Posts Tagged ‘our garden’

Thursday, 16 November 2017, part two

When we returned from work, we just had time before dark to do a garden walkabout.  We had not been into the garden since the recent two days of rain and wind.

standing water where it usually does not collect

three days worth of rain in the big yellow rain gauge

lots of little twigs down

Frosty wanted to follow. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

the center path of the Bogsy Woods Loop

Allan’s photo

east Bogsy Woods Loop

from the center: the new sit spot

overflowing swale

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looking east from the west side

hardy fuchsia

Allan’s photo

future firewood

forlorn hope for a winter campfire

In the house, Allan’s gloves after washing and drying:

We had time for an hour of sitting down (me reading The Grapes of Wrath) before going out to  meet Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) for dinner at Salt Pub at the port, followed by a Salty Talk.

Allan’s photo

Melissa showed us a photo of one of a couple of trees that had fallen at Sea Star Acres.

photo courtesy Sea Star Gardening

For dinner, Allan and I had “chicken pot pie poutine”, a deconstructed chicken pot pie with fries, gravy, and fried cheese curd.  It was amazing comfort food.

chicken pot pie poutine

and a salad for something healthy

Betsy Millard, director of Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. introduces the season’s first Salty Talk.

Park Ranger Dane Osis and a cauliflower mushroom (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo: the deadly amanita on the left

amanita (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo of some mushrooms brought in by an audience member.

My lecture notes follow.  Although I have no intention of collecting mushrooms or of eating wild mushrooms that anyone but the most expert person has harvested (and even then I would think twice), I am interested in all plant life.

Salty Talk about wild mushrooms, what I learned:

Mycelium mushrooms are like the apples on an apple tree.  You cannot hurt the main organism by picking them.

Saprophytic mushrooms can be mass produced.  So-called “Wild oyster mushrooms” are most likely produced on a farm.

Mycorrhizal fungi are symbiotic with plants and will transfer moisture from one part of a forest to another.

Knowing your trees will help you to identify mushrooms (based on where the mushrooms like to grow).

The “chicken of the woods” fungi used to rot the hulls of wooden ships.

Ranger Osis says there are fancy mushroom collecting knives with a brush on one end, for brushing off the mushroom to get a closer ID.  He made one by duct taping a brush to a knife.

His favourite mushroom book is All That the Rain Promises and More.  The one with the trombone on the cover.

Cauliflower mushrooms look like a pile of egg noodles.  The one he showed in the lecture, he picked on Monday while elk hunting.  His pick up bed filled with rain water, and yet the mushroom is still good, whereas a chanterelle would have rotted.  He has found one that was 24 pounds.  Another elk hunter found a 55 pound one and thought it was a bedded down elk at first.  If you pick this mushroom, it will grow back the following year.

This strange mushroom can get up to 50 lbs and is delicious, Dane Osis said.

There are more common names for a king bolete than there are languages.  Porcini is just one name.  They are beloved of deer and elk…and can have maggots, as a friend of ours discovered when she brought some home and left them in a bag for a short while.

Jack of Lantern mushrooms, which glow in the dark and can be mistaken for chanterelles, will make you violently ill.

Survivors say the death cap mushroom is the most delicious mushroom they ever ate.  Liver failure will follow in 48 hours.  The deadly death cap is changing hosts from oak to spruce and Douglas fir and can now be more commonly found in the Pacific Northwest (unfortunately).

The effects of amanita mushrooms, which are more toxic here than in Europe, are associated with berserker Vikings, Santa Claus (flying, maybe?), and Lewis Carroll supposedly tripped on amanita before writing Alice in Wonderland.  (Don’t try this.)

Candy cap mushrooms taste like maple syrup and are used in desserts, and will even make your sweat smell like maple syrup.  There is a toxic mushroom that tends to grow with the rare candy cap and looks almost exactly like it.

Since I knew almost nothing of mushrooms before the lecture, I feel that it was successfully jam packed with information.  I look forward to the once a month Salty Talk season which will continue once a month through the winter and into early spring.

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Saturday, 14 October 2017

After attending the Cranberrian Fair, I got straight to my gardening mission.  Well.  Maybe I sat and read the news and Facebook for half an hour first.

Because Devery next door had told me she’d found frost on her vehicle this morning, I decided it was high time to get the tomatoes out of the greenhouse and put the tender plants in.

Before: Even though the tomatoes look sad, they are still producing.

There are still tadpoles in a tray by the greenhouse where I stacked the empty pots.  I swear the tadpoles motto is “I’ll never grow up, not me!”

Why won’t they become frogs?

A greenhouse review:

The lemon cucumbers were yummy but too hard to peel. Won’t grow them again.

Black Krim tomato: Only got two and did not much like them. Too mild and mealy.

Chocolate Cherry was my favourite.

Pineapple was tasty and prolific, unusual here for a larger tomato. Will grow this one again.

Better Boy gave me just a few red ones.

I also liked the usual Sweet 100 and a small yellow pear tomato, cherry sized.

I kept ruining a big spider’s day.

Frosty stayed near me while I worked.

after…and oh! my back hurt by the time this was done.  I had Allan move the last two pots for me; I simply could not.

The spider went up onto the door frame in despair.

I was glad I noticed and gently moved it out before shutting the door tight for the night!

Todd had visited to pick up some pieces of aruncus (goatsbeard) and brought two more of his dad’s special zucchinis.  He and his father, Dobby, have now given away 2050 zukes.  I normally do not like zukes, but these are a special variety with no peel and have a much better flavour.

While cleaning up around the front of the greenhouse, I found some rocks that had been displaced by the compost bins.  I loaded them up for tomorrow’s project.

last harvest, including one of the thin skinned zukes from Todd

In the evening, we went out to the Sou’wester for an event that irresistibly intrigued me.

Vintage trailers at the Sou’wester

vintage trailers with windows aglow

Allan’s photo

the Sou’wester sunporch shop (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

in the lodge living room. The picture on the wall is always out of focus, and I do not understand it.

The host, Libby Werbel of Portland Museum Of Modern Art, introduced the event with a good speech about how we were all sad these days. “This is a sad time; we encourage you to be sad with us.”  A fellow named Michael Hurley who had inspired the event was unable to be there. The DJ, Eric Isaacson of Mississippi Records, played the first of the five sad songs: Is That All There Is? by Peggy Lee.  He said he had listened to it over and over when he was ten.

The first singer was skilled and mellifluous.

Allan’s photo

Even though her music was good, I did not find most of the songs to be as sad as I had expected.  Mostly the theme was lost love, whereas I think my sadness is much more wide ranging as I have become older.

One song memorably stood out, about driving the Oregon coast highway and imagining going over the steep side into the ocean.

The second recorded song played by Eric Isaacson,  Reaping What I Sow,  did live up to what I thought a sad song should be.  I can’t find it now because I can’t remember who performed it.

His third choice of sad song, This Bitter Earth, was from a film called Killer of Sheep. You can see it in the film right here.

A man read a story, which he accurately said was scary rather than sad.  Its title, French Exit, refers to leaving a party without saying goodbye.

Allan’s photo

After the story,  I succumbed to feeling old (usually the crowd is mixed in age; tonight, I swear I was the old old lady) and so tired, and uncomfortable because I was sitting alone in a crowd, and yet not sad enough, except for being sad about being old and tired. I longed to be home.  Allan (who had been standing at the back) agreed to leave, so unfortunately, I don’t know what the last two saddest songs were.  We made a French exit. Somehow I had expected MORE cathartic sadness and did not get what I was seeking, which is no fault of the event.

At home, we had a dinner including our own harvest.  I love what Allan did with the pineapple tomato and the cherry tomato.  The cucumber (a straight cucumber, not the lemon cucumber) was too bitter to eat.  Google tells me that the plant may not have gotten watered often enough, or might have been too hot (perhaps from growing it in the greenhouse instead of outside).

We are watching the final season of Girls, a show that I love for a number of reasons, and I’m sad to have it end.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

I had spent the earlier part of the afternoon reinforcing the undersides of the fence all the way round so that my neighbor dog, Royal, can play zoomies along the garden paths.  He is an escape artist, nicknamed Houdini at the animal shelter from which he came.

places where he could slip under the fence patched with rubble

more escape routes patched with bricks, rocks and pottery

I had been wishing for a park bench for my new clearing in the bogsy woods.  Perhaps, thought I, I might buy one, and yet normal park benches are too long for the new space.  When I had looked out my window this (late) morning, I had seen this:

morning view

little park bench!

I had walked by that little bench on West Willows Loop so many times.  Someone had given it to us, broken and full sized, and Allan had refurbished it into a short park bench.

I dragged it inch by inch back to the bogsy woods spot.

Two days ago, when we had laid some sod bits on the lawn to raise a low area, Allan had tried out our old rusty roller and found out it no longer works.  He had the brilliant notion to cut the handles off and turn it upright for a plant stand.

Friday night: Allan grinds off the old handles.

new area, to be refined more tomorrow

I went back to patching the fence.  The most difficult part was the east side between us and the gear shed, where access is difficult. I shoved in some boards from our side and, where the shrubbery was too thick, rocks and cement chunks from the gear shed side.

Allan had spent his afternoon putting up our Halloween lights, a mission complicated by the usual problems of finding strings that did not work.  Lights that were marked purple on the package disappointingly turned out to be red.  My only way to cope with that was to remember that blooooooood red is a colour for Halloween.  (Halloween gore is the part I don’t like.) And red will also work for Christmas.

lights with the berries of Billardia longiflora (Allan’s photo)

The billardia berries, in full shade, are amazing this year.

As Allan finished, I got his help for the last ten feet of fence patching with cement chunks.  The sun was setting and I was beat.

With the great fence accomplishment done, I craved our last package of spicy sausages and built a fire.  This may be the year’s final dinner campfire.  We have enough wood saved for one more fire on Halloween eve, if the weather permits.  Tony and Scott are inviting people to our house for the Ilwaco trick or treat extravaganza and Tony thinks they would enjoy a fire.

campfire dinner

Monday, 16 October 2017

In the afternoon, Allan decided to go out on a quick boating trip (tomorrow’s post).  When he moved the van out of the garage, he found two zucchinis that Todd had put on the windshield on Saturday.  I had forgotten to fetch them in.  This means that those zukes rode ten blocks last night to and from the local market for milk without Allan noticing them.  I found that hilarious.

Today’s mission was to clear out the third compost bin and acquire some rough mulch for the bogsy woods, to back up some of the under fence rubble patches.


I would have to pile the first and second bin high.

40 minutes later

one wheelbarrow load rough mulch

bins piled high, wish we had placed them further to the side and fit in four!

rubble edge in SE corner of garden

Future mulch will make it harder for escape artist Royal to move the rubble.

added more driftwood to west end of bogsy swale

Planting of some new ladies in waiting followed.

Barberry ‘Pow Wow’

transplanted some shady plants (hardy begonias, something lost-taggii from Todd, and a painted fern) into the new sit spot area.

I love this bench and the old roller as a table!

Should I paint the bench, and if so, purple, or blue, or ??  Or every slat a different colour, or??

That might have to wait till spring.  It was hellish hard to move so can’t get it back to a dry space for painting.

Arum italicum in Allan’s garden, will move some to woods

Other plants I can divide out for woods: epimidiums and pulmonarias.  I want to take some of those to a shade bed in neighbour Mary’s garden, too.

I ended my gardening day with a frenzy of weeding (finally!), totally filling up the big wheelie bin.  The weeding is still far from being the “good weeding” that has been on my home work list since early summer.

looking southeast into the autumnal garden

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’ is over; I somehow missed its pre-final stages.

How very much I love Sanguisorba ‘Korean Snow’.

I found a Halloween spot, for dead flower bouquets, for MaryBeth’s twin black urns.

Allan, back from his boat trip, hung some more Halloween lights in the last of daylight.

evening sentinal Skooter (Allan’s photo)

These two lazy old men had spent the day indoors.

The only sad thing today was Devery and I did not have a chance to test Royal out playing zoomies inside the fence.  We were afraid to try it in the evening because if he found a way out, chasing him in the dusk would be hard.

our front porch (Allan’s photo)

spider lights over the gate (Allan’s photo)

purple and the red that was supposed to be purple (Allan’s photo)

The J’s were down for the weekend and got their lights up, too.

One punkin is burned out.

Tomorrow is predicted to bring rain, and Wednesday more rain.  Not sure when we will be able to work.  The plan for tomorrow is to get the garage all set up for bulbs which are incoming this very week.







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Friday, 6 October 2017

I began a weekend of sleeping long and then gardening with great energy.  My goal was to not leave my property for four days.

Friday, I accomplished some shrub pruning that had been neglected all summer.

Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’ before removing deadwood

and after

Decided this whole area needs to be redone from boring sedums and dull lysimachia to….???  Much soft debris from here is already in the compost.

Have you ever planted too much of something not very exciting when starting a big new garden?  It seemed seven years ago that I had so much space, that I would never run out, so some of the beds have a lot of filler.

I spent quite some time pruning old twisty wood out of the honeysuckle next to the compost.  I filled up the wheelie bin with it.

After big pruning of old wood on honeysuckle next to the compost bins.

Frosty and Royal hanging out next door. (I was using a new camera and having trouble turning the flash off.)

I don’t count going next door to Devery’s back yard to pet Royal as leaving the property.

I started doing some more salmonberry pruning, creating a lot of dry kindling twigs that called for a campfire.

campfire dinner

Smokey was my neck warmer.  I was actually quite happy.  I have a sad “resting face”, I’ve been told, and can’t help it. My own experience has been valuable in that I’ve learned to not judge someone’s mood by their expression. It’s hard not to.  But I try. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

We’d had this much rain. (My last task yesterday was to pull montbretia corms from the new bogsy woods clearing.)

I slipped up slightly on my not leaving the property goal by going next door to pet Rudder.  I did not even realize that I had left my own place until I downloaded this photo four days later.

Rudder’s ears show the camera did not please him.

Skooter welcoming me back home.

I contemplated removing a dead branch on the scraggly ornamental plum, then decided it looked good for Halloween.

kinda spooky

I found a spot for our present from MaryBeth, at the entrance to last weekend’s newly cleared area.

I was pleased to find that my middle bin of compost had enough rough compost to do some mulching in the bogsy wood clearing.

middle compost bin

roughly sifted compost

By today, I realized that I was creating so much debris that a dump run would be necessary at the end of the long weekend.

In the bogsy woods, I looked long and hard at the grove of salmonberries with two broken, planted chairs in them.  This area had reminded me of riverside camping as a child, and yet part of me wanted a new look.

The area as it looked on September 12th.

I thought today that red or gold twig dogwoods would look good there.

The gold twig dogwood in the swale, by the bridge railing, was started by sticking cuttings into the ground.

Maybe I could move this one, that has gotten too big in the main garden bed on Willows Loops West.

With those ideas brewing, I started chopping, and ended up with this:

I would need Allan’s help to get the stumps out.  Now I had created a huge pile of debris.

I will still have one big salmonberry grove, in which is the fabulous salmonberry tunnel.

salmonberry tunnel in evening light

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Allan went sailing on Black Lake with MaryBeth.  That will be tomorrow’s post.

I spent much of the day (after another long sleep) toting debris 200 feet to the work trailer.  Going out onto the sidewalk to load debris does not count as leaving the property.

We had had this much rain overnight.

rain gauge

Rain at night and fine days make perfect gardening weather and also assured me that I did not have to fret over any of the city planters.

We’d had enough rain to fill even the slowest filling rain barrel.

Skooter by the water boxes.

After hauling debris, I set upon the project of digging out several shrubs of Lonicera fragrantissima (winter blooming honeysuckle) that had started themselves by layering off of the main shrub.  I did not want a large grove of them in an ornamental garden bed.

My before photos were thwarted by the new camera I was trying, which took several blurry photos of the ground and my feet.  Below, you can see how a branch, touching the ground, layers itself into a whole new rooted shrub.

the layered look

I needed help with that hefty stump, and Allan arrived home before dark and got it out for me.  (I’m not weak; however, foot and knee problems make it hard to drive a shovel in as hard as need be for something big.)

MaryBeth returned with Allan and we had a garden tour.

Me showing off my newly cleared area and describing how I’d need Allan’s help with those stumps, too.

I was not the best host, as with an hour or so of daylight left I was obsessed with getting back to clearing and weeding this area.  MaryBeth understood what it is like to be on a mission.

So did Allan; he swung the pick and removed the five salmonberry stumps before darkness.

welcome assistance

end of day

Monday, 9 October 2017

Allan had gone on an adventurous boating quest; that will be Tuesday’s post.

Frosty and Royal goofing around next door.

Dave and Melissa were trimming a hedge two doors down, so I crossed Devery’s front lawn to chat with them over the fence, and to give them a nice big start of Lonicera fragrantissima, but I still did not count that as leaving the property.

As I started digging out one more of the Lonicera shrubs, I heard a friendly and familiar voice and tracked it to a visitor seeking me in the garden: Our dear friend Tony.  He had brought a gift of delicious home made baba ganoush, a treat that I adore and which I cannot find around here. Tony said woefully, “It was so beautiful…until Rudy stepped on it!”  Rudy, the larger of their two pomeranians, had stepped on it (outside of the plastic wrap) in the back seat of the car.  By then, Tony’s husband Scott had joined us, with the two dogs.  I said the footprint was like a design stamped on top of a latte, or a crust decoration on a fancy pie.  “Not everyone gets a Rudy footprint,” said Scott.

Scott, Bailey, and Rudy

Frosty loves dogs.

Rudy and Frosty

After giving Tony a big flowerpot full of greenhouse tomatoes, I finally did leave the property to walk with them down the block (my idea!) so that Dave and Melissa could meet the poms.

Melissa, Scott, and Rudy.

Before they departed, I introduced Scott and Tony to the peanut butter plant, Melianthus major.

They both agreed that the leaves smell just like peanut butter.

Both Tony and Scott could smell peanut butter; some people can’t.

Soon after they left, I dived in (with chips) to the perfect baba ganoush.

You can see where Rudy disturbed the composition. This was the best baba ganoush I have ever eaten.

I managed to save Allan just a bit.

Fortified, I returned to digging the Lonicera out, and then to weeding and compost-mulching the new bogsy woods area.  By end of day, the entire center bin of compost was empty again.

miniature bulrushes on the patio

Lonicera fragrantissima down to one shrub again.

I planted five small starts of the lonicera around the edges of the back garden, hoping at least one will take.  I put the rest in water buckets for Todd to take.

When I looked at my new, weeded, cleared area, I realized I want to be able to sit there, rather than having two broken chairs.

I had an old bench outside the fence, where I always planned to sit and look toward the port.

view of the port buildings across the port parking lot

I have sat out there twice in two years.

I moved the old bench.  If you come garden touring, don’t sit on it because it is rather wobbly.

I’ll get something better.

I am excited to see how the autumn rainwater will lie in this area, and how much will be plantable (wet in winter, dry in summer).

The two chairs now mark the entrance to the salmonberry tunnel.  I will divide the Japanese iris in two, one on each side.

tunnel entrance

looking from the fire circle lawn through to the enticing new sit spot

end of day: greenhouse tomatoes

Allan returned from his adventure at dusk.  Tuesday’s blog will tell the tale.


I finished another David Sedaris book, with two particularly enjoyable chapters.

I recommend especially the chapter called Rubbish, in which Sedaris described his mission to clean up the roadsides around his English countryside home.  (I was hoping to take daily staycation trash-picking walks around Ilwaco till my knee problems intervened.)

Sedaris was inspired by a local citizen.

I love Sedaris for his rubbish mission, even though it may be exaggerated for comic effect:


If you want to join a local group that regularly picks up trash, Friends of Willapa Refuge have regular cleaning sessions.  Unfortunately for us, even though it would be fun to go (Todd does!), they meet at 8 AM.

Our Todd is on the left, the tall one.

I also recommend Sedaris’s chapter in which he described his longterm devotion to keeping a diary, and I especially liked what he had to say when his computer was stolen and he lost a couple of months worth of entries.

David Sedaris: “….the terrible power of a diary: it not only calls forth the person you used to be, but rubs your nose in him, reminding you that not all change is evolutionary.  More often than not, you didn’t learn from your mistakes.  You didn’t get wiser but simply older…”

Next, two days of boating posts by Allan.



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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Without any plan for the gardening day, I ended up spending hours on the first area that I saw when going out the back door: the garden next to Devery’s driveway.  It was an unsuccessful kitchen garden this year, except for potatoes and borage.

This photo shows how potatoes are made.

I pulled and raked a lot of debris from when this area was the debris pile and took the twiggy brown bits over to the new compost bins.

I disrupted this frog’s day considerably.

Across the driveway, Royal and Frosty enjoyed each other’s company.

Just as I was finishing the big weeding and hauling project, I had to take shelter in the greenhouse from a pelting rain.

greenhouse view, noisy rain

The rain barrels quickly filled again.

Allan had gone to the library.  He returned with a gift for me from our Ilwaco friend Ann S, who had tucked it in next to the book I had ordered.

That was most kind.

The Depot Restaurant

In the evening, we treated Our Kathleen to a three days belated birthday dinner, joined by our friend and artist Michele.  (She is the one who hosted the political postcard parties last winter.)

Michele and Allan

Kathleen’s favourite appetizer, Thai Calamari

Asian salad

salmon for Michele

Steak Killian

Allan’s Vegetable Primavera

an original art card from Michele

flourless chocolate cake for Kathleen

peach cobbler

The conversation was so interesting to all of us that we sat, ate, talked from 7 PM till 10 PM, realizing it was time to go when the last table but ours departed.  Such a scene always reminds me of the end of My Dinner with Andre, when the two friends look up and realize that the restaurant staff is sweeping the floor and putting up the chairs and every other diner is gone.

Outside, the moonlight and the streetlight dramatically lit the garden.

On Sunday, we visited Pam and Prissy in Seaside (tomorrow’s post).

Monday, 2 October 2017

I had another day of garden puttering.  Allan, in trying to mow Devery’s front lawn, had found that the mower no longer will stay on.  I was the last one to use it, on Thursday while he painted the shed.  This led to some dark mutterings of having “loaned it out”.  My mother’s old electric mower holds a charge only briefly, so he picked away at Devery’s lawn with that, in short spurts.

Meanwhile, I heard some loud crashings and bashings out beyond the bogsy woods and went to investigate.  The port’s big mower and trimmer machine was at work all along the edge of the meander line.  I took some befores, durings, and afters of the willow grove to the outside of our fence.

before, looking southwest; the willows beyond the ditch were already gone.

I moved my bench inboard, just in case.

before, looking southeast

the port being revealed as branches are removed

after, looking southwest

southeast, after

The swale will be a pond in winter.

Just last week I had been thinking of pruning out a view point through the branches, so I have no complaints about this port project.  Now I have a view at the south end of the main corridor:

A photo from last week shows the difference in the southwest corner:

last week


I was glad that last weekend’s salmonberry chopping frenzy had not included the ones that give privacy on the inside of the fence.

quite glad I kept these salmonberries

I spent the day planting and transplanting.

Allan’s photo, while fixing a string of lights at the edge of the roof.

Allan’s photo

potting up a new fuchsia

My mom’s “copper” rose was too overgrown with other tall plants to thrive in the front garden, and I believe the deer are still managing to get in to that area despite my bamboo pole and wire fencing at the sidewalk edge (where zoning does not allow a tall solid fence).

I hope it revives in a better back garden spot next to my mom’s “red velvet” rose.

mom’s two roses together again

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All” is changing its shape.

I planted my three new plants from Xera, the ones I had picked up yesterday from Pam.

Hydrangea ‘Edgy Orbits’ (which has been a disappointment) got moved to the bogsy woods, to make room for…

Clerodendrum trichotomum

Two new callistemons went into the west side of the front garden.  As I planted Callistemon viridflorus ‘Shamrock’ near another one, I was feeling quite pleased to be added to my collection of these cool bottlebrush shrubs…till I looked at the tag of the one planted last year.  It was also ‘Shamrock’; I had forgotten that I already had one.  Oh well, two side by side will make a good show.

The other callistemon is new to me, though, and I had to have it because of the name. I cleared a bed in its honor:

Callistemon ‘Wetlands Challenged Mutant’ will have creamy flowers someday.

I still think about taking all the lawn out in this one area and making the paths and edges be gravel.

Green is nice, and so soft and comforting when my foot hurts, but….

In the pleasant evening, we had a campfire.

roasting a campfire dinner, moon rising over the gear shed next door

Tomorrow: A three day work week begins.  But first, we will back track a day for our visit to Pam’s garden.






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Yesterday, in a photo caption, I mis-identified the Ilwaco Fire Dept as Long Beach. No idea why!  Fortunately, astute blog reader Our Kathleen caught the error.  

Saturday, 23 September 2017

I thought I should go to the Saturday Market for a few photos for Discover Ilwaco, since the market has only two more weekends to go and might get rained out on the last one.  I had not been to the market much this summer because of my sore heel.  Now that it is feeling better, I can walk without constant pain.

I decided to not disturb my neighbor Rudder with pets.

Approaching the market, I noted that the tall ships were tall.

De Asis produce

two tall ships

Allan had signed on for tomorrow’s “battle sail” on one of these ships.

Mandolin Pete with a guitar instead outside Don Nisbett’s gallery

busy market day

a market patron

two little cuties

I was eager to get home to my garden, but when I did, I found that going to the market had sapped my energy, so I accomplished little.  Allan worked on painting his shed.

before (Allan’s photo)

Allan painting his shed.

I accomplished one thing, with Allan’s help a bit: digging out the snail chewed hostas.  I am giving up on them.  Almost.  I chopped off a little piece of each to try to grow in a drier spot.

can’t look at this anymore

I was then inspired to sift some compost, so the day was not wasted.

In the late afternoon, rounding the corner to dump some sifted compost along Willows Loop West, I was stopped by a beacon of light.

It was the glowing of Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’, an ironically late blooming kniphofia that Todd gave me.  It is spectacular.

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’ illuminated by late afternoon sun

Kniphofia ‘Earliest of All’

lovely compost, not sifted ultra fine because it is going on a perennial bed.

I finally decided this horrible heather had to go. OUT.

Allan’s end of day photo

Sunday, 24 Sept 2017

Ed Strange stopped by to pick up the hostas.  His hosta patch is glorious and mine will be happier there.

Ed’s Jackson

Goodbye Sum and Substance and the other one

Allan departed to walk to the port, first to tour a Tall Ship and then to go on a sail.  It would, however, not be a battle sail; he had gotten a call this morning that their gunpowder had not been delivered, so the event was now an hour shorter Adventure Sail.  That will be tomorrow’s post.

I had company at noon ish: Dear friend Judy S., her spouse Larry and sister Rosalie.  We had a gratifying tour of the garden (because they like it) and a good talk in the shady campfire area.

Rosalie, Larry, Judy

I dug this hardy fuchsia out of the (now compost mulched) former hosta bed and gave it to Judy.


I had a surge of energy and got ALL my ladies in waiting planted.  It helps a lot that my foot is hurting much less.

Asclepias fascicularis

Asclepias speciosa

Eryngium proteiflorum (went in by the garden boat)

The strawberries are trying to take over my would-be scree garden.

Eryngium padanifolium

Chocolate Shogun is near the base of the lady.

Astilbe ‘Chocolate Shogun’

My Metapanax delavayi from Xera also went into the former hosta bed.

Metapanax delavayi berries

Metapanax delavayi berries—thrilling!

I sifted more compost.  Frosty stayed close by.

I got the third bin sifted and emptied and put new newspaper down at the base (as a weed barrier).

Now I have two full bins of old debris, and will start layering the brown with new green material in the empty bin.

I took the last sifted wheelbarrow load of compost to a weedy path on the east side of the fire circle and proceeded to weed in preparation for mulching.

weeded and ready, but….

I remembered that I had thought this might be a cool spot to have a pond, probably one made out of a big, and I mean REALLY big, tub. because tree roots would prevent digging.  A tub like the ones I saw in this garden in Portland.

I stared at the garden bed for at least ten minutes, just trying to decide.  Big tub pond here? With a bench around it maybe? But where to get a big tub like that? And it is far from electricity (if one wanted a burbler in it).

to tub or not to tub

A big tub with a curved bench in front, where people could sit some distance from the campfire, would be amazing.

I finally dumped the load of compost onto the old hosta bed because I did not want to waste it on a bed that might get transformed.

old hosta bed with ALL the mulch

Allan returned, well satisfied with his Tall Ships sailing experience.  As a reward for much garden and painting progress, and because the evening was almost windless, we had a campfire dinner.

It has been an enormous relief to get my home gardening energy back.  One large factor has been that my foot is hurting much less than during midsummer, when it made it impossible to do much on days off but sit and kvetch and read.





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Saturday, 9 September 2017

You may have read our September 9 posts about the cottage tour.  I have two more things to say, the first being that I bought some bulbs for my garden at Costco on the way to Cannon Beach.  And as usual, their bulb arrangement caused me much angst because of the inaccessibility of many of the bulb bags.

The first section was neatly sorted, with each row being all the same bulb pack.  This was a much appreciated new phenomenon.

Organized bulbs! Well done, Costco!

Then I came to the same problem as every year.

I cannot get to the ones in the back to see what’s there!!

Usually, we haul the whole set of racks out into the aisle, determined to see everything.  Today, we did not have time because we had cottages to visit.

At the cottage tour, one of the most intriguing things I saw was in the cottage whose residents had turned all their books around.

I would be proud to have people browse my book titles (if I had dusted the books first).  I found it interesting that such private people were willing to open their home.  I am not saying which cottage it was.

I was ever so glad to be home after the tour.

at the post office to pick up our mail before going home

I rejoiced that I would not have to go anywhere for weeks, except to work and to dinner with Melissa and Dave.

That lasted for about 24 glorious hours until I saw that there is a rally, in Astoria, to support DACA (the Dreamers) next Saturday (16 Sept).   All I want to do is stay home in my garden.  However, there are most assuredly dreamers and their parents who would LOSE their gardens by being deported, so we must show up for that event.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

At 75+ degrees, the day was too hot to garden. After a day of blogging (for both of us, since Allan had many cottage photos to process), we had a campfire to celebrate the end of tourist season.  Our back garden was damp enough because of yesterday’s rain to make it safe.

alder wood and kindling

Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’ at dusk

a dinner of sausages and foil roasted (with butter, salt, and pepper) corn on the cob

The sky was clear, with many stars on view…if one turned one’s eyes from the annoying glaring white street light to our north.

NOT the moon. I miss the amber-reddish light that used to be there, and yes, I have kvetched to the powers that be, to no response whatsoever.

We then watched the excellent film, Bridge of Spies.

Monday, 11 September 2017

tooo hot for me!

Despite the heat, Allan embarked upon a project in the afternoon.  He is prying the shakes off of his shed, in preparation for new siding.  Underneath, he is finding old tongue and groove that just might be good enough to not have to cover.

prying off shakes around an old window (with Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ in the foreground)

Allan’s photos of his shed project:

south side, a jungle of hops, honeysuckle, and raspberry runners

before (foreground, a special buddleia from Todd)


None of the four windows in the shed open.  It gets hot and stuffy inside.  He wants to replace the four windows with vinyl ones that open.  (Won’t be as cute…or paintable…maybe.)

old wood revealed

He thinks maybe putty and sanding can save the old siding.


It is typical here at the beach for old buildings to be this weathered on the south and west sides.

I finally decided, after more blogging about cottages, that I simply had to do something in the garden.  By late afternoon, an annoying 21 mph wind had arrived, cooling the temperature but making it dangerous to work under the bogsy wood trees.  Nevertheless, that is what I did, cutting down a salmonberry to reveal a new area.  (Have I gotten all the established areas weeded? No, I have not. Never mind.)

early evening sun shining through the salmonberry tunnel on the west side of bogsy wood.

before: My goal was to open up the hidden southeast corner

after: And there it is! You can see the tarp of the stacked gear shed crab pots next door.

Now…what to do with this area?

The corner has a big patch of orange montbretia to eliminate.

Lots of weeding to do.

I once had Lonicera ‘Baggeson’s Gold’ starts planted along the fence in this corner; they died from neglect.  I could try them again, or could maybe put up two outdoor plywood sheets in the corner and paint them blue!  Or…could plant something deciduous for privacy in summer and seeing through to the port in winter.

Today I ran out of energy and daylight before I did any weeding.  Allan will help me dig out the stump and haul the chopped salmonberry to the work trailer.

When he saw me emerge from this project, he said it was hard to take me seriously because I was wearing my slippers.

What if I got rid of THESE salmonberries and planted hydrangeas or Cornus elegantissima instead, hmmmm?  I just might.

At almost sunset, we chatted with Devery while she took my good friend Royal for his evening walk.

I then collapsed in my chair to do some evening reading with Smokey and Calvin.

Because I love diaries, I am loving this book, and yet I also find it disturbing.  In his youth, Sedaris worked construction jobs in Raleigh, North Carolina (later the home of Plant Delights Nursery and our friend Todd).  He keeps quoting the horribly racist things his white co workers would say.  It exposes the truth, and yet…I don’t think I could enjoy the book if I were Black, because the repeated use of racial slurs would be so hurtful and jarring that I might throw the book across the room.  (And this huge large print volume would do some damage.)  I don’t know what to think about whether Sedaris is right or not to quote the racists.  At least, he wrote (in his youth) about how he would object to what they said.  And we all need to be reminded that people and language like that still exist and need to be … battled.  I am at a loss for words about this.

Despite all that, I am truly a sucker for diaries, and I would like to read the unexpurgated originals and not just the excerpts he chose.

How very much I relate to the following; my mom would give my groceries sometimes when I was poor, at just about the age Sedaris is in this entry:

With a huge book full of treasure like this….

…..I wish that I had two rainy days to sit and read it from cover to cover.

Tomorrow: back to work



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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

We took the morning off to receive guests Jay and Diane, all the way from Florida!  I’ve been Facebook friends with Jay since he first visited our garden in 2014.  On that occasion, I was smitten with his insightful questions.  For example, he wanted to know who had been my greatest gardening influence.  When I said my grandmother, he asked to know her name “because it is important to say people’s names.”  He was here visiting his Long Beach sister, along with his good friend, Diane.

Jay and Diane arrive

Jay gave Allan and I each a t shirt of this delightful design from a place called Barberville Pioneer Settlement.

We walked out into the garden.

It’s looking rather autumnal.

I took note of what they noticed.


honeysuckle berries

honeysuckle flowers


wild impatiens (touch me not, my small and controlled patch of noxious weeds)

Everyone jumps when the seed pods pop.

an odd dandelion seedhead with a topknot

Diane said the Leycesteria (Himalayan honeysuckle) reminded her of shrimp plant.  She ate a creme brulee tasting berry.

fence decor

We sat around the fire circle for awhile (where we are not having fires lately because of dry conditions).

Diane wanted to visit the willow woods outside the south gate.

the swale between us and the port parking lots

the willow woods (Not many people ask to come this far into the depths of the property)

followed by Skooter and Smokey

We all smelled the fizzy leaves of the Stachys ‘Hidalgo’ (7 Up Plant).

Diane noticed my carniverous sarracenia.

Jay went with Allan to the workshop to look at two autoharps that he is borrowing for the week of his visit.  Diane and I walked around some more, and I noticed what she noticed:

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Helenium ‘Carnival’

Pink phlox (left) and escallonia (right)

this hardy fuchsia

my mom’s red velvet rose

By now, Jay and Allan had repaired to the house to look at more of Allan’s old musical instruments.

a dual player dulcimer that Allan built back in the 1970s.

Jay and Diane left, with Jay carrying two autoharps.  Two more plants were especially noticed:

a white passion flower

and of course, they had to smell the peanut butter leaves of Melianthus major. (Tetrapanax in the foreground.)

Melianthus major

Allan and I waited for a couple of hours before going to water at the port; he was typing away at a boating blog post while I read the ever-disturbing news (hurricanes, Dreamers in jeopardy, fires, flooding).

Had a greenhouse tomato for lunch: Black Krim, very mild.

Then we were off to do a couple of hours of watering and weeding at the port.

hooking our hose up to the hose at Time Enough Books

watering the Time Enough Books curbside garden

the westernmost bed

I am not cutting plants back right now.  More plant life will help keep people from standing in the garden during Slow Drag on Friday (I hope).

west end of Waterfront Way

Foghorns out on the river have been a constant for the last couple of days.

The river is out past the marina, which is entered through a rather narrow channel.

I had intended to do the boatyard garden as well today.  Our working drive was weak.  Allan wanted to get back to typing, and I was not averse to going home and postponing the rest of the work till tomorrow or Friday.

I took another walk around the garden, noticing things.

Everywhere I stepped, Frosty was underfoot, as he had been with our visitors today.

Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’

a table of ladies in waiting

I managed to get just one plant planted:

Melianthus ‘Purple Haze’ from Xera Plants

back garden…not quite sure, a varieated lonicera maybe?

very autumnal with Darmera peltata and astilbe

I long for a campfire. The fire danger is excessive right now.

Even well watered astilbe is crisping up.

I am giving up on hostas as soon as I find the strength to dig these out!

I couldn’t get a GOOD photo of my favourite bird, the common flicker.

Have been completely lax at deadheading my own cosmos.

fragrant Sinningia tubiflora from Xera Plants.

Salvia patens backed with Roscoea purpurea ‘Spice Island’

Am pleased with this basket I made with ‘Lemon Slice’ calibrachoa, black eyed Susan vine, and Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’.

That was an excellent day.








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