Posts Tagged ‘kitchen garden’

Saturday, 23 July 2022

WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific County present:

We entered down a long driveway…

…and were greeted by the gardeners, family members, and a cute, soft and friendly dog.

To the right was the kitchen garden.

In the back garden, we found lots of sit spots, shady shelters, homes and water for birds, flowers for pollinators, and a rustic greenhouse and shed.

The garden was chock full of the gardeners’ creativity and humor. I observed guests enjoying the signs.

I’d have liked to spend more time with that darling dog, but we had four more gardens to see.

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Sunday, 27 December 2020

At home

The weather started out badly. Faerie helped me write a couple of blog posts. Typing was a bit of a challenge.

It is slow going with her editorial assistance.

We then caught up on the Tootlepedal blog. I like to read it about a week behind because it always gets lots of interesting comments.

I then noticed that the sun had come out. This surprised me, as the day had begun stormy.

I had only an hour before a three o’clock scheduled zoom event in which to try to get something done outside.

The red rain gauge

My chosen mission was to move soil from the first fish tote that I had filled with soil in late summer. I could not remember if I had put pieces of wood in the bottom for hugelkultur. I would shift the soil to another tote to find out, but first I had to move potted plants that were stashed in both of them.

Skooter came to supervise.

I wonder how often he blocks light from my cold frame.

In an hour, I had the potted plants moved. The target bin already had some small logs topped with shredded hebe and other plant debris.

I added some of the wool mixed with leaves that I had gotten yesterday.

The arrival of the wool had been cosmically well-timed. Yesterday, in that waking up time when I half-dream about the garden, I’d thought about the wool that I’d gotten before from Purly Shell Fiber Arts and about how I wished I had more for the compost bins and totes. And then I had gotten the message that wool was at the fiber shop waiting for me.

I had barely started moving soil from the other bin when three o clock arrived. My zoom meeting was a book club organized by Ann Amato, and I had enjoyed the chosen book, The One Straw Revolution. So in I went, even though I find it hard to do anything indoors in good weather. And very good weather it was…warm like spring and with no wind and with birds chattering in the Bogsy Wood trees.

So I have to confess that I wasn’t too sad when, after three tries, I couldn’t get into the meeting despite careful copying of the meeting ID number. “Invalid meeting ID”, I was told by zoom. Later, I learned that the meeting did happen, but I had gone back out to the garden.

Between three thirty and dark (about four forty five now), I got all the soil shifted out of one bin to the other and, indeed, I had not put any wood for hugelkuktur into the bottom.

While I was getting the last of the soil out, Allan had taken time from his book project to attach a fence piece from our ingredients pile to the east side of the original bin. This will help keep the hops and rose from shading out the bin.

The target bin was nice and full (although it will sink down) and I had been able top up some other bins, as well.

I just had time before the cold dark to pick a mess of greens (collards, chard, mustard).

These two hadn’t even bothered to go out onto the catio.

We had received our monthly Universal Yums box, a cheering pandemic indulgence. We took it out of the garage quarantine into which mail and packages go for a couple of days. This month, it contained a plethora of treats “from everywhere” instead of from just one country. (Since we joined, we have gotten Britain, Columbia, Russia, and Italy. Russia and Italy were the best, although as a Brit-Ophile, that one made me the happiest.)

Turkey and stuffing crisps from the UK were our treat along with a nice cuppa Builders.

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Thursday, 19 March 2020

We are keeping to our own property for a few days while we sort out what to do next. At first, it seemed like Allan might still be able to go boating close to home. (I was concerned about further distances, because what if he had a vehicular breakdown or other problem that required human contact?) But having all been asked by our governor to avoid recreational travel, Allan refocused his boating energy into his boat building project. Part of what influenced him was this article by the Washington Trails Association.

He laid out all the parts while sorting them.

My mission was to get some more early veg planted. I was reassured to read that I can plant spuds till early April, as I am still waiting for my order to arrive.

I had some Sugar Sprint peas to plant and asked Allan to help me put together a bamboo teepee for them, after I had done some extensive weeding.



When I read the packet and learned that Sugar Sprint peas only get two feet tall, I planted them in big patio pots instead with some decorative short metal tuteurs to guide them. The tall teepee got these:

I enhanced the bamboo with lily stalks and other twiggy bits to keep cats from digging there.

Planting seeds is not my favourite thing. I would rather have been weeding. The garden looks a solid mass of weeds, but in most areas the soil is so loose and nice that the weeds come out in a deliciously buttery way.

I have some less pleasant weeding to do in an area infested with couch grass, where we removed a big physocarpus awhile back to make grass control easier. I yearned for the days of yore, those happy times when I offered the physocarpus and other plants up on a local Facebook gardening group, and gardeners came over to get them, and life was free and easy.

I started weeding there and then stopped with the realization that the second teepee will be for runner beans, and it is too early to plant them. I’ll get back to this later.

Today’s other project was to take the strawberries out of some containers where the deer have stuck their heads through my poorly installed bird netting. The strange semi round rebar thingie that we salvaged from the free wood pile became the strawberry enclosure in the part of the garden that is outside the deer fence, next to the Nora House driveway.

Some new bird netting fitted over it perfectly.

While transplanting, I pondered the apocalypse and thought about whether or not to try to make a deer fence for that area out of some good solid black plastic deer fence that we have and some bamboo or driftwood or whatever else we might have around, including an old door. My fenced garden has little room for veg as it is almost all ornamental (except for herbs, apple tree, elephant garlic, blueberries, edible flowers). I can incorporate some chard along the edges and that’s about all.

With the makeshift deer fence in mind, I dug up some rhubarb plants (two of four) to put them in an area that will be outside the imaginary fence. The short but juicy red stems broke right off. The plants were buried deeply by new soil that had been added from the gravel project. I regretted moving them, having missed a lot of root, but at least it resulted in stewed rhubarb as a tasty dessert later on.

Container gardening will meet some kitchen garden needs, inspired by this excellent book:

I still have strawberries to transplant out of the vulnerable containers to other, lighter weight and moveable containers.

Some green bunching onions went into the container on the left and one row of radishes into the middle one; then I searched the web and learned that deer eat radish leaves. Two other kinds of radishes went into containers on the patio (inside the deer fence), along with some chard. I asked Allan to think of a clever way to enclose the concrete pad behind the garage with some sort of deer protection that actually works.

To clear out a big container on the patio, I moved a Corokia sort of shrublet whose name I forget. Sunshine something. Golden foliage. Too close to the cistus but it’s desperate times. They can intermingle, perhaps. I hope it survives.

The good ship ‘Ann Lovejoy’ may also go to veg instead of cosmos when the tulips are done. It will then be the food ship ‘Ann Lovejoy’. It would look best with a tall veg, perhaps. Not sure what, nor do I think I can order more and different seeds because I hear the seed companies are running out.

I may not have mentioned that the reason for all this is not because I think the grocery store food chain will collapse, but because it might be three months or more before I feel safe going to a store, and because these days I don’t want to eat a salad mix that someone else has handled. I had resolved when partially retired to grow more veg. This is just a two year advance on that plan.

All day I enjoyed my birthday present from Allan, a pair of solar fountains in the water boat.

In the evening, we have been watching Black Mirror. I love it (except for finding the first episode deeply disturbing), yet while watching, I notice the scenes of people mingling, as life used to be, and it makes me nostalgic and sad, even though I haven’t been much of a mingler of late. I was moved by an article about how the world might be permanently changed, an assortment of ideas on Politico.

Tomorrow, more of the same.

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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock, Washington

Partridge’s Garden

The Partridge’s garden had been fairly recently installed by Backyard Blitz Landscaping, with one area toward the back still under construction.  The whole yard was beautifully laid out and of interest even though it was so new, and the house itself, also new, had an appealing and pleasing design.

from the street

inside the gate to the left
and to the right
and to the left again

I so appreciated that the bark mulch is brown and not red.  It makes all the difference, avoids that raw look and is restful to the eyes.

Allan’s photo

The garage doors were also soothing in appearance.

We admired the tilted posts on the house….

And, of course, we were most impressed with the pots.  The garden owner told us that they were planted by Nancy, whose garden we’d see later in the tour and who is big in the public gardening of Castle Rock.

On the east side of the house, a tall privacy screen blocked part of the house next door, and the new shrubs were given room to grow.

Allan’s photo

We had wondered why not all the fencing between the two houses was tall for privacy, until we found out that the owner’s son lives next door.

 Behind the house, we found a covered patio and more gorgeous Nancy pots.

Allan’s photo

…and lemonade and cookies on offer.

 We were invited to go next door, through an open room and onto a pool patio, to see more stunning pots.

I do wish I could get the chartreuse ornamental sweet potato vine to thrive at the beach.  We just do not seem to have the heat.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

I had made a new friend.

Allan’s photo

We returned to the big garden next door.

To the back, this area is soon to be completed.

On the other side of the large outbuilding, we found a productive kitchen garden.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

We continued our walk around the new ornamental garden.

Allan’s photo
at the front again
a last look

We saw the owner of this garden again later, at Nancy’s garden, and she agreed that her garden could be on the tour again to show its progress.  We would be interested to see that.  One thing that I appreciate about this tour is that the landscaping company is given credit where credit is due.  In fact, they were hosting this garden, but we did not get to meet them because they had gone to lunch.

Next: Castle Rock Nursery.


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Saturday, 20 July 2019

Gardens, Sea and Art tour

presented by the WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties

Ocean Shores

Garden 7: Beauty and the Bay

I had reasons to look forward to this garden.  Diane is the aunt of Terri of Markham Farm, and Terri would be co-hosting.  I am not playing favourites when I say I liked this garden best.

photo by Evan Bean

along the street

along the street

Allan’s photo

the other side of the front driveway

Kilyn’s photo on instagram…followed by her caption

(Each garden had a sign reminding us of the plant sale at the community garden.)

Note those cool rocks with holes in them.  I found some like that in 1991 on Kalaloch Beach.

into the back garden

just inside the gate

Allan’s photo

To our left was the memory garden with mementos including the hard hat and boots worn by Uncle Neil when he helped build the road to Paradise on Mount Rainer.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

On to the back garden.  I was already smitten.

To our right, a sunroom/greenhouse.

fire circle


Allan’s photo

To our left, vegetables in barrels….

Roses and driftwood…

photo by Evan Bean

roses and agapanthus…

In the corner, a garden boat.

Then a mossy burbling rock…


..and a driftwood gate.


photo by Evan Bean

Outside the gate, a view of North Bay:

Looking back at the house:

fire circle

Allan’s photo

On the deck:

Allan’s photo

Leaving the deck…

…we explored the rest of the bayside garden, a separate-feeling area to the right of the driftwood gate.

path to a gate

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

the bay side of the house

Twin frogs instead of lions flank the doorway.

another burbling rock

Allan’s photo

wheelbarrows and probably pots of spring bulbs beside the house

We still had not seen it all; we next found the enclosed garden at the front of the house.

a little pond

You might recognize this from the garden tour poster.

photo by Evan Bean

a beautiful front porch

a woman after my own heart in many ways

We had found Terri in the front garden courtyard and had a good chat.  Because her aunt was out touring other gardens, we did not get to meet her, but I know Terri will tell her how much we loved her garden.

Kilyn and Peter had arranged a tailgate teatime for four with homemade scones (Peter’s) and cookies and small sandwiches.  What a delight. We were joined by Evan and Ann.

Allan’s photo

We loaded up plants that Ann had brought for me to purchase from two nurseries she works for (propagating plants): Secret Garden Growers and Cistus Nursery.

While Kilyn and Peter went on ahead to the next (and last) garden, I just had to have one more walk through the Lemke garden because I loved it so much.  When we finally were about to tear ourselves away, Teresa from the Planter Box arrived, much to our surprise and pleasure.

She had manage to wrangle two days off from her garden center, so of course we all extended an invitation to her to come tour Markham Farm garden with us on Sunday.  We left her chatting with Terri and departed for the final tour garden.



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Saturday, 21 July 2018

2018 Spade and Wade Garden Tour

Sponsored by the Tillamook County Master Gardener Association

garden two: Vegetables and Glorious Trees, Tillamook

garden greeters under one of two enormous liriodendron (tulip) trees

the pair of liriodendrons

liriodendron leaf

Allan’s photo

Allan said, “It was a hot day, and trees are good.  It was the only garden where I laid down on the lawn and looked up at the trees and was just happy.”

Allan’s photo

Every tree has a story.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

pump house and hypericum

next to the barn “nestled in the foothills east of Tillamook”

“Stone sculptors from the Bay City Arts Center will be demonstrating the art of stone sculpting.”

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

stone carving

Allan’s photo

By the barn, in a pen, a bunny was getting much attention.

Allan’s photo of Harry, the bunny

Allan’s photo

Harry liked Allan. (Allan’s photo)

“The house is over 85 years old and surrounded by large fir trees to keep the property private.”

Allan’s photo

“Ruth’s specialty is bonsai.”

Allan’s photo

local bonsai club (here is a ten year old article about them)

Garden owner Don’s pièce de résistance is his vegetable garden, with a view of the foothills.

the always interesting compost pile

“He believes in simplicity, using tools from his grandfather to hoe and weed the grounds because they still work!”

“….neat, wide rows of beans, peas, potatoes, corn, squash, lettuces, cabbages. blueberries, and more…”

stone fence toppers

Don said that he grew everything from seed except for tomatoes and peppers and that he hand waters the vegetable rows only, which is why there are few weeds between the rows.  He made a hose guide so that the hose stays in place.

A cut piece of jug of some sort keeps the hose from sliding back.

The back yard:

back yard (Allan’s photo)

As we departed for two nearby gardens, we admired some cows right across the highway.


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Saturday, 21 July 2018


On the two hour drive down to Tillamook (harrowing when a vehicle suddenly stopped in front of us due to the driver’s sudden decision to go to the beach!), we did a quick driving tour of Pam’s Seaside gardens, which we will include in a post-tour visit to her own garden.

We stopped ever so briefly at Seaside 7 Dees garden center.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

And, in Tillamook, at Five Rivers Coffee Roasters for a comfort stop before touring.  I like their garden, with tables, at the back of their coffee shop.

from the tour booklet

The five rivers are the Tillamook, the Trask, the Wilson, the Kilchis, and the Miami.

planted garden benches

Allan’s photo


It’s on 101, so don’t miss this charming place if you are driving the coast road.

Guess which comment on their chalk board is mine.

I expected the tour to be farm and food garden oriented because it is in a dairy cow and corn farmland area, famous for its Tillamook brand cheese and ice cream.

We passed many fields of corn on the way.

The smell of cow manure floated in the air throughout the Tillamook area, an odor that is enticing to me because I wished I could take some buckets of cow poo back to my garden.

2018 Spade and Wade Garden Tour

Sponsored by the Tillamook County Master Gardener Association

For our ten dollar ticket fee, we got a 24 page keepsake program with information about the local area, local attractions from Tillamook to Cape Meares, maps, and garden descriptions with color photos.

The Master Gardeners club did indeed have a hearty crew of parking assistants at each garden, which was much appreciated.  I also appreciated the welcoming encouragement to take photos and ask questions.  I also deeply appreciate that one of the missions of this tour and the one in Grays Harbor is to have gardens that are created entirely by their owners.  That makes them much more meaningful to me than gardens whose owners hire others to do the design (and work). It also tends to make the gardens less hardscaped, perhaps humbler, and more soulful and personal. (Side note about other tours: When gardeners are hired to design, plant, and weed, they should get credit for the work in garden tour programs.)

This tour takes place every other year.  Last time it conflicted with the Aberdeen tour, so I was especially pleased that it was on a different weekend this year.

Note: In garden descriptions, I touch out the last names for the owners’ privacy.

I theorize that the tour is called Spade and Wade because the Tillamook area tends to flood in the winter, but perhaps it is because of the “five rivers”.

Garden one: A Haven for Birds, Tillamook

from the program:

Each garden had one of these pavers.

It made me happy to see such a bright front garden.

a garden all abuzz with bees


Barbara, garden owner, at work on a bonsai

Allan’s photo captures the joy of garden touring as they discuss what to trim.

An honest description of an area in progress as we tour the front garden:

an asclepias (milkweed), which I am trying to get going in my garden.

fuchsia and hydrangea

This hydrangea was popular with bees.

Shade garden by front porch:

Oh! I used to have this tiny flowered fuchsia!

Allan’s photo

passion flower by the entryway

Now we’ll go into the back garden.

a little greenhouse

Allan’s photo


I would like a huge bin like that, maybe galvanized metal, maybe an old wooden hot tub, for an instant pond.

greenhouse window

herbs and edible flowers just past the greenhouse

strawberries in a bed by the greenhouse

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Farmland is the backdrop to the vegetable garden with its beds “raised to get their feet out of the water table“.

blueberries protected from birds

beyond the garden


“dahlias—wedding flowers for our son’s wedding in 2008”

an old gate just like my grandma’s old gate

purple peas




more compost

I do not know what those bins are made out of, but it looks like a better siding than our wooden pallets, because of better air circulation and ability to see what is going on in there. Maybe Allan can figure it out.

Regular readers will know I like compost bins. These three show the progress.

bin one

bin two

bin three

Jamie Rehak’s wind chimes

yucca flowers against the house

We had now perambulated the entire back garden and arrived at these folks selling their handmade canning jar solar lights.

I bought the blue one, upper right.

The gentleman in orange, below, is John, the garden owner.  I complimented him on his enviable kitchen gardening skills.

One more look at the delightful front garden on our way out:

Allan’s photo



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Saturday, 14 July 2018

Colorful Coastal Gardens tour

 Grayland, Washington

presented by the Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific County

Chie and Bill’s garden, Grayland

Gardener’s quotation: “If you want to be happy for a lifetime, be a gardener.”

At first, I thought the house next door belonged to the garden and thought, “That’s not small.”  Later, Chie herself told me a lot of people get that first impression.  Their 600 square foot little house is tucked so well into the garden that it is not as readily seen.

After touring the garden, I was sure that they could have checked off more of these boxes:

Allan’s photo

beside the driveway

big house, little house (Allan’s photo)

the little house

by the front corner

Allan’s photo

“….the water feature that Bill installed near the driveway, greeting us with the music of flowing water.”

Allan’s photo

I felt delight as we came around into the back garden beside the house.

I loved everything about it!

I love outbuildings, and this garden has two, plus a greenhouse.

garden shed (Allan’s photo)

on the garden shed exterior wall

“The greenhouse is not heated, but look for potted lemons and limes that winter in the shelter.”

Allan’s photo

inside (Allan’s photo)

from inside (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

lemons and limes

“A playhouse is a structure built by Bill and occupied frequently by grandchildren.” Very lucky grandchildren, who will remember this garden for the rest of their lives.

Note the softly rounded beach rock.  Chie says it is comfy to walk in in bare feet.

playhouse porch

side of playhouse (Allan’s photo)

I totally missed this. (Allan’s photo)

Behind the greenhouse is a kitchen garden.

Allan’s photo

and compost bins

A path goes further out into a wild area.

Now we turn back to keep exploring around the house.

side of the playhouse

I like the driftwood and old window frame.

next to the playhouse porch

at the back of the house

I see a shy kitty!

“The garden is designed for family to spill out onto the grounds.”  The big comfy deck with lots of seating is a good, warm and sunny extension of the interior.

smooth and comfy driftwood railings on every set of stairs (thank you)

one of so many spectacular clematis we saw today

“…a tumbling climbing rose [and clematis], providing shade to the sitting area.”

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

home made rain chain (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

“The cook’s garden, located near the deck…filled with herbs and salad ingredients…abounds in kitchen necessities.”

the beauty of lettuce

Daylily flowers are also edible.

deck from the side

I talked with Chie for awhile about small house living, a topic of interest because I lived in a less than 600 square foot house for 14 years.  I would probably still live there had it been as sunny as this one.  (Mine was in deep shade all winter.)

Up on the deck:

Allan’s photo

I did not want to leave, but we had three more gardens to see.


I liked the look of the little house next door to Chie and Bill’s place.

Its smallness and metal roof appeal to me.

Immediately following is a brief bonus post of two places we stopped before the next garden.

Takeaways:  Put my variegated acanthus in a pot for better care.

I saw some stunning daylilies today that are making me rethink them…again….if I can find ones that are immune to daylily leaf streak.

I urgently want an outbuilding for me!  (Allan has one.)



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First, an exciting announcement. The Astoria garden tour is back!  Read more about it here.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

We continued our peninsula garden tour day, with Ann and Evan, at Dave and Melissa’s Sea Star Garden on the outskirts of Oysterville.  On several acres, much of which is ungardenable wetland, our friends have spent the past two years using their rare days off from their gardening business to create their own paradise. Because they used to own a nursery called Glauca Moon, they arrived here with a large palette of plants in pots.

Dave and Mel’s past life

Sea Star Garden

On the left as you enter the driveway is a large raised garden where once a decrepit old house stood (a house that was unsafe to even enter).  This garden came about when a new septic system had to be installed last year.

Melissa and Evan

On top, a carpet of sedums will solve the problem of not being able to plant anything deep rooted on the septic system.

Allan’s photo


Dave, me, Melissa, Ann, Sean (Allan thinks this looks like a landing party from Star Trek.)

By the back deck of the house is a water feature with waterfall, made by a friend of the previous owner.

Evan and Ann looking at the pond.

the deck pond

in the water (Allan’s photo)

water lilies (Allan’s photo)

pond frog (Allan’s photo)

north of the house

north of the house

The property had been owned by a gardener before and abounds in interesting trees and shrubs.

The Eucalyptus that Melissa named Elvis.

Ann and one of at least two Acer griseum (paperbark maple)

Acer griseum (Allan’s photo)

one of the maples that Dave and Mel brought with them

Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Eskimo Sunset’; This tree had a surprise.

bird nest (Allan’s photo)

old bridge on the north side (Allan’s photo)

Evan, Ann, Melissa in the woods to the north of the house (Allan’s photo)

As Dave and Mel clear the underbrush, they are finding all sorts of hardscapes like two small ponds and a big stone circle with a stone bench.

Evan and the mysterious stone circle (Allan’s photo)

Hostas are one of their favourites in the shade garden.

on the deck (You can find sand dollars on the north end of the beach here.)

Next, we went to the garden of a North Beach Garden Gang friend, just south of Oysterville.

Todd’s Family Garden

As we drove up, Todd was weeding.

Allan’s photo

The house reminded us all of a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece.

Around the family home, Todd has planted his collection from his years as the display garden curator at Plant Delights nursery in North Carolina.

in the sunshine

Morina longifolia

Ann and Evan examining and inspecting (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Ann and Evan admire the view of Willapa Bay.

Todd surveys an area full of potential.

You can see Allan taking this photo of the shade garden.

Todd’s shade garden (Allan’s photo)


Spigelia marilandica ‘Little Redhead’

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The kitchen garden, which one of Todd’s family describes as “a real garden, none of this foo foo stuff” lay far below.  Because my heel was hurting, I sat this part of the trip out. (Todd kindly offered to go get a truck but I did not want everyone to have to wait.) Allan’s photos of that part of the excursion:

descending on a woodland path

the kitchen and flower cutting garden

Evan in the berry patch

kitchen garden

Ann harvesting carrots

sweet peas

fenced garden

walking to the bay

Todd has a handful of lettuce and carrots that became our salad for the next two nights.

Ann in her element

back up the road (the woods path down was a shortcut)


While I waited up top, I looked at my present from Lorna.  She had given me a book as we parted ways at The Oysterville Garden.

Thank you, Lorna!

a dedication that speaks to my heart

I also pondered curmudgeonly thoughts about garden tour programs that I feel compelled to share.  If curmudgeonliness annoys rather than amuses you, please avoid.

One of the gardens on today’s informal tour, Martie and Steve’s, had been on the local tour the day before. The tour program suggested its symmetry was “reminiscent of centuries old British estates” and “will put you in mind of Downton Abbey”.  Perhaps because it had a cricket lawn? Perhaps because of the green lawns in general?  It reminded me of my thoughts about garden tour descriptions, something that is always on my mind during garden tour season.

The Captain Stream House

Martie and Steve’s garden completely stood on its own and did not need to be compared to any other place.  The garden’s lines seemed clean and modern to me and certainly did not remind me of Downton Abbey.  Other than my usual desire to be in the UK, I would rather visit their garden than the site of Downton Abbey, anyway.

 I was reminded of the previous year’s comparison of a small garden to an Italian courtyard, leading to confusion on the part of tour guests (much of which I heard about later…even unto it being mentioned this year, and at the time, a friend texted me from that garden asking for enlightenment about the description).  I think that serious garden tour guests take every word of a description into consideration.  Raising expectations is not wise.  That particular garden (the non-Italian-courtyard) also stood well on its own because its big pots and hand made pavers were all portable; I would have described it as being a small garden that showed perfect solutions for folks who are renters rather than property owners.  There’s no need to get fanciful and make tour guests expect something grander than what is there.  Instead of describing a garden as “extensive” when it isn’t, describe it honestly as small but plant-i-ful. (To be fair, this year the word “extensive” was used to describe a tiny local garden in a newspaper article, not in the program itself.)  I think it is especially important not to aggrandize a garden.

The Master Gardeners’ north county tour, which I have now attended for two years, is good at avoiding hyperbole (with only one exception out of 12 garden descriptions in two years…a solid record of accurate descriptions).

The Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend programs tend to be accurate and non-aggrandizing (although I do remember, just once, looking for a cactus garden that turned out to be a couple of specimens in a pot).

I also do not like being told to walk here, stroll there, sit there, admire this, ask the gardener that.  Just describe the garden in a factual sense.  Here is an imaginary example: If I am told that “a salvaged window defines the edge of the garden by the river”, I will find it and admire it on my own without being told “Be sure to admire the salvaged window,” or “Ask the gardener where she got that window.”  (Clearly, I do have issues with being told what to do—thus 41 years of self employment.)

I don’t expect all readers to agree.  Now, let’s go on to one of my favourite peninsula gardens, the bayside garden of Steve and John.


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Sunday, 16 July 2017

After we had toured The Oysterville Garden, Lorna and Gail and Debbie (who had seen our next garden on yesterday’s local tour) went on their respective ways.  Dave, Melissa, Ann, Evan, Allan and I drove a few blocks north to Steve and Martie’s garden.  I’ve never met Steve and Martie although, before they moved to Oysterville, Allan and I worked on a garden just south of theirs, a garden that Dave and Melissa do now.  Dave and Mel (Sea Star Gardening) also helped ready Marty and Steve’s garden for the tour, and the creator of the fabulous Oysterville garden down the street has had some influence here.  You can read about Martie’s design work here.  And here.  And here.  And you can read about her Oysterville home, whose garden we are about to visit, here.

Martie designs plant decor for clients including the Ace Hotel in Portland.

historic Captain Stream House (Allan’s photo)

Captain Stream House (Allan’s photo). Much of Oysterville has lichened picket fences like this one.

front garden (Allan’s photo)

Ann (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

That’s one of my favourites, Verbena bonariensis, to the right.

a handsome stand of eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed)

orchids (Allan’s photo)

From the back deck.

A few days later, I happened to be at The Planter Box garden center when Teresa got a phone call asking what plant had been in the container above.  It’s sarracenia.