Posts Tagged ‘Iris reticulata’

Sunday, 11 February 2018

We decided to work on the downtown Long Beach planters and street trees.  I had big ideas that we would also get to the Anchorage Cottages garden and then get rugosa roses cut down in the beach approach garden by the arch.

As I began with the southernmost planters, Robert (wasband and former co-gardener) bicycled up and we had an interesting chat, reminiscing about our friend Lily who died some years ago of ALS.


My mission was to trim back any Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ still standing and to clip santolina hard so it will make a nice round ball instead of getting rangy.


after; this planter has too much of a boring little hardy geranium but is not one I plant to re-do.

crocuses in a planter

crocuses and an iris reticulata

santolinas, before

an after from across the street, because I forgot…



Would be huge escallonias that we cut back hard by the pet shop last fall are leafing out:


After clipping and tidying in eight planters and three trees, I re-joined Allan who had been working on a difficult tree garden that whole time.

before, with an unfortunate batch of rugosa roses

Those roses reseeded into there, and I thought, years ago, how cute, and let one or two stems bloom.  Oh, what a mistake…and yet it does look pretty when blooming in summer.

after; unfortunately, the roses will come back.

after; will this be the year we prevail?

I notice every time I come to a clump of narcissi and find flower stalks picked.  (Deer are not the culprits here, although they might be with tulips.)

Why not leave ALL the flowers for all the people to enjoy?

It was not a pleasant weather day, with wind that became increasingly strong and cold.

not feeling comfortable

Another street tree job by Allan:


after (the stems are a hardy fuchsia)

In another tree, we worked on eliminated all but two corners of Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’; I planted too much of it way back when I had a low budget, and it was free (for good reason).



sidewalk display at The Wooden Horse gift shop

In the last two blocks, the wind was much colder and stronger.  We were determined to finish.

We cut back these chrysanthemums, with foliage undamaged because of our mild winter.

Allan cut down the other two escallonias that are crowded into a planter.



I came along behind him and trimmed those green santolinas hard.

At home, I was able to erase the Long Beach downtown planters from the work board, and added the Pop Outs (little gardens on Ocean Beach Boulevard).

There may be a reader who is wondering when Kite Museum will appear on the work board.  It finally got added on Feb. 14th!

It took hours after work to finally feel warm again.




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Thursday, 2 March 2017

With the rainy windy day that had been predicted, we did not get the port spring clean up done.  I must confess that maybe if we worked between 8 and 11 AM we might have accomplished some of it

The rain increased considerably after 11 AM.  Allan went to pick up books at the library and took this photos of the early crocuses and irises at the community building in which the library is housed.  You can click on the photos in this mosaic to view them individually.

I had finished the excellent book The Shock Doctrine and was pleased at the prospect of a new batch of library books.  While I waited, I photographed a pile of old postcards (from the collection of our friend Joe Chasse) for my Grandma’s Scrapbook blog.  They will begin to appear there later this year.

A sneak peak:



My books arrived.  What excitement opening the book bag! This new assortment contains some fiction, for a change.


I settled right in with one of them.


It is poetically written and its only flaw is a plot twist that I did not much like.  The parts about Scrabble, I liked very much.  (A boodle is what I call a bingo.)




Even though I only play online now, I remember this sound:



I finished the book.  It was a much easier read than the non fiction I’ve been perusing lately.


Skooter had been helping Allan read.


Our garden club weekly dinner was postponed because of members being under the weather.

For the next two days, the actually weather won’t matter much because we have indoor political activities to attend.


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Monday, 13 February 2017

Cold weather, a brief back problem, and an intense desire for hide out and read postponed our starting work this year.  I was using the excuse that the whole peninsula has been economically affected by the lack of clamming tourism this winter so no one would mind if we started up two weeks later than usual. (The clams have tested positive for a toxin, which happens sometimes, and so clam season has been delayed and delayed again.)

I’d written the first work board of the year several days ago.


Allan had loaded the tools into our van on Saturday.  As he loaded buckets into the trailer, I talked through the window to Jasmine, one of two new neighbours right next door.



introduced myself to Jasmine


in our garden (Allan’s photo)


We began close to home with the Ilwaco street trees and planters.



Allan’s photo


weeding at First and Eagle


The boatyard garden can wait for a couple of weeks.


Ilwaco boatyard, north side


crocuses in the planters



Allan’s photo


in front of Azure Salon, before

I had been looking forward to tidying the alyssum from under the tree and to pulling a dead erysimum from this planter.


Rosemary blooming in front of Azure


Nn front of City Hall, the plant offerings are not from me.

Anchorage Cottages

The Anchorage garden got some clipping and waking up because this coming weekend is a three day holiday (Presidents Day) which will surely attract guests.


tidied center courtyard in 60 degree sunny weather

Allan trimmed a buddliea at the entrance.





I hadn’t intended it to go that far back but I think it will be fine and probably quite refreshed. If not…well…buddlieas of the old fashioned seedy kind are considered noxious weeds now, anyway.


Allan pruned one large-ish ornamental grass….harbinger of many to do the same thing to soon.




spring bulb windowboxes


Iris reticulata


I was pleased to see there have been snowdrops.


In bright sunshine, a hamamelis scents the Zen Courtyard

Long Beach City Hall

We trimmed another grass (Allan) and a hydrangea (me) before heading back to Ilwaco.  Allan’s photos:











Ilwaco again

We finished with a tidying and clipping of sedums and ferns at the Ilwaco Community Building.


hamamelis, probably ‘Diane’





Allan’s photo



Iris reticulata (Allan’s photo)


by the entrance to the library

At home, I clipped back my Melianthus major, which, as Melissa had put it, was “not amused” by this winter’s heavy freeze.


That is one small area clipped. So much more to go in our own garden.

We are expecting two more good weather days and are going to focus intensely on Long Beach town next.


work board t0night



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My mission for the last 9 days of staycation was to read and to non-people as much as possible.  A long and deep book called Evicted took three days to finish (partly because of being distracted by reading the maddening daily news).   After Evicted (poverty, misery and heartbreak eloquently described), I had thought I might try a bit of light reading, so I had picked out a Blind Date book from the library.


When I unwrapped it, it turned out to be an Agatha Raisin mystery, which of course I had already read!  So I contented myself with a re-read from my own library, Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden, about WWII refugee children, and then back to more serious reading.


Carrie’s War, as wonderful as I’d remembered from years ago

Several days worth of reading….


Saturday, 4 February 2017

A brief quest for a birthday present took us to Time Enough Books at the Port.


Time Enough Books


Scout being exceptionally cute

Monday, 6 February 2017

Allan used pallets to fix an outdoor plant table that had collapsed….


Allan’s photo, after

….I read, and we did have to go out and “people” at a local political meeting in the evening.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

I started a monstrously huge book.  After all my winter reading about civilian life in WWII Britain, I felt the need to see how the war all fit together.


The pages were a delight to look upon even though the contents were grim.


Well done, Smithsonian.


Well done, indeed.


and inspiring

Meanwhile, Allan …and on this rainy afternoon, even I…had been helping a good friend of ours move in next door.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Two photos that Allan took on one of the moving trips (from Ilwaco to Long Beach and back again):


Iris reticulata and crocuses in a Long Beach planter


We have been having a great deal of rain.

Ann and her friend Alex arrived from Portland for a quick stop…I was lending Ann my mother’s three tiered Floralight for seed growing.


Ann and Alex, both of whom work at the great Cistus Nursery

With floods threatening local roads, they hightailed it back to Portland before dark.

The Floralight in olden days when me mum grew African violets:


In the evening, Allan and I met Melissa and Dave for our garden club meeting at [pickled fish] restuarant, joined by a former client, K.L., whose garden Dave and Mel have taken on.  Allan and I had  worked weekly on her “Sea Garden” during the summer and autumn of 2008. Now Dave and Mel are bringing it back to its former beauty.

At the [pickled fish]:


wood for the pizza ovens


We had delicious pizzas.


perfect creme brulee


lemon pudding

As we departed, the entryway planters got admired by five gardeners all at once.



Friday, 10 February 2017

Even though I had not been managing to effectively non-people, I got another fifty or so pages read in the WWII book, a book so large that Smokey had to push in for lap space.



more strong women

Skooter hangs around with Allan as much as possible.


Skooter (Allan’s photo)

On a trip to the library, Allan saw more signs of winter’s end.


Iris reticulata at Ilwaco Community Building


cyclamen, provided by Our Kathleen

In the rain, someone was photographing the heather.


K.L. (whose primary home is in island country rather than here) had stayed for another day and we all had dinner again, this time at Salt Pub.


Allan’s photo


from the south side (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo


the view


spinach salad (Allan’s photo)


delicious Pad Thai


Allan’s photo

I would have but one more true Winterval reading day on Saturday, followed by a social Sunday, and then….work.  I did not feel I had succeeded very well in non peopling for the last week.  It is a highly elusive retreat when the good company of good friends beckons.



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Friday, 11 March 2016

I went to see yet another doctor, a new one who was kind and funny.  Another round of tests will be forthcoming, but not till he sees the results of this coming week’s tests!  This is what I get for avoiding doctors; I knew it would catch up to me someday.  (Fortunately, so far, all results have been good.)

In the afternoon, we realized the weather was good so we hurried out to do four hours of work.

The Anchorage Cottages

Allan’s photos:


tidying up planters and pots and garden beds


windblown hyacinth and Tulip ‘Gavota’


Tulip ‘Gavota’ (right) goes well with red brick.


Zaluzianskya capensis is blooming startlingly early.



window box came through the storm


trilliums on a north wall

Long Beach

We did the whole town of Long Beach deadheading walk in a light rain.  We each did half of the planters and street tree gardens.


I should have moved my weed bucket for a better photo.


Remarkably, Tulip sylvestris held up to yesterday’s “hurricane”.


As did some of the narcissi.


Allan’s photo:  We did have extensive narcissi deadheading through the town.


Allan’s photo: after


Allan’s photos, before


and after


These three year old ‘Gavota’ tulips came back.  I love them toning with that sign.


Tulips are blooming ridiculously early.


Windblown tulips in Fifth Street Park

City Hall looked great on a driveby as most of its narcissi are on the north side; Veterans field is more exposed and needed lots of deadheading.


Vet field corner, Allan’s photo, before, lots of little grassy weeds to pull as well

Port of Ilwaco

At almost dusk, we just needed to check the garden on the south side of the Port Office.


Port of Ilwaco office building


I found an unclipped sword fern!


the narcissi all shredded to mush what a shame


fog and rain

A hot toddy at Salt Pub tempted me but I resisted, as I wanted to get back to working on the Grandma Blog.…which after ten posts has all of two followers.  All the doctor appointments and tests have given me a sense of urgency.


end of the workday

Saturday, 12 March 2016

I worked obsessively on the Grandma blog, having now progressed into telling her life story with old photos starting around 1915.

Allan took a long walk through town to get the mail and a DVD from the library and to deadhead a planter of narcissi that had looked bad when we drove through town yesterday evening at dusk.  His photos:


new at Ilwaco City Hall



Iris reticulata at the community building

Allan picked this zombie bridal bouquet from the Ilwaco planters.


Shortly after he returned, a series of hailstorms passed through.


dramatic noisy weather

(Susie, if you are reading this, that jade plant to the left is from cuttings I got out of your yard debris pile!)

Tomorrow’s forecast looks dire again, and I’m hoping the power stays on because if it does, I might be able to finish the photo history part of the grandma blog.

For crying out loud!  If the power goes off, there’ll be tears before bedtime.  Allan reminds me that there was a big storm like this a year ago in March when I was at the Sylvia Beach Hotel:

High Wind Warning in effect from Sunday, 10:00 AM PST until Sunday, 9:00 PM PST. Source: U.S. National Weather Service








Ginger’s Garden Diaries


my mother’s garden diaries from two decades ago

1997 (age 72):

March 11:  Started growing tomato seeds in the 3 new Park Star trays and the 6 APS-40 trays.  I got most of the tomato seeds planted before I got tired.

March 12:  Dr Elledge appt as follow up on diabetes.  Got various lab tests.  Made appt for physical on Friday.

1998 (age 73):

March 11:  I brought wood in from behind shop.  I moved two pallets to the wood pile area to be ready when I have energy to start stacking the new wood.  I also potted the Park Seed begonia bulbs (12).

March 12:  12:30-4:15  A nice warm day, a new record, 68.  I worked at round table potting the Dutch Gardens perennials plants.  I put them in greenhouse but didn’t turn the lights on.  I still have many more to plant and hope to get out earlier tomorrow.

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From a sunnier day: I think I forgot to post this lovely crocus, the first of the large ones, back by the bogsy woods.


From February 6

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

A hard rain followed by light drizzle gave us a day off. The forecast suggests five more days of rain will follow.  I looked at last year’s spreadsheet and saw that, except for one Long Beach day at the end of January, we did not begin work till February 10th, so we have not fallen behind yet.  And we had so very much more to do last year.   Sea Star Gardening has taken on our Boreas Inn and Casa Pacifica jobs and Andersen’s RV Park was a huge spring clean up job that we no longer have (since owner Lorna sold the place in July of 2015). We have one less private garden as well, and Todd now cares for his brother Eric’s Wiegardt Gallery, so we have eight fewer days of garden clean up to do in February and March.  That makes me happy.

Before enacting my plan of settling in with a book, I took a walk around the front garden.  (I wish Smokey could have joined me.  He is still having to stay inside while his paw heals.  He is not a happy cat.)


view from the porch


Geranium macrorrhizum is certainly blooming early…



Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’ continuing to brighten the scene.


Allan’s box of succulents



double hellebores


single white hellebore


“black” hellebore


way in the back of Allan’s garden, a hellebore that escaped having its tatty old leaves trimmed


Hamamelis (witch hazel)


moved these from the back patio to front garden last weekend…


front path, looking east


last year’s allium head blown into the garden


last year’s alliums


Many hellebores need to be turned up to see their greatest beauty.  They’d be best dangling over a wall.


Crocus tommies are in a decline…soon to be followed by larger crocus.


In the front garden, with the dark foliage of a “black” hellebore emerging at lower right


Scrophularia variegata (variegated figwort sounds prettier) and hellebore.



Japanese maple in a pot not looking very lively.


Not happy about this great hellebore  being hidden behind the big pot.


Love the bright new foliage of the lamprocapnos and the promise of flower bus

What, you might ask, is Lamprocapnos?  It is the new name for Dicentra, I am sorry to say.  You can read all about the change here, where I also learned its common names aside from Bleeding Heart, including “Venus’s Car, Lady’s Locket, Lyre Flower, Tearing Hearts, Our Lady in a Boat, Chinese Pants”


grape hyacinth and a fern that needs trimming, backed with Euonymous ‘Wolong Ghost’


Iris reticulata and some fine looking soil with good texture.  And a California poppu, lower right.


first narcissi in the front garden


Daphne buds backed with Azara microphylla variegata

For readers who’ve been enjoying the excerpts from my mother’s garden diaries of 20 some years ago, I’m sorry to say she did not make any entries for February 10th.

My plan for reading a book changed to reading and transcribing her diaries and scheduling them to appear, by month, at the end of each month of 2016.  I’ll continue to add pertinent posts to matching dates in my ongoing journal of the year.


Allan brought back this photo of one of the Ilwaco planters today.


“Look at the camera!” says Ed.  Ed and Jackson Strange came over for a minute but only Allan saw them; he was string trimming the lawn while I was indoors typing away.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

noon:  On this stormy day, I continued to be obsessed with transcribing my mother’s diaries, even though a gardening book arrived from the library that I am desperate to sit and read.  I am (surprisingly not frantically) concerned about being sent to a neurologist in March; as soon as my primary care RN invoked the words “possible brain tumor, benign or malignant”, I imagined going blind (as happened to a good friend and avid gardener, Mary F., who later died from her gioblastoma) and thought, “I must get these diaries set up NOW to publish once a month through 2016!”  Yesterday I completed transcibing them through May and hope to make much more progress today, while the gardening book by Dan Pearson taunts me from the other side of the room.  The monthly entry will include more illustrations and non-gardening posts than the daily share from her diary (which I am adding to my blog posts day by day).

I remember my mother getting many tests, including CAT scans, to try to get to the bottom of her dizziness (and migraines) and she never got a diagnosis that helped to cure her of the problem.  I find that mildly reassuring.  My primary care RNs other ideas were TIAs or “maybe just glucose” so…we shall see, as the results of assorted tests roll in.

Later: I got June, July and August and one year of September transcribed.  I am a fast (if not accurate) four finger typist.  Still, how do people sit at a desk all day?

Transcribing the month my father died was a poignant experience.

Here is my mom’s entry from 21 years ago today:


1995 (age 70):

Feb 11: Supposed to be below freezing by tomorrow so: Finally I spread mulch on as many flower beds as I could before I ran out of mulch and strength.  (I got very dizzy and nauseated.)  I used all 5 bags of shredded leaves from last fall and recent shredding.  The stuff in old burn barrel was all composted below 1/3 of pile.



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Friday, 29 January 2016

I’m still keeping Smokey in his convalescent room (the large bathroom); now I’m putting his mum, Mary, in there to keep him company during the day and they both seem content.  He has been a very good boy about letting me put ointment in his wound twice a day.  Just a slight meow of protest.  In the evening, we close the cat door and mother and son can emerge to join the household.


I paused while writing this as was sick to death of iPhoto crashing every time I click info on a photo.  In the Apple Support Community, I got help:


I had to Google again to find out how to GET to the resources, and then with much trepidation dragged the two Google things to my trash.  I still seem to be able to Google and to navigate the web, even though iPhoto now sternly informs me in the info box that my computer is “not connected to the internet”.  But it is.  And I can get info on the date a photo was taken without a complete iPhoto crash.  And I hope stays that way.  I figure if I save the instructions here, I’ll be able to find them if trouble brews later.

Back to January 29th!  The lovely afternoon enabled me to weed a large area of the front garden’s east bed and to enjoy brightly illuminated flowers.


two sorts of hellebore


a single hellebore


Melianthus major and Crocos tommasianus


Crocus tommasianus


crocuses lavender and yellow



Iris reticulata


Iris reticulata


more hellebores


front path looking east


Frosty in the garden

I missed having my best cat friend, Smokey, quietly following me around, and I am sure he misses going outside.  We hope the vet will give him the all clear after ten healing days have passed.

Meanwhile, Allan took a two mile walk around town, first onto the beginning to the Discover Trail that begins at the wast end of town:



and then down to the boatyard and port to pick some trash out of the gardens.

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Nature is the one who wakes up the gardens, not me, but I like to take credit on the first gardening visit of the year.

We spent the day along Howerton Way at the Port of Ilwaco, concentrating on a four block stretch of curbside garden beds, all within sight of home.

We skipped the easternmost three beds and started at the one that caught my eye with tall ornamental grasses that needed clipping.

before, by the former Wade Gallery building

before, by the former Wade Gallery building

one hour later, trimmed, fluffed and weeded

one hour later, trimmed, fluffed and weeded

By the way, that cute little building is available to buy or rent.

Note there is one less tree. (It was lined up with the nose of the white truck.)  The columnar pear on the right had succumbed to wind and was crispy as can be, so down it came at last.  The ornamental pears that were planted by volunteers, at the port, in 2007 (as I recall) have not exactly thrived.  The ones in full wind (for example, next to an open parking lot) have suffered and, in this case, died.  It makes a big difference just to be protected from the south wind by a bulding.

It took another hour to weed persnickity small weeds out of the gardens by the former Shorebank building and the Ilwaco pavilion.

a carpet of shotweed and little weed grasses

a carpet of shotweed and little weed grasses

That's better!

That’s better!

looking back on the Shorebank garden

looking back on the Shorebank garden

A good display of yellow crocus at the base of redtwig dogwood, Shorebank

A good display of yellow crocus at the base of redtwig dogwood, Shorebank

Walking west to tackle the next garden bed

Walking west to tackle the next garden bed

Next, we did the tiny little square that Allan named “the drive-over garden”.  It’s by a big parking lot where a lot of fishing folks’ pick up trucks come and go and does get driven over and partially flattened fairly often.

The Drive-over Garden, before

The Drive-over Garden, before

A truck definitely went over this santolina.

A truck definitely went over this santolina.


after; Tough plants like Armeria, Santolina, thyme, and Sedums can stand the driving over.  The flowers of delicate spring bulbs…not so much.

We weeded along the garden by the Marie Powell Gallery.  I left Allan to finish because it hurts me knee to walk on river rock, in which that garden is covered, and headed further west to gardens where I’ve removed the rocky cover.

looking west

looking west

Birds are pulling up little crocuses in the gardens by Don’s gallery and the Port office.  I will say that having a river rock mulch does seem to protect the bulbs from birds.   Last fall, I did not even plant any more crocus here.  (Some of the bright yellow ones back at Shorebank were also pulled up.)

Not sure if the culprit is crows, seagulls, or both.

Not sure if the culprit is crows, seagulls, or both.

The birds don’t seem to bother the Iris reticulata in bloom, even though I’ve found bulbs pecked up in fall right after planting.  The irises are much prettier than crocus, anyway.

Iris reticulata

Iris reticulata

and more Iris reticulata

and more Iris reticulata

and more....I love them very much.

and more….I love them very much.

I hope passersby are noticing and feeling awed by the iris display.  I like them so much more than big irises that bloom in summer.

I left Howerton Way to do the garden on the south side of the port office.  By do, I mean weed and clip plants back.



calm weather and still water on the marina next to me

calm weather and still water on the marina next to me



Meanwhile, I grew hungry.  Allan had driven off to the east end of the marina to dump a load of clipped grasses and buckets and weeds (and one dead tree).  He had the lunch box, and my bag with money.  What could be taking him so long, I wondered as time passed.  Had the van broken down?

Later, he shared photos of what did happen.

in the field by the dump spot

in the field by the dump spot

too sunk to move

too sunk to move.  Using a found piece pf plywood to try to get out.

trying to get out

trying to get out

Rescue arrives in the form of passing Ilwaco port crew.

Rescue arrives in the form of passing Ilwaco port crew.

left rather a mess behind.  Fortunately, it's a work area, not a show lawn.

left rather a mess behind. Fortunately, it’s a work area, not a show lawn.


I know exactly why this happened: because I was not along to say “Be careful, don’t sink, don’t get stuck!”  I was just glad to get my tahini and pickle sandwich when he rejoined me in the gardens.

As dusk drew in, we did not not get any further than the garden next to Time Enough Books.  I had dreamed of getting all the way to the end and then the boatyard garden, as well.  Silly.  I thought we might come back for the rest the very next day (but changed my mind and went elsewhere; we’ll get back to the port next week).

looking west...out of time

looking west…out of time


Here’s a fun thing, with which I will be amusing you (I hope) in upcoming posts.  I downloaded a phone app called Map My Walk.  Here it shows that I (Flora is the name I use on the social internet) walked almost three miles in five hours, over the course of four blocks.  The lines are thick as I went over and over and over and around and around each bed.


The thick line going off the the water’s edge is when I did the port office garden (walking back to the van to carry debris; I did not have the wheelbarrow because of the van vs. mud incident). Here is a ‘satellite view’ that shows the workday imposed over the (May through Sept.) Port’s Saturday Market .

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 1.08.04 AM

We dumped the last debris, carefully and without driving onto the grass.  The water in the port remained still and reflective.


CoHo Charter boats.

CoHo Charter boats.

Next: back to Long Beach on Thursday.

Book stuff (just for those who like book stuff)

No more garden stuff till tomorrow’s post.

I finished Open City by reading till 2 AM.

Open City

Open City

Calvin is rather a pest when I read in bed.

pushy and nudgy Calvin

pushy and nudgy Calvin

For those of you who like bookish posts, here are some examples of the beautiful writing in Open City.

I became aware of just how fleeting the sense of happiness was and how flimsy its basis.  A warm restaurant after having come in from the rain, the smell of food and wine, interesting conversation, daylight falling weakly on the polished cherrywood of the tables. It took so little to move the mood from one level to another, as one might move pieces on a chessboard.  Even to be aware of this, in the midst of a happy moment, was to push one of those pieces, and to become slightly less happy.”


Instinctively saving a baby, a little happiness.  Spending time with Rwandans, the ones who survived, a little sadness; the idea of our final anonymity, a little more sadness.  Sexual desire fulfilled without complication, a little more happiness; and it went on like that, as thought succeeded thought.  How petty seemed to me the human condition, that we were subject to this constant struggle to modulate the internal environment, this endless being tossed about like a cloud.  Predicatbly, the mind noted that judgment, too, and assigned it its place: a little sadness.”

On attending a photography exhibit by Martin Munkácsi, he looks at the following photo and thinks, “It was from this picture in particular than Henri Cartier-Bresson had developed the ideal of the decisive moment.”:


Photography seemed to me, as I stood there in the white gallery with its rows of pictures and its press of murmuring spectators, an uncanny art like no other. One moment, in all of history, was captured, but the moments before and after it disappeared into the onrush of time; only that selected moment itself was privileged, saved, for no other reason that having been picked out by the camera’s eye.”

I just had been inspired to finally (eventually) read Anna Karenina while reading The Year of Reading Dangerously on my last bit of staycation.  Suddenly, she appears again in Open City...


The second loveliest passage in Open City was this experience when the narrator goes into a little shop in Chinatown (New York City):



And to me, this was the most beautiful passage in the book:



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Sunday, 2 February 2014

On winter days like these, we usually don’t start work till noon after waiting for the air to warm up.

front path still slightly frosty at noon-ish

front path still slightly frosty at noon-ish

We went back to the Ilwaco boatyard to finish weeding its garden. A cute Siamese cat who met us near the gate was not especially interested in being petted.

note cat at stern of small boat

note cat at stern of small boat

The small Ilwaco boat has a “free” sign on it. I wish I had a place to put it, or that the port would somehow use it for a landscape display!

I’d been looking forward to weeding the south end of the two blocks long strip of garden, especially where grass crept under the chainlink fence.

creeping in

creeping in

For that project, I went to the backside of the fence.



after weeding

after weeding

In my own garden, I would have made a perfect edge with the half moon edger, but here my mission was just to get the grass pulled back from the garden and unearth some of the buried river rock.

Next to the gate, I weeded a gravel edge that has some reseeded plants but it not officially part of the garden, and I suddenly thought “SCREE GARDEN!?” Could this be a great spot for little tufts and buns of rock garden plants? It’s tempting but I fear choice and probably pricey ones might be stolen or…walked on! Or pooped on by dogs, as we often find large deposits of dog poo in this garden.

gravel garden

gravel garden…hmmm….

Allan got most of the garden itself weeded; I did not cut any more of the plants back, even though I long to (especially the Artemisias and Santolinas) because of the upcoming bitterly cold snap we are expecting.

all weeded

all weeded

Euphorbia ready to bloom

Euphorbia ready to bloom

another Euphorbia showing effects of the cold

another Euphorbia showing effects of the cold

A couple of Lavenders were so cold blasted that I yanked them.

A couple of Lavenders were so cold blasted that I yanked them.

done for now!

done for now!

The clouds by the Jessie’s Ilwaco Fish Co field were stunning, promising a good sunset.

clouds over working boats

clouds over working boats

Rocky B

Rocky B

Doesn't this look like an awesome sunset coming up?

Doesn’t this look like an awesome sunset coming up?

More fluffy clouds hung over the view toward Astoria from the field where we dump our debris at the east end of the marina.

clouds and birds on the Columbia River

clouds and birds on the Columbia River

The air temperature had dropped too much to work any more. We resolved to return to the port at sunset time.

Sunsets are so hard to predict! This one turned out to be pleasant but not spectacular at all.




Allan walked out on the docks where he found a carrot floating in the water….

flotsam or jetsam?

flotsam or jetsam?

We weren't the only ones not interested in the ball game that was on telly at the time.

We weren’t the only ones not interested in the ball game that was on telly at the time.

Some boat pictures from Allan:





We drove out to the south end of the marina to look toward Cape Disappointment and the Coast Guard station.

at the south end of the marina, looking seaward

at the south end of the marina, looking seaward
a sea serpent cloud on the horizon

a sea serpent cloud on the horizon

Monday, 3 February 2014

I had thought that, the previous evening, Allan had low enthusiasm for working another day. Yet when I got up, the lunchbox was packed and ready to go. We had gotten stuck on Friday with a half load of Long Beach debris so it seemed like a good idea to make more Long Beach debris in order to make a dumping trip up to town financially worthwhile.

The key to the city works yard gate got changed and we don’t have our own copy yet. We work different hours from the crew and often have a load to dump well after they have gone home for the day, especially in the long days of summer.

I didn’t have a plan for what to actually accomplish in Long Beach. Allan suggested the parking lot berms, a great idea because they would create lots of debris.

north berm, before, with Stipa gigantea, my favourite ornamental grass

north berm, before, with Stipa gigantea, my favourite ornamental grass



south berm, with another dratted phormium

south berm, with another dratted phormium

Back when I couldn’t bear to throw away a plant, I’d move Phormiums from one place to another. Now I wish I had just ditched them all!

We acquired a whole trailer load of debris but delivered it to the dump site in two trips so that we could go at break time and try to get a key. No joy! but we’ve been promised one as soon as they make more copies. (Honest, it’s not because of us that they changed the lock!)

south berm.  That was supposed to be a dwarf mugo pine.

south berm. That was supposed to be a dwarf mugo pine.

We did very little weeding, just chopping and clipping and pulling tatty rose campions. The weeding will come another day.

early Narcissi on the south berm

early Narcissi on the south berm

and some species crocus

and some species crocus

On our second dump run, we found treasure in the brush pile! The crew had thrown out the old fence from the police station garden, the one that was run into by a car late last year. Allan can make it into a shorter fence. Score!



We still had daylight left; we’d had to get into the city works gate before it closes at four. So we went downtown to trim up a few planters near The Cottage Bakery. (This did lead to the acquisition of two delicious tiger paw pastries.)

I was so disappointed to see that the Phormiums in the garden south of Funland (the one that looks like it is a city garden but is not) had been cut back rather than removed. I had lobbied hard for their removal.

horrendous Phormium (the biggest)

horrendous Phormium (the biggest) a couple of weeks ago



I felt all disgruntled and wished if someone decided to just cut it back, could they not leave it stumpy like that? We did not prune that!

Oh well, on to the planters.





Allan worked across the street from me, including trimming plants in the whiskey barrel planters in Fish Alley. He called out, “There is a beautiful iris here; it’s three colours and looks like an insect’s wings.” I said, “Must be Katherine Hodgekin!” and indeed she was. Katharine Hodgekin is a rock garden iris cultivar that I haven’t grown before and I’ve been waiting for her to make an appearance. The Royal Horticultural Society calls her an iris reticulata but I bought her as Iris histrioides.

Iris 'Katharine Hodgekin'

Iris ‘Katharine Hodgekin’

from Allan's iPhone camera

from Allan’s iPhone camera

another, next to Sedum 'Cape Blanco'

another, next to Sedum ‘Cape Blanco’

Iris reticulata from a mix

Iris reticulata from a mix

One of the barrels had some lichen on the side.


a close up for Mr Tootlepedal, who has been photographing lots of lichens of late

a close up for Mr Tootlepedal, who has been photographing lots of lichens of late

Update: Mr Tootlepedal says it is a fungi.

more Iris reticulata in one of the street planters

more Iris reticulata in one of the street planters

How I love them! I do hope passersby are noticing them. Two people have commented about them to me at Olde Towne Café, so I know some people do see them.

Again, the clouds looked like a good sunset was brewing. I felt too tired to chase it down at the port so just went out to the back yard next door to see it.

I could tell by the line of light over the western hills that the sunset over the ocean was spectacular...

I could tell by the line of light over the western hills that the sunset over the ocean was spectacular…

I settled for reflective clouds over School Hill.

I settled for reflective clouds over School Hill…

and to the east over my garden.

and to the east over my garden.

I do fervently hope to have a few more staycation days starting on Tuesday… Surely it is not good for the plants to be cut back right before a cold snap so we can slack off for another week or so? I still have such a very large pile of library books to read. There is a sure sign that staycation is sort of over, though:

The work board is full again!

The work board is full again! (not in order of importance)

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Friday, 31 January 2014

I did not want staycation to end, and yet the garden by Marsh’s Free Museum and Captain Bob’s Chowder in Long Beach had been bugging me lately every time we went to town.  With deep cold predicted for next week and then possible rain, I knew I would feel better about life if we got the park ready for President’s Day weekend (February 15-17) while we had good working weather.  And in the present moment I was not happy about the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’s handsome dried flowers from last year hiding the brand new crocuses and narcissi.

Fifth Street Park before

Fifth Street Park before

Now, that’s better!




On the south side of the park by the restroom building, the Miscanthus had begun its usual shedding all over the lawn and another set of Sedums needed clipping.




By the drinking fountain, two of the few remaining Phormiums in Long Beach town looked ghastly (so cleverly chosen by the landscape architect who designed the park to inset poky sharp leaves in the drinking fountain area).  We have gotten rid of most of the Phormiums in town.  One of these was too big for us to eradicate, so Allan cut it back and dug out the small one (the one closest to the drinking fountain) while I walked two blocks worth of street trees and planters doing more clipping and weeding.


before...hideous Phormium (New Zealand flax)

before…hideous Phormium (New Zealand flax)



While I walked around the planters, a woman with a strong accent came up to me determinedly proffering a piece of paper from a sheaf in her hands. When she saw I was busy she said “Put in your pocket.”  I had a feeling it was something religious.  Indeed it was, as I discovered upon reading it later.  It seems to be her own personal religion with no attempt to lure me to a certain church!   While the “one male and female” thing makes me wonder suspiciously if there is some anti-gay-marriage subtlety going on here, it otherwise has a certain crazy poetry to it.  You might see her around town and ask her what it all means.

a woman on a mission

a woman on a mission

Cleaning up the park took half a day and gave me a sense of great relief.   On the way home, I found two details to admire in the planters in front of the Ilwaco Timberland Library.

Iris reticulata

Iris reticulata

and some stunning tulip foliage

and some stunning tulip foliage

We were drawn to the marina by some amazing clouds and the workday reward of a good sunset.

sunset reflecting on clouds over the east end of town

sunset reflecting on clouds over the east end of town


Allan’s photo

a big puff of pink over Cook's Hill (Allan's photo)

a big puff of pink over Cook’s Hill (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo...looking east

Allan’s photo…looking east toward Stringtown Road

Smokey was glad to see me and possibly as sad as I am to see staycation end.

"Where were you all day?"

“Where were you all day?”

Saturday, 1 February 2014

I had no real intention of working on Saturday.  Allan and I had a leisurely breakfast at Olde Towne Café, where Luanne pointed out that the forsythia cuttings I had brought her to force had burst into bloom.

forsythia at Olde Towne

forsythia at Olde Towne

At home, I decided to do just one thing…other than admiring a few plants:

Hamamelis (winter witch hazel)

Hamamelis (winter witch hazel)







and hellebore!

and hellebore!

My poor Euphorbia characias wulfenii is blooming even though its tips got blighted by cold.

My poor Euphorbia characias wulfenii is blooming even though its tips got blighted by cold.

A few spires look the way they should look.

A few spires look the way they should look.

some cute little lettuces had reseeded...

some cute little lettuces had reseeded…

a rosemary half killed by cold

a rosemary half killed by cold

It was a relief to walk out into the garden with no danger tree looming.

It was a relief to walk out into the garden with no danger tree looming.

If I accomplished my one task, dumping out some dead hanging baskets and putting the soil back in a newly expanded garden bed, I could then go read…but wait…dang it…the sun came out and the weather warmed up a few degrees.  Drat and blast.  We decided we had to go weed and clip at the Ilwaco Boatyard garden, again with the mission of getting ahead of the public garden clean ups before President’s Day weekend.

Warning: three photos down I am going to post something truly unpleasant.  (Don’t be too afraid to go on.)

looking south from the north end of the boatyard garden

looking south from the north end of the boatyard garden, before…

not just weeds: reseeded California poppies and Iceland and other poppies, too!

not just weeds: reseeded California poppies and Iceland and other poppies, too! (and strawflowers)

Here is the unpleasantness, on a piece of trash.  For those who hoped the cold would kill all the slugs:  It was wishful thinking.



Allan weeded while I went all along the boatyard clipping some plants back.

a weeded stretch of garden

a weeded stretch of garden

With the cold weather (20 degrees!) predicted, I did not cut everything back…hoping the old growth will protect the base of the plants.

I left the Artemisia 'Powis Castle' unclipped for now.

I left the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ unclipped for now.

looking south with the garden weeded all the way to the gate

looking south with the garden weeded all the way to the gate

The crocuses look better in a weeded garden!

The crocuses look better in a weeded garden!

in the boatyard...evidence of recent rainy staycation days

in the boatyard…evidence of recent rainy staycation days


I’m looking forward to weeding the south end of the boatyard on the next non-rainy not too cold day.

south end

south end

It really does work to weed in the fall.  At the end of 2013’s work days, we left off at the south end and went on staycation, and even though weeds at the north end came back, they are much thicker down here.

In the evening, we met Jamie and J9 (and introduced these two friends to each other) for a talk at Time Enough Books at the Port of Ilwaco.


book discussion

book discussion

Shop dog Scout thought the gathering was all about her.

Shop dog Scout thought the gathering was all about her.

One of the first stories the author spoke of was one in which someone has cut a tree to a twelve foot stump.  Steve Allred expressed much bafflement about why anyone would do that, and I felt much internal amusement because we had so recently done JUST that when having Danger Tree cut down!  We had our reasons, Steve: to provide a snag for birds, and branch to hang our blue bottle decorative thingie from, and I already have a climbing hydrangea attached to the trunk.

An audience member (I think Karla, bookstore owner) said that while reading the book of interconnected stories all set in the same small Oregon town, she imagined which characters would align with certain people on the Long Beach Peninsula.

Even though I was going to purchase it anyway, when Allred’s talk revealed that he is pro choice, pro gay marriage, and liberal in general, I thought to myself:  SOLD!  I look forward to reading it when I have polished off my stack of library books (with their threat of overdue fines).

Several of the audience expressed that they are not much for short stories (me neither), yet the interconnectedness of the stories made it a satisfying read for them.  “Web of life” is my favourite movie genre, and I have fond memories of the interconnected novels and short stories by Canadian author Elizabeth Laurence.  I’ll let you know how I like A Simplified Map of the Real World.

To end the evening on an excellent note, Karla gave us some of her spouse, Peter’s, cookies to take home.  They had been an excellent treat during the reading.  He had made dozens, apparently, so quite a few were left over.

Lucky us, we got a bagful to take home! enough to fill a big that a hardback book would have fit in.

Lucky us, we got a bagful to take home! enough to fill a big that a hardback book would have fit in.

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