look like a path, more like I’d be walking in a garden bed.  It was a little more vertical than it looks in the photo.


to my left: a high quality shade bed

to my left:  shade bed with good plants


straight ahead

straight ahead


a bit further, to my right: The ivy is on a vertical hill.

a bit further, to my right: The ivy is on a vertical hill.


to my right, below: the spring run-off

to my right, below: the spring run-off


I dither for awhile about whether or not to go straight ahead. Allan goes onward; I decide to try another way.

I dither for awhile about whether or not to go straight ahead. Allan goes onward; I decide to try another way.


feeling doubtful

feeling doubtful, about to turn back

I needed to find a way UP that I was pretty sure I could also use to get back DOWN.

Okay...I am going this way after all. Hope it is a real path!

Okay…I am going this way after all. Hope it is a real path!


All righty, I got this far! Looking down on the greenhouse and the entry to the garden.

All righty, I got this far! Looking down on the greenhouse and the entry to the garden.


good plantings to keep me going

good plantings to keep me going


Now I am on a path that I know is legit.

Now I am on a path that I know is legit.


looking back after making it somewhat further.

looking back after making it somewhat further.


This is midlevel in the garden.

This is midlevel in the garden.


The terrace or plateau has room for several sit spots.

The terrace or plateau has room for several sit spots.


a large level terrace with paths and a patio

large level terrace with paths and a patio


well planted, intricate plant diversity

well planted, intricate plant diversity

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along the fence. I heard chickens that are in the neighbour's yard.

along the fence. I heard chickens that are in the neighbouring yard.


at the end of the fence walkway

at the end of the fence walkway


looking back

looking back


skilled and intricate construction at the base of the hill. Note the door to the right into the compost bin enclosure.

skilled and intricate construction at the base of the next hillside. Note the door to the right into the compost bin enclosure.  Behind the grate: water run-off from the spring.


water, same stream that appeared way below at the entrance to the garden.

water, same stream that appeared way below at the entrance to the garden.

I was astounded to see the brilliant way that the gardeners had solved the problem of an almost vertical hillside.  If only I had thought of this for the vertical clay hill that sat next to the front patio of my old garden—a planting problem that daunted me for 14 years.

My jaw dropped.

My jaw dropped. What a brilliant solution!


a collection of cool ferns and more

a collection of cool ferns and more

Steve, the garden owner, stood nearby as I paced back and forth, marveling.  “HOW?”  I asked him.  He told me he had driven rebar 8 feet (I think) into the hardpan to support this structure.

I just can't get enough of this.

I just can’t get enough of this.


He must lay a ladder against it to climb up and maintain it so well??

He must lay a ladder against it to climb up and maintain it so well??

I decides I had better figure out how in the world I was going to get back down to the street.  Maybe I could find a better way than the bark slope.  It was worrying me.

Looking through an arbour to a bridge that goes to the house.

Looking through an arbour to a bridge that goes to the house.


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by the bridge to the house


I scuttle across quickly.

I scuttle across quickly.


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view from the side porch of the house


Here are the stairs Allan came up. Hmmm.

Here are the stairs Allan came up. Hmmm. No……..

I decided I would go back down the bark-y slope…eventually.  Meanwhile, I went back to the amazing hillside planters.

On the way back: The lattice is decorated with china pieces.

On the way back: The lattice is decorated with teacup and saucer creations that I like so much.


Admiring the hill planting some more. Look: I saw people WAAAAY up top and was not sure how they got there.

Admiring the hill planting some more. Look: I saw people WAAAAY up top and was not sure how they got there.  WAY up over the stone wall is another path.


I see Impatiens omeiana and other cool plants to delight a collector.

I see Impatiens omeiana and other cool plants to delight a collector.


boxes spilling over with goodness

boxes spilling over with planty goodness

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I admired every detail, also postponing the inevitable trip back down the lower barky slope.  But then…Allan appeared and told me there was an alley up above!  Similar to the previous garden, I had a way out other than going back down.

looking up from the base of the planted boxes. Allan is up there, checking it out.

looking up from the base of the planted boxes. Allan is up there, checking it out.  There is a gate to the alley.

I found out that the upper deck ALSO had a gate to the alley.  The owner had told Allan that’s how they bring in their groceries.  Thinking about it, it would be a long grocery carry from the bottom, over the lower bridges and up the stairs.

last look at the central plateau

last look at the central plateau

I think I would have explored the many beds of the central plateau better if I had known I had an easy way out.  Now I would like to go back and peruse the plants more thoroughly.

looking at the garden stairs that might take me to the alley gate

looking at the garden stairs that might take me to the alley gate


probably not (Allan's photo)

probably not (Allan’s photo)

I crossed the bridge to the house again, climbed some enclosed stairs with a nice railing, and emerged onto the back deck.

I found my way to the top level to exit into the alleyway.

I found my way to the top level to exit into the alleyway.


one of those clacking crow fountains that I love.

one of those clacking crow fountains that I love.


not sure what, fire or water?

not sure what, fire or water?

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alongside the deck

alongside the deck


from the back gate, an easy way out

from the back gate, an easy way out

From the alley, I found the exterior gate that led to that mysterious path WAY above the wooden planters.

steps down to the center terrace

steps down to the center terrace


The path along the uppermost level. I would have been clutching that railing.

The path along the uppermost level. I would have been clutching that railing. Or maybe fainting.

The stream from the spring went underneath the alley. (I’ve since learned this is a one way city street, not an alley.)

across the alley: water from the spring

across the alley: water from the spring


Thus begins the water course that is diverted down through the levels of the garden.

Thus begins the water course that is diverted down through the levels of the garden.  I wonder if it flows dramatically in the winter or on rainy days?

Usually, I blend Allan’s and my photos together to describe a garden, even though we often walk through at a different pace and direction.  This particular garden was so complex and interesting and challenging to describe that I am going to let Allan’s photos tell their own story about his experience of the hillside.

Allan’s exploration of the astonishing hillside garden

entering from the street

entering from the street


next to the greenhouse

next to the greenhouse


We have a birdhouse just like that from Ilwaco Saturday Market!

We have a birdhouse just like that from Ilwaco Saturday Market!

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I am walking away; Allan goes on up the path and stairs.

I am walking away to try a different climb; Allan goes on up the path and stairs.


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the way up


looking back

looking back

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another explorer

another explorer


Many ladders must be necessary for this garden.

Many ladders and scaffolding might be necessary for this garden (and, owner Steve said, painting the house).


looking down

looking down


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Top of photo: You can see the very tiptop walkway with the railing along the fence.

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beds next to the deck


the upper deck

the upper deck

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window low down by the deck

window low down by the deck


in a workshop window next to the deck: meticulous

in a workshop window next to the deck: meticulous

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looking down into the garden. I’m at the base of the wooden planters on the steep slope.


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from the deck

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a way up to the topmost level

a way up to the topmost level


agile not acrophobic people on the uppermost path

non acrophobic people on the uppermost path

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(Allan is like a mountain goat with a good head for heights.)

(Allan is like a mountain goat with a good head for heights.)


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intricate levels.  This is the topmost, and you can see one of the wooden planter boxes.


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the topmost path


looking down from the highest point

looking down from the highest point


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at the end of the upper path


the hillside boxes

the hillside boxes


the back deck again

the back deck again, just before we exited

This was one of the most fascinating gardens I have ever seen, with good plant diversity, artistry, and impressive engineering skills.  I have been thinking about it a lot since tour day and am so glad I managed to see it (and also that Allan filled in with photos of the areas I did not attain).  Every stone, paver, plant, and cubic foot of mulch had to be brought in up or down stairs.

Having now visited five out of eight, I continued to marvel at how perfectly groomed they all were for tour day: No weedy bits around the edges, every plant deadheaded and dead-leafed (any unsightly leaf removed).  This is what I hope for from a garden tour.

Next: One of my favourite finds on a garden tour: gardening neighbours.

 

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Saturday, 16 July 2016

The WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties present:

aberdeen

garden three: An Eclectic Eden

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Jo’s was the third of three gardens fairly near to each other in Cosmopolis, a town just south of Aberdeen.

a volunteer adjusts the garden tour sign that had blown over

a volunteer adjusts the garden tour sign that had blown over


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front garden


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front patio


front walkway

front walkway


beside the driveway

beside the driveway


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around the side of the house


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If that is indeed an old garage, I don’t think it is used for a car anymore.

 

love the painted doors

love the painted doors


a closer look

a closer look


Sambucus 'Black Lace'

Sambucus ‘Black Lace’

We have turned the corner and….OH! This is the third excellent garden in a row.

Jo's vibrant back garden.

Jo’s vibrant back garden.


a picket fence next to the old garage separating two garden areas

a picket fence next to the old garage separating two garden areas


rose foliage (Allan's photo)

‘Climbing Cecile Brunner’ rose foliage (Allan’s photo)


to my right: another painted panel

to my right along the fence: another painted panel


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


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beginning our walk through the back garden


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

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another reminder that I want threadleaf coreopsis back in my life again

to my left: another reminder that I want threadleaf coreopsis back in my life again


Coreopsis verticillata, possibly 'Zagreb' (Allan's photo)

Coreopsis verticillata, possibly ‘Zagreb’ (Allan’s photo)


jam packed with planty goodness

jam packed with planty goodness


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

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a handsome eryngium smack dab in the middle


looking back from about halfway in

looking back from about halfway in


forward again: the back patio

forward again: a covered back patio

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just past the covered patio

just past the covered patio


across from the patio

across from the patio


so many well grown plants!

so many well grown plants!


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


Allan's photo

Cosmos (Allan’s photo)


arch to a little courtyard

arch to a little courtyard


to my left: roses

to my left: roses


coleus tucked in

coleus tucked in


to my right: a familiar sight

to my right: The Shinto gate is a familiar sight


The photo of it on the poster for the tour had piqued my interest enough to get us all the way to Cosmopolis.

The photo of it on the poster for the tour had piqued my interest enough to get us all the way to Cosmopolis.


the far corner of the garden

the far corner of the garden


around to the other side of the house

around to the other side of the house

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Surely this dahlia is in a big pot?

Surely this dahlia is in a big pot?


Dahlia is not in a pot! Progamme held out at shoulder level.

Dahlia is not in a pot! Progamme held out at shoulder level.


dahlias towering overhead

dahlias towering overhead

I turned back to find Allan to get a photo to prove the height of the dahlias.  Another tour guest walked up saying “Those must be in a pot…Wow, they are in the ground!”

looking back

looking back


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


looking back through the arbour

looking back through the arbour


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


more garden admiration

more garden admiration

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by the covered patio

by the covered patio

I found Allan and he took a photo proving the height of the dahlias:

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on the way out (Allan's photo)

on the way out (Allan’s photo)

We expressed our thanks to the gardener for opening her garden, and our pleasure in the high quality of gardens so far on the tour.  Now we would leave Cosmopolis and cross the Chehalis River to Aberdeen.  So far, “Behind the Garden Gate” was the perfect name for this tour so far; each garden had delivered such delightful surprises when one got into the back gardens, and each was not a garden entirely visible from the street.

interlude: entering Aberdeen

Cosmopolis and Aberdeen are divided by the Chehalis River, not far from the Pacific Ocean.

Cosmopolis and Aberdeen are divided by the Chehalis River, not far from the Pacific Ocean.

Fortunately, Allan knew of a handy Aberdeen rest stop: The Safeway store downtown.

on the wall at Safeway, some Aberdeen history

on the wall at Safeway, some Aberdeen history

Aberdeen’s working class nature deeply appeals to me.  The small city was hard hit by the downtown in the fishing and timber industries.  I fantasize about what it would be like to live there.

downtown Aberdeen. All of our garden destinations are to the north.

downtown Aberdeen. All of our garden destinations are to the north of downtown.

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I notice the street planters, similar in size to the ones we care for in Ilwaco.

I notice the street planters, similar in size to the ones we care for in Ilwaco.


good job, Aberdeen! I like the planters clustered together...great idea!

good job, Aberdeen! I like the planters clustered together…great idea!


so much better with two together (and again, good job!

so much better with two together (and again, good job!)

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old Aberdeen houses.

old Aberdeen houses on the flatland

Next, a garden full of useful ideas.

 

 

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