Posts Tagged ‘hellstrip gardening’

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Before work, I made a video walk through of the garden.  The one I tried to make yesterday had a spot on a lens, and I sounded terribly bored.  I still don’t sound very perky…but this is my best effort to capture Lily Time.

We then went on to a pleasantly all Ilwaco work day.

Mike’s garden

We mostly watered at Mike’s, along with a bit of escallonia pruning.

blue glob thistle and hydrangea in the back garden (Allan’s photo)

Between jobs, we photographed a garden that I had noticed the other day.

Spruce Street garden

It is wonderful.

looks like Salvia ‘Amistad’

Port of Ilwaco

Rain is forecast for tomorrow night so we watered just about half of the Howerton Avenue gardens.  We could not count on the rain for all the beds because Friday night is Art Walk and the gardens need to be tidied and refreshed.

I started trimming up the dead flowers of the santolinas and some of the lavenders.

east end
trimmed santolina

Euphorbia ‘Fen’s Ruby’, which hitched a ride in on some other plant, has run rampant in this garden.

It is feathery and cute, and nurseries still sell it; I find it to be a little horror and hope to get it mostly dug out…someday.

the fasciated toadflax
still fascinating
The Coho Charters lava rockscape

We had a coffee and treat break at the Ilwaco Bakery. That is turning into a pleasant weekly tradition.

the garden next door to the bakery (Allan’s photo)

I was thrilled to see that the “Fish Finder” finally has the names of the newer port businesses!

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

For years, it has had several businesses that were closed, and I felt that made the port look less than successful.  Another pole further down the port surely must have the names of other businesses such as the Don Nisbett Gallery.

Onward! We worked our way west.

Ilwaco pavilion garden

I was inspired to do some pruning for traffic sight lines in one of the gardens.

by the port office
Port Office, south wall
by Time Enough Books

We spent the last couple of hours weeding the boatyard garden.

Allan’s photo
Catananche (Allan’s photo)

 It was a pleasure to have an easy day.


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Friday, 7 September 2018

Every year we photograph the Slow Drag for the Discover Ilwaco Facebook page.  We posted 360 photos in this year’s Slow Drag album, because everyone who had a vehicle entered would surely be pleased to see a photo of it in the race.  Here I am just sharing our favourites, some with glimpses of the curbside gardens along Howerton Avenue.

Rule one is driver must be 18 or older. Rule 2 is brake lights must be in working order.  This is checked at each heat.

We walked down separately from home.  Allan got to pet a beautiful dog.

Allan’s photos

Allan’s photo

My favourite, Travis driving the Who Bus. He has won twice before, but not this time.

This driver is a friend of Travis and each year he is such a cheerful presence.

santolinas and, oh yes, vehicles

roped off agastaches (Allan’s photo)

We roped off our best garden.

The debut of the Joy Train from Astoria. Love it!

The Glam Tram, also from Astoria, a former mini bus from the Los Angeles Zoo

ready to race (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

bubble machine (Allan’s photo)

petunia basket from Basket Case Greenhouse

Our Jenna, right, the event organizer, and her friend Susan.

The Church Ladies

pink bug, won the prize for most fun entry

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

vehicle with 2 dogs (black one is lying down)

Char, our favourite realtor, was one of the sponsors.

Allan’s photo

One of my annual favourites, little bug with luggage rack and a bubble machine

Glam Tram (Allan’s photo)

Sad to see the Glam Tram go; its battery died. (Allan’s photo)

Church Ladies lining up to race

finish line

Crocosmia, parsley, and santolina in our droughtiest curbside garden (and a vehicle)

lining up behind Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and santolina

Travis and son

winner of the “So Ugly It’s Cute” award

that bug again


and Allan’s artsy photo

cute doggies (Allan’s photo)

This lavender sacrificed its shapeliness to the sound equipment. (Allan’s photo)  It did revive.

Salt Hotel ready to drag

our neighbour Jessika rides along

Between heats, the vehicles drive down Waterfront Way (usually pedestrian only).

half a bug

By Time Enough Books

Allan’s photo

The direction of the race was reversed this year, with the result that the vehicles were not traveling slowly down Waterfront Way, because they could now line up two by two on Howerton and they drove much faster down the waterfront to get there.  So it was harder to get my customary photo of a red vehicle and the red Jessie’s building.

as close as I got to my usual photo

Allan managed to get this photo of rust with rust.

Waterfront Way (Allan’s photo)

Awww, the pink bug is out. (Allan’s photo)

Howerton Ave, the race source (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

respectful feet (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Well, mostly respectful (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

This little red MG was in the race to honor the driver’s father, Chuck, who had died unexpectedly in the November after the 2015 race.  He would have been proud of his family; the MG came in third.

winning an early heat

one of my favourites, and last year’s winner, at the finish line

The finish line is a fire hose filled with sand.


the classic door flapping method of trying to slow down

Salt Pub driver gets a meal at the finish line.

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ seedheads and a silver car

winning another heat

“rat rod” hood decor (Allan’s photo)

A light rain began.

Church Ladies (Allan’s photo)

hoping to get over the hump

checking out the competition

after the rain, here comes the little red MG

rainbow and amazing evening sunshine

Rusty bug is finally out.

Can’t get the rear tires over.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo; the Who Bus, my favourite, got eliminated.

Allan’s photo

Meanwhile, on the race course:

Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and lavender (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

And back to the race, which is coming to its final rounds.

one of the final heats (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Chevy van wins a heat, so big it reflects the entire Salt Hotel. “I LOVE this van,” says the driver.

The agony of defeat…but they got third place.

bravely onward, don’t look back

the final heat

and the van is declared the winner

Second place with their basket of prizes.

Artist Don Nisbett at his t shirt booth, with helpers (Allan’s photo)

Rusty bug got “so ugly its cute” award. (Allan’s photo)

Pink bug got “Most fun”. (Allan’s photo)

Third place

third, second and first (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Third place winner, in honor of his dad, Chuck Schussman..

Here is his dad’s last Slow Drag in 2015. Chuck is on the left, I believe.

Our Jenna, in sunglasses, and some of her helpers (Allan’s photo)

After the vehicles and crowd left, we took down our plant protecting poles and tape and then admired the sunset at the marina.

sunset over the bogsy woods



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Thursday, 30 August 2018

Before work, dignified and self-possessed Rudder from next door strolled by and I got to pet him in passing.

At age 16, he was on a mission to go to his front lawn and slowly lie down for a nap.

Mike’s garden

At former-mayor Mike’s garden a few blocks east, we had a brief mission: to mulch two beaten down areas.

before, one of the two

after (with a conifer that is slowly dying)

Ilwaco boatyard garden

We spent about an hour, with me pulling many of the old poppies and putting them in the MaryBeth Wheelie Cart for seed collecting, while Allan weeded.

before pulling poppies


santolina and pink yarrow

catmint, santolina, California poppies

Shelburne Hotel

We digressed from Ilwaco to Seaview to spend some time extra time at the Shelburne.  This gave Allan time to give the boxwood square a bit of a trim.



Meanwhile, I had in mind to dig out three boring old Stella D’Oro daylilies that were languishing in the shade.  Boring though they are, I thought I would find a spot for them in the back garden so that Chef Casey Venus would have more daylily flowers.  Boring though she is, Stella does reliably rebloom.

before: Stella way back against the fence, and lots of horrible aegepodium.

Maybe I just need to ditch Stella so I don’t move aegepodium into the back garden.  I will carefully separate out some daylily roots.  It was a moot point because I could not even get my shovel into the ground, so this project will wait for another day.  I did manage to get out several of the noxious-weed Iris pseudacorus.


after, not the most successful project!

A future project will be to have Allan get on a small ladder and try to get some of the green reversion branches out of the golden privet at the north end of the front garden.

It wants to go green.

Joe Pye Weed and white phlox before…

…and after I ran my hand over the phlox just to knock off the spent blossoms and leave an interesting green shape.

In the back garden, I noticed something on a table and realized it was a message.

I love this place.

I love it, too.  Working here is my happiest job this year.

the back courtyard

Sunset runner beans

bocce ball court

west side, back garden

south side semi shade garden next to the al fresco dining

We also watered the whole garden so that it won’t have to be done between Long Beach and Ilwaco tomorrow.  Allan wants to get home before dark on Friday to load up his boat for a Saturday trip.  This means we will have to water the Shelburne again on Sunday.

deadheads from watering the Room Four deck’s containers (Allan’s photos)

Remember when last week we spotted the KING 5 news van at the Shelburne after work?  We figured they were there covering the kite festival, and they were.  Here is the kite festival segment.  But they also did a segment on the Shelburne itself with LOTS of photos of the flowers.  It is short and sweet and right here.  Not only does it flatter the garden; it also gets across the improvements over the old, rather stuffy look inside the inn.  The historic feeling of the inn is still strong and now the rooms are spacious and airy in feel.

Port of Ilwaco

We went home for the second long hose. I got to pet Rudder again—twice in one day!

This time, a small piece of cheese might have been used as a lure.

Back to our not quite all Ilwaco day, we did our usual watering of the curbside gardens, except for the east end one which we only do every other week.  (It is our drought tolerance test, or else we just get tired.)

by the soon to be new At The Helm hotel, formerly Shorebank

By Ilwaco Pavilion

I fretted while watering about this garden possibly getting trampled during Slow Drag and thought, I MUST find out where the finish line will be this year.  I have implored that it not be by this garden.

a new and delicate area where once was a mugo pine

I managed to grow this coreopsis from seed and I want to see it bloom!

Other beds, like the drive-over garden, are much tougher.

The finish line used to be at this bed by the ArtPort Gallery.  I wish it still was.

As I worked my way along the gardens, I expressed my worries to a merchant friend, who said the rumor is that the race will run the other way and end at Salt Hotel.  That would be awesome; the Salt garden bed is sparse, with river rock chunkier even than the ArtPort bed, and would stand up better to trampling.  (I can reveal this rumour because, by the time you read this, Slow Drag will have happened days before.)

by Salt Hotel

also by Salt Hotel

The west end beds would get some trampling, too.  I don’t have anything precious and not easily replaceable in here:

I checked on our planters at OleBob’s.  Wish we had time for a lunch here!

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ climbing into a crab pot at Time Enough Books

We learned that a friend of ours had an encounter with an elk, on a foggy road. She’s ok, but does not know about the elk.

reflective high tide at the port

Before going home, I remembered one last thing.  We went back to the boatyard and Allan pried out this tatty old blue oat grass.

well past its prime


Skooter and Frosty were pleased to see us home by 6 PM.

I had collected enough green clippings this week at work to start layering green and brown compost into bin three.

green and brown plant material and some shredded paper

evening light on the garden

Allan and I moved a sign that had gotten hidden behind an escallonia branch.

I am now am waiting for a loooong time to have my Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’ grow up here.  I am tempted to move it again and plant something bigger.  But I won’t, poor thing has already been moved so many times, which is why it is now four inches tall instead of the four feet it had achieved before the second-to-last move severely set it back.

As for the sign, it applies to my life now but not to everyone’s.  “Why keep a garden account and reckon the cost of pure joy? Is it not cheap at any price?” (Mirabel Osler)  I choose my garden over travel and other luxuries (most home remodeling, for example).  Some people on an even more limited budget have to choose groceries over garden, as I did when trying to get out of debt; during one of those years, I bought one six pack of cosmos for my garden and that was all.  Even now, I cannot afford “any price“, yet that quotation still speaks to me.  Maybe it justifies what I do spend.





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I am trying to get this blog to be only one, not two, weeks behind before the next garden tour which is, in my garden-tour-experienced opinion, the best of the local tours by far, and so reasonably priced.

**Tuesday, 26 June 2018**

Our main mission was to water.  Fortunately, the weather had been cool and occasionally misty here at the beach so no plants were distressed by our five day absence.

Ilwaco Post Office

Ilwaco post office

Long Beach

Lots of people asked me to ID Allium christophii.

Allium chrisophii

California poppies, Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Cosmos ‘Pop Socks’, Agastache (Allan’s photo)

Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’ and Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Alchemilla mollis in flower reminded me of how Riz Reyes defended it as a good plant.

sign of summer: a WSDOT (Wash. State Dept of Transportation) traffic counter (Allan’s photo)

I found out that a big healthy hydrangea had been removed and this area rocked over because someone thought hydrangeas were invasive.  It made me think about the Hardy Plant lecture about the book Planting in a Post Wild World and about how important green spaces are rather than heat reflecting paving and rock.  I was sad. Also flummoxed because who thinks hydrangeas are invasive??

Gunnera reflected, Fifth Street Park

I was disappointed as we drove home to catch someone we sort of know, who often passes by our gardens, who has agreed with us that picking and stealing is damaging, picking herself a big bouquet out of the Long Beach parking lot berms.  When I asked her to stop, and she turned, I knew who she was, and I was sad.  She said sorry, but I realized she was the same person that the city manager’s wife had seen picking.  How disheartening.

To go on watering required a dose of ibuprofen and tylenol.

Shelburne Hotel

elephant garlic

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ (Allan’s photo)

the first sweet pea (Allan’s photo)


I watered the boatyard while Allan watered the street trees and planters.

audience (Allan’s photo)

Allan left me the trailer for weeds.

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ and santolina

When we got home, we found that our dear friend Tony Hofer had toured the garden and left us a watermelon.

Thanks, Tony!

**Wednesday, 27 June 2018**

The Depot Restaurant


The Red Barn Arena

The “water me!” sign has been working.


Diane’s garden

Allan’s photo (showing the house next door and the big Red Barn horse trailer)

Diane wanted more flowers in one of her containers that just had subtle hardy begonias and a heuchera so we went to

The Basket Case

a welcome rain as we left the Red Barn (where we leave our trailer to go to Diane’s because her driveway is tight)

Basket Case greeters

my buddy, Buddy (Allan’s photo)

Greeting is hard work.

Basket Case co owner, Darrell (Allan’s photo)

Diane’s again

some filling in on the septic box garden

The new roadside bed is taking a long time to fill in….I should have planted more. (Allan’s photo)

Must remember, re perennials: “The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap.” But I should have filled in with more annuals.

The Planter Box

I was on a quest for some plants for a restaurant friend.

The neighbour’s cat was visiting Teresa.

Klipsan Beach Cottages

We got there pretty late, but we did get there!

birdbath view

The garden is full to overflowing, the way I like it. Beloved friend and KBC manager Mary likes more space between plants, likes some ground showing.  Now I have Planting in the Post Wild World to cite!

The tall plant is Thalictrum ‘Elin’.

Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ (with ‘Seashells’ in the corner)

Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Steroidal Giant’

OleBob’s Restaurant, Port of Ilwaco

In the evening, we redid some pots for our friend Chef Laura of OleBob’s.  They had been full of dead and dying pampas grass, of all things.

before, June 15th

Someone had pulled the pampas grass out, which saved us some time.

working on it

after, with pancho. Lemon balm and lemon verbena included for Chef Laura to garnish her tea. (Allan’s photo)

At home, I found THIS MANY snails on one cluster of lilies.  They went for a long walk.

my cute little nemesis

**Thursday, 28 June 2018**


I do love an all Ilwaco day.  Our mission was to water as many of the port curbside gardens as possible.

We started at the fire station where I was furious that someone had stolen a cheap little silly celosia.  Stealing from a volunteer garden and even worse from the volunteer firefighter’s garden!

There used to be three.

Fire Station garden (Allan’s photo)

We went on to weed and water along the port curbside.

the only eremerus of many that bloomed, and it is short. (Allan’s photo)

Let it be known that except for Time Enough Books and the Freedom Market gardens, we do the curbside only (left) not the business properties (right).

one of my favourite beds

When I got to my most favourite bed to take my usual photo, I yelled.

Someone had put great gaping ugly holes in my photos.

The santolina will recover. The lavenders might not.

I was livid.  I went to the port office, where I have been mildly agitating for some signs at the boatyard, and waved my arms around.  Of course, the office staff was supportive and upset on my behalf because they all love the gardens.  I posted the photos on Facebook, too, with an accompanying rant, and our dear friend Artist Don Nisbett spotted it.  He emerged from his gallery with this, which by the time he found me watering nearby he had already shown to the port; they just wanted him to add the word please.

He is going to laminate signs and the port will get them installed in my most favourite curbside beds and at the boatyard.  The number is the non-emergency police number.  I know they have better things to do than go after plant thieves…but…it was a brilliant idea to add that.

I am not a hugger, but Don got a big hug.

When we got home, Allan dug out a sickly hypericum stump for me, the one I cut back and later regretted…

I had time to sift out a couple of barrows of compost for the now empty spot.

looks like bin four is full of good stuff

I got one of my new ladies in waiting planted in one of my new troughs.

tag by Dan Hinkley, I do like that sort of thing.

At the end of the day, Don came over with a present for us.

T shirts!

Oh, why the crab, you might ask? Ilwaco is a fishing community and one of its biggest fisheries is crab.  Don had already made this “crabby gardener” art.  I don’t know who he was thinking of when he painted it. 😉

**Friday, 29 June 2018**

I woke up feeling like a cough or cold was brewing in my lungs.  This worried me because I am a hypochondriac AND because I am obsessed with getting to the Grays Harbor garden tour next weekend.  I canceled our Garden Gang dinner because of feeling poorly.

Skooter behind the garage

J’s and Norwood gardens

We started at the J’s, kitty corner across the street.  I heard meowing and looked at our house and saw Skooter watching us.

He is to the right of our driveway.

Blackberries that were coming from next door got cut.

Allan’s photo

Weeded the Norwood shade garden, too (two doors down)

our post office garden

Long Beach

Welcome sign finally has some colour, but is no Withey Price masterpiece…sigh.

We checked to see if the rugosa roses had been machine-trimmed on the beach approach, which I was hoping for.  They were not.  I felt very sorry for myself as I started to shear them.  They were out onto the road a few inches and this will not do for the heavy traffic of Fourth of July.

poor pitiful me

I sheared and Allan picked up. After, Allan’s photo

There was no street parking downtown, so we parked in the big parking lots.  I wondered if we are going to have to string trim the big center berm…and when?

We watered all the city planters in town but not the ones on the beach approaches.

I was grumpy because a new fence is blocking an alley where we have ALWAYS walked through with our hoses when there is no main street parking.

While working, I met a nice blog reader named Peggy, which cheered me up considerably. She offered to bring a crew of friends to help us put up our heavy cement bench!  I demurred because the garden is a mess and I have to focus on weeding for company next week.  It was awfully sweet and I may end up taking her up on it in August.

Allan’s photo

The nice Wind World Kites owner took my heavy bucket of water and walked it to the far planters in Fish Alley.  His greeting is always “How’s the hardest working girl in Long Beach?”

Thank you!

Shelburne Hotel

We watered.

Salvia ‘Black and Bloom’ in the back garden

Allan went up to water the sad rose on the balcony above the pub deck.  I was watching because it worried me; if it gets too much water, it will overflow onto the deck where people are dining.

casting a suspicious eye

It was going well, with the drained water from the rose pot going into the gutter.  Then it turned out the end of the gutter was missing and whoosh, a small waterfall went onto the deck, just missing a diner.  Thank goodness she was a cheerful and understanding sort.  I was so mortified I cried out NOOOOOOOO as the water fell, and then went and hid in the van. fretting that the episode would end up on Trip Advisor.  “I was dining on the deck and the gardener poured water on me and the other gardener was in the garden yelling NOOOOO and it was not a pleasant dining experience.  One star!”  We will NEVER water than rose again when anyone is dining.

I dared to emerge again and did some weeding along the front and was soothed by guests enjoying the garden.

sweet peas

front garden


Allan watered the planters and street trees and the post office garden while I watered and weeded the two west beds at the port.


after, with many oxeye daisies cut back or pulled.

I met two lovely people who just moved to Ilwaco.  I was so sure I’d remember their names, but have forgotten now.  I had pulled some elephant garlic out of this part of the Freedom Market garden…

…because people use it as a walk through. The new folks and I agreed that it is unexpected that people would walk and jump over the log.  But they do.  I gave them the bulbs to either eat or replant in their new garden.  I was so tired I was not up to finding a spot for them.

Meanwhile, Allan had been watering.

watering at the post office (Allan’s photo)

sanguisorba at the post office (Allan’s photo)

We finished at sunset.

Allan’s photo


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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Ilwaco post office with Asiatic lilies and Stipa gigantea

Mike’s garden

My plan for today had been just to water the port curbside gardens.  However, I had seen on the Plant Idents Facebook group that the little geranium which had recently started running rampant in Mike’s garden is on the noxious weed list, common name Shiny Geranium.  So I pulled a bag of it while Allan worked some more on Mike’s back garden.

The red is Geranium lucidum.

suddenly all over the narrow north side of the garden


The geranium went into a tied shut garbage bag.

The north side of the house is a dry and drab area that is mostly used as a path.    I have not tried to do much of anything to make it better.

Today, however, I realized that the buried path (because of some construction) was not going to reappear by itself.

We moved an entry area sideways to get away from a big Escallonia iveyi…

Allan’s before…

and after

And Allan brought the rest of the path back after I moved an H block and found the pavers (and moved some of them sideways for an easier route).



We both worked on making dirt paths reappear in the woodsy back yard.

Allan’s before…

and after

A path circles the tree again.

Port of Ilwaco

We watered from one end to the other, randomly because the Pavilion was being pressure washed, which threw us off our proper order.

I must remember to be on the lookout for some good semi shade plants to re-do these pots at OleBob’s Café.  The pampas grass, mostly dead, was not a wise choice.

We did not do it!

Another vandalized Eryngium at the Riverszen garden:

Allan’s photos

trashed for no reason other than the will to damage beauty

an undamaged Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ (Allan’s photo)

At the west end, the oxeye daisies in the driest spot are starting to die off, so time was spent clipping them back.  (Often I just pull them.)

I applied fish fertilizer to the Time Enough Books garden, which does worst of all even though we have done it longest and with much love.  It was terrible soil under river rock.  We removed a lot of rock, added mulch, and yet…it struggles.  It probably gets the most water, too, because sometimes bookstore owner Karla waters it.

We weeded the curbside garden at the former Shorebank, which is going to be a hotel called At the Helm (with a pub!).

Allan went on to water the east end, while I went home to try to get ready for our trip.

east end garden (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

at home

I was home soon enough to garden for a short while.

back garden looking south

Sunday I got seven or eight barrows of compost from compost bin one.  Today, this was all I got by getting to the bottom of bin two.

It was almost all dried up ornamental grass stalks.  I had not been able to properly mix green and brown, due to a shortage of green in early spring.

I noticed that the leaves of the golden hypericum that I pruned radically not long ago have turned splotchy and ugly.

I had to cut it down again, and in the process snapped off a new lily.

Call the WAHmbulance over the poor lily.

Now I wish ever so much I had just left that golden shrub alone in the first place.

Once you cut it, you can’t put it back.

There were consolations.

Mermaid rose on the arbour

Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose

pink and yellow rose whose name I have forgotten

The rose that was here when we bought the place.

close up; it is fragrant and once blooming

with Clematis ‘Etoile Violette’

I do not want to leave my garden even for a trip to see other splendid gardens.


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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

at home, an allium about to doff its cap

J’s garden

We weeded and watered.

Allan used his new blower to remove the rhododendron leaves from river rock, something otherwise difficult to do.

Allan’s photo

Ilwaco Fire Station

We checked up on our three month old volunteer garden.  I wish it would fill in faster.

Mike’s garden

More weeding.

Dianthus ‘Charles Musgrave’

Alan worked on the woodsy back garden area, which we have neglected due to lack of time.  His photos:


Long Beach

We collected another bucket brigade of Soil Energy mulch from our pile at City Works and mulched one of the 13 sections out on the beach approach.

rugosa roses


Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

single rugosa rose…

and doubles (Allan’s photos)

After coveting (again) the stone troughs of the Oysterville garden, I had cast my eye covetously on these old concrete thingies at city works that were removed when the water meter system in town was changed to something more modern.

Allan’s photo

Shelburne Hotel

Today we had time to give the garden some thorough attention.  I have realized while working here that it is the only place where I get the same sense of peace, kind of a floaty feeling, that I get in my own garden.  Not quite as much peace, because I cannot check on it every day, but almost as much.

a Shelburne frog (Allan’s photo)

A blog reader named Tina came up to me and introduced herself.  I always find that surprising and pleasing.

looking south from the north end

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ and ‘Jade Frost’, beloved of bees

Allan’s photo

callas with fallen rhododendron flowers (Allan’s photo)

the old rhododendron (Allan’s photo)

looking north from the entryway

In back, the totem pole garden

front garden, from the sidewalk as one approaches from the south

Port of Ilwaco

Because we did not have to water, we were able to work along a good long stretch of the curbside gardens just weeding.

east end of Howerton Ave

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

CoHo Charters

Allan weeded the Coho lava rocks.

passersby (Allan’s photos)


They were on their way to the store about ten blocks away.

Ilwaco Pavilion

The cry of outrage disturbing the evening peace of Ilwaco was me upon seeing that someone had stolen all the flowering stems off of one of the eryngiums in the newly planted area.

finger blight

Those plants were moved from the south side garden of the port office, which now looks like this:

Time Enough Books is doing a good job with their little planters this year.

More curbside Eryngium photos by Allan:

It was a ten hour day.

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Thursday, 31 May 2018

I was so hoping to get a full afternoon at the Shelburne Hotel garden today, to give it a thorough weeding and de-bad-astering (the removal of annoying running asters).

We began in Ilwaco at

Mike’s garden

a path needing raking

better (Allan’s photos)

Port of Ilwaco

We then watered more of the curbside gardens on Howerton.

deer are eating the columbines (Allan’s photo)

I’ve managed to get a few things to grow along with the roses in the Freedom Market parking lot garden.

Libertia (Allan’s photo)

Ilwaco boatyard

We had to do a weeding session all along the boatyard garden because on Friday night, there would be an art walk featuring businesses and galleries from downtown to the port.

I made a friend through the fence.

Allan did some string trimming and some digging by the fence along the inside.


Folks were working on their boats.

Allan’s photo

In the garden:

Allan’s photos:

Allium christophii and lavender

baby cosmos

poppies and lupines

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

my photos:

I stuck a lot of artemisia cuttings, many of which took, so will have way more of the silver texture when the little ones start growing.

reseeded nigella (love in a mist)

Boatyard foreman Mark told me that he had caught a woman (who had a red Ford pick up truck) with a milk crate full of flowers AND an arm load of flowers.  She was picking early in the morning when he arrived. She was told to STOP PICKING and she then claimed she had gotten them all from inside of the fence…not possible! And still off limits.  I want every flower to be there for everyone who passes by.

I have spent a lot of time at the boatyard lately thinking of The Little Red Hen, a story my grandma loved.  The little red hen asked for help planting wheat, watering it, harvesting it, processing it, and baking bread.  She got no help at all until the delicious aroma of the bread got her lazy “friends” to say they would help eat it.  But no, they did not get to “help” at that point; she and her chicks ate all the bread themselves.

I’ve noticed that all these flower pickers never offer to help weed or water.  They just feel entitled to the results.

I also thought of a friend of Rhone Street Gardens who had commented on a Facebook post that he felt that horsetail was another “textural element” in a garden.  I hope so, because we left quite a lot of it behind.

A brief stop at home revealed Skooter in the garden.

Allan’s photo

I was anxious to get to the Shelburne, but before we could get out of Ilwaco, I got a call from the port.  The port manager had emailed me two days before and I had not seen it.  (Text me!)  The garden on the south side of the port office had to be undone because the south wall is going to be rebuilt.

We hared over there, and were able to salvage quite a few plants. I did not even try to save the big old lavenders that would not transplant well at any time of year.

I cut the allium flowers for a bouquet which may or may not last, and saved the bulbs to go back in.

2:45 PM

3:28 PM

Some of the plants went into pots that we had brought from home, on the deck of the business next door.

Allan’s photo

The rest went to the curbside garden by the Port Pavilion.

before; the area where a mugo pine had come out still needed plants.

after; it was all rather fortuitous (Allan’s photos)

4:14 PM: Jenna stops by to admire the plants

We had another brief stop at home, during which we had a quick chat with our new neighbour.

Allan’s photo

Shelburne Hotel

Finally, we got to the Shelburne, not for a lovely long afternoon but only a short time of hurried weeding.  I asked Allan to reveal the Melianthus major by the pub deck.



If I had known I would not be able to find an Antenow’s Blue melianthus, this one would have gone in the front garden (where I now have a little baby one from my own garden).

callas with a rhododendron flower

A woman was crouched taking a photo of this Agastache ‘Cotton Candy’.

That is the kind of plant appreciation that I like to see.

Ilwaco again

I went home to start the tedious task of the the monthly billing.  Three hours later, I was still at it.  Meanwhile, Allan had watered the easternmost curbside garden at the port, completing the whole stretch of beds that we have watered over the course of the week.  If we don’t get some rain, it will be the same next week.

the CoHo Charters lava landscape got watered, too.

I’m slowly infiltrating it with some new plants.

watering till dusk….

An eight hour day for me, followed by three hours of spread sheets, and a ten hour day for Allan, followed by making dinner.  If he did not make dinner every night, there would be no blog writing time for me.




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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Depot Restaurant

We began by watering and planting one plant (a Chelone ‘Hot Lips’, excellent fall bloomer) at the Depot.

Allan watering

Allan watering

plantings by Nancy of Basket Case Greenhouse

plantings by Nancy of Basket Case Greenhouse

This cat entertained me:




Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

This well fed cat liked to be petted, so am fairly sure it is a neighbourhood resident and not a stray.

Long Beach

When we arrived in Fifth Street Park, we found Debbie Teashon there adding to her collection of Peninsula garden photos.

Rainyside Debbie

Our Debbie of Rainyside.com

Debbie and I deadheading a lavender prior to a photo

Debbie and I deadheading a lavender prior to a photo

After a brief visit and a farewell as she left to take more photos at city hall and then drive a few hours north to her home, Allan and I buckled down to watering and grooming the Long Beach planters.

Watering was preceded by some grooming in Fifth Street Park. Here, the northeast side with Brodiaea 'Queen Fabiola'.

Watering was preceded by some grooming in Fifth Street Park. Here, the northeast side with Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’.

Allan watering and deadheading

Allan watering and deadheading

by Herb 'N' Legend Smoke Shop

by Herb ‘N’ Legend Smoke Shop

The planters are all of a sudden well filled in and looking fine.

Allan's photo: pink California poppy and Geranium 'Rozanne'

Allan’s photo: pink California poppy and Geranium ‘Rozanne’

California poppies, Allan's photo

California poppies, Allan’s photo

a small hardy gladiolus (Allan's photo)

a small hardy gladiolus (Allan’s photo)

planting a few new plants

planting a few new plants

To water, we use a bayonet fitting to hook up the hose.  We often find snails, baby slugs, or loads of earwigs under the plastic cap.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I kill the slugs, relocate the snails, but tend to give the earwigs a pass just because there are so MANY and I don’t want to use poisons.

Allan bucket watered the Fish Alley barrels, where I am replacing stolen edging plants with free Sedum 'Autumn Joy' divisions.

Allan bucket watered the Fish Alley barrels, where I am replacing stolen edging plants with free Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ divisions.


The Crabby Gardener

an occasion feature when public gardening goes bad

The Crabby Gardener by Don Nisbett

The Crabby Gardener by Don Nisbett

Allan noticed a big hole when watering the northernmost planter by Dennis Company.  I went to have a look.

furious photography

furious photography

Someone had pulled out a full sized Agastache ‘Fragrant Delight’, left the hole, and had broken off at the base a Knautia ‘Thunder and Lightning’ (probably while trying to steal it, too).  The knautia was left behind, dead.  Neither of these plants are available on the Peninsula at this time and so I cannot fix this properly.

broken dead knautia and missing agastache

broken dead knautia and missing agastache

Here is the side that did not get vandalized and stolen.

Here is the side that did not get vandalized and stolen.

Here is the side that is empty now, by one of the busiest parking lots in town.

Here is the side that is empty now, by one of the busiest parking lots in town.

It is so important to me to have symmetry in the planters that I almost wish people would just damn well steal BOTH sides so I could start over with new matching plants.  Why does symmetry matter to me when our business name is “Tangly”?  Because a little symmetry tames the wildness, just like the boxwoods in the Oysterville garden add a frame to an exuberant garden.  I spent the time while watering six more planters and weeding a park fretting over how I was going to fix that space when there are no Agastaches of that colour, and certainly not an exact match, available here.  I texted Melissa in my despair and she replied that she had a pink Agastache, so I planned to acquire it from her.  I have to keep trying even though the Finger Blighter strikes so frequently.  Debbie had even wondered earlier if it could be someone who reads this blog, and knows where the good plants are.  I assured her that because I like to have the blog running at least five days behind (takes the pressure off writing it), and the thefts often happen the day after a new plant goes in (although not in the case of this incident), I am pretty sure there is no connection.


Cheeringly, when Allan and I reunited after watering, he gave me a present from the Kite Guy at Wind World Kites.

Wind World Kites

Wind World Kites

This purple whirly flower!

This purple whirly flower!  Thanks, Wind World Kite Guy!

We moved on after our watering to weed the Veterans Field garden beds because the Columbia Pacific Farmers Market is due to open on Friday afternoons there starting this week.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

corner bed, Veterans Field

corner bed, Veterans Field


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I asked Allan to take some photos of the narrow, arced garden that goes halfway around the flag pavilion, my version of a red white and blue theme:



Salvias ‘May Night’ and ‘Hot Lips’ and Phygelius ‘Cherry Ripe’


Salvia ‘May Night’ and ‘Crimson Pygmy’ barberry with Eryngiums

Salvia patens (sometimes tender) has come back strong (center, next to red flowers)

Salvia patens (sometimes tender) has come back strong (center, below red Phygelius flowers)

Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue'

Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’

Nearby, a silver, white, and pink streetside garden is one I often admire and is now at its peak.

rose campion, sea thrift, pink roses

rose campion, sea thrift, pink roses


streetside garden, Long Beach

On the way south, we watered the edge plants at the Long Beach welcome sign.  The soaker hoses don’t help them enough till their roots are well established.  Allan feels the sign is getting battered by people standing in it, especially the back side.

welcome sign front

welcome sign front



Allan pulling the persistent horsetail.

Allan pulling the four horsetail of the apocalypse.

I had read somewhere that Geranium ‘Orion’ is even better than Geranium ‘Rozanne’, that its flower size is bigger and a deeper blue.  Based on growing both of them in the welcome sign bed, ‘Rozanne’ remains the strong winner.

Geranium 'Rozanne'

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Geranium 'Orion'

Geranium ‘Orion’

Rozanne (right) is still the champ.

Rozanne (right) is still the champ.


We planted a few new curbside plants in this bed that is now back in the fold of watering.  If you water it, the gardeners will come.  This garden might even get more watering than it needs, since we are not the ones watering, and we are the ones who know which plants are utterly drought tolerant and which are not.  (Most drought tolerant plants do need good watering until they get established.)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Then Allan went off to water the Ilwaco planters and street trees.

Ilwaco planter (Allan's photo)

Ilwaco planter (Allan’s photo)

traffic jam in town (Allan's photo)

traffic jam in town (Allan’s photo)

Meanwhile, I planted a few more plants and then started watering near the west end.  As I began, a couple of staff members at Salt said how much they appreciate the flowers and to use their hose anytime.  It was the first time this year that I had gotten out the Salt Hotel hose for their curbside garden.  It’s a long thin hose with a big leak patched with electric tape that spews water from the middle.


I struggled to get it undone enough to get to the further west garden bed and I was eventually  in despair, thinking it would be embarrassing to go home and watch Deadliest Catch tonight after giving up in a hose.  I kept trying.  But I was stumped.  I have no sense of how to untangle knots, chains, and hoses.

I needed to get all the way down to that tree, by a building that is for sale and has no water, whose garden was parched and miserably dry.

I needed to get all the way down to that tree and black light post, by a building that is for sale and has no water, whose garden was parched and miserably dry.

A kind middle aged man, a guest at Salt Hotel, quickly assessed the situation and in a trice had the hose untangled.  Otherwise, I might still be there.

The whole time I was struggling with hoses, I was aware on a level beyond exhaustion and frustration of how much I love these gardens.  Curbside gardens, parking strips, also known as “hellstrips“, are one of my favourite challenges and I think that these at the port are the only ones on the entire Peninsula, which is not known for parking strips along the streets.  My life is given meaning by these beds along the port and that is why I will work so hard at getting them watered.

After watering as far west as I could with the Salt hose, I switched to the one at the new Ilwaco Freedom Market.  The Port had permission to use it from the owner of the building.  The business whose manager would not permit us to water last year has gone!  The hose, though high quality, was still a struggle for me.



Between the two hoses, Salt’s and Freedom Market, there is still a section in the middle of that stretch of gardens that cannot be reached, whose plants remained dry and will be that way until the adjacent building that has sat vacant for two years (former home of Queen La De Da’s gallery) is in use again.  My plan is to just pull the most stressed plants out on Thursday.

Of course, I had to coil both hoses up again all nicey nice, not my favourite task.  The Salt one got stuck under a planter and I almost fell over tugging it out.  Some ladies of a clique of which I was formerly a member had gone up to the pub (without a word, of course…it’s a dangerous social choice to leave a clique).  I thought great, I’ll be all fallen over tangled in this hose and stuck when they come out.  Fortunately, I made my escape unscathed.

I then walked up to the port office gardens and hooked up our long hose, also an untangling nightmare.

It is to weep.

It is to weep.

I did it!

I did it!

I doubled up the hose and dragged it past four or five buildings to get to the next water hook up at the Ilwaco pavilion.

hose drag number one

hose drag number one, Ilwaco Pavilion has the blue roof

From there, I can even reach the tiny "drive over" garden between two big driveways.

From there, I can even reach the tiny “drive over” garden between two big driveways.

looking east

looking east

my favourite bed by the Pavilion

my favourite bed by the Pavilion

The wax myrtle we cut to the ground is coming back, as planned.

The wax myrtle we cut to the ground is coming back, as planned.

The Tall Ships were still in port.

The Tall Ships were still in port.

reaching as far west as I could in the Craft 3 bank garden bed (red and brown building)

reaching as far east as possible in the Craft 3 bank garden bed (red and brown building)

I watered as far east as I could reach in the Craft 3 bank beds.  They don’t thrill me because they are mostly kinnickinnick ground cover, pretty boring to me.  If there is no rain soon, I’ll try harder to get some water onto them.

old plantings in Craft 3 beds, from way back when it was Shorebank

old plantings in Craft 3 beds, from way back when it was Shorebank

I could see Allan way way down at the easternmost garden, watering with three hoses stretched from the docks.

Allan's photo at the east end. Butch of CoHo Charters says we could use his faucet, but I guess Allan thinks this is easier or quicker.

Allan’s photo at the east end. Butch of CoHo Charters (red building to the left) says we could use his faucet, but I guess Allan thinks this is easier or quicker.

Allan's photo: laying down a lot of water; this bed has not been hose watered for a couple of weeks or more.

Allan’s photo: laying down a lot of water; this bed has not been hose watered for a couple of weeks or more.

Allan's photo: a successfully pretty much drought tolerant bed still needs water to look tip top

Allan’s photo: This successfully pretty much drought tolerant bed still needs water to look tip top.

Meanwhile, I doubled up the hose again and did another drag with high hopes that the water at the old Wade Gallery, now owned by Fort George Brewery, would be turned on by now.  (Fort George has given us permission to water.)

hose drag number 2

hose drag number 2

nice view while testing the faucet at the Fort George building

nice view while testing the faucet at the Fort George building

I was tired and the water was not on at Fort George building and the garden was dry and Allan did not hear my four phone calls asking him to bring buckets and he didn’t have the work trailer anyway, as it turned out, and I sat on a utility box and felt exhausted and decided that TOMORROW we would bucket water that little garden.  By now it was 8:30 PM, we had been working for 9.5 hours, and I couldn’t face waiting for the trailer, driving to the boatyard, filling buckets, and coming back to dump them.

"Help! We are so thirsty!" "I just can't!!!"

“Help! We are so thirsty!”
“I just can’t!!!”

At home, I watered my own containers.


back garden, 8:40 PM

Smokey glad I am home

Smokey glad I am home

Later, watching the hard and dangerous work on Deadliest Catch, I was glad I hadn’t given up on the tangled hoses.

Deadliest Catch: keeping ropes untangled is critical

Deadliest Catch: keeping ropes untangled is critical

Tomorrow: the north end rounds of gardeners where the garden owners do the watering…thank heavens.

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s gardening diaries of two decades ago

1997 (age 73):

June 7:  Two years have gone by since Bruce died.

I picked the weeds I pulled using the garden cart from Don.  Then I weeded in front of compost box, next to raspberry row (both sides) and picked strawberries.  The Ft Laramie plants have huge berries like the ones from California but they are hollow in the inside.  I went to bed at 10:00.

1998 (age 74):

June 7: Al’s birthday [her older brother who lived in Seattle] and 3 years since Bruce died.  I still miss him so much.

The Jazz were getting blown out when Mary Anne came over.  She put on Tabby’s halter and we went out on the porch by the shop.  However, Erik and a friend came over and Tabby bolted.  I figured she was under the shop.  Mary Anne and I kept calling and she came out from under the shed.  I think she was glad to see us.  Mary Anne said I should get another halter with a wider strap.  I called Al to wish him happy birthday.

On the 21st anniversary of my dad’s death, mom and dad camping in the early 1950s:



and at home in the 1950s:











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a bonus post for friends who missed the weekend, including photos of Dancing Oak Nursery (location of next year’s study weekend garden party)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend


On the walk from the hotel to the college, Allan photographed this water trailer set up used in Portland.

On the walk from the hotel to the college, Allan photographed this water trailer set up used in Portland.

Allan says it was powered by a gas motor, not a battery like ours; the guy started it with a pull like a gas mower.

Allan says it was powered by a gas motor, not a battery like ours; the guy started it with a pull like a gas mower.

lecture notes

For friends who couldn’t attend, here are the particular takeaways from the three lectures we attended Sunday morning.  As with Saturday, we barely got there in time, but Our Todd had held seats for us.

Todd's VIP seat holding method

Todd’s VIP seat holding method

C. Coleston Burrell: Redefining Right Plant, Right Place

Cole Burrell at last night's garden party (Allan's photo)

Cole Burrell at last night’s garden party (Allan’s photo)

Burrell’s lecture was wonderfully vindicating for me.  Here are the fragments transcribed from my notebook, all quickly scrawled and only exact quotes if I enclose them in quotation marks.  His slides were exquisite, so do go a speech of his in person if you can.

He spoke of a tree planting group with the clever name of Neighborwoods.  Perhaps it was this one.

He recommended a book by Bebe Miles called Bluebells and Bittersweet: Gardening with Native American Plants as informative and also a good read.

He told us about the Biota of North American Program and showed us a slide of one of the maps that shows which plants are truly native to which area.  I think it would be useful for people who want to be very specific in using native plants that grow in their own particular spot.  (That’s not me, of course.)

He said that “Reginald Farrer was the first to give plants human characteristics…this plant prefers this…or that plant is miffy.”  Before Farrer’s writing, we did not anthropomorphize plants.  [I remember well enjoying the effusive prose of Reginald Farrer’s My Rock Garden.]

He spoke of the North America Rock Garden Society’s phrase “moving scree” and said you could achieve it by putting scree on top of an old fashioned motel bed with magic fingers.

Checks and balances like drought keep native plants from being invasive.  [I thought about salal in a few terribly dry gardens still infuriatingly poking its way into other plants.]

He recommended the book Noah’s Garden by Sarah Stein for information like this:  Robins eat the fruit of native dogwood, but Cornus kousa, the fancier cultivar, has fruit that is too big for them to eat.  I read that book years ago and am due for a re-read.

Friends of mine (who know I’m not in the native plant brigade) might wonder why I say a lecture about native plants was so vindicating.  Here comes the part I loved.  Burrell quoted from Joni Mitchell:

Back in 1957
We had to dance a foot apart
And they hawk-eyed us from the sidelines
Holding their rulers without a heart

and said that making sure plants don’t touch in a public landscape is typical, but “we need to let them touch,  bumping and grinding.  Health and vitality depends on plants being integrated horizontally.”

[Oh yes!  We quit one job, a local credit union, because the new director said he did not want any plants to “touch or come up through each other” in the landscape which we had created to be floriferous and Piet Oudolf-y.  He then fired a friend of ours who had taken on the job, because our friend (having removed many plants already to make the don’t touch guy happy) refused to cut down a Shasta daisy in full bloom.  That Shasta daisy was so old and well established that it pre-dated my work in the garden, and I praised my friend for refusing to butcher it.

that garden on June 29 2015

that garden on June 29 2015

The way it looked when we did it, in 2010

The way it looked when we did it, in 2010 (further back, which is now also changed to a barkscape with fewer plants).  This was an early photo that does not even show its later lushness.

We got “let go” from another commercial job whose garden, under our care, had won the company’s regional landscaping award.  A new manager had been hired and wanted the garden returned to plain, plant-less bark.

the way their fast food drive  through looks now

the way their fast food drive through looks now

July 29: bark and horsetail

July 29 2015: bark and horsetail against rhododendrons

the way it looked when we took care of it (

the way it looked when we took care of it: flowers in front of the rhododendrons


entry to the drivethrough (garden now completely gone)


Sometimes remarks have gotten back to me of sniffy uptight people in whose gardens the plants are separated from each other and who disapprove of our gardening style.  I appreciated Burrell’s full support of letting plants get up close and person with each other.]

Burrell recommended the book Sand County Almanac and shared this quotation:

one of Cole Burrell's slides

one of Cole Burrell’s slides

Evelyn Hadden:  Hellstrips to Havens:  Paradise at the Curb

As it happens, I own her book Hellstrip Gardening and was particularly looking forward to her lecture.  It lived up to my expectations with lots of information and great, inspiring photographs.

Smokey at home with the book.

Smokey at home with the book.

Hadden describes herself as an “avid pedestrian.”  She writes for the Garden Rant blog.  She credits Lauren Springer, author of The Undaunted Gardener, for coming up with the term “hellstrip” and referred to an 800 foot long hellstrip, or curbside planting, I think made by Springer (but not sure; you know how notes are).

She calls cut off areas “fragments” (little pockets of dirt in a concrete environment).

Lawnless blocks make her heart leap.

Hellstrips and fragments in public places provide

beauty….expansion…xeric zones….more space…emotional benefits…respite…

giving people a new experience….

transforming a public sidewalk into a path through your garden (by planting on both sides)

front yard gardening is contagious.  [I wish it were more so!; it was slow going when I first started curbside gardening at my house in Seattle, and when I left there were no others on my block, but when I go back now, curbside gardens are all over the city.]

Even a smallest pocket can make a landscape; otherwise there is no “place”.

The challenges of curbside gardening:

heat, roots, critters, flooding, litter, compacted soil, dog poop, access to cars, access—how to get across,  wind, foot traffic, Home Owners Associations, power lines.  [Oh yes, I know them all, except for HOAs.  I had my original boatyard garden torn up and destroyed by the necessity to put in a new power line and fence.)

She advises “don’t put your best stuff out there.”

She mentioned a “pervious paving” that lets water through to tree roots and said that service berry is a good public tree.

Sh advised using well adapted plants and using nitrogen fixers to improve your soil.  To my surprise, ceanothus is a nitrogen fixer (as are lupines).  She also proposed the idea of using one season taprooted plants to penetrate compacted soil, an interesting idea that she says is untried.  One plant she proposed trying was rutabega!

It is good to cover old soil with plants (and topsoil, I assumed at the curbside because it has years of lead contaminants.

Re watering…how to make it absorb…where the run off falls is where it is absorbed…  Curb cuts let water in from the street side gutters.

More ideas: incorporate ledge seating, have a green driveway.

She says some plants are ambassadors for winning public acceptance of hellstrip gardening: “Grandma plants” (that remind people of their childhood), big flowers, color, fuzzy texture, curiosities…to make people like the garden.

People are reassured if a group volunteers to maintain a public garden.

She suggests giving lavender bundles to neighbours.  Hey, I took a bundle of lavender to Salt Hotel because they are so supportive of watering at the port.

Hellstrips provide wildlife habitat…pollinators (early blooming crocus is good for pollinators), larval food, milk weed, plant diversity…

And [I love this]: Pest-free plants = no bugs = NO BIRDS.

Curbside gardens provide nest materials for birds.  Hummingbirds use hairy leaves and plants with threadlike foliage.  Leave the seed heads up, don’t tidy up.

Tree frogs drink from the drops of water on alchemilla (lady’s mantle).  [I guess I will start liking that plant again!]

More about good plants for hellstrips: Communities of self sowers….plants that heal themselves if broken off…

[At the port, we also have to consider traffic sightlines in our curbside gardens.]

On her trip to Portland, she had been able to see the Wright garden for herself, after having used photos of it in the book.

She spoke about an earlier book in which she wrote about “having to move because of the stares”.  It just might be this one, which I am going to acquire as soon as I get home.


What a wonderful lecture.  It made me so glad that here on the peninsula where there are hardly any sidewalks with strips of curbside lawn, I am lucky to have the Port of Ilwaco curbside gardens to play with (and the beach approach in Long Beach, difficult though that is because of the way it used to get trampled before it became almost all rugosa roses…

I will re-read her book, and I advise you to get it if you have any sort of hot, dry, difficult gardening area, because the ideas can be translated into solving the problems of challenging home gardens.

I am fortunate to also own her other book, which I haven’t read yet but will in short order! (I got it as a free book at the Bloggers Fling and the only reason I haven’t read it is that replacing lawns is not something that comes up in my work.)

no mow

no mow


The silent auction was finalized.

I took a last close look at the stage display.

I took a last close look at the stage display.


 Allan took some photos.




Jonathan Wright: Design by Detail

Jonathan Wright plants and maintains gardens at the famous Chanticleer public gardens, with 7 full time gardeners working for him.  He accompanied his speech with 237 exquisite slides.  I could have happily viewed twice that many.

The promotion of a new restroom building at Chanticleer, to fit into a Japanese style garden area:  “Come enjoy the flush of spring—the Asian pee house.”

The plant lists for Chanticleer are kept in beautiful boxes, instead of labels being stuck in all over the garden.

He said a garden like Kensington is meant to be seen from overhead—no details, no surprises.  At Chanticleer, things that need further inspection slow visitors down in the garden.

They would rather use willow hoops than signs to keep people out of an area.

using rivers of white anemone to trace the pattern made by tree roots

peony stakes from hammered in copper tubes interlaced with copper wire

If you can see mulch you don’t have enough plants. [Yay! Thank you!]

Sometimes the detail is in what you remove.

reusing old things, like an old chain…thingie…with pockets filled with little succulents.

(Every single one of his 237 slides was amazing.)

Plants that I coveted:

Schidoxys, like a red allium…phonetic spelling; must find

rye seed interplanted with bulbs to hide old foliage

Echinacea ‘Rocky Top’

Little bluestem ‘Ovation’ and ‘Blue Heaven’

Gladiolus ‘Atom’

Scadoxus multiflorus (looked like a red allium)

dwarf amber sorgham

Gladiolus calianthus

He plants summer plants into the spring plants (like pansies and alyssum) and then the spring plants turn into mulch.

He repeated that he hates seeing bare soil.

Put sod in a basket, cut holes in the sod and then plant in it…

“You don’t notice the details immediately, but you feel them.”  

His book The Art of Gardening is coming out in September, and I can’t wait!

my favourite quotations from the three lectures:

We need to let plants touch,  bumping and grinding.  Health and vitality depends on plants being integrated horizontally. -Cole Burrell

You don’t notice the details immediately, but you feel them. -Jonathan Wright

Even a smallest pocket can make a landscape; otherwise there is no “place”. -Evelyn Hadden

preview of the 2016 Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend

After the lectures, a spokesman from the Salem, Oregon chapter of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon spoke to the crowd about next year’s study weekend.  It will be in Salem instead of Eugene because of some sort of Olympics trials being in Eugene that month.  The online registration will open early, on January 15th, and will be limited to 400 attendees. I have already set a reminder on my phone.  The spokesman told us some enticing information:  The seminars will be held in an old mill, and Sebright Nursery will be on the tour list, and the Saturday night soirée will be held at Dancing Oaks nursery.  Dancing Oaks is a plant nerd’s mecca, one that is so far from where I live that I have only visited it once, in 2008.  Garden Tour Nancy was there last month.  This is the perfect opportunity to share her photos.  I hope we will all be there for study weekend 2016.

Garden Tour Nancy’s visit to Dancing Oaks (late June, 2015)

the long road to the nursery

the long road to the nursery



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the welcoming gates

the welcoming gates

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gate detail

gate detail

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Nancy's Phil, with "gorgeous, deep green bamboo".

Nancy’s Phil, with “gorgeous, deep green bamboo”.



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double flowering Philadelphus (mock orange)

double flowering Philadelphus (mock orange)

Nancy brought some of these pitcher plants home. I was jealous!

Nancy brought some of these pitcher plants home. I was jealous!

Nancy says they have a large collection of hens and they sell the eggs.

Nancy says they have a large collection of hens and they sell the eggs.

So…we hope to see you at Hardy Plant Study weekend in Salem next year.  I’m already so looking forward to a garden party at Dancing Oaks (and a major garden spending spree).

Our next post will get you back to garden touring, with four gardens yet to go before our return home.




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