Posts Tagged ‘kitchen garden’

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.

productive kitchen garden on both sides of the walkway

stone sink on the north side of the deck

closely mown croquet lawn on the south side

south of the garden (a guest house, I think)

coming around to the front garden again

now viewing the front garden from the entry driveway again, with Ann and Evan still lingering.

You can see more of this garden on Instagram at Oysterville Life.

We will now go on to tour two gardens of friends, and because we’ll be just with friends, I am going to share some garden tour thoughts.


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Sunday, 16 July 2017

I woke up very early (for me), filled with anticipation of a fun day of touring local gardens with Ann (The Amateur Bot-ann-ist), Evan (from Plant Delights, Cistus, and now Plant Lust), and more.  First I needed to water my greenhouse and patio plants.

Skooter is so happy to be allowed out during the day again (even though I have concerns that it is too soon).



Ann and Evan arrived at ten.  They toured our garden for awhile.



Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’




These photos remind me of how for five years, to no avail, I kept asking the local tour to change the promotion wording, “You are invited to examine and inspect the gardens” to “appreciate and enjoy the gardens”, to sound less like a medical exam.  I would be listened to and humored, but the wording never changed.  Yet here we are examining and inspecting!



not an area of collectible plants but for some reason I noticed it.


Salvia patens petals on the lawn (Allan’s photo)

With the garden pretty thoroughly and kindly inspected, we were off to tour six (and a bit) Peninsula gardens.  The little bit was our stop at the Clarke garden on the way north.  I did not have a way to contact them, and I did want to show Ann and Evan the attractive containers especially.  (Karen, we did not trespass into the back garden although I have a feeling you would not have minded.)  We just “examined and inspected” the containers in the driveway.



Evan wanted to know which grass this is.


more glorious containers

Pink Poppy Farm

We began our tour with Pink Poppy Farm, a favourite of mine.  Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) arrived to join us. Pink Poppy Farmer Mike greeted us with the offer of drinks and walked with us through the garden, soon joined by his spouse Lynn, even though they must have been tired because their garden had been on the peninsula garden tour yesterday (while we were in Menlo).  The garden name may sound familiar to you because their daughter, Madeline, is the owner of Pink Poppy Bakery.


Ann, Evan, Skyler, Mike

For a more orderly beginning-to-end tour of this garden four years ago, check out this post.

Today, we wandered here and there in the garden.


Allan’s photo


Mike, Dave, and Allan by the Imperial Chicken Palace


The Imperial Chicken Palace



Look closely to see the bear on the coop.




Melissa communing with a hen (Allan’s photo)


Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and clematis (Allan’s photo)


Maddy and her dad love old black and white films.


Allan’s photo


Evan taking photos


interior design: I love this kitchen tile.


up a slope into the garden


house and workshop


looking back at the chicken palace


Allan’s photo


The garden specializes in food and in cutting flowers.


Maddy’s old swing set repurposed into a bean trellis


one of several greenhouses and hoop houses


Ann and Lynn (Allan’s photo)


must be amaranth (Allan’s photo)


Evan, Allan, Ann, and Lynn


(left) Evan taking photos


We got our sprinklers-on-posts watering idea from this garden.


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


fire area with a “cemetery rose”


Looking back over the garden.  (Right) one of the tables left from the fabulous Wedding at Pink Poppy Farm

One of the hoophouses had a crop of young wasabi.


The leaves were hot and delicious.



another productive hoophouse

Some of the produce you will find for sale when Pink Poppy Bakery has a booth at the market (which is not every Saturday this year).


tiered beds at the end of the hoophouse


another cutting bed


Lynn pointed out this exceptionally pretty calendula.


sweet peas and bachelor buttons




pompom dahlias, my favourite kind




Allan’s photo


Tigridia (Allan’s photo)


Here we go heading off to four gardens in and near  Oysterville.




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The WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific County present:



Next to the fourth garden, we parked by a field of farm equipment, some new and some old.



Allan’s photo


promise of a garden up ahead



entry to the front garden


Trapeoleum speciosum on the trellis (Allan’s photo)


the ornamental front garden



Allan’s photo



Allan’s photo


campanulas (Allan’s photo)

Coming around to the back garden, the focus changes to food production.


tomatoes against the south side of the house


a chicken coop in the background



traffic jam at the door


plump and pretty hens


a raised bed edged with growing bags (Allan’s photo)


in the greenhouse (Allan’s photo)


farmland and cattle beyond

If I had to feed myself out of my garden, I might be eating chickweed, sheep sorrel, and some potatoes and a few berries, with some tomatoes from the greenhouse in late summer.  The intensive growing method in this garden made me ponder what I could do with the future kitchen garden space that I envision between our fence and Devery’s driveway.


This could protect the plants from deer.






I overheard that these were sweet Walla Walla onions.


lettuce (Allan’s photo)


grapevines on the left


berries and peaches



roses, honeysuckle, blueberries (Allan’s photo)


kitchen gardener extraordinaire, Tim


gunnera by the back deck


ready for alfresco meals from the garden


on the deck (Allan’s photo)

Because this was not an ornamental plant collector’s garden, I was surprised to see a Melianthus major as we departed.


A tour host was surprised that I recognized it; I said “There are six people touring behind me who will also know what it is.”  (Melissa, Dave, Ann, Evan, Pam, and Teresa!)

We had only one more tour garden to see, this one ten miles northwest of Raymond, and I was hoping to at least spy around the edges of two interesting private gardens on the way home.

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