Posts Tagged ‘McCormick-Stephens garden’

Friday, 5 June 2020

At last we managed to visit Steve and John’s garden by Willapa Bay. Although (due to the second spring clean up at work after our non-essential weeks and to the emergency building of our coyote-proof catio and then the time-consuming plant sale prep) we had missed the peak rhododendron bloom time, this garden has much to offer at any season.

When we arrived a few minutes early, Steve was tidying the garden with bucket and picker-upper.


Let’s walk through through the garden with Steve and John, enjoy the vistas, and give the plants some individual attention…social distancing, of course.


In the upper beds near the house:


Acer platanoides ‘Rezak’, “the only plant on the property with a tag”


Allan’s photo of an unidentified acer


Steve and John (Allan’s photo)

I tried to take good notes, but had forgotten a clipboard, so many rhododendron names were illegible.


As always, Steve and John helped via email with the identifications.


Rhododendron ‘Ring of Fire’


Rhododendron ‘Ring of Fire’


I was overexcited by the purple stems and my photo is blurry…


Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’ (highly fragrant in its pink bloom)


enviable hostas


Hosta ‘Madame Wu’ (Allan’s photo)


more perfect hostas and proof that we had missed peak rhododendron bloom time


grassy paths down the north side of the property


The rhododendrons with white tomentum, the powdery substance on top of the leaves, are my favourites. Rhododendron sinofalconeri Vietnamese form


emerging into sun on the north side, as we amble westward


left: ‘Orange Rocket’ barberry, which we all expected to be more columnar. Right: Drymis winteri

A few more rhododendrons had kindly waited for our visit.




R. ‘Anna’ in front of R. ‘Leo’


Rhododendron ‘Mango Tango’

Many in this collection had leaves that, to me, are as good as any bloom.  Visits to this garden have been a revelation from the standard rather boring rhododendrons that I had been familiar with before.


R. ‘Sir Charles Lemon’ with R. ‘Lissabon’ in foreground

We now cross the driveway to the shady south beds under limbed up trees.


looking back north across the driveway


south side of driveway: a grove of rhodies original to the property, which was a rhododendron nursery at one time.



Allan’s photo


R. ‘Cupcake’



Rhododendron degronianum ssp yakushimanum x R pachysanthum, my favourite of all


Cornus canadensis, a groundcover that I love.

In the ferny beds…


cinnamon fern


Allan’s photo




Rhododendron ‘Jan Dekens’


the cryptomeria grove



Crinodendron hookerianum (Chilean lantern tree)


R. ‘Yaku Princess’


the glorious variety of rhododendron leaves


Allan’s photo


Rhododendron macabeanum


Rhododendron sinofalconeri


Allan’s photo, Steve and a few remaining blooms


R. quinquefolium


Rhododendron lepidostylum


Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’


and its flowers

P1030333 2

Rhododendron ‘Starbright Champagne’, Steve’s favourite


R. pseudochrysanthum


Hydrangea ‘Lemon Daddy’ which I love and keep forgetting to look for…maybe I can beg a cutting later this year.


looking north across the irrigation pond

We crossed over there, but I got too busy chatting about plants and only took one photo.



Allan’s photo: Leptospermum lanigerum ‘Lydia’ from Xera plants. Woolly tea tree, comes from New Zealand. Genista in the background.

John had left us to prepare some tea and cake.  We walked up the driveway…


…around the south side of the house…

DSC04135…to …to the sheltered sit spot at the southeast corner of the house, where this was our view:


We had walked here to start our tour and to admire a little rhododendron growing in a stump on the north side of the lawn.



R. keiskei ‘Yaku Fairy’. What a little cutie.

We sat for tea and cake with this backdrop.



Allan’s telephotos of an interesting vessel…


…and of Baby Island.

We had tea from Beach House Teas...



…and observed proper social distancing.

John had baked a dessert of Dutch Spice Bread (Ontbijtkoek, aka Breakfast Cake). Delicious.


(Steve, with a bouquet I brought)


Allan’s photo

It was our first social outing since the stay at home order expired.


We were serenaded by birds…


Allan’s photo

…and visited by Mr. Towhee, a special friend of the family.


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo

As we departed, we further admired the entry garden.




Allan’s photo

If you would like to visit this garden in other seasons and earlier years, just put “bayside garden” into our search box, and you will get a wealth of posts.

You can see a drone video of the garden (which also shows inside the house) on this realty listing…which also means you could dream of living here yourself.

Steven and John were organizing the big 2020 conference for the American Rhododendron Society, when the coronavirus reared up and postponed it till 2022. If you live in the US and all these amazing rhododendrons inspire you to become a collector, joining that organization would be a good place to begin.


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Thursday, 18 July 2019

Our company arrived from Canada: Kilyn and Peter.  They came bearing gifts of books, a box of Builders Tea, some British throat lozenges for winter ills, some pastries from the local bakery and some British biscuits.

You may know Kilyn as the reader who comments as Steveston Gardener.  Her spouse, Peter, is a delightfully droll Australian.

We had our own garden as ready for touring as time and energy allowed—pretty good, if I dare say so, and the unweeded parts can be called “rewilded”.

Our Garden

We’d had this much rain in the past two days, giving us the gift of this day off.

In the back garden, I immediately realized the Cripps Pink apple tree was half its former height.  Rain, wind, and the weight of too many apples had snapped off the top.  Peter demonstrates how heavy with apples the snapped trunks are.  What a shame.

When Kilyn took a photo of the little pond, I saw that raccoons, or perhaps Skooter, had knocked several blue pottery pieces into the depths. Allan fixed it.  We were all excited to see the one fish. I had assumed it had been eaten weeks ago.

Those are the sort of things that would be a disaster on a garden tour day but are just fine with good friends.

By going garden touring in Ocean Shores this weekend, I will miss three days of lily-opening time.

That timing proves the wisdom of anyone setting a garden tour date for this weekend as peak lily time reliably begins now.

After touring into every corner and path of the garden…

followed by some sitting in the shade…

Peter (Allan’s photo)

…we needed to pass another hour or so before the main feature of the day and so we repaired to

The Boreas Inn.

After touring the entry garden and the west lawn beds…

…we had a tour of the inn…

(My favourite is the garden suite.)

…and a visit with Susie in the west-facing sunroom.

We then were off…

…for an afternoon at

The Bayside Garden.

Upon arrival, Peter said he almost cried on the way up the driveway “because it is so beautiful, and,” he added, “I’m not a gardener.”

Kilyn is the impassioned gardener and garden blog reader.  She faithfully reads (among others) my two favourites, The Tootlepedal blog and The Miserable Gardener.

We both best like blogs that show imperfections rather than, as she puts it, carefully curated photos.

Kilyn, Peter, and John with his garden notebook

A trio of Rhododendron pachysanthum was first to be thoroughly admired.

We viewed every part of the garden.

Kilyn’s photo

Kilyn’s photo

Kilyn’s photo

red stems of drimys picking up the color of Orange Rocket Barberry.

We all expected Orange Rocket to be columnar.  It is not.

Thuja ‘Forever Goldie’

Kilyn’s photo

“mosquito grass” (Allan’s photo)

Rhododendron ‘Sinogrande’

Allan’s photo

Steve, Kilyn, ‘Cryptomeria ‘Black Dragon’

in the Cryptomeria grove

blue-silver Rhododendron lepidostylum

Rhododendron edgeworthii

deer ferns on the move

Kilyn’s photo

Rhododendron quinquefolium

Rhododendron sinofalconeri

Rhododendron ‘Cherries and Merlot’

We visited my most special favourite pet of a rhododendron:

Rhododendron degronianum subsp. yakushimanum x R. pachysanthum

Hydrangea ‘Lemon Daddy’

Rhododendron makinoi

Rhododendron ‘Ever Red’

How to hide an ugly electric box:

Steve says he’d now choose something other than laurel, and the vine to the right is fatshedera.

Kilyn and the evergreen huckleberry glade

Kilyn’s photo

kayaks passing by on a high tide

We closed our tour in the kitchen with coffee and homemade muffins and some garden talk.

from inside the house (Allan’s photo)

John’s garden book (Allan’s photo)

Later in the evening, we met again with Kilyn and Peter for dinner at

The Depot Restaurant.

steak Killian

Prawns Bangkok

After feasting, we walked west one block to tour

The Sou’wester Lodge and trailer court.

 I do believe that the next time they visit, Kilyn and Peter will be parking their caravan here.

We suggested the Peter “place a call” at the phone booth and could hear his laughter.

Kilyn tried it next.

vintage trailers for rent by the night (known as “Trailer Classics Hodgepodge”)

Jessica Schlief is doing a spectacular job on the Sou’wester gardens.

Tomorrow, the four of us leave to take two different routes to meet again at Saturday’s garden tour in Ocean Shores.

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Monday, 24 September 2018

McCormick-Stephens garden

We ended our garden tour day with Beth and Ketzel at Steve and John’s garden.  I always like to save it for last, because it is the biggest, because each specimen plant needs proper attention paid, and because a visit usually involves some pleasant lingering and a nice cuppa.

I had learned earlier in the day that Ketzel is an aficianado of species rhododendrons.  I’d had no idea.  This was the perfect garden to show her.

an exciting start by the front door

All day, she had been “flying under the radar”; either our earlier garden hosts were playing it cool or they did not know that she is a BNG (Big Name Gardener).  Steve and John did know.  Beth, renowned Cannon Beach and north Oregon coast gardener, had met Steve, John, and our earlier garden host, Ed, when she had attended the annual garden tour this past July.

John had his binder full of garden maps and names to identify the plants.

Ketzel asks for the names of the blue leaved rhododendrons.

upper garden near the house: left to right) R. ‘Senator Henry Jackson, unidentified, R. degronianum ssp. yakushimanum ‘Ken Janeck’ Form

Allan’s photo

I am RESOLVED to do a notebook like this for my garden.  (As I have said for the last two years.)

dahlia and kitchen garden by the pump house

We walked down to the bay side of the house, where two small rhododendrons tucked into the mound of an old stump were petted and doted on.

R. keiskei var ozawae ‘Yaku Fairy’

(neighbour house in background)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

R. degronianum ssp. yakushimanum ‘Yaku Angel’ Form

Steve and John’s house, by local architect Erik Fagerland.

the evergreen huckleberry dell

Beth knew from having been on the recent garden tour that there are 80 huckleberry balls.

variegated eucryphia at the SE corner of the house

We returned to the west side and began our walk through the several acres.

north side of driveway near the house

Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’ (left)

Steve and Ketzel

My favourite rhodie, Rhododendron degronianum ssp yakushimanum x R. pachysanthum.  I do not have that memorized.

Rhododendron ‘Cherries and Merlot’ (Allan’s photo)

We moved across the long driveway from the woodsy garden into the sunshine.

looking south across the irrigation pond

golden textures

looking south

Beth, Ketzel, Steve

Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Rotundifolius’

textures in burgundy

John’s notebook

one of the dahlias listed in the notebook page shown above (Allan’s photo)

(Background wooden boxes are on property next door.)

Allan’s photo

on the return walk up to the house

between the two wings

early evening light

Allan’s photo

We gathered in the kitchen for tea and biscotti.  Steve and John had Ketzel’s book ready for her to sign, with a pen made from the wood of Rhododendron ‘Duke of York’ and a photo of said rhododendron.


This interesting book was also on the counter and well recommended.

We lingered till an hour before dark and then departed because of the long(ish) drive back to Cannon Beach and Manzanita.  All were in agreement that it had been an excellent day.



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Sunday, 5 August 2018

Steve and John of the Bayside Garden had invited a group of working gardeners for lunch and an afternoon in the garden.

John and a bouquet that we brought (Allan’s photo)

some flowers from my garden

and sweet peas from Todd’s garden

We had Todd Wiegardt of Willapa Gardening, Pam Fleming of Nature’s Helper in Seaside, Dave Van Domelon representing Sea Star Gardening, and Ed Strange, who has just this past week retired and passed on his business, Strange Landscaping, into new hands. (I wonder if the new owner will change the name?)

We started with mimosas. Pam, Todd, Dave (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Todd had brought carrots, beets, zucchini and lettuce from his amazing family veg garden (Allan’s photo)

As always at Steve and John’s, the food was delectable.

Allan’s photo

Dave, Pam, Steve, me

Ed, Todd, and John (Allan’s photo)

After a good long lunch and chat, Ed departed because he had much to do.  He has started a new business doing estate sales, at which he will excel.  The rest of us went on a tour throughout the garden, starting with the Willapa Bay (east) side.

the view from inside looking east

and the view to the north

There are about 80 clipped evergreen huckleberries in this bayside dell.

Hydrangeas ‘Bombshell’ and ‘Endless Summer’ at the north edge of the bayside garden; low tide on the bay.

We walked around the house to the driveway garden on the south side.

Here is Corokia x virgata ‘Sunsplash’…

which I know because John had his database notebook with him.

…which is something I keep meaning to do for my garden.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

west side of the house

looking west down the south side of the driveway

As we continued our walk, I resolved this time to try to photograph the views of the garden as a whole rather than focusing so much on individual plants.  (It also takes less brain power, which is waning in August.)  The bright sunlight was not entirely conducive

looking across to the north side of the driveway

north side

north side

north side: Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’

Ulmus ‘Jacqueline Hillier’ demands a close look.

looking west down the driveway

We proceeded through the newest planting areas under the limbed up trees on the south side of the driveway.

the joy of plants (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

further along the south side, in a newly planted area (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

A merged trunk to puzzle over (Allan’s photo)

A ruffly ligularia (farfugium) reminds me that I used to have this plant…(pretty sure)

a rhododendron with a mind of its own

my special silver leaved pet

Rhododendron degronianum ssp yakushimanum x R. pachysanthum

Rhododendron ‘Cherries and Merlot’, another one I especially like.

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’

right: Rhododendron sinogrande

Allan’s photo

all beautifully mulched

a young Itea illicifolia (Allan’s photo)

cryptomeria grove

Dave, Todd, John

Pam wanted to get into the sun (I liked the cool shade) and she and Steve went to the other side of the irrigation pond to the sunny borders.

a look back at the blissful shady cryptomeria grove

looking east toward the house

a frog in the irrigation pond (Allan’s photo)

Allan saw “hundreds and thousands” of tadpoles in the pond.

the north side of the pond

Monarda and Todd (Allan’s photo)

rudbeckia by the pond (Allan’s photo)

a young Camperdown elm

Pam, John, Steve, Todd, and a Berberis ‘Orange Rocket’ that was supposed to be columnar

Allan’s photo

a sit spot as we walk east toward the house

a sunny border

(The wooden boxes above are on the next door property.)

another sit spot

enviable hostas as we near the house

a gorgeous old hydrangea

a prostrate golden yew wending its way among rhododendrons

kitchen garden by the pump house

We had completed our tour, and the party dispersed because Pam needed to be in Astoria soon.

more garden talk before departing (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo: Steve, John, Pam, Todd, Dave, me

I wouldn’t have minded staying for cocktail hour! But we did want to show Pam our own garden, since she only makes it up here a couple of times a year.

postscript at our garden

On the way south, Pam stopped for a 20 minute tour at our place.

Allan’s photo

That was a good day out and inspired me to make some further plans for the shady bogsy wood at home.




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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

We continued our garden tour day with a relaxing late afternoon and evening at

The Bayside Garden.

Here is their map of their garden.  You can see this park-like collectors’ garden on July 21 when it is on the local garden tour; tickets available here.

rhododendron trio by the front door

The new boxes right along the property line are in the next door garden, which will also be on the tour.


the irrigation pond

After the earlier part of the day had been hot and muggy, we now had a cooling and quite pleasant rain.

There are many plants from Xera Plants in this garden, and Xera owner Paul Bonine got to see how they are faring at the coast.

John and Paul

Evan, Paul, and Ann

deer protection

Evan botanizing

Steve says “Bartlettina sordida (Dirty Thoroughwort or Blue Mist Flower) — Mexico native;  Rare in cultivation!”

This shiny little fellow is R. ‘Rwain’ (rhododendron without an important name)

Paul, Steve, Ann

R. sinogrande

Allan’s photo

R. rex ssp. fictolacteum

dogwood by the pond, close up

R. ‘Grandma’s Hat’

That’s Hydrangea ‘Lemon Daddy’

R. makinoi

my favourite: R. degronianum ssp yakushimanum x R. pachysanthum

newly planted area

Rhododendron ‘Cupcake’

other side of tidal stream

Acer platanoides ‘Rezak’

ladies in waiting

on the pump house roof

We repaired to the east side patio and sat.

our view

a gift from a friend

Ann and Paul

delicious morsels. The flower pot arrangement was also a gift from a friend.


Ann, Evan, and Paul were going to see the fireworks in Long Beach at dusk, and we had been touring for so long that they did not have time to go back to Ann’s family vacation house in Naselle (half an hour away).  Steve and John kindly rustled up a delicious pasta dinner to keep us all fortified.

photo by Ann Amato (Evan, John, Steve, Paul, me)

The end of a perfect day:

Steve’s photo: me, Allan, Evan (Plant Lust), Paul (Xera Plants), John (Bayside Garden), Ann (Spiffy Seeds/Cistus Nursery)




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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

While Steve and John were away rhododendron touring overseas, we took a walk through their garden.  This will publish a couple of days after their return so that they can see some of the beauty that was happening at home during their absence.  Because we did not have their guidance, this entry is all about the beauty and not at all about education and plant names.

We walked down to the irrigation pond and back to the house again.

north driveway bed near the house

sword ferns (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

north side of the house (and a corner of the pump house)

Allan’s photo

the depth and layers of the garden, looking west

Some folks might be interested to know that at this point, frustrated with the misbehavior of my Sony camera (which will no longer zoom one little bit), I switched to a refurbished Lumix which had just come in the mail.  Some might also be interested to know that within a day it had already twice told me “Turn the camera off and on again”—not a good sign for longevity!

west side of house with look through to Willapa Bay

Allan’s photo

overlooking Willapa Bay and the evergreen huckleberry dell

south side of driveway near the house

north side of driveway

Allan’s photo

The light was very bright and dark.

south side of driveway, the grove of old rhododendrons, almost done blooming

tall white one in full bloom

another cloud of white

Allan’s photo

looking southwest to the newer part of the garden

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

north side of driveway, toward the irrigation pond

the irrigation pond

as we walk back up toward the house

at the house again; west side

the garden between the two wings of the house

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

window reflection

Welcome back, Steve and John!





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Friday, 11 May 2018

McCormick-Stephens Garden on Willapa Bay

The entry drive is shared with Deb’s garden (formerly the Barclay garden), with rhododendrons from the old Clarke Nursery on Steve and John’s side of the driveway.

We had to stop the van to admire.

Another angle, photographed by Steve:

“Those are R. ‘Naselle’ (darker pink) and R. ‘Lem’s Cameo’ (lighter)” (Steve)

turning right to proceed up Steve and John’s long driveway

We saw new garden beds to our right.

still driving

We reached the house and, with Steve and John as our plant guides, began to tour the acreage and admire the glories of rhododendron time.

by the house: Podocarpus ‘Country Park Fire’

Steve and the upper garden

Taxus ‘Watnong Gold’ (prostrate yew)

Taxus ‘Watnong Gold’

Taxus ‘Watnong Gold’ (Allan’s photo)

well grown hostas, and a sword fern circle where once was salal

a richly purple iris

We all agreed the cold wind was terribly annoying, especially when trying to photograph madly swaying flowers.

Steve and Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’

the towering and strongly fragrant Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’

In the woodland as we walked west from the house, ‘R. Beauty of Littleworth’

Rhododendron  ‘Winsome Pink’

Thujopsis dolobrata ‘Nana’

stunning new leaves

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Rhododendron ‘Yellow Hammer’

R. ‘Percy Wiseman’

R. ‘Butterfly’ (pretty sure)

R. ‘Butterfly’

R ‘Butterfly’ (Allan’s photo)

unidentified even by the experts

R. ‘Mayday’

Allan’s photo

Admiring a darling little rhodie with John. (Allan’s photo)

We are now wandering the paths in the newer areas of the garden on the lower south side of the driveway.

golden leaved osmanthus (Allan’s photo)

R. ‘Starbright Champagne’, still Steve’s favourite

more cool new leaves of R. ‘Bibiani’  (Allan’s photo)

Disporum ‘Night Heron’

Disporum ‘Night Heron’

a swathe of deer fern (Allan’s photo)

land of many treasures

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ (Allan’s photo)

a handsome arisaema

leaf appreciation (Allan’s photo)

and more leaf appreciation by Allan

New rhododendrons are always being added to the collection, which is why many in the lower and newly developed areas are still small.

R. protistum (species) with huge leaves (Allan’s photo)

admiring the white underside of Mahonia gracilipes (Allan’s photo)

Tolmiea menziesii

AKA “the piggyback plant” (Allan’s photos)

further leaf appreciation (Allan’s photo)

R. ‘PJM Elite’ (Allan’s photo)

the leathery leaves of R. edgeworthii

Allan’s photo

the tidal stream at the south side of the property; Steve has been grooming the other side with a long handled pruner or saw.  Low tide.

Looking east with the house way in the background

The area above, like all around the trees used to be, was salal.  Many of the new planting beds used to look like this one…

…which may soon be for the chop.  It takes hard work to get salal out.  I am terribly impressed with the triumph over this tough native (which I would also be trying to get rid of, although it is fine off in the woods somewhere).

Azalea ‘Arneson Gem’

Rhododendron ‘Fire Rim’

a fragrant magnolia

more leaf appreciation

Taxus ‘Black Dragon’

The new leaves are as beautiful as the flowers…to me.

the tiny bells of R. benhallii

covetable golden Hydrangea ‘Lemon Daddy’ (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

On the north side of the driveway, rhododendrons old and new:

We have now walked over to the north irrigation pond beds:

R. ‘Crater Lake’, with a lake of blue underneath (Allan’s photo)

The white pines (Pinus Strobus) evoke John’s childhood.

One of the newest beds. (Allan’s photo)

the darling funny flower of R. spinuliferum

a rhodie like a rose: R. ‘Autumn fire’ — a reblooming Encore azalea

All the names and knowledge of the rhododendrons comes out of Steve and John’s minds, not mine!

Here we are back up at the well established, mature garden by the house.

Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’….the same that I killed in my garden by moving it one too many times!

a backdrop of treelike mature rhododendrons

Allan’s photo

by the front door

between the wings, with a view through to the bay

Acer palmatum ‘Ukigomo’ (“Floating clouds” Japanese maple)in between the two wings of the house (Allan’s photo)

It was now time for tea and savory treats.

kitchen window view, evergreen huckleberry dell and Willapa Bay

Allan’s photo

tea time

and the low tide view from my chair

Looking back at older posts about this garden (some of which are listed at the end of this post), it is remarkable to see how it has matured in the last four years.  I want to live long enough to see the lower garden fully grown.  I cannot think of another garden on the peninsula that has such a carefully curated collection of plants.

Any mistakes in plant names are my own.  Here is one of four pages of my pitiful notes…  I email lots of photos to Steve for help.

bonus photos from Steve:

the glorious Rhododendron ‘Mango Tango’

Rhododendron ‘Snow Queen’

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Sunday, 1 January 2017

Steve and John threw a big “do” in the afternoon at their home  by the bay, in the setting of one of my favourite peninsula gardens.

Because many folks were expected, we parked below and strolled up through the garden.



conifers by the irrigation pond

conifers by the irrigation pond

Some ice remained on the irrigation pond.

Some ice remained on the irrigation pond.

south side of the driveway

south side of the driveway

the former salal bed

one of the former salal beds (so impressively cleared out last year!)


approaching the house

approaching the house

near the front door

near the front door

coral bark maple

coral bark maple


Steve later told me he had picked up every fallen leaf the day before, and then a wind blew and down came more.  I said the golden leaves, from a tall cotoneaster, were like gold leaf on a fancy dessert.

coral bark maple (Allan's photo)

coral bark maple (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

the pump house roof garden (which has been covered at night because of frost)

the pump house roof garden (which has been covered at night because of frost)

Inside the house:

looking out the front window at the coral bark maple

looking out the front window at the coral bark maple

just part of the delicious food items

just some of the delicious food items


My favourite: a caviar and shrimp topped creation that was like the fanciest ever deviled egg.

My favourite: a caviar and shrimp topped creation that was like the fanciest ever deviled egg.

an exquisite mango dipping sauce; I tried not to be greedy.

an exquisite mango dipping sauce; I tried not to be greedy.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I should have known all of these people.  Because of face blindness, I was fairly well flummoxed except for a few.

dessert with a view

dessert with a view (looking east)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo; John in the checked shirt

the view north to the pump house and kitchen/dahlia garden

the view north to the pump house and kitchen/dahlia garden

a tablescape

a tablescape

After noshing a bit, I happened to look out the front window again and saw the arrival of Dave and Melissa, walking up the drive with Nanci of Nanci and Jimella’s Café.

Dave and Mel and Nanci

Dave and Mel and Nanci

view to the southeast: the clipped huckleberry glade

view to the southeast: the clipped huckleberry glade


a show of clouds to the east. The table centerpiece is called Reflections, by local artist Jim Unwin.

a show of clouds to the east. The table centerpiece is called Reflections, by local artist Jim Unwin.

Jim Unwin himself admires another artist's creation.

Jim Unwin himself admires another artist’s creation.

Seaside gardener Pam, her spouse Dave, and Sean and Jim arrived.  I gazed at this seasonal tableau while seated and chatting with Pam.  Outside, hummingbirds hovered around a blooming camellia.


Dave and Melissa and I took an afternoon walk through the garden.



The most sensitive rhododendrons are saying Brrrr. And it is supposed to get colder.

The most sensitive rhododendrons are saying Brrrr. And it is supposed to get colder.


Some rhodos are just fine with the cold.

glowing dogwood twigs

glowing dogwood twigs

I hope my pittosporum 'Tasman Ruffles' eventually gets this tall.

I hope my Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’ eventually gets this tall.

The baby specimen rhododendrons are toddler sized now.

The baby specimen rhododendrons are toddler sized now.


moss and berries

moss and berries

Pretty sure this is my favourite, whose leaves will be silver in springtime.

Pretty sure this is my favourite, whose leaves will be silver in springtime.

The irrigation pond mirrored the garden.





back up the driveway

back up the driveway

Sean and Allan

Sean and Allan

"Take a better picture!" said Sean, but I was too far away.

“Take a better picture!” said Sean, but I was too far away.

Back inside:

clouds over the Willapa Hills

clouds over the Willapa Hills

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


We departed as the clouds began turning pink.  Thank you, Steve and John!  We overheard many words of praise about the “do”.


twilight coral bark maple

twilight coral bark maple

On the way home, we made a detour over to Klipsan Beach Cottages to deliver Denny’s belated birthday present.

at Klipsan Beach Cottages

at Klipsan Beach Cottages

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

by the office door

by the office door

A bit of a social whirl will continue as we have a political meeting and a special birthday tomorrow, followed by a not so exciting dentist appointment on Tuesday and then…back to reading.

One of these days I WILL get back out into my own garden.









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Thursday, 21 April 2016


Tulip ‘Leo’ at home.  A Christmas gift from Todd that we have been admiring daily.

Garden Tour Nancy and I had our first “swanning about” day of the year as she drove us by five of the excellent gardens she has picked out for this year’s Music in the Gardens Tour.  (She could use a couple more large gardens for the tour, so if you know of any, let me know.  The garden tour rule is that a garden cannot be repeated till four years have passed since last time it was on the tour.)

We picked up delicious chicken salad sandwiches at Roots Juice, Salad, and Java Bar in Ilwaco.


Roots, a drive through for espresso, juice drinks and lunches


inside Roots

I did not take any preview photos of the gardens as we were viewing them just from the road.  Soonish, we will have a proper walk through for the purpose of description writing.

the bayside garden

We took a lovely break for a picnic at one of my two favourite private gardens on the Peninsula: Steve and John had invited us to include their bayside garden, now at its rhododendron peak, in our day of swanning about.  (It was on the garden tour just two years ago and also on last year’s Rhodie tour).


along the driveway, rhododendrons going back to when this was Clarke Nursery


redtwig dogwoods coppiced along the right side of the drive (for brighter red stems)


an old rhododendron to the right of the long drive

Advance garden touring is hungry work, so our picnic came first.


a perfect seat for a picnic

Nancy had brought me a bag of birthday gifts, delightfully stretching my birthday celebration out for an extra month.


Clever wrapping for a St Patrick’s Day birthday book: Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul


and a bunny to go in a flower pot, and a pot holder much too pretty to hold pots with.  It will go on the wall.

And a customized card by our good friend Artist Don Nisbett with a perfect quotation inside:


Roots picnic lunch: chicken salad sandwich on flatbread


the view from our picnic spot


picnic view

Satisfied with our yummy sandwiches, Nancy and I took a walk all around the garden.  Formerly part of a rhododendron nursery, it is a skillfully planted combination of young plants intermixed with mature shrubs and trees.






Nancy inhaling the fragrance of Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’


Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’


The garden abounds in young rhododendrons.


hostas and perfectly trimmed sword ferns

(Last week when driving north on the road past this garden, I had noticed that even the ferns along the highway are perfectly trimmed.)


Ulmus x hollandica ‘Wredei’ by the pumphouse

The succulents on the pump house roof have sailed through the mild winter:



the Willapa Bay side of the garden; in winter, the highest tide comes up to (and maybe over) the plantings.


clipped naturescape of evergreen huckleberries and sword ferns


north side path


the north upper garden







old rhododendrons




woodland glade with rhodos and evergreen huckleberries




along the south side of the driveway