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Posts Tagged ‘Mill Pond Village’

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Astoria, Oregon

ilwacoastoria

From the 4 mile long bridge: lots of little fishing boats on the Columbia

From the 4 mile long bridge: lots of little fishing boats on the Columbia


buzzing about

buzzing about

Carol has a sore foot…an injury from too much walking, as walking is one of her hobbies.  So we looked for activities that required little walking, and a good restaurant where we could park right outside.

The Bridgewater Bistro

The Bridgewater Bistro

The Bridgewater Bistro

I had a cougar burger, a reference to a sports team.  Owner Tony Kischner glided by, still as graceful and personable as when he and his wife Ann operated the Shoalwater Restaurant in Seaview.  I miss having their fine establishment closer by.

made with Cougar Gold cheese

made with Cougar Gold cheese


Carol pronounced her fish and chips to be delicious.

Carol pronounced her fish and chips to be delicious.

We then took in the view from the deck on the restaurant’s north side.

The building to the north is a fine hotel.

The building to the north is the Cannery Pier Hotel.


the Astoria-Megler bridge

the Astoria-Megler bridge


the restaurant's herb garden

the restaurant’s herb garden on the sunny, sheltered south side of the building

Carol was able to walk a block to the trolley stop, as we had decided that a ride on the Astoria Riverfront Trolley would be the perfect use of our afternoon.

Astoria Riverfront Trolley

The trolley stop was by the Maritime Memorial park.

The trolley stop was by the Maritime Memorial park.


Under the bridge. A sign warned to beware of falling objects. (!!!)

Under the bridge. A sign warned to beware of falling objects. (!!!)

Carol sang a line from The Trolley Song as we waited.  It had been lurking in my mind since the last time we saw the trolley with Debbie Teashon. Later that evening, I found a delightful video that shows almost the entire run of the riverfront trolley, speeded up, accompanied by the song.  Enjoy!

The trolley runs about every 45 minutes on good weather summer days, so we chatted and waited.  The ding ding ding announced its arrival.

All aboard!

All aboard!


old boat at the west end of the line

old boat at the west end of the line

boat2

The conductors, drivers, and tour guides are volunteers.

The conductors, drivers, and tour guides are volunteers.  Carol, a Seattle Metro bus driver, said she would love to do this if she retired in Astoria.


“Ding ding ding goes the bell!”


the Columbia River

the Columbia River

riverview

the old net building

the old Uppertown Net Loft

That building was purchased by artists who were fixing it up as an art studio when the roof blew off in the 2007 windstorm. A couple of them were in it during the storm, and barely escaped, crawling along the wooden bridge to shore.  The trolley tour guide told us that quantities of art blew out of the building and were lost in the river.  The dramatic story is told here: “Around town, telephone poles snapped and car windows caved in under the pressure of the hurricane-force winds. Eddie Park, a friend of the Nebekers who had been helping board up the windows was thrown 40 feet and broke his arm against a wall. Royal and Park were trapped in the loft as winds raged around them. After 20 hours, they escaped by strapping themselves to a ladder for weight and then crawling on their bellies down the long gangplank to shore.”  Two days after I took this photo, part of the gangplank was lost in an unusually powerful summer windstorm.

The east marina, with sea lions all over the docks.

The east marina, with sea lions all over the docks.


cropped to show the mass of sea lions

cropped to show the mass of sea lions

When the trolley reaches the end of the line, passengers are instructed to take the handle on the seat backs and gently swing the back to the other side of the bench, thus enabling us to sit back down facing forward again.

turned around

turned around


passing the Mill Pond Village

passing the Mill Pond Village


Millpond Village and its many little gardens

Millpond Village and its many little gardens


the old mill pond

the old mill pond


the west end of Mill Pond Village

the west end of Mill Pond Village


historic train station (I wish the train to Portland still ran.)

historic train station (I wish the train to Portland still ran.)


by the Maritime Museum

near the Maritime Museum, a bar pilot boat


I love this mural.

I love this mural.


mural, part 2

mural, part 2


Wet Dog Café

Wet Dog Café

Note the man to the right, waving.  As the trolley clangs along by the River Walk, many passersby wave and trolley passengers wave back.

cafe

Every time people waved, I felt all choked up and teary eyed.  It really gets to me and reminds me of this line from What a Wonderful World:

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shaking hands, sayin’, “How do you do?”
They’re really sayin’, “I love you.”

And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.

on the deck of the Wet Dog Café

on the deck of the Wet Dog Café with the trolley reflected


We were waving back.

We were waving back.


looking south up an Astoria street with a fellow photographing the trolley.

looking south up an Astoria street with a fellow photographing the trolley.


The industrial waterfront is fascinating.

The industrial waterfront is fascinating.


There's another trolley reflection.

There’s another trolley reflection.

DSC07825

We disembarked back at the Maritime Memorial.  The wonderful trip had cost us only $1 each. For a slightly higher fee, you can ride back and forth on an all day pass.  Due to a non-waterproof roof, the trolley only runs in good weather.

We paused at the memorial wall.

Maritime Memorial

The Maritime Memorial park

The Maritime Memorial park

park2

park3

1

flowers taped to the wall for loved ones

2

She loved the river.

She loved the river.


Here comes the trolley again: Clang, clang, clang!

Here comes the trolley again: Clang, clang, clang!


Ding, ding, ding!

Ding, ding, ding!  These folks were not quite into the swing of waving yet.

Garden of Surging Waves

Carol moved her car to a spot downtown that was a short walking distance to The Garden of Surging Waves.  I knew she would be interested in the Chinese heritage of Astoria.

on our way to the park, some of Astoria's excellent planters.

on our way to the park, some of Astoria’s excellent planters.

Next to the park, around a soon to be developed plaza, we stopped to read some informative signs.

sign

sign2

sign3

The Garden of Surging Waves

The Garden of Surging Waves

arch

I love the wall of words.

I love the wall of words.


contrasting styles of architecture

contrasting styles of architecture

learn

“To learn and to practice what is learned time and again is pleasure, is it not? To have friends come from afar is happiness, is it not?”

Carol, visiting from afar=happiness.

Carol, visiting from afar=happiness.


We sat for awhile on a bench.

We sat for awhile on a bench.


overhead

overhead


I like this screen with names of contributors to the park

I like this screen with names of contributors to the park

Astoria Coffee House and Bistro

We skipped checking out the River People’s outdoor market as Carol had already walked too much, and drove to park near the Astoria Coffeehouse…which had, since my last visit, transformed into a fancy dinner bistro and bar.

This took me by surprise!

This took me by surprise!

Fortunately, the excellent weather meant that we could sit outside in the early evening.

with delicious chocolate cake

with delicious chocolate cake

That is the end of Carol’s visit as she must return to Seattle tomorrow.  I gave her my certificate for a free night at the Sou’wester (a door prize that I won!) in hope that she can visit again this fall.

meanwhile, Allan’s day at home

a trip to Oman Builder Supply to be able to pick up posts without me or the trailer involved.

a trip to Oman Builder Supply to be able to pick up posts without a passenger or the trailer involved.


our post office garden

He watered and deadheaded our post office garden


Life Flight

Life Flight going over Nora’s house; we always spare a thought for whoever is hurt.


before the rain: painting the gate to match the new arbour; the reason will be even more clear tomorrow.

before the rain: painting the gate to match the new arbour; the reason will be even more clear tomorrow.


seen at the marina when Allan took the recycling to the bins.

seen at the marina when Allan took the recycling to the bins.

Allan’s productive day was perhaps not happier than this fellow messing about in a boat.

DSC04408

a sign on the dock

a sign on the dock


making apple cobbler

making apple cobbler


It was delicious.

It was delicious.

We had gotten so much work done on Wednesday that we decided to take Friday off, as well.

 

 

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Sunday, 19 July 2015

Astoria, Oregon

After being lured across the river by a garden tour of the Bohnke garden, we took Debbie to see the gardens at the Millpond Village, especially Helen’s garden, which I had visited several times before…

in July of 2012

in March of 2013

in June of 2013

in September of 2014

I led the way our parking spot to the garden only to find a fence around it and Helen’s neighbour, Sami, on the other side sitting on her porch.  I called out that Helen had said we could come see the garden anytime.  Sami said that we could but that it was her garden now!  Helen had sold it to her, in order to have more time for other pursuits, although they still both enjoyed it.  Thanks, Sami, for letting us in!

Sami’s Garden 

The garden is a lot between two townhouse buildings that Helen purchased for the making of a garden.

Sami's Garden

Sami’s Garden

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a handsome hypericum

a handsome hypericum

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

gravel

This year Helen and Sami have experimented for the first time with having a kitchen garden.

huge tomatoes growing on the south wall of Sami's townhouse

huge tomatoes growing on the south wall of Sami’s townhouse

tomatoes

tomatoes

birdnest

Allan's photo: Sami's dog

Allan’s photo: Sami’s dog

Sami's little dog

Sami’s little dog escaping the sunshine

bench by the dry creek bed (winter drainage swale)

bench by the dry creek bed (winter drainage swale)

bench2

looking west

the creek bed and drainage swale

the creek bed and drainage swale

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

container

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a garden of tiny details

a garden of tiny details

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

looking west toward the millpond

looking west toward the millpond

We appreciated Sami letting three semi-strangers with cameras swarm through her garden.  Helen arrived at her townhouse toward the end of our visit and I was pleased to see her again.

Helen and friends (Allan's photo)

Helen and friends (Allan’s photo)

Mill Pond Village

After exploring Sami’s garden, we strolled around the Mill Pond Village, one of the most garden-y neighbourhoods I’ve ever seen.  I fantasize about living there but know that we couldn’t afford it.  Or if we could, we would be amongst moneyed people who would speak of their expensive travels and lifestyles that would be so different from what we can indulge in.  A working class neighbourhood with a street full of gardeners would be a more realistic fantasy for us.

I read up on the history of the village, a former mill pond that was saved from contamination, on this website.  This particularly interested me:  “The homes at Mill Pond Village all have garages that are accessed from rear alleys. Alley access reduces curb cuts in front of homes and maximizes available on-street parking. This traditional parking design allows for ample vehicle space while maintaining pedestrian friendliness.”  I thought back to my neighbourhood in Seattle, where most houses were backed with alleyways, and realized how much that did contribute to pedestrian friendliness.  I miss alleys.  They seem to be almost nonexistent in Peninsula towns.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Here is another site with history and photos of the village.  It says “The diversity of housing allows for a range of incomes, ages and family structures. Housing types create the seaside village-like, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood.”  Hmmm….maybe I can imagine, after all.  It’s not the townhouses that draw me, just the fact that almost everyone seems to like gardening.

looking north to the Columbia River.  This expanse of lawn is just to the east of Sami's garden.

looking north to the Columbia River. This expanse of lawn is just to the east of Sami’s garden.

looking back to Sami's garden

looking back to Sami’s garden

between two townhouses

between two townhouses

closer

closer

one of many pocket gardens

one of many pocket gardens

hydrangea and hosta

hydrangea and hosta

hosta, hydrangea, Geranium 'Rozanne'

hosta, hydrangea, Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Well grown hostas are all the rage here.

Well grown hostas are all the rage here.

white hydrangea by crisp white railing

white hydrangea by crisp white railing

gardening between buildings

gardening between buildings

to the north, the River Walk and the tracks of the Astoria Trolley

to the north, the River Walk and the tracks of the Astoria Trolley

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

curbside garden in full exposure to river storms (Allan's photo)

curbside garden in full exposure to river storms (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

looking south, Sami's garden is on the right at the end of the sidewalk.

looking south, Sami’s garden is on the right at the end of the sidewalk.

freighter heading toward the mouth of the Columbia River

freighter heading toward the mouth of the Columbia River

In Astoria, bar pilots are employed to navigate the ships over the hazardous Columbia River Bar (long known as the Graveyard of the Pacific).

These folks had just moved from Seattle to Seaside, Oregon, and were reveling in small town life.

These folks had just moved from Seattle to Seaside, Oregon, and were reveling in small town life.

Allan's photo as the wind drove them from their reading.

Allan’s photo as the wind drove them from their reading.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

telephoto

telephoto

ship2

ship3

ship4

I was ever so pleased at the ship putting on a good show for Debbie, and even more pleased when the trolley came by right on cue.

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley. Ding, ding, ding went the bell.

Clang, clang, clang went the trolley. Ding, ding, ding went the bell.

Debbie and the trolley (Allan's photo)

Debbie and the trolley (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

looking south over the village

looking south over the village

looking south at the river and Big Red

looking south at the river and Big Red

From Astoria’s History Along the (trolley) Tracks:  “The big red building out in the river was a net drying and mending shed or net loft. Natural fiber nets, which often were made in the fishermen’s homes during the winters, needed to be dried between uses. Fishermen could navigate their boats right up under the building where a hoist would lift the nets to dry. The building was used in the movie “Free Willy II.” A local artist and art professor has purchased the building and is renovating it to be artist studios and small shops.”  (It was badly damaged in the big storm of November, 2007, and since then efforts have been made to save it.)  “It was as if the top floor and roof kind of twisted and lifted up, and went over the river and fell into the river,” said Sarah, recounting the 160-mile-per-hour winds that tore through Astoria that day, ripping away the second story of the building.  …. Eddie Park, a friend of the Nebekers who had been helping board up the windows was thrown 40 feet and broke his arm against a wall. Royal and Park were trapped in the loft as winds raged around them. After 20 hours, they escaped by strapping themselves to a ladder for weight and then crawling on their bellies down the long gangplank to shore.”

Read more: http://djcoregon.com/news/2012/06/04/preservationists-try-to-save-uppertown-net-loft-in-astoria/#ixzz3hcm6jFv7

We drove the couple of blocks west to the actual Mill Pond so that Debbie could get a close look at both it and the public garden next to it.

the mill pond

the mill pond; the public park is at the lower left-ish

the park, Allan's photo

the park, Allan’s photo

I espied a darling little garden right on the banks of the pond.  We took a good look at it from every angle (except for looking up from the steep bank of the pond).

three

black hollyhocks

black hollyhocks

It was windy!

It was windy!

black

two

 

 

one

 

table2

table

 

eight

 

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

five

 

seven

 

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

six

DSC06469

Right across the street to the west was the cutest red house.  I had assumed you could not paint your house a colour like that in the village.

red like my grandma's house

red like my grandma’s house

small, but long...garage in the back?

small, but long…garage in the back?

It has a vacant lot next door that could perhaps be purchased for a garden.  My new dream house, if it included the lot next door.

Allan's photo.  I could weep with unrequited desire for this house.

Allan’s photo. I could weep with unrequited desire for this house.

Debbie parted ways with us as she was headed back to her home up north.  Allan and I had not intended to go the market because we’d assumed we would not find parking.  When a parking spot opened up for us on Marine Drive, we took the opportunity after all.

Astoria Sunday Market

Who should be playing but Double J and the Boys, who also play the Ilwaco Saturday Market.

Who should be playing but Double J and the Boys, who also play the Ilwaco Saturday Market.

always one of my favourite booths of tiny bottles made into hanging vases with twists of wire.

always one of my favourite booths of small bottles made into hanging vases with twists of wire.

looking south up the market blocks

looking south up the market blocks

one of several produce stands

one of several produce stands

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

dog pyjamas? (Allan's photo)

dog pyjamas? (Allan’s photo)

further south

further south

flower booth

flower booth

flowers3

flowers4

flowers5

I've often seen this woman and her dog around the Peninsula.

I’ve often seen this woman and her dog around the Peninsula.

I saw our Long Beach friend Debbie at the Master Gardeners booth but did not have much time to visit as the market was due to close in a few minutes.  (It only goes till 3 PM.)  I needed to browse the plant displays.

plant sales

plant sales

more plants

more plants

I did buy a coneflower.

I did buy a coneflower.

jams to taste (Allan's photo)

jams to taste (Allan’s photo)

another flower booth

another flower booth: The wind was blowing hard so I think that fellow was holding the booth in place.

I bought some goat cheese from Skamokawa.

I bought some goat cheese from Skamokawa Farmstead Creamery.

There was our Peninsula Humane Society raffle booth.

There was our Peninsula Humane Society raffle booth.

Someone had purchased this enviable garden art.

Someone had purchased this enviable garden art.

some of the excellent Astoria planters

some of the excellent Astoria planters

I think Astoria gardener Jessica Schlief may have something to do with these?

I think Astoria gardener Jessica Schlief may have something to do with these?

I do wish Ms. Jessica would send me her email address so we could get in touch.

Even thought the market was packing up, the food court was mostly still open so we were able to get a meal from my favourite vendor, O Falafel!

O! Falafel

O Falafel

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Ilwaco

later at home: a falafel plate with hummous, baba ganoush, tabouli....O! Joy.

later at home: a falafel plate with hummous, baba ganoush, tabouli….O! Joy.

Allan actually went out watering in Ilwaco Sunday evening after all that….

while filling up the water tank at the boatyard...

while filling up the water tank at the boatyard…

cool silver painted tree at a new business in town (Paula's shop)

cool silver painted tree at a new business in town (Paula’s shop)

watering the community building garden

watering the community building garden

It feels like we have been garden touring for days.  It’s time to get back to work, with the next garden tour due next Sunday at Pam’s public gardens in Seaside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 9 September 2014, part two

After we impulsively cut our work day short, we drove over the bridge to the Mill Pond Village toward the east end of Astoria, Oregon.  Our mission: to visit the Westbrook garden.  We had encountered its owner on the Peninsula garden tour and she had invited us to come see her garden any time whether or not she was home.  This time we missed her, so we took ourselves on a private tour of the garden that fills a lot between two townhouses.

We have visited the garden thrice before, when it was on the Astoria garden tour, a year ago June, and once in March to see how it looked with rainwater in the attractive drainage swale.  Very late summer was a new season for us in this fascinating garden.

We parked to the east of the garden and saw it from a half block away in the slanting late afternoon light.

west

looking west toward the garden

looking west toward the garden

We walked past some other townhouse pocket gardens on the way.  Helen’s is the only large personal garden in the townhouse complex, as she purchased an empty lot on which to create it.

a pocket garden by the sidewalk

a pocket garden by the sidewalk

one of the neighbour's sunny sit spots.

one of the neighbour’s sunny sit spots.

looking back at neighbour's tiny garden

looking back at neighbour’s tiny garden

Westbrook Garden

The first part of Helen’s garden that we view as we walk west on the townhouse sidewalk is the river rock drainage swale.

great solution for winter water

great solution for winter water

Appealing details abound in the garden.

Appealing details abound in the garden, and you will see that many of the decorations are round in form.

I was impressed when I noticed that she has managed to grow several cultivars of Japanese anemones.  They look so lovely now.  I have avoided them as they can be such thugs and I marveled at how Helen has kept them to well behaved clumps.

swale

white Japanese anemones by the swale

pink Japanese anemones

pink Japanese anemones, foreground

How does she keep them well behaved?  I am going to have to rethink my whole Japanese anemone situation now.

curly willow

background: curly willow, foreground: double pink Japanese anemone

white Japanese anemones...the best, maybe Honorine Jobert

white Japanese anemones…the best, maybe Honorine Jobert

still viewed from the sidewalk on the north side of the townhouse:  How the trees have grown!

the Westbrook garden by the sidewalk on the north side of the townhouse: How the trees have grown!

The west end of the sidewalk between townhouse and garden

The west end of the sidewalk between townhouse and garden

tree and lights

tree and lights

We enter between the tres for a wander all round the garden.

We enter between the tres for a wander all round the garden.

in the garden

in the garden; note the circular mounds of moss

arbour

We progress through the garden slowly, pausing at almost every step to take in more details.

Perhaps for the first time, I notice the lights.  The garden must be wonderful at night.

On this visit, perhaps for the first time, I notice the lights. The garden must be wonderful at night.

arbour rose (Allan's photo)

arbour rose (Allan’s photo)

To our right, a little stream of moss leads to the swale.

To our right, a little stream of moss leads to the swale and a little flock of birds.

a flock of birds

a flock of birds

green echinacea fading to autumn tones

echinacea fading to autumn tones

All of a sudden I am in love with rudbeckia, and I have absolutely none in any of my gardens.

All of a sudden I am in love with rudbeckia, and I have absolutely none in any of my gardens.

looking south across the garden to the porch

looking south across the swale to the porch

chocolate cosmos

chocolate cosmos

fuchsia (Allan's photo)

fuchsia (Allan’s photo)

pinky snapdragons

pinky snapdragons; One of her secrets to such perfection might be to keep adding fresh new annuals.

another sort of orb on the south side of the swale

another sort of orb on the south side of the swale.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

bench on south side of swale

bench on south side of swale

me touring the garden, Allan's photo

me touring the garden, Allan’s photo

More rudbeckia admiration...

More rudbeckia admiration…

rud

I am feeling a little obsessed with the need to acquire this common plant.  (I know I am getting some from Kathleen later this fall.)

I am feeling a little obsessed with the need to acquire this common plant. (I know I am getting some from Kathleen later this fall.)

What have we here?  Some sort of interesting project on the south side of the garden.

What have we here? Some sort of interesting project on the south side of the garden by the neighboring townhouse.

south-east edge, possibly blending into the neighbour's garden at this point

south-east edge, possibly blending into the neighbour’s garden at this point

On the east edge of the garden, look how the floppy grasses are tied up like big shocks of hay.

On the east edge of the garden, look how the floppy grasses are tied up like big shocks of hay.

Allan's photo.  I will be stealing this idea!

Allan’s photo. I will be stealing this idea!

the very south east corner of the garden, or perhaps the neighbour's garden, looking south to the Columbia River across a common lawn.

the very south east corner of the garden, or perhaps the neighbour’s garden, looking south to the Columbia River across a common lawn.

now at the west end of the garden, looking south to the townhouse

now at the west end of the garden, looking south to the townhouse

sit

a well-berried hypericum

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I am relieved to see that the leaves of Helen's Stewartia look like mine; must be normal for this time of year

I am relieved to see that the leaves of Helen’s Stewartia look like mine; must be normal for this time of year

the west end of the garden

the west end of the garden

right next to the sidewalk

right next to the east-west sidewalk

picket fence at west end of garden, from the outside

picket fence at west end of garden, from the outside

west

looking east over the fence.  The shrubs provide privace for the neighbour to the south's porch.

looking east over the fence. The shrubs provide privace for the neighbour to the left’s porch.

Having circumnavigated the garden several times, we take a walk down a different sidewalk back to our van and admire some more pocket gardens on the way.

the west wall of the Westbrook townhouse

the west wall of the Westbrook townhouse

narrow garden along the north-south sidewalk

narrow garden along the west wall

I realize there is not a sidewalk on this side.

I realize there is not a sidewalk on this side.

around Millpond Village

As we walk east, a pocket garden by a tall townhouse.

As we walk east, a pocket garden by a tall townhouse.

It seems one must be a gardener to live here.

It seems one must be a gardener to live here.

I am, as happens every time I visit, filled with desire to live here (only if I could afford a townhouse AND a vacant lot on which to garden).  Surely all the neighbours are friends and spend the days visiting each other’s gardens!  Life here must be as idyllic as it looks.

P9090040

We walk to the river side of the complex and of course, the trolley goes by at just that moment.

along the riverwalk, with the Astoria-Megler bridge in the background

along the riverwalk, with the Astoria-Megler bridge in the background

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Just steps from the townhouses is the Astoria Riverwalk, with views like these.

view

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

river's edge

river’s edge

me on the Riverwalk, Allan's photo

me on the Riverwalk, Allan’s photo

south side of the townhouse village

south side of the townhouse village

idyllic indeed

idyllic indeed

We return to the van via a sidewalk by the common lawn between two wings of townhouses.

Each has a darling garden, of course.

Each has a darling garden, of course.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I assume the residents do their own pocket gardens as each is different.

I assume the residents do their own pocket gardens as each is different.

Allan's photo of me taking the previous picture

Allan’s photo of me taking the previous picture

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

narrow walk between two houses

narrow walk between two townhouses

closeup:  exquisite perfection

closeup: exquisite perfection

If each owner really does his or her own garden, do you have to pass a garden design test to live here??

We drive just a block or two south toward the actual Millpond, stopping for a quick history lesson by the Riverwalk.

rr1

rr

rr

rr

The actual mill pond was part of the Astoria Plywood Mill.  The site got all cleaned up and I think the plan was for townhouses on pilings to be built all around it.  However, the pond itself has only a few homes overhanging it and most of the building has happened with the townhouses to the east of the pond where we just went garden touring.  You can read more about it at the Mill Pond Village website.

looking southwest over the pond

looking southwest over the pond

home overhanging the pond

home overhanging the pond

looking back (north) to that overhanging home

looking back (north) to that overhanging home

a small public garden on the pond's east shore

a small public garden by the pond’s east shore

On the west side of the mill pond is a common area with a garden and big pergola.

west

looking south from the common area

looking south from the common area

looking east over the pond

looking east over the pond

pergola shadow

pergola shadow

the common garden

the common garden

Leaving the Mill Pond Village with the full realization that we could never afford to live there, we treat ourselves to an early dinner at…

Himani Indian Cuisine

This restaurant is a favourite of our friends Don and Jenna.

This restaurant is a favourite of our friends Don and Jenna.

Gobi: Cauliflower tossed in special Hyderabadi spices and deep fried.

Gobi: Cauliflower tossed in special Hyderabadi spices and deep fried.  Reminded me of delicious Zahrah cauliflower at Mediterranean Kitchen in Seattle, which was just what I hoped for.

Poori, my favourite puffy Indian bread, with potatoes

Poori, my favourite puffy Indian bread, with a curried potato dish

raita, a creamy, cool yogurt condiment that I adore

raita, a creamy, cool yogurt condiment that I adore

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

We were amused by bird that dipped its head and brough up a toothpick.

We were amused by bird that dipped its head and brough up a toothpick.

bulbs

The practical part of the afternoon’s mission was grocery shopping at Costco and Fred Meyer.  The selection of Costco bulb bags was not as good as in previous years.  Perhaps more will come later…  I found three kinds of alliums, and I hope that the allium christophii really ARE christophii (albopilosum) because that is not the allium in the photo on the bag.

I wonder...

I wonder…

Blog reader Jamie should see if Costco still have bags of drumstick alliums (center) as they would be perfect for her garden…deerproof, and her spouse is a retired drummer.

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In our life, a trip overseas is not as exotic as it sounds.  That’s what someone told me that oldtimers call a trip across the Columbia River to northwest Oregon (about a twenty minute drive to Astoria).  I have never found an oldtimer to confirm this since I first heard it somewhere.

Due to cold rain, our mission was to visit our favourite north Oregon coast nursery, Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart.

As always, they had some excellent plants from Xera.

plants

plants from Xera..

and more

and from Blooming Nursery, and more

desirable plants, as always

desirable plants, as always

I got myself some violas with faces….

violas

violas

And a peachy apricot primrose for a friend who adores such colours:

primrose

primrose

I saw the same primrose later in the day at Fred Meyer, the only really cool plant there.  Such is life sometimes!

I got myself a ‘Golden Rocket’ barberry (love gold foliage) and some little violas with faces and a burgundy coloured Garrya.

The indoor part of the dual business, The Natural Nook, had luscious gardenesque things to offer:

shelf

shelf

plants

plants

blue

blues

orbs

orbs

mini glasshouse

mini glasshouse

In their  friendly and welcoming way, the owners told me friends of mine had been in recently, but I soon learned my name had been bandied about by folks I definitely would not call friends.  Shocking, shocking I say!  And might I add that contrary to the tale of my faux friends, no other local gardens had anything remotely like the 500 visitors that ours and Judy’s had on garden tour day.  Indeed, most definitely not.  There’s nothing like a little scandal to liven up the day, and I was somehow reminded of Mr. McGregor, a garden mystery by Alan Titchmarsh, or perhaps the new and rather shocking  village life novel that I am presently reading, Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.  (Who knew she could use such language!)    Even the gentle Miss Read ventured into the darker side of village life at times.  I idly wondered if I should devote my garden blogging time to a small town garden mystery novel…but no, I think that this year I should focus on keeping my commitment to blog on a regular basis.  And yet…if I only I had the skill to write a garden mystery, I would have plenty of material.

Meanwhile, all winter I had had in mind a re-visit to one of my favourite gardens of the Astoria garden tour of 2012,  the Westbrook garden at the Mill Pond Village.  I wanted to see how full Ms. Westbrook’s dry creek bed and pond got in winter rain, and we were having plenty of rain today.

When we got there, I poked around the edge, taking photos, not wanting to be too intrusive although it is sort of a public garden  between two sidewalks, in a lot between townhouses.

front of townhouse today

front of townhouse today

Look how good the bones are of the garden along the street!  It looks as good today as it did last summer.

Westbrook curbside last summer

Westbrook curbside last summer

the garden between townhouses

the garden between townhouses, today

dry creekbed

dry creekbed

ans swale

and pond swale

Then the owner of this lovely garden, Ms. Westbrook herself, popped out, and we had a lovely chat.  She said we looked familiar, and rather cold in the chilly wind.  (I thought later how nice it is to hear that someone is so interested in one’s garden that she comes to prowl it offseason!)  She told us that this year, the pond never overflowed with seasonal water because she had dug it out a little deeper.

the pond

the pond

pond and late winter sky

pond and late winter sky

same view last July

same view last July

Now that we had conversed with the owner, I felt that I could actually walk through the garden and take more photos.

crocus patch

crocus patch

townhouse garden

IMG_3771

townhouse garden

IMG_3776

IMG_3775

IMG_3777

How well it looks in winter!

the same wooden house from a different angle last July

the same wooden house from a different angle last July

The townhouse complex is right by the Columbia River.

view across a common lawn to the river

view across a common lawn to the river

The homes right around the reclaimed Millpond have always intrigued me, and I would love to live in one if only I had a vacant lot as well to make a garden in.

The Millpond with a lot for sale!

The Millpond with a lot for sale!

On the way home through Chinook, we saw sure signs of imminent spring:

flowers for sale along the sidewalk

flowers for sale along the sidewalk

flower sign

narcissi border and a beautiful clematis arbour

narcissi border and a beautiful clematis arbour

 

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