Posts Tagged ‘Ilwaco Washington’

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Today, I got up early enough to join the tree decorating crew, which began with me, Allan, Jenna, and Don.


a boat leaving the boatyard next to the tree


Don up high (Allan’s photo)


view from the top (Allan’s photo, obviously!)

A former co worker of Don’s helped for half an hour.  He and Allan found they had a common interest in small boats.


Jenna and George


Jenna garlanding the fence, with the boatyard’s Marine Travel Lift to the right.


the fence, with the boatyard garden in the distance

I trimmed the edge of the boatyard garden grasses again.  Next year, some of these must go.




Pennisetum macrourum, after


The Port crew was putting up the crab lights.


north of the boatyard gate

I mowed the big field where people will gather (and I picked up dog poop).


Jenna and me


hanging the float decorations with zip ties


finishing touch



While spending some time actually working on a few of the Ilwaco planters (pulling Erysimums that have become too tatty from wind), we drove around one of the downtown blocks and saw this newly created sit spot.

I used to think this building would make a great refurbished loft-type space. Now I think it is too far gone.

I like it in Waterlogue.

For the rest of the afternoon, we gardened, decorated, and mowed at home.  We’d scored some leftover garland, which Allan attached to the fence.


That inspired some clean up of the front garden till I ran out of daylight.



garland enhanced with rose hips, allium, and elephant garlic heads


the rain from yesterday morning’s storm (during which Allan helped with the crab pot tree)

Three more wheelbarrow loads of debris have the compost bins looking rather ridiculous.


a problem to be addressed on a winter day

Here are some at home befores and afters, accomplished while Allan gave our lawn the last mowing of the season.










front middle bed after, still needs much clipping and a good weeding

In the evening, Allan and J9 went to dinner and then to the Ilwaco High School varsity basketball game, against the South Bend team.



South Bend team in burgundy


Number 50 is Don and Jenna’s son, Joe.


Joe about to make a basket.


Ilwaco won.

On the way home, Allan took one more photo of one of the crab pot tree decorations that the city crew put up downtown today.


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Sunday, 24 September 2017

in which Allan sails on the Hawaiian Chieftain

The Tall Ships have been visiting Ilwaco for years, however, this is the first time I’ve actually gone out on one of their sails. I was encouraged to actually do the deed when we met the ships’ crews Friday night at a potluck dinner held for our Ilwaco volunteer firefighters (blogged here). Sunday looked to be the windiest day available and the ‘Battle Sail’ looked to be the best example of competitive sailing.

The ticket sales are done remotely from their shore office. The homesite with their schedule and pricing is at the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport site.

Below is the first photo in my digital library.  It was taken from one of our old gardening jobs to show how we often get a fine view while working.

The Lady Washington entering the Ilwaco Harbour June 2006

When I arrived at the docks on Sunday the visiting ships’ masts and spars towered over the other boats.


I first took a tour of the Lady Washington.

Detail of the graceful iron bracing and rigging of her bow.

Eighty-nine feet of mast

A tidy mess of lines.

A detail of one of the blocks

A form of tea I had not seen before was offered below deck.

I researched this tea, and it apparently stores better this way and was often used for trading.  A small brick would have been interesting to try out but I already have a reputation of somewhat iffy experiments in the kitchen so I played it safe and bought a gift t-shirt instead.   I found out later that to prepare a tea brick, you usually first toast it for flavor and sanitation.  It is then ground to a powder before adding it to hot water. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_brick

The Tall Ships offered four programs while in Ilwaco. The first is a tour of either craft while docked with a suggested five dollar donation. Second is the ‘Adventure Tour’ of two hours “…to experience tall ship handling, sea shanty singing, and maritime amusement.”   Today I had signed up for the ‘Battle Sail’, which lasts three hours and  ” …features booming cannons, close-quarters maneuvers, and a taste of 18th century maritime life aboard tall ships. You will experience both of our tall ships in action as they attempt to win the mock battle of the day!”  I’m sure it would have featured many examples of quick reactions with the sails as they maneuvered. However, I got a call early in the day offering an adjustment or the right to cancel as, sadly, the gunpowder had not been delivered. Instead, they substituted an ‘Adventure Tour’  that turned out to be a very fine trip, too.

The fourth option, by the way, was a one-way trip to California.


The Hawaiian Chieftain docked.

Here we are cueing up a half hour before and resolving any issues first.

We were asked to wait on the main deck opposite the dock for orientation. Much good advice was handed out: Stay alert, don’t mess with the lines. Beware where you set your stuff down as many a travel bag and expensive camera have fallen out the scuppers. We stayed in place and, as requested, stayed quiet while the crew left the dock and motored out into the bay.

Ready to work with her climbing harness.


It looked calm in the port but the crew expected wind once we were clear of the hills.


“Coyote (the fishing boat) one hundred feet ahead starboard” as the various hazards are called back to the captain as we safely leave the crowded port.


A lot of pilings yet to clear. Sand Island is in the distance.

Our captain and a detail of the crews’ shirt.

Soon, members of the crew were sent aloft to prepare sails.


First, the two  upper square sails were prepared


After the sails were ready to deploy, each crew member made a short reverse angled climb to get off the crows nest. It was not a rope ladder down, not a rope ladder out. When swinging off the platform, one swings their feets under the platform and climbs under it.



Finally back to the deck

The two sails were set and had the ability to pivot left or right. The fuzzy mitts on the lines reduce chaffing on the fore and aft sails.


The engine was put in neutral and we are under sail.

A forward jib sail was set along with a similar rear mizzen sail.

A captain in training is at the wheel while we enjoy the bay.

I was impressed by the grace and playfulness of the crew that comes from their competence and enjoyment of the task at hand.

The jib being pulled to the other side after changing course.

Looking back on the ‘MapMyTracks’ app I had running on my phone, we were sailing around five mph. It was more exciting than the ferry trips on the Puget Sound that I used to enjoy.

Securing the square sails to belaying pins

Showing another crew member how to tie a stopper knot. If the line slips through the pulleys, it’s often a long tight climb to reinstall it.

Anyone losing a line through the pulleys has to buy the crew a beer, or maybe a soda.

It was joyfully announced that they had one cannon charge left over from yesterday’s ‘Battle Sail’. A random boat was signaled to pull up alongside so it could be blasted.


The main deck is cleared of everyone except the Bosun.

He rams acharge into the cannon’s muzzle.

A signal to the other captain to move into range.

We all repeated on command “Fire in the hole!” Ears are covered, the little boat’s doom was sealed.

Hiding behind a sign didn’t save them.

A crew member mentioned that boats often pull up alongside asking to be blasted by the cannon.

Soon it was time to strike the sails.

Not much to stand on as the sail is secured

I saw a guest come up from below where she told me we could see the little store and the rear cabin.

The crew high above as I went below.

Here’s a small sample of their library as I tried to photograph all their books to study later.


The last scarf went home with me. This design is called a ‘square topsail ketch’ and also features a triple keel to allow it to sail in shallower water than the more traditional single keel.

A 20 page PDF of their ‘Volunteer Sail Training Handbook’ is available on this page among their application and scholarship forms. It is a good read to know what a potential crew member should expect and the history of these ships.

With the sails down, we entered the main channel back to port.

Cape Disappointment with the lighthouse off to the left.

The little boats joined us in the channel

The Port of Ilwaco off the port bow.

Among the thanks that were being given to the crew as we disembarked, I heard a crew member reply, “Thank YOU for giving us the opportunity to play on our jungle gym.”

A donation to fund the volunteer crew to help cover laundry, a meal ashore or even an emergency trip to see their families.

From my phone, this was our route which just crossed the border into Oregon.

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 2.15.03 AM

Over two hours of the sailing and history like it used to be, amazing.


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Friday, 22 September 2017

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

We’d had this much rain.

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

fire station memorabilia

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

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

outside Jenna’s gallery

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

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

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

Howerton Avenue curbside (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

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


boatyard looking north

lavender abuzz with bees

looking south


almost done

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

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

before (Allan’s photo)

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

in the willow grove

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

This had blown from the port during a winter storm.

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

4:30 PM

Allan’s photo

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

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

flowers to add to the fire boot bouquets

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

fire boot bouquets

podium bouquet

buffet bouquet

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

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

superb grilling by Himani Indian Cuisine

We returned at 6:30 to enjoy the….

Ilwaco Volunteer Fire Department 130th Anniversary Celebration

new art by Don Nisbett (Jenna’s spouse)

a mug to be given to each firefighter

Don and his art (Allan’s photo)

Don Nisbett prepares to address the crowd.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

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

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

Tall Ships crew members

Tall Ships crew members

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Firefighter John Grocott distributing the mugs.

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

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

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

Allan’s photo

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

Then came a delicious feast.

Allan’s photo

The tall ships crew members regales us with sea shanties.

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

The Ilwaco Volunteer Fire Department

retired members of the IFD

And maybe a future firefighter.

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

Allan’s photo

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






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Thursday, 10 August 201

Before we left for work, Devery brought us some of a big organic cabbage grown by a friend and told us that she had adopted a little Chihuahua pug dog, which I could meet at the end of the day.


our volunteer garden at the Ilwaco post office…needs more santolina in the front.  Next year!

Long Beach

We had had a trace of rain overnight, not enough to save us from the watering of the Long Beach planters.  Today, the job went faster because it wasn’t street tree watering day.

First we deadheaded at the welcome sign.  Allan ran the string trimmer around it.


Allan’s photo



I wish I had taken a photo before trimming the corner plant of Geranium ‘Orion’.  I want to show how much better Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is.


after trimming deadheads off of Orion


Rozanne does not need deadheading and does not have a plain green center to the plant.


Rozanne is bigger and bluer.

Rozanne, I let myself be tempted by someone else.  I wish I had nothing but you for the blue in the Long Beach welcome sign garden.  I regret that I strayed.


back of sign with Rozanne at the ends and Orion in the middle.

In the fall, Orion is coming out of that planter and will be replaced with all Rozanne.

We split up to water the downtown planters.  Allan went north and I went south.

One of my first planters was by the carousel.


The last two times I have watered the four planters within sound of the carousel, the music has been 80s—Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, You Spin Me Round (Dead or Alive), leading to almost painful nostalgia.  Today, the song was Karma Chameleon by Culture Club, reminding me intensely of the ten years that horror writer Wilum Pugmire lived in my attic.  We drifted apart after I moved (for a long time he did not even have email).  By leaving Seattle, I terribly disrupted his living situation (although it did turn out well in the end).

He adored Boy George and his attire evoked both Boy George and his other beloved icon, Barbra Streisand.


me and Wilum almost exactly thirty years ago (1987) and Wilum in his full regalia

Sometimes the memories evoked by the carousel music are almost too much for me.

Moving on to the next set of planters, I was immensely cheered by these four fierce chihuahas.


first three.


Then a fourth one appeared.

As I watered the nearby planter, I saw many passersby amused by this quartet.  (The day was cool, almost cold, and the window was cracked open.)

I started thinking happily about my new neighbour, Devery’s chi-pug dog, whom I would soon meet.  I suddenly realized that he was the very same dog, Roy, that I’d noticed in the local humane society’s availability update.  He had appealed to me because I so like the Basket Case Greenhouse chi-pug, Buddy.  And now Roy would be my dog-neighbour! (Devery is calling him “Royal”.)


I looked Roy’s picture up on the humane society Facebook page.

A little further on, I admired the latest tigridia blooms and noticed their crown-like center.


Today’s tigridia



At the south end of downtown, a sign amused me.  I’ve looked at it every week and never noticed the missing letter till now.


I admired the excellent window boxes at Dooger’s Restaurant:


from across the street


and closer

And also the window box at Lighthouse Realty.


Moving along…


Gladiolus papilio


the wildflower meadow look


Lily ‘Black Beauty’ in Fifth Street Park


Lilium ‘Black Beauty’; note the green furrows


Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ and catmint

Photos from Allan’s watering walkabout:


traffic jam


Agastaches in Lewis and Clark Square planter


Cosmos ‘Sonata’ and Geranium ‘Rozanne’


Coulter Park: two fallen cosmos on the lawn


Cosmos and Berberis ‘Helmond Pillar’


snapdragons and agastache


Geranium ‘Rozanne’




Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and santolina


Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

With the planters all watered in good time, we took a break at Abbracci Coffee Bar.



Allan’s photo; we leave our gear on the tree bench


Maddy of Pink Poppy Bakery had just delivered a brown sugar cake.


flowers in Abbracci


all gone (Allan’s photo)

We finished up Long Beach with some clipping in Fifth Street Park.


I don’t think this garden is as good as usual this year.


The problem is the cosmos, which should be tall, are short.  It seemed to me earlier this summer that the beds were not getting as much water as usual.


In fall, I am going to divide and spread around the heleniums…


…even though they clash with the backdrop of insipid, mildewy pink Dorothy Perkins rose.

Allan sent this man to me for a plant ID.  It was, of course, for the tigridia (Mexican shell flowers).


Allan trimmed back this lady’s mantle…


Alchemilla mollis

…and noticed the interesting seedheads (or spent flowers):



I thinned this batch a bit.  It still has enough yellow to stay till next week.

We were done with plenty of time for our Ilwaco work tasks.


We drove past our house to have a gander at the progress of the playground at the end of town.  Or so we planned, till I looked down Devery’s driveway and saw her with her new dog.  “Back up!” I cried, eager to meet a new friend.  Never mind the playground for today.


my new friend, Royal


He’s so soft and sleek.

Royal was rescued from a kill shelter in California and brought to our local no-kill shelter, where he was lucky enough to be found by Devery.

Allan went to water the Ilwaco planters, while I weeded at the Norwood and the J’s gardens.


our own front garden


the second of four beds that are outside the deer fence on the west side of the house


elephant garlic next to Devery’s driveway

I got back to work:


The J’s roses

I am pleased that the new hydrangeas in the Norwood garden are putting out new flowers (after I had to cut off the too-floppy flowers they came with).


Endless Summer hydrangea coming back into bud


Norwood garden Agapanthus and lavender

Just as I was leaving Norwoods, I saw Jay himself arrive…with a puppy, making the sixth darling small dog of the day.


eight week old Julius

At home, buddies Smokey and Calvin were snoozing together.



My last garden event of the day: harvesting cukes out of the greenhouse.


Meanwhile, Allan watered the Ilwaco street trees and planters and got the photos I wanted that show how the planters enhance the town, even though they are small and mostly located in a difficult wind tunnel straight up from the river.







The city hall planters are fancier because the staff gives them supplemental watering beyond our two times a week.


This one half died for some reason.  Has been recently replanted.  Allan thinks the trailing rosemary looks like a waterfall under the fish mural.


Our Jenna gives this one by her studio supplemental water.  Something is chomping the nasturtium leaves.


Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’

Now we have three days off and a garden tour to anticipate.

Friday, 11 August 2017

I mostly just finished a mystery I was reading, except for a pleasant interlude when good  friend Judy S. and her spouse Larry came to see our lilies and to examine our deer fence.  I did only a minimum of gardening (fertilized containers) and took no photos.


Judy appreciating the Stipa gigantea


and the Melianthus major’s peanut butter scent.

The J’s sent over some freshly cleaned and cooked crab that Jay himself had caught that day on his boat.  I so appreciate not being given a live crab!


before they were cleaned and cooked and turned into crab legs and shared

Allan, a much better householder than me, decided it was high time to defrost the refrigerator.  (It is old and frosts up quickly.)


The mystery was Double Booked for Death (Black Cat Bookshop Series #1) by Ali Brandon.  I liked it well enough to order the sequel, even though I much prefer when cats do not help solve mysteries.  At least this one was not a talking cat.

We had our weekly garden club dinner at the Cove with Dave and Melissa.


in the entry foyer at the Cove


rhubarb cake

Tomorrow: The Astoria garden tour, at last!





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Friday, 29 May 2015


The day began with the new routine of bucket watering half of the Ilwaco city planters.

As you can see, it can be a long walk with a bucket between planters.

As you can see, it can be a long walk with a bucket between planters.

Eventually, I suppose we will return to Allan watering with the water trailer, but for now when we are so busy we just don’t have time for that; bucket watering saves over half an hour.

I do like this banner at city hall.

I do like this banner at city hall.

bucket watering the city hall planters

bucket watering the city hall planters

City Hall

City Hall; as you can see, the weather remained grey and chilly.

The Depot Restaurant

There’s not much excitement in the Depot flower garden yet.  We went after the ever present bindweed.



strong foliage of Rodgersia coming up

strong foliage of Rodgersia coming up…over bindweed and the ajuga that has fallen out of my favour.

the new expansion

the new expansion

added a Sanguisorba 'Dali Marble', realized had put it too close to the Agastache 'Golden Jubilee'.

added a Sanguisorba ‘Dali Marble’, realized had put it too close to the Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’.

Oh dear, well, it’s ok to have plants close together if you want a quick impact at a place of business.  I can shift them in the fall….

I bought flea medication for the cats at the Oceanside Animal Clinic next door and admired the cute motel across the street.

Seaview Motel has cute cottages and pretty little garden beds.

Seaview Motel has cute cottages and pretty little garden beds.

Long Beach

I had meant for us to get to the Long Beach welcome sign yesterday to pull the maddening scrim of horsetail.  Today, we did, knowing it will come back by next week.

back side, before: The feathery cosmos foliage might help camouflage the horsetail to the unknowing eye

back side, before: The feathery cosmos foliage might help camouflage the horsetail to the unknowing eye



front, before

front, before



Next, while Allan weeded at Veterans Field, I checked to see if the “dry” block of planters had been watered by the city crew.  They had, and very well indeed.

Thank you!  Nice and damp soil.

Thank you! Nice and damp soil.

We try not to plant anything tall right next to the hose connection because we have to twist our quick connect faucet and hose to get the water on.

I peeked down Sandpiper Mall at the exterior display of Home at the Beach, a charming shop that recently moved from 7th Street to this location.  I had no time to go inside today…much to do.

Home at the Beach

Home at the Beach

Todd called and then came by Veterans Field after picking up the tree peony I’d left for him in my driveway.  While he helped pull bindweed out of the Lewis and Clark Square garden, he regaled me with an excellent prank he had played at an Ilwaco cafe.  He had asked the proprietor and her helper if she knew anything about the boatyard garden because, he said, he had picked a huge armload of flowers there and a crazy lady had appeared and yelled at him that it was her garden and he should not be picking flowers!  The café ladies looked appropriately shocked when he said “I have the flowers in my car, do you want them?”  Then he broke down and confessed that he actually knows us and had helped us weed the boatyard garden a couple of times and was then informed that now they recognized him from Skyler’s blog.  Hmm.  I said “Kathleen will love this story!” (and I was right) and that he had provided some of the café patrons with a good dose of gossip.  We all got a great deal of enjoyment out of the story (and he had also brought us not just a funny tale but also two sweet treats).

I invited him to follow us to our next job so he could have a tour of….

Jo’s garden

I wondered if this rose by the entryway is Pink Grootendorst.  I think it might be because of the carnation-like fringed flowers.

Allan just happened to have pulled out a rooted side piece that I do hope came from this rose and not the more aggressive rugosa rose.  (Although this is a rugosa, so far it does not seem to run like mad.)  If it takes, I will have one in my own garden to examine.

Allan's project was to fix this...

Allan’s project was to fix this…

Without necessary parts, he capped up the one hose that was leaking.

Without necessary parts, he capped a hole in the ‘octopus’ that was leaking and will connect that sprinkler later.

Allan's photo: touring Jo's garden

Allan’s photo: touring Jo’s garden

While Allan worked on his project, fixing a broken sprinkler, I also took Todd to see the Boreas Inn garden.  Then Allan and I left Jo’s and went onward to….

The Planter Box

….Where we found Todd just finishing a shopping errand, so we had a look at the cosmos in the back greenhouse.  To his apparent amusement, I bought two more flats…after all my rejoicing that annuals planting time was over.  I could not resist, as there were some new varieties, ‘Antiquity’ and ‘Happy Ring’, both of which I very much liked last year, and ‘Rubenza’, which I think might be a shorter one.  (Just Googled…three feet tall, so shorter than ‘Sensation’, with deep red flowers.  Now I want more!)

  Cosmos 'Antiquity' last year

Cosmos ‘Antiquity’ last year

The Planter Box is the place to get a wide assortment of vegetable starts.

The Planter Box has all sorts of veg starts for sale now.

The Planter Box has all sorts of veg starts for sale now.

Andersen’s RV Park

We put in some weeding time at Andersen’s.  I weeding the picket fence garden and then helped Allan with the garden behind the office.  He took some before and after photos:

across from the back office door (before)

across from the back office door (before)



the garden right behind the office, before

the garden right behind the office, before





after:  This bed is challenging, always, as it is infested with couch grass.

after: This bed is challenging, always, as it is infested with couch grass.

I started weeding further along the bed behind the house, an area where mostly the staff walks, not guests, so it is always the last to get done.

Allan's photo: still much to do.

Allan’s photos: still much to do.

We were not going to get done today.

We were not going to get done today.

At the far end of the above garden, one of my favourites is coming into bloom:

Baptisia australis (Allan's photo)

Baptisia australis (Allan’s photo); the rugosa rose will swallow it if we do not do some editing soon.

the buds of Baptisia australis (false indigo), Allan's photo

the buds of Baptisia australis (false indigo), Allan’s photo

The poppy field is beginning to bloom.

The poppy field is beginning to bloom.  (Allan’s photo)


foxglove (Allan’s photo)

The foxgloves around the park always remind Lorna of her mother; her parents started the park in the late 1960s and she took over in 1988 and has run it since then.

Lorna also loves the old bearded iris.

Lorna also loves the old bearded iris.

Because real estate is “hot” on the Peninsula right now, I had many poignant thoughts about possibly leaving this garden if it sells.  I know I keep saying I want fewer gardens in order to actually get caught up.  And yet…the sweet peas are coming on  at Andersen’s…and I do adore some of the plantings.

office back door garden

office back door garden

This is the only garden where I have Halmiocistus wintonensis.

This is the only garden where I have Halmiocistus wintonensis.

Halmiocistus wintonensis...a handsome once-a-year-bloomer

Halmiocistus wintonensis…a handsome once-a-year-bloomer

The picket fence garden, with sweet peas a couple of inches tall...sigh...

The picket fence garden, with sweet peas a couple of inches tall…sigh…

Penttilas Chapel by the Sea

On the way home, we spent a couple of hours at the difficult end of the funeral home garden in Long Beach, getting velvet grass out of the groundcover of kinnickkinnick.  Many of the grass roots remain.  I am thinking the groundcover should come out for easier weeding.  Along the sidewalk, a bed of lavender infested with thick white grass roots in tight soil was a challenge to weed.  Allan’s before and after photos:






after: no time before dark to finish the most obscure corner

after: no time before dark to finish the most obscure corner




after (with some creeping buttercup left behind due to lack of time

This is not even the sort of job I would take on, were it not that the larger driveway garden is so very much more to my taste.

driveway garden has interesting plants (last week)

driveway garden has interesting plants (last week)

Even though there were some weeds left, I was able to cross Penttila off the “projects” list and now consider it a regular maintenance job.  Now there is just one big project left: the thirteen sections of the beach approach garden, and fertilizing my own back garden at home….which I have a feeling might not happen this year except for individual needy plants.

I suppose I need to add

I suppose I need to add “plant cosmos!” again.

We are taking a three day weekend.  Or rather I am, as Allan would like to get the community building garden weeded, after a boating adventure on Saturday.

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

As Annuals Planting Time fast approaches, we managed to fit in a garden clean up for Nellie, an Ilwaco oldtimer.  I remembered that she wanted some shasta daisies, especially one I got from Jo years ago that is sort of an odd double (whose name I never seem to remember).


This one, a bit past its prime.


Of course, with the clumps still just green, I could not remember for sure which one was THAT one, so I dug a piece from several clumps (some of which are the plain regular one).  In walking around with Allan to do that, I enjoyed some scenes in our garden.

Golden oregono has arranged itself under the round table on the still messy patio.

Golden oregono has arranged itself under the round table on the still messy patio.

I admired my weekend weeding...

I admired my weekend weeding…

and more of my weekend weeding

and more of my weekend weeding

and despaired over the areas undone...

and despaired over the areas undone…

a bright red geum kind of throwing off the balance in the center bed

a bright red geum kind of throwing off the balance in the center bed

In walking around looking for daisy clumps, we went up the narrow east path and came upon a sight I would have missed otherwise:  this gorgeous red shrub in bloom.  (The only reason I can tell you the name is because Todd told me several days later; all I could remember was it started with a C!)

It's a calycanthus.

It’s a calycanthus.

Calycanthus flowers

Calycanthus flowers

Lovely, yes?

Lovely, yes?

I wish I had planted it somewhere more visible.

Next to it, my enkianthus.

Next to it, my enkianthus.

Next to the enkianthus was a sick looking lily near many healthy lilies.  I broke it right off and got rid of it.

I can't afford mercy for anything that looks like this.

I can’t afford mercy for anything that looks like this.  What if it’s contagious?

Further up the path, a Clematis is throwing all its flowers to Jared and Jessika’s side of the fence.  I hope they’ve noticed it!

not my side

not my side

This one gave me one flower on my side.

This one gave me one flower on my side.

Allan divided the clumps of daisies to make sure there was no annoying Lysimachia punctata roots in the clumps (something I am trying to eliminate from one area).  The roots of the yellow Lysimachia are pink and easy to see.

a careful operation

a careful operation

My double file viburnum nearby called for some admiration.

My double file viburnum nearby called for some admiration.

Finally, we were off to Nellie’s garden with one little stop on the way:

Planting an Eryngium and a  Agastache. both with blue flowers,  in front of Azure salon.

Planting an Eryngium and a Agastache. both with blue flowers, in front of Azure salon.

Nellie’s garden

Nellie plants out tulips in pots sunk in the ground.  Our first mission was to remove the pots, cut off the tulip seedpods, and put them by the side of the garage.

south wall of house, before

south wall of house, before

I planted the daisies against the south wall; because of transplanting them rather late, they got cut back by half so will take awhile to bloom.

Allan started by cleaning up the outside edge.

Allan started by cleaning up the outside edge.

Allan's photo, before

Allan’s photo, before

Allan's photo, after

Allan’s photo, after

I’d forgotten to bring a cooler shirt and was sweltering in flannel.  The job is only two blocks from home so I took a break and nipped home for a cotton shirt…and soon after that:

sitting out a heavy squall in the van!

sitting out a heavy squall in the van!

light around the edges....Allan back to work

light around the edges….Allan back to work

I ended up knocking a good half an hour off the cost of the job for time spent waiting out squalls…and 15 minutes for the wasted walk home for a cooler shirt which was only needed for a few minutes.

Allan ran home during the second or third squall for better rain clothes.  Our garden in rain...

Allan ran home during the second or third squall for better rain clothes. Our garden in rain…

and lots of it

and lots of it

We had expected “showers”, not a pelting torrent.

I was struggling and feeling slow as I began to plant up some geraniums for Nellie in some pots she has us put out each year…when I suddenly realized that Allan could plant the geraniums and I could do weeding and trimming.

Allan's photo: Nellie and I discuss where the geraniums go, before I delegate.

Allan’s photo: Nellie and I discuss where the geraniums go, before I delegate.  We load debris into buckets in the truck, and her son dumps it on his property.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo after he took over the geranium project

Nellie and her husband created this whole landscape, and she would much rather be able to do it herself.  Her husband still does all the mowing and weedeating; we’re glad to help with the rest a few times a year.

Allan's photo: I far prefer weeding to planting.

Allan’s photo: I far prefer weeding to planting.

A little project I’d been looking forward to:

trimming sword ferns by the front steps, before...

trimming sword ferns by the front steps, before…



Nellie’s family home is one of the two prettiest houses in town.



LB Williams House (1899)

This is the other one, up on School Hill: LB Williams House (1899)

I had developed a new appreciation for rhododendrons after the recent Peninsula Rhodie Tour, so I photographed all of Nellie’s collection.


in the west garden

in the west garden

a deep handsome red

a deep handsome red backed with a pink

just down the street at the Masonic Lodge

just down the street at the Masonic Lodge

After getting the rest of the garden tidied up and weeded, we did a little bit of work in the west side garden.

Allan pruned a lot of dead out of a lilac.

Allan pruned a lot of dead out of a lilac.  Before…



We’ll have to come back after annuals planting time to weed under the shrubbery in this part of the garden.

We had mostly worked on the south garden.

looking at the south garden, before

looking at the south garden, before

the south garden, after

the south garden, after

Allan's photo, before

Allan’s photo, before

Allan's photo, after

Allan’s photo, after

Allan tackled the messy brick paths.  (Allan's photo)

Allan tackled the messy brick paths. (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan reminds me that I found the sound of his metal hand tool scraping on the bricks to be painfully akin to chalk on a blackboard.  (Cue much whinging and a move to another area of the garden.)





also weeded shade garden against neighbour's garage

also weeded shade garden against neighbour’s garage

Tomorrow, Annuals Planting Time begins at Jo’s.

As always at this time of year, it helps to go home and watch Deadliest Catch on a Tuesday evening and be reminded that our work is not so hard in comparison to crab fishing on the Bering Sea.


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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Last weekend, while gardening at home, I realized that I have suddenly shifted into gardening mode and no longer even think with longing of a reading day off (because I’d rather get my garden weeded).  Today, suddenly it seemed a reading day had arrived.

wind graph on WindAlert, with driving sideways rain

wind graph on WindAlert, with driving sideways rain

The local airport forecast showed the wind dropping in the afternoon, and the several other weather apps that we check said that the sun would appear at 4 PM.

Ilwaco airport wind forecast

Ilwaco airport wind forecast

So I settled down to read, but restlessly, with an eye on the weather.

Tony Hillerman's daughter is doing a good job at carrying on his mystery series.

Tony Hillerman’s daughter is doing a good job at carrying on his mystery series.

The rain did stop, as predicted, at just before 4 PM, and we were off.  Allan took the opportunity to get another photo of the dogwood outside our kitchen window, with the flower of the wild cucumber vine.


Allan’s photo: Marah, wild cucumber vine, in dogwood.

I suppose we should get the cucumber vine out of there, as it has a massive root, leading to its also being known as “manroot” and “man underground”.


Our very first project was to re-do the Ilwaco street planter that finally got moved back to the fire station.  It had been tucked up against a café where it did not show.  The fire station planter had been moved instead of the café one, after I’d promised the fire chief it would NOT be moved, so some musical planters was played by the city crew.

Allan's photo: before.

Allan’s photo: before: too many bulbs, and has catmint, which we are removing from the planters because it looks bad for awhile after its first flowering.

planter after

Allan’s photo: after, with Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ and diascia and violas and one little piece of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’


I broke up the rest of the Autumn Joy and ran it down the west side of the fire station in a narrow bed that had lots of empty (weedy) spaces.

after.  (We did not forget that extra bag of potting soil.)

after. (We did not forget that extra bag of potting soil.)

Since we were working just across the street from Nellie’s house, I wondered if I would catch her attention.  Sure enough, her husband came over and I went in to speak with her and she does indeed want us to do a spring clean up on her garden.  We will be happy to, although I had to tell her it might not be for over a week as we have a lot of prep to do before the May 2 and 3 city parades AND the Rhodie tour.  (Klipsan Beach Cottages is one of the tour gardens.)

Nelie's historic house

Nelie’s historic house

In case you’ve forgotten that the Rhodie tour tour is coming up soon:


Long Beach

Next, we had to deadhead all the planters and street tree gardens along the main highway in Long Beach.  I was mighty glad for the good evening weather, as I had noticed lots of dead narcissi flowers when driving home the previous evening.  I took some photos while we worked.  I did not need the green wheelie cart this time as we parked several times and worked fairly close to the van instead of walking the whole route.

lavender already in full bloom

lavender already in full bloom  (This is one of the few planters where we’ve allowed Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ to stay)

The first Geranium 'Rozanne' flower this year...very early

The first Geranium ‘Rozanne’ flower this year…very early

Cerinthe major purpurascens

Cerinthe major purpurascens

Tulip 'Florette' is a real do-er this year.

Tulip ‘Florette’ is a real do-er this year.

Asphodeline by Fifth Street Park

Asphodeline by Fifth Street Park

Gunnera in Fifth Street Park, already with a huge seedpod

Gunnera in Fifth Street Park, already with huge flowers

Darmera peltata and Gunnera.  Note to self: remember that Gunnera likes fertilizer.  Dan Hinkley said

Darmera peltata and Gunnera. Note to self: remember that Gunnera likes fertilizer. Dan Hinkley said “Feed the brute!”

Dutch iris in Fifth Street Park (north side)

Dutch iris in Fifth Street Park (north side)

another note to self:  Get this Carex OUT of the planter by the carousel!!!

another note to self: Get this Carex OUT of the planter by the carousel!!!

across from NIVA green: Tulip 'Green Wave'

across from NIVA green: Tulip ‘Green Wave’

on the NIVA green side: more Tulip 'Green Wave'

on the NIVA green side: more Tulip ‘Green Wave’

by the Elks lodge: a columbine left over from volunteer days

by the Elks lodge: a columbine left over from volunteer days

It was on this block, across the street, that a man walking his dog said, “Now that’s a good looking planter” about the boring one with two escallonias and creeping sedums (also leftover from volunteer days).  Then he said, “The planters on the beach approach are FULL of grass.”  I said, “That’s impossible; we weeded them last Friday.”  He said “Nope, they are FULL of grass and it looks terrible” and walked on.  He’d gotten about ten feet when my last nerve snapped and I said, “REALLY?”  He turned and I repeated that they were weeded last week, then said, “Do you mean the raised planters or do you mean the garden at ground level?”  “The ground,” said he. “The roses looked so good last year but now it is all grassy and the roses look beat up and need to be trimmed.”  I looked at him all goggle-eyed and said (in a calm enough tone that Allan, just up the block, though we were having a jolly chat), “I have no idea what to do about that.  We do the whole town of Long beach, and Ilwaco, and about ten resorts [that’s easier to say quickly than enumerating private gardens, resorts, and businesses] and we do not have TIME to weed the beach approach till later in the year so I really have no idea what can be done about it unless the city finds more weeders.”  “I wasn’t complaining,” said the man, walking on a faster clip.  I refrained from another “REALLY????”  As he departed, I remembered that I had seen his dog tied up for awhile in front of the Long Beach Tavern and wondered if beer had anything to do with his desire to inform me that the beach approach is not up to his standards.  (I could also have pointed out that those roses do not bloom till at least May AND that last year we did not get the darn garden, which takes about SIX DAYS to weed, done until sometime in July!!!

Fortunately, by this time we were almost done and I was able to go soothe my shattered nerves at…

The Cove Restaurant

in the foyer of The Cove

in the foyer of The Cove

We sat at the bar at about 7:30 PM and I was so lucky to get one of the last two servings of ahi tuna.  With no hard cider on tap, I had a Vortex beer from Astoria’s Fort George Brewery and Allan had a Guinness.

Strawberry salad...and Carmen at work

Strawberry salad…and Carmen at work

delicious food at the pass

delicious food at the pass

ahi tuna

ahi tuna

The tiny peppers to the left, above, were sweet and smoky and Chef Jason Lancaster told us they are Peruvian peppers.

Allan tried a new sandwich.  I had a bite (two!) of the pineapple slaw.  Delicious.



Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Finally, at home, I had to take a dusk photo of the cutest little tiny cup narcissi on the garage wall.


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