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Posts Tagged ‘memorial garden’

Sunday, 19 July 2015

On the evening of the Music in the Gardens tour day, I had found a handwritten note under my door.  After some deciphering and pondering, I realized that it was from the owner of the Bohnke garden, which I had written about with well-deserved effusiveness a couple of years ago when it had been on the official Astoria garden tour.  Because the Astoria garden tour had been canceled this year, and their garden had been one of the proposed gardens, Bob and Helen Bohnke had decided to go ahead and have a garden open anyway.  I Googled to see if I could find any information to confirm this.  (Bob had left me his phone number, but I hate making phone calls!)  I found this letter to the editor in last week’s online issue of the Daily Astorian.

bobOh my gosh!  Now I was really determined to go.  I made a screen shot of the letter and put in on my Facebook page in hopes that others would see it and attend.  In the morning, I got a text from Rainyside Debbie Teashon saying that she was going.  I’d texted Todd about it, but he did not get the message till evening.  So off Allan and I went at Sunday midmorning over the Astoria Megler Bridge.

the view from the bridge

the view looking west from the bridge

We parked on the hilly street in Astoria, and someone walking by said, “Are you here for the tour?  It doesn’t start till noon, but he let me walk through.”  It was 11:30, so we just started nosing around the edges.

a charming garden three doors uphill

a charming garden three doors uphill

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

The Bohnke Garden

bohnke

from the sidewalk

from the sidewalk: the colours make me happy

atop the retaining wall

atop the retaining wall

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Salvia ‘Hot Lips’, Allan’s photo

I went up the lawn below the house, which belongs to a church but which the Bohnkes maintain.

I went up the lawn below the house, which belongs to a church but which the Bohnkes maintain.

From the back porch, a kitty came to the lawn to greet me.

From the back porch, a kitty came to the lawn to greet me.

kitty2

 

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

(Bob later told us that chair had given way when he sat down with his morning coffee!)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

ever so friendly

ever so friendly

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

From the lawn, I could see a memorial spot positioned at the edge of the garden.

memory

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

returning to the front sidewalk

returning to the front sidewalk

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

looking up at the front garden with Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

looking up at the front garden with Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

front corner; bucket had crocosmia corms to give away to anyone who might want some.

front corner; bucket had crocosmia corms to give away to anyone who might want some.

There was so much to see that I did not feel at all impatient while waiting.

Here came Debbie, setting up her camera!

Here came Debbie, setting up her tripod!

big camera, little camera

big camera, little camera

Noon: Here comes Bob!

Noon: Here comes Bob!

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

hydrangeas

hydrangeas at the foot of the front steps

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Here comes another garden host.

Here comes another garden host.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Bob and friend

Bob and friend

I tink I taw a puddytat.  (Allan's photo)

I tink I taw a puddytat. (Allan’s photo)

Bob himself

Bob himself

I asked Bob about last week’s garden tour, the one about which he had written that he was disappointed with the turn out.  He told us that because of the Astoria tour getting canceled, he had just put up some signs on phone poles inviting people to come see his garden.  I love that!  I think it is a shame that the Astoria tour was canceled, and from what I have heard through the grapevine, there is no plan by the organization that used to organize it to hold one in the future, because they don’t need the money.  If true….What does needing money have to do with it?  Someone, who can get proper event insurance and who can use any profits to fundraise for a good cause, needs to step up and take on this tour, sez I!

I thanked Bob for finding my house and leaving me a note.  He had just recently been alerted to my blog post of 2013 about his garden.  I asked how in the world he had found where we live, and he said “I just went to Ilwaco and asked around.”  I love that, too.

front garden, looking north.  That is the Columbia River in the background, way down the hill.

front garden, looking north. That is the Columbia River in the background, way down the hill.

Looking out over 'Lucifer'

Looking out over ‘Lucifer’

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

birdhouses

Bob had put out his Party sign for tour day.

Bob had put out his Party sign for tour day.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a shady spot with hostas

a shady spot with hostas

north side of front porch (Allan's photo)

north side of front porch (Allan’s photo)

I was so happy that tour guests started to show up!

I was so happy that tour guests started to show up!

The side gardens of the house are as narrow as the ones in my Grandma’s house back in Seattle.  I wish I had devoted as much effort to beautifying mine.  It gives me ideas for the narrow-ish area between our house and Nora’s driveway.

at the back of the south side garden

at the back of the south side garden

butterfly

 

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

swallowtail butterfly (IDed by Debbie)

swallowtail butterfly (IDed by Debbie)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

back porch, Allan's photo

back porch, Allan’s photo

looking north along the narrow back porch

looking north along the narrow back porch

pots of annuals everywhere

pots of annuals everywhere

east window

east window

by the back porch

by the back porch

SE corner of back porch

SE corner of back porch

back porch

back porch

narrow garden on south side of house

narrow garden on south side of house

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

birdhouse

 

retaining wall fence with flower boxes along the top

retaining wall fence with flower boxes along the top

retaining wall flowers

retaining wall flowers

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

the tiny little debris pile.  I love it!

the tiny little debris pile. I love it!

looking back

looking back

I went out to the street to take a photo of the front of the house…

the front with tour guests arriving...

the front with tour guests arriving…

Then I went around to the back by going uphill, and around half a block and down the driveway to the apartments next door, thus avoiding steep steps.

the east side of the house

the east side of the house

garden on steep wall by neighbours' parking lot

garden on steep wall by neighbours’ parking lot

The neighbours in the apartment building also enjoy gardening so they share a space by the parking lot.

apartment building garden and Bohnkes intermingle

apartment building and Bohnkes gardens intermingle

looking up from the parking lot

looking up from the parking lot

lucifer4

rose draped down the steep wall

rose draped down the steep wall (with Euphorbia ‘Fen’s Ruby’)

(Fen’s Ruby is a nemesis of mine in certain gardens but here it is contained on the wall garden where it thrives.)

the wall garden

the wall garden

back porch from below

back porch from below

hosta tucked into driftwood

hosta tucked into driftwood

Allan's photo, tour guests on north side of house

Allan’s photo, tour guests on north side of house

Allan's photo: tour guests taking photos

Allan’s photo: tour guests taking photos

Allan's photo: looking down from above

Allan’s photo: looking down from above, with Helen setting up snack table

Bob and Helen had set up a table of delicious refreshments.

Bob and Helen had set up a table of delicious refreshments.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

My new friend joined us.

My new friend joined us.

DSC03079

George

I recall his name as George.

This little tour was a peak garden touring experience for me.  Bob and Helen’s openness and hospitality in opening their  beautiful and colourful garden sets a good example for all gardeners, and I am so grateful that he left the note telling us about it.  I’ve sent him a friend request on Facebook; I hope he figures out that Flora Gardener is me!

Allan's photo: Bob, me, and Helen at the refreshment table

Allan’s photo: Bob, me, and Helen at the refreshment table

I told Debbie that there was another garden in Astoria that I could show her.  Being a garden tour nut like me, she readily agreed, so we headed east through Astoria to the Mill Pond village.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Music in the Gardens Tour, Long Beach Peninsula

a benefit for the Water Music Festival

We continued to do the gardens out of order, having done the ocean side first instead of last.  Our GPS shows our route heading from Steven and John’s garden to Darla’s garden.

down one side and up the other goes the tour

down one side and up the other goes the tour; we were heading north along the bay to Darla’s garden.

Darla’s Garden

photo 5

My friend Debbie Teashon of Rainyside.com described this garden best, saying that Darla had let her inner child out ot play.  When Garden Tour Nancy and I met Darla on a pre-tour day in early June, she told us of her plans to improve the walking flow through her garden and add to certain theme areas.  This great grandmother had been working on the garden every day since then.  Because she has owned, or maybe still owns a couple of coastal antique stores, she has more ingredients to work with than most of us could ever dream of.

Out of the woods, she has carved rooms on various themes after retiring and moving to the beach about 17 years ago; before then, this large lot was the family’s summer getaway.  As soon as Nancy and I realized how happy we felt in the garden (and in my case, it reminded me of the way I felt as a child in my grandmother’s garden), we wanted it to be on the tour.

a woodsy, sandy lot

a woodsy, sandy lot

At the previous garden, I had advised our friend Carol Clearman to be sure to go to Darla’s garden as Carol’s young granddaughter would love it.  As we arrived, Carol was leaving with her daughter Amy and her granddaughter, and she told me the little girl had not stopped talking delightedly since entering Darla’s playful garden.

Carol coming around Darla's enormous gunnera

Carol coming around Darla’s enormous gunnera

Carol and family at Darla's (Allan's photo)

Carol and family at Darla’s (Allan’s photo)

in front of the garage

in front of the garage

by the garage: the fire circle

by the garage: the fire circle

south side of garage driveway: the gunnera and garden shed

south side of garage driveway: the gunnera and garden shed

shed

 

by the garage, the "Farmville" garden

by the garage, the “Farmville” garden

"Farmville" (Allan's photo)

“Farmville” (Allan’s photo)

a rustic path beckons

a rustic path beckons

camp

Since my last visit, Darla had widened and barked this path toward the house

Since my last visit, Darla had widened and barked this path toward the house

photo 2

clearpath2

 

display

 

photo 3

door

passing by the wooden bridge, we come to the south deck of the house.

passing by the wooden bridge, we come to the patio on the south side of the house.

Darla loves annuals in pots and gets many from the Basket Case Greenhouse; in fact, Basket Case Fred was the one who told us about her.

Darla loves annuals in pots and gets many from the Basket Case Greenhouse; in fact, Basket Case Fred was the one who told us about her.

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

to the north of the house, a garden boat

to the north of the house, a garden boat

This was the boat on June 4!

This was the boat on June 4!

and tiers of plants in containers

and tiers of plants in containers

She has over 60 birdhouses and over 60 birdbaths, I believe; she told us the exact number and I can’t find where I wrote it down!

on the patio

on the patio

Kathleen Shaw was there earlier than we were and got this photo of Shelley Loring playing the flute.

Kathleen Shaw was there earlier than we were and got this photo of Shelley Loring playing the flute.

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

birdhouses

on June 4 pre-tour

looking back toward the street

looking back toward the street

east of the house: the "Military Garden"

east of the house: the “Military Garden” in red white and blue

Darla giving a white buddleia cutting to a tour guest

Darla giving a white buddleia cutting to a tour guest

seating in the military garden

seating in the military garden

the military garden

the military garden

m3

My mother, a Marine in WWII, would have loved this.

4

further along the east side of the garden

further along the east side of the garden

another sit spot

another sit spot

Allan got this photo of Water Music Festival board member Rita Nicely with Darla.

Allan got this photo of Water Music Festival board member Rita Nicely with Darla.

cat

exploring to the northeast

exploring to the northeast

Darla found this sign discarded at the Port of Ilwaco and snagged it!

Darla found this sign discarded at the Port of Ilwaco and snagged it!

Allan’s camera battery had died (a repeating story on these tours!), so I gave him my camera and went on using my iPhone camera.

photo 5

along the east fence that borders busy Sandridge Road

Darla loves baby's tears (so did my Grandma) and grows them in many shady spots.

Darla loves baby’s tears (so did my Grandma) and grows them in many shady spots.

mossy log

mossy log

photo 1

more moss

more moss

more seating: Allan's photo

more seating: Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

nautical

photo 4

Darla’s love for all extends to respectful burials for roadkill animals. (The road she lives by is busy and notorious for that.)

One could get lost on all the winding paths.

sunny glades in the woods among sword fern and evergreen huckleberry

We emerge between a shed and the garage.

We follow a path to a space between a playhouse and the garage, to the east of the fire circle.

photo 5

playhouse porch

playhouse porch

photo 2

grandkid's playhouse

grandkid’s playhouse

photo 4

work area

work area

behind the fire circle

behind the fire circle

photo 3

over the garage doors

over the garage doors

photo 4

Emerging again by the road:

Allan's photo:  Rita and I are looking at Darla's memorial garden for her friend Shirley.

Allan’s photo: Rita and I are looking at Darla’s memorial garden for her friend Shirley.

When Nancy and I visited on June 4, Darla told us that within six months of each other, seventeen years ago, her husband, her sister, and her best friend died.  She has a memorial garden for her friend just to the north of the walkway up to her house.

Shirley's memorial garden

Shirley’s memorial garden

angel in a tux

angel in a tux

On June 4, Darla showed me a sign with her friend's name on it which she had, amazingly, found at a rummage sale .

On June 4, Darla showed me a sign with her friend’s name on it which she had, amazingly, found at a rummage sale.

birdhouses (Allan's photo)

Allan’s photo

photo 1

by the road (Allan's photo)

by the road (Allan’s photo)

I went back to say goodbye to Darla and tell her how much I love the way her soul is expressed throughout her garden.  She invited me to come back any time and I hope to take her up that that.

As we left, another group of tour guests were just entering Darla's garden of wonders.

As we left, another group of tour guests were just entering Darla’s garden of wonders.

I would have liked to go through again (I realize now I did not go around the south side of the house!) but we had one more garden to see, and the tour time was almost over.

 

 

 

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We had met Lynn and Donna Ryan of Seaview through their neighbour, Bev, and Donna’s garden design skills were a great inspiration to me. Lynn, a retired dentist, had added all sorts of clever touches to the home interior, and as we got to know them, he hired Robert to help out with projects.

Below:   Donna in her back garden, which was 25 feet wide and expanded ever westward on property that ran to the mean high tide line.

1995

Donna's back garden

Donna’s back garden

looking down at the west side garden from the second story deck on the house

looking down at the west side garden from the second story deck on the house

Through the arch was a garden shed. Later we would help create a pond where the curved bench is and we helped build garden beds further west.

second story deck view

second story deck view

outside Donna's garden shed

outside Donna’s garden shed

in Donna's garden

in Donna’s garden

Donna’s example taught me how to fill every space with interest.

planting under a bench

planting under a bench

side porch of the house

side porch of the house

1998

new hedge of Cistus 'Elma'

new hedge of Cistus ‘Elma’

I loved that hedge of evergreen white bloomed Cistus, and then the winter after this photo was taken the whole thing died.  We never knew quite why…too cold?  Or did the run off from the parking lot make their feet too wet?

Robert helped Lynn install this huge new window on the north side of their house.

window being installed

window being installed

Below, Robert and one of Donna’s cats by the new window. I wish I had photographed the interior of the house, because it was gorgeously decorated with art, antiques, old quilts and a paint theme of blue and yellow.

the new window

the new window

Robert and Lynn built a pond in the back garden with a waterfall made of driftwood.

new pond

new pond

When Robert began his ironworks business, Donna commissioned this dragonfly gate.

in the west side garden

in the west side garden

Beyond the gate, before the fence, you can perhaps see two trees with their trunks woven together.  Both of Donna’s parents (still active farmers in their 90s) had been murdered the year before by a small band of teenagers on their eastern Washington town.  Donna had had to spend many days in the courtroom during the trial.  Those two trees were the centerpiece of a memorial garden that she created in the memory of her parents.

2000

Donna’s garden was always interesting in every detail.

on the back door

on the back door

She and Lynn went garage saling every Saturday and she cleverly repurposed her finds.

old wagon planter

old wagon planter

container garden heaven

container garden heaven

at the garden entrance

at the garden entrance

another yard sale find

another yard sale find

The south side fence at Donna’s was falling down so Robert welded an ironwork top and Lynn attached it all to these posts to make a long covered pergola.

the pergola

the pergola, looking east

Robert and Lynn enclosed a sunporch with old windows at Donna and Lynn’s Seaview house in spring of 2000.   I have no photos of it but what a wonderful, lightfilled place it was to sit.

below: Donna’s porch, outside the south facing French doors. I learned from her the idea that some indoors objects can be used on shelves outside.

on Donna's porch

on Donna’s porch

She commissioned a tuteur from Robert and had it in her front garden.

tuteur

tuteur

And then, much to my amazement, Lynn and Donna divorced and off she went to Ridgefield to establish a new home and garden near her daughter and grandchildren.  I regret that I have never been to see it as I am sure it is wonderful.    Lyn relocated to Vancouver, Washington and remarried; he and his new wife came to visit my Spring Street house once looking for Robert, but by then Robert and I had also parted ways.

I learned from this that no matter how perfect another couple’s life looks from the outside….you just never know.  My only hint was when she would go upstairs to read in order to avoid Lynn watching boxing on tv….and that occasionally he would call Robert and dramatically say he needed Robert’s help on a project in order to avoid a divorce.  We thought he was joking.

The last thing Robert made for Donna was a double gate for her new cottage in Ridgefield:

gates destined for Gypsy Cottage

gates destined for Gypsy Cottage

I still miss Donna’s gentle company, and her garden; it would have been perfect for the Peninsula garden tour.

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In Joanne’s garden….

We miss her! Joanne died a year and a half ago, and we keep the garden going for her family and in her memory.  She used always to come down and work with us when she had time and energy, or at least to walk around with us and plan, so we continue to fulfill those plans.  The stream garden was one, and now the Siberian iris are in bloom there, and the Japanese iris are heavy with buds.

The upper pond garden, looking down toward the stream

The layout of the garden is wonderful: an upper pond created by Joanne and her spouse, and a waterfall, and a stream which flows down into the natural lake.  SOMETHING likes to jump in that lake: fish?  Occasionally we hear a loud splash but have never been able to see what makes it. Giant bullfrogs abound and are fascinating to watch, even though we know they are a pernicious import and frowned upon.  When we walk around the edge of the upper pond, frogs go SQUEAK and jump one after another into the water.  We created the stream garden inspired by the book of the same name by Archie Skinner and David Arscott.

two views back up the stream; Joanne’s spouse, a lumberman, had the deck built on the back of the house to view the garden.

Primula vialii and Iris sibirica along the stream

I also had the pleasure of a petting visit from golden lab adolescent Daisy and the new dog, a gentle pit pull named Stoli, and a wee puppy named Harley belonging to a young woman who came to entertain the dogs for awhile. I used to let Daisy out of the dog pen to play, but she is too hard to handle in the garden and in her excitement does tend to break off the flowers.

Joanne was a skilled horsewoman and an appreciator of interesting plants. One feels the presence of a gardener who has passed on and hopes that her spirit is still able to see and enjoy the garden.  I think of her always as we garden there.

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I was sure I would have another day at home to finish the novel I began during yesterday’s chilly non-working weather:  The Brief History of the Dead, one of three fantasies I have read with fascinating theories about the afterlife.  But by eleven, the rain had stopped and a tentative foot outside revealed that the cold had lifted enough to be bearable.

I had been wanting to get to L____’s  garden (am using the Jane Austen style of naming to respect her privacy) because it was brand new late last summer and a garden in which I have extra emotion invested.  We first made a tiny memorial garden there for a kitty named “Whitey”; L_____ showed us a photo of the big white sweet cat and she had a couple of cat sculptures, a birdbath, a stone bench, and an angel and a plaque which I had seen before and which always makes me think of my good old cat Orson.

We took all the elements and created a quiet corner where rests Whitey and another loved cat, Colby. Instead of enclosing the whole corner with the little fence as it had been before, we left a welcoming opening and made a little path to the bench for sitting and communing with the kitty spirits. I added some white stones from my own favourite stones collection.  L____, out of town the day we made the garden, sent me the most moving email I have ever gotten about our work:

“I am so glad that you enjoyed making Whitey’s memorial garden for me.  I LOVE what you did.  It has brought tears already but even more, real joy. (Did I tell you I love it!!)  Whitey was a very special cat who lived with us for 13 years before he died in our arms of liver cancer in December 2001.  (Colby, the cat I mentioned that died last month was 18! She was a pretty cool cat too.) Thanks again Skyler.  You are very talented and I’m blessed to have you work for me.  Thanks to you and Allan both for your hard work and lovely results.”

From there, we cleaned up and edged the driveway entry garden, and then moved in to create the most important garden we have ever done, a memorial to L’s beloved husband R___, a gentle man who had died earlier that year.  He loved to fish and loved the colour blue, so of course blue and softly purple flowers will figure large in this garden: Lavender, Catmint, Eryngium (sea holly), Penstemon, blue oat grass, blue fescue, grape hyacinths, Iris reticulata….The deer walk through so deer-resistance is a factor.  We made a flower garden along the hill, and around some shore pines a dry creek bed with fish sculptures leaping upstream.

Most of this we accomplished over two days while she was gone, as we wanted to surprise her with a fait accompli….The whole time I felt a presence as if I were communicating with someone who would appreciate the blue flowers.  I especially like doing the stream because my father also used to go steelhead fishing.  On the path (which we cleared and raked) through the “to the beach” arch and up the knoll is a boat which we filled with flowers…R____and L____ used to tell their friends that the boat beached itself there on a high tide.

Again, we got a wonderful message from L____, and felt this was the most worthwhile project we ever created.

We learned something practical, too, a revelation that came to me while we laid the rocks over a base of landscape fabric for the dry stream: Put down a layer of pretty, matching SMALL river rock first, so the fabric is fully covered; THEN put down your big and mixed rocks.  Thus you don’t have to struggle to get the big rocks to cover every bit of the fabric (because the underwear must not show!)

Three books with moving and fascinating ideas about the afterlife:

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Passage by Connie Willis

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

“In one sense there is no death.  The life of a soul on earth lasts beyond his or her departure.  You will always feel that life touching yours, that voice speaking to you, The spirit looking out of others’ eyes, talking to you in the familiar things he touched, worked with, loved as a familiar friend.  He lives on in your life and in the lives of all others that knew him.” *Angelo Patri

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