Posts Tagged ‘Hellebores’

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Today, all of the photos but a few close ups of narcissi and of nursery plants are Allan’s.

At home, fortifications keep Skooter away from a birdhouse.


It has passed inspection and they’re remodeling inside. 

Diane’s garden

I planted sweet peas along the picket fence, and we mulched with Harvest Supreme.

Last fall I cut back some annual sweet peas to the ground rather than pulling them. They’ve come back; I’m not sure what to make of this.

I hope the new sweet peas do as well as last year’s.

The raised bed in the back yard got some sparaxis, tigridia, and seeds of night scented stock.

The violas have reseeded into the gravel in front of the raised bed.

Allan saw my good friend Misty while I was still in the front garden.

That was our only job today. We had an appointment with our accountant way up in Surfside and so we made two nursery visits on the way.

The Basket Case Greenhouse

Roxanne has a broken ankle at a most unfortunate time of year, every gardener’s nightmare.

We discussed seeds and I bought some granular Mycorrhizae fungi for planting in my own garden. Just spelling that correctly made me realize I have been pronouncing it with an extra R. (It’s not micro.) The trick (per Gardeners’ World) is to rub it on the roots when planting, which is why I have been seeking the granular or powdered form.

I tend to have poor success with seeds. Roxanne will try to grow a few for me that I long for, among them Nicotiana sylvestris, Nicotiana ‘Only the Lonely’, and Eryngium giganteum.

Penny said hello with doggish vocalizations.

The Planter Box

I got some barley straw to fight off pond algae, and a proper leaf scooping net.

Lots of gorgeous spring bloomers are available right now.

Ocean Park

After our accounting session, we took a slight detour to admire the massive planting of daffodils along Bay Avenue, which runs west to east from the ocean to the bay. The planting runs almost a third of its length and was accomplished by the newly formed (last year) Ocean Park Village Club.

It is breathtaking.

Salt Hotel and Pub

In the evening, Allan attended a Salty Talk with dinner and a view of the Port of Ilwaco marina.

Smoked tuna melt


I stayed home because I had an overwhelming desire to watch more of Gardeners’ World 2013 on Inside Outside TV.

With rain due tomorrow, we intend to take a couple of days off and get back to sweet peas after the weekend.

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Tuesday, 5 March 2019

I persist in using my phone for photos instead of my crisper new (used) camera. This must change, soon. It all has to do with the lazy desire to blog from my comfy chair rather than my computer desk.

Before work:

I asked Allan to take some photos of his black hellebore. He took all of these in his garden:

We began the workday with our first call of the year to

The Red Barn.

I was pleased to see Cosmo the barn cat…

…and Junior the dog.

Next door at..

Diane’s garden

….we trimmed perennials in the garden beds and the raised box garden.

My good friend Misty woofed a greeting, and got a belly rub.

The raised septic bed:

Allan’s photo

Allan trimmed the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and more in the roadside garden:

Long Beach

We polished off two little jobs by trimming the Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ in Veterans Field…

Allan’s photo

…and then, in the big pop put, trimming lavender and the regrettably vigorous rugosa roses and some of the so-called dwarf pampas grass (now on the noxious weed list).

At home, the work list is getting streamlined. With rain mixed with…snow!…predicted, we may have a few days off, not least because my friend of 40 years is coming to the peninsula for three nights.

Work board tonight

I will be taking a break from working and blogging while she is here.

In garden show news, I discovered that a website called Tubi has the entire series of Glorious Gardens from Above AND that the DailyMotion website has a wealth of Love Your Garden shows that I haven’t seen. I’m thrilled to have more Love Your Garden to watch. So far, Love Your Garden has played without ads, but an episode of Monty Don’s Paradise Gardens had an ad every three minutes. It’s fair for a site to support itself with ads…but every three minutes makes my head spin.

Soon it will be daylight saving time, time to put my all-consuming British garden show addiction aside for gardening season. I have been greatly moved and inspired and given new energy by my hours of watching. I’m sure I will still be watching some (especially if BritBox has the new Gardeners’ World). But it is almost time to leave the comfy chair for the long days of spring and summer.

Yesterday evening, one of the glorious gardens that Christine Walkden took me to was Powis Castle, of great interest because of course I grow lots of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’.

My year of plans for my garden are much smaller but are quite exciting to me.

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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Because we were on the north end of the Peninsula to see our accountant, we took the opportunity to take our first walk this year through the beautiful Oysterville garden.

The pear in the tree and a collection of hellebores were my first hint, a few years ago, that an amazing garden was being created here.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

A good friend of the gardener now owns the house to the south, and so a path and the lawn go through.  I would love to be neighbours here.

Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) fetch poop from the home of two fine horses, Skyrocket and River, in order to mulch this garden.

Most horse poop is weedy, but not this stuff.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo, along the driveway

The south side garden bed will be up to the height of the windows in summer; it is planned that way.

The perfection of the terrace always makes me weepy.

Allan’s photo

on the terrace

Hummingbirds were all over this callistemon.

Allan’s photo

The blue hills in the distance are across Willapa Bay.

Pittosporum backed with Melianthus major

Melianthus major (Allan’s photo)

Melianthus major (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Down the driveway, by the shed, are enough wheelbarrows for when a larger crew works on the garden.  (Sometimes Todd joins in, and the gardener himself works in it whenever possible, rain or shine.)

We crossed the hydrangea and hornbeam allée.

west end of the allée

the north-south path, looking north

a new boxwood back drop

Some old scrubby trees to the right (out of frame) have been felled, opening up the garden to more light.

Rhododendron ‘Rex’

Rhododendron ‘Sinogrande’

another R. ‘Rex’

tree fern in the garden

hellebores throughout

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looking east up the allée, with Allan taking a photo. Hydrangea ‘Incrediball’ was cut back for winter.

This is the telephoto he was taking, showing the steeple of the Oysterville church next door.

looking west

Allan’s photo

the lawn (east end) with the scrubby old trees gone

on the north side of the hornbeam and hydrangea allée

looking east

a stunning hellebore, wish I knew its name

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

peony foliage

in the front border

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looking across to the bay

I was ever so glad we had had an excuse to skive off work and go garden touring for an hour.



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Public Service Announcement (because we’ve been saying Basket Case will reopen on March 2nd):

Monday, 27 February 2018

We had a beautiful sunny day to head north to Klipsan Beach Cottages and then south to the Shelburne.  Before work, I dug up some cool plants for the Shelburne garden.

acquiring a clump of Solidago ‘Fireworks’

I was so sad to find that my Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’ looks dead, and even sadder on the following day when I found that all sources for it appear to be sold out (Digging Dog, Far Reaches Farm, and Plant Delights).

I dug up some Persicaria ‘Firetail’ and some Persicaria bistorta superba (not sure about that one because it has a rather short period of bloom), two kinds of sanguisorba and a helenium, some elephant garlic and some little starts of a showy red mustard, and some Egyptian walking onions (cute and ornamental).

While loading the plant buckets into the trailer, we saw this neighbour.

Allan’s photos

strolling west, looking for another garden to snack on

Our volunteer Ilwaco post office garden needs some weeding.  No time for that today.  There is a chunk out of the golden oregano (front corner) where I swiped some for the Shelburne last week.

crocus close up

On the way, to work, we made a hellebore quest at

The Planter Box.

Jackpot. I just needed one.

an artistic display in the garden shop

Klipsan Beach Cottages

On our first visit this year to Klipsan Beach Cottages, we mostly did the clipping back of sword and deer ferns so that their new unfurling fronds will show (and because the old foliage will look tatty by midsummer).  Also pruned some roses and hydrangeas.

Allan makes the yearly bold leap over the pond to trim the ferns. So far, he has not fallen in, but I am always ready for an even more exciting photo.



after (Allan’s photos)

Pulmonaria in bloom on the pond island bed.

Looking in the east gate of the fenced garden

inside the fenced garden before going after that big sword fern


Bella examines my work

Bella thinks it is time to go to the beach. Mary chases after. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

sword ferns by cottage 8, before and after (Allan’s photos)

The garden is just waking up.


The bench holds lily bags; I planted some in big pots to be brought forward when in bloom.

I clipped old hellebore leaves from the lawn border.

NOW I spy a little snail.

After the work at KBC, I dug up starts of plants to take to the Shelburne: Sanguisorba obtusa (the kind with pink feathers although not as good as ‘Lilac Squirrel’), Persicaria ‘Golden Arrow’, Arisarum proboscideum (mouse plant), Saxifraga dentata.  It’s been awhile since I had a garden (other than the port gardens) that needed lots of plants.  I rotate plants around all “my” gardens.  Skyler giveth and Skyler taketh away.

The Shelburne Hotel (and Pub)

We planted lots of free starts and a couple of hellebores and three different dicentra and some lily bulbs and 40 sprouted but healthy looking yellow tulip bulbs from an anonymous well-wisher.

The street in front and the parking lot were so full that we parked on the next block to the north.  We soon learned that the pub was having a “soft opening” by word of mouth to people connected with the hotel restaurants (plural, because the same owners, Tiffany and Brady, also own the Adrift Hotel and its [pickled fish] restaurant.

With almost all the plants in, I had a bit of a crisis.  I could not find my most special pink feathery sanguisorba!  I searched anxiously….

There they are, at last! in a pile.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

We then repaired to the pub and sat at one of the new tables in the main lobby.  The pub has been cleverly expanded to include a larger area than it used to.

in the Shelburne pub

our table in the lobby, with glassless  interior windows into the pub.

Allan’s photo

On the way out, I looked at the garden with all its new plant babies.  I am eager to see them grow.

Looking north: Allan made a bamboo mini-teepee over each clump of lilies.

looking south

Ilwaco Community Building

We were just in time for the city council meeting.

shade garden at the entry to the Ilwaco community building.

Allan’s photo, crocuses closed up for the evening (with poppy foliage)

City Council meeting was brief but productive.

Allan’s photo

We were home by 6:45, giving me time to do a post for books read in 1996.

At home, KBC came off the work board for now.






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We have a guest photo from Terri of Markham Farm.

Here is her solution for the elk herd which have been bothering her garden.  She finds that these driftwood pieces from the beach are a good deterrent and are letting new plant growth sprout up between them.


Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Skooter staying out of the weather

I checked on the greenhouse.


The day was much too cold, under 40 degrees F, for any gardening.


I noticed again that Skooter, who could not resist following me, is losing fur, and resolved to take him to the vet early next year.


bald patches!

Allan made a trip to the library and brought me back a few more books.


the library garden today

I had started this book last night, and cold weather let me stay indoors to finish it today:

I was interested to learn about a good guy, Martin Eakes, who did “sub prime lending” at a small profit, back before unscrupulous sub prime lenders targeted the poor for huge profits.

Two of many stories of predatory loans:

People who earn $15000 or $20000 a year live in a constant state of financial turmoil.  They’re constantly behind on their bills, put off all but the most essential of purchases, learn to do without.”  Here at the beach, where many jobs are minimum wage service jobs, and where I recently saw a one bedroom small apartment going for over $1000 a month (not unusual), any emergency can throw a low-wage earner’s life into disarray.  In my life here, I remember hard times in the 1990s: the winter of the broken down van, the winter of the broken sewer pipe, the springtime of the broken down truck, and, in 2005, the summer of the leaky roof!

Below: This was shocking to me, about pay day loans and the low wages of military personnel.  I had no idea their wages were this low.  I suppose it must include housing and food…but still…

Something I read this week, and I think it was a  passage in Broke USA, proposed the idea of people working for each other, charging equivalent wages.  That is something I have pondered a lot as I have worked for folks who make $80 to $100 an hour, and yet who would never offer me their services at the wage I was charging.  That is one of the two reasons I STOPPED working for individuals and decided to focus on resorts and town gardens.  The other reason is that by doing public gardens in towns and resorts that tend to be affordable tourist destinations for working class folks, I am helping to create beauty for the many instead of the few.

We still had Things to Do other than my much desired staycation hibernating.  We almost forgot today’s thing.  Fortunately, I remembered in the afternoon the city council meeting that would include the swearing in of our new mayor and three new (or almost new) council members whose enthusiasm will be a great benefit for our town.

Outgoing council members (retiring, not voted out) were given plaques, made by the high school, of appreciation for their years of service.

Retiring council members David Jensen and Vinessa Karnofski.

I remember years (and one name change) ago when Vinessa won as a write in candidate.  Allan made a home made sign for our yard.

Tonight, Mayor Mike gave a farewell speech, as, at age 75 today, he also has chosen to retire.  He got choked up because he loves this town, and I got teary eyed, as well.

Mike, mayor for eight years, giving his farewell speech.

He then swore in the new council members.  In the audience foreground, below, are two of the family members of Missy, to the right in the council line up.  Her spouse and one of her daughters are in the Ilwaco Volunteer Fire Department.

Below: The center new council person is Jared, our neighbour one door east and co owner of Starvation Alley organic cranberry farm.

Allan’s photo

New council member Matt was absent; he had been appointed to fill a vacancy and had won the official elected seat this November. Fred, left, has been on the council for a number of years and is the last of the previous council, because council member Gary ran for mayor and was sworn in tonight, leaving one vacant seat for an appointee.

Mike swears in new mayor Gary Forner.

We look forward to seeing who the new appointee will be.  My intention is to start attending meetings to be supportive of this new crew, at least during off season although possibly not in our busiest work months.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The weather, just slightly damp and not windy, allowed me to finish clipping the hellebore leaves in the back garden. Old hellebore leaves are always bad and should be removed.





Some hellebores are already budded.



dwarf variegated pieris


mahonia in bloom


viburnum berries

The bogsy woods trees were full of twittering birds.



Despite many weeds calling to me to get pulled, the ground was so cold that my hands could not take weeding, so I went in to read.  The afternoon at home became disrupted when Calvin’s cough, which had returned a day ago, became so bad that he was gasping for breath.  A sudden emergency trip to the vet ensued.


Miserable Calvin, who will be age 13 this coming spring, was breathing with difficulty.

A mad chase around the house ensued when he caught wind of the cat carrier being brought in.  I almost thought we were going to have to call to cancel the emergency appointment, and then we got him stuffed into the box.


in the exam room

Dr. Raela, who has seen so much of us and our cats this winter, gave him an X ray and pronounced his lungs “hazy”, possibly with asthma.  He got a shot, and will go back on Friday for a follow up.

On the way home, a stop at the library netted a book that made me happy: the new Seaside Knitters mystery.




Meanwhile, Skooter helped Allan read a Swallows and Amazons book.


Allan’s photo

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Monday, 13 March 2017

As I write the first part of this in the mid afternoon, the rain is not as fierce as it was this morning.  In my youth…maybe five years ago…I would have leapt out to do some work.  Now, I feel less like working in the drizzle.  I added last week’s one day of work to the time sheet and was shocked to see we’ve eight rain and windy bitter cold and even snow days off.  Meanwhile, I’m embarrassed to report that Dave and Melissa bundled up in rain gear and worked through almost ALL the weather.

My excuse today: The soil is boggy and the plants are all drenched.  What a wimp!

I did take a walk in the soft rain throughout the garden.


Skooter looked startled that I opened the front door.


hyacinth basket


looking south


soggy footing


lots of crocuses


Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (contorted filbert)


way too much fried egg plant reseeded in the bogsy wood


narcissi, and monster shotweed


Slippery ground prevented the shotweed pulling and fern clipping from starting up.



pulmonaria (spotted dog)


hard to even imagine when we’ll be able to have a campfire


The swale path is a pond.


Looking north.  Water on the center path is over the top of my boots.


south gate

The top of the south gate represents a Chinook tribal canoe, the sort that used to ply the river when this very spot was river front, before the port parking lots and building sites were built on fill, in the early 1950s.


I do wish this water stood all year long.



coming round the west side


more pulmonaria


corydalis foliage



As you can see, the chop and drop method looks pretty messy.  I look forward to the future three compost bins which will be made as soon as we get six more free pallets…from somewhere.  I have decided the bins will tuck in nicely next to the greenhouse.


They will replace the wonky tadpole pond set up…


I love my new stop the eye fence.


Euonymus ‘Wolong Ghost’ is seriously climbing the front of the house, which is vinyl clad.

As I had walked all around the garden, I had collected one flower from every hellebore.  I’m sorry to report that many had minuscule snails hiding inside, putting paid to the idea that a cold winter would mean fewer snails.

Here is the full collection of hellebore blossoms.



Skooter appeared.



The center one is last year’s birthday present from Our Kathleen.




Because my camera has been finding it hard to capture the glory of the corylopsis in bloom, I asked Allan to photograph it.


Corylopsis and crocus, my photo

He returned with these:



Corylopsis pauciflora





with some fill in flash

Smokey snoozed through all of it.


I’d like to read for the rest of the day in this most wonderful book:


I can already tell you I am going to be rating this book at 20 stars.  As a former housecleaner for 18 years, I find deep familiarity in the stories of doing housework for richer folk.  And as the protagonist, Mildred, talks with her best friend about race, I keep marveling in a furious way that 70 years after it was written, how very much about racism is still the same.  Read it; it is wonderful and it’s funny despite its serious topics.  Read about it here.

My reading hours are curtailed because tonight is the local Democrats meeting.  I know Mildred would want me to go.  Here are her thoughts on a meeting:

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Monday, 6 March 2017

I woke to sunshine and thought we could work…until I took a look out the window.


view out the south cat door

Never mind.


Skooter, staying in.  (Allan’s photo)

Allan took some snowy garden photos:









I see a black spotty hellebore leaf that should be removed.













When he went to the post office and dropped off three books at the library, he took more photos of the community building garden’s crocuses.



Meanwhile, I was reading.

IMG_0352.JPGIt was difficult to leave the book for an early evening meeting of the Living Liberally Pacific County group.  I had only heard of Swallows and Amazons in the past year and was recently reminded of it by a mention on the Tootlepedal blog. 


At Adrift Hotel in Long Beach


Folks barbecuing nearby in icy wind.


determined to wrest all enjoyment from their vacation


into the meeting room we go

After another productive political meeting, Allan and I repaired upstairs to the [pickled fish] restaurant.

I’d been wanting to try absinthe for some time, because I’m a fan of artemisias in the garden.  It is made from Artemisia absinthium, which you can read about here. [pickled fish] serves it “in the traditional way”, involved a decanter, a spigot, and the melting of a sugar cube.




absinthe: licorice, sweet, strong


delicious fennel sausage pizza

Upon departure, I was especially struck by the beauty of the planters in the foyer.  Perhaps the absinthe enhanced my appreciation.






some artemisia (but not absinthium)

Swallows and Amazons

During the day and into the night I read Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.  How did I miss this 1930 classic as a child, especially since I had then sought out British children’s book authors (like Edith Nesbit and C.S. Lewis)?  As I read today, I occasionally felt verklempt about being old.

A few favourite bits from this delightful adventure of children camping on an island in the Lake District:






Oh, to have a mother as open to her children having adventures:




I have learned that the book is the first of a series.  I will be reading more of them.


public service announcement

Maggie Stuckey, author of one of my favourite kitchen gardening books, The Bountiful Container, is going to be speaking at all four Timberland libraries on the subject of vegetable gardening in containers.  While I would most like to attend the talk at our local Ilwaco branch, it conflicts with an ACLU training session, so we will go to the Ocean Park one.  Allan took this photo at the library today.



Thursday at Ocean Park, Saturday at Ilwaco

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