Posts Tagged ‘our garden’

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Other than having to go take photos of the Ilwaco fireworks (for a Facebook page that I administrate), I planned to spend the weekend at home, hoping to accomplish some weeding and compost sifting.

Saturday, I was on day three of feeling like I had an ear infection (which used to be chronic) and I did not garden much at all. I did try, but with 70 F weather, it was too hot for me to enjoy the outdoors.  I stayed in and finished my Hardy Plant Study Weekend blog series and had a good visit, in person, with Our Kathleen.

Of course, I was stressed that my little ear infection might turn big and make me miss the Grayland/Markham garden tour which is the garden touring high point of my year.

Frosty helped me blog.

At dusk, we went out to take the fireworks photos.

front garden sky (Allan’s photo)

A few favourites:


High tide made for good reflections.

While I staked out my favourite spot on the dock bridge with a good reflective view, Allan walked around on the docks in the dark.  Without falling in.

These guys were dancing to music up on their boat.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Allan went boating in Grayland, which you can read about on his blog.  He also succeeded, after quite a quest, into getting us tickets there for the Grayland/Markham garden tour!

Upon arising quite late and well rested (unusual!), I went out on the porch to rinse off my foot after stepping barefoot in a small pile of cat york.  On the way back in, I caught my little toe on the door frame, badly.  With my weird knee, sometimes I just do not know where my foot is anymore.

Never have I had a wee toe pain so extreme. The pain made me think for awhile I had broken it and made gardening impossible for the day, so….I worked on getting caught up on my blog, fretting that my toe would make it difficult to tour the Grayland/Markham gardens on July 14th. Finally, I consulted Dr Google and realized I should be icing my toe.  By the end of a day of icing, it was almost better.

So no gardening got done at all this weekend except for hobbling out on Sunday to turn on and off almost all of the sprinklers.

During my 6 PM sprinkler walk, I did take some photos.

Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’

edge of the bogsy wood

Iris ensata in the bogsy wood

plant table in progress

Paul Bonine (Xera Plants) admired this fuchsia when he visited earlier this week.


more astilbes

Luma apiculata beginning to bloom

bench in waiting

Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’

I have not had time lately to write here about reading.  I have finished Mirabel Osler’s memoir about her life, not just about gardening.  I recommend it to anyone bereaved.  More on it some time later….and have begun an astonishingly good book by her friend Katherine Swift.  I only have time to read a chapter or part of a chapter a day during these long summer evenings.

Real time alert: The Wade and Spade Garden Tour in Tillamook is coming up July 21st.  You can read about it here.  This tour happens only every other year.

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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

I was a little intimidated by who was coming to visit my garden today: our friend Ann accompanied by Evan Bean from Plant Lust AND Paul Bonine from Xera Plants, who had not seen my garden before but whose nursery is the source of some of the plants in it.  I took the day off because they were not sure when they would arrive from Portland.  I did a little more weeding and fluffing of the garden and a lot of blogging about the Hardy Plant tour.

When they arrived in the early evening, my neighbour Rudder walked right into the garden with Evan.  Rudder never does that even though I try cozying up to him.

Rudder and Evan

Rudder in the garden

Rudder going home (Allan’s photo)

Evan, Paul, Ann

Allan’s photo

Ann (Allan’s photo)

me and Paul (Allan’s photo)

Evan and Ann (Allan’s photo)

Ann botanizing

She found seeds on my variegated Azara.

Allan’s photo

Ann always has an eye out for seeds and she sells seeds at her Spiffy Seeds site.  Ann also works at Cistus Nursery and had brought me some plants from there.  Evan brought me some starts from his garden.  I was happy.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo, Eryngium pandanifolium var. lesseauxii’ from Xera

Paul, me, Xera tag, photo by Ann Amato

Paul liked the garden.  Whew!

He identified some lost tag plants for me, ones I had bought from Xera via Pam Fleming’s former Gearhart nursery.

translation: Olearia traversii and Rhamnus alaternus ‘Variegata’

We took them for dinner at the Shelburne Pub, and for touring of the garden there, of course.  We were joined for dinner by Melissa and David (Sea Star Gardening).

Ann at the Shelburne

photo by Ann Amato, Nasturtium ‘Caribbean Cocktail’ (mix)

photo by Ann Amato

Paul Bonine at the Shelburne!

jambalaya at the Shelburne Pub

We lingered till after closing time and the staff were kind to let us do so.

after dinner (Allan’s photo): Paul, Dave, Evan, Ann

A perfect evening. To be followed by a perfect day.

Brace yourselves, because there will be four (comparatively short) posts tomorrow.  It will be like going garden touring here on the Long Beach Peninsula with us for all day July Fourth….exhausting and, I hope, fun.  I just can’t let this blog fall five days further behind with two more tour days (Grayland/Markham and, soon after, Tillamook) to blog about.






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Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend 2018

presented by the Northwest Perennial Alliance

The thoughts refer to all the garden tour days and are at the end of this post.

my well thumbed booklet

Friday, 22 June 2018

After touring gardens all day, we checked into the college building where the lectures would be held and then looked in on the plant sale.  I had been disconcerted to find that parking was down a steep slope of grass and across the street; this hampered my purchasing and I bought far fewer plants than I otherwise would have.  The venue was not disability friendly.  Allan saw a woman with a cane standing at the bottom of the steep sloping lawn above the parking area while her friends tried to figure out how to get her up to the lecture hall.

outside the venue (Allan’s photo)

below the terrace (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

in the plant sale room (Allan’s photo)

Dan Hinkley and his plant sale table

Dan Hinkley, the best garden speaker ever, in my opinion, gave the keynote speech, titled “The Giving”, about garden memories in a way.

We had all been given plastic baggies containing plant material, and he asked us to breathe in the odors and remember times in the past.

In the bag, along with leaves and berries to evoke memories of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other gatherings, were seeds of Erythronium revolutum for us to grow.

As always, his lecture was so moving to me.  My notes were brief because it was mostly the emotional side of gardening:

“The Giving Tree” book, Dan fell in love with gardening at age five after seeing a pansy flower (I think it was the same for our friend Todd), “Who was the older person who was your first mentor?”  

He suggests…Walking into the garden and asking your plants, are you giving me what I expect from you?  “If not, then I ask Robert to dig them out.”

Something about how a red-tailed hawk’s cry was dubbed in for an eagle in a car ad because the eagle’s cry was not what they wanted.

He quoted from a poem by Wendell Berry: do read it.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

We were up at 7 AM for the plant sale (again) and lectures.  Again, I found negotiating the hill to the lecture hall difficult and had a little talk with the folks at the check-in table about testing a venue out with the idea of disabled people being able to use it well. I bought just two plants because of the difficulty of carrying them down that hill.

The Bellevue Botanical Garden director, Nancy Kartes, in introducing the talks, said something so true about public gardening: “When we make mistakes, we make them in front of everyone.”

The morning lectures began.

Claudia West: Planting in a Post Wild World 

I had heard her co-author lecture about this book at a previous study weekend.

Claudia’s talk was transformative and had me in tears at the end when she showed a slide of a devastated Germany after WWII, described how the people could not hang their laundry out without it turning black from soot, and then showed the same area now turned into a beautiful green landscape of lakes and trees: a new Lake District in Central Germany.

My notes: Less than 5% of the world is left in dark spaces.  (And some of those that show up as dark are actually industrial like commercial farming and mining).

Design rules where plants do not touch are bad for the environment, she hates to see “rain gardens” designed with space in between the plants.

We must use small spaces to 100% of their potential; plants want to cover ground.  (Yes! I am vindicated against clients who don’t want plants to touch!)

She strongly recommended the book The Hidden Life of Trees (Melissa gave it to me for my birthday!)

Ground covers are the best mulch.

She recommends Hansen/Stahl’s book Perennials and Their Garden Habitats.

After talking about the healing of the land in Central Germany (the part that made me weep), she said “We are in a global emergency.  We are losing the foundation of life.”

It was odd indeed that this study weekend did not include a book sales table.  I must read this book soon.

Jimi Blake: Salvias

Jimi Blake gave a talk on salvias.  My notes said to acquire Salvia fulgens (5′) and Salvia Amistad (“dies well”).  He suggested taking cuttings, growing them in perlite, and taking cuttings of the cuttings.  He recommended these websites: salvias.com.ar and fbts.com (flowers by the sea) and world of salvias.com.

His talk was followed by his sister’s.

June Blake: Discovering the Home Place: Making Sense with Plants, Buildings, and Landscape

Her talk was lovely but my notes are brief.

skybox (a structure with big walls like a box open to the sky that you sit in).

When parents let their children run through her meadow, she gets very cross and the parents walk out of the garden in a big huff.

She used a famine pot as a garden feature.  Read about famine pots here.

She provided a useful plant list with her slide show of 68 favourite plants.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Again, we were up by 7 AM.  This was near the parking garage (which continued to be a difficult uphill walk to the lecture hall for a cane user):

Along the water’s edge, the air is damp yet sweet.

hoop houses and veg beds

The land around us is wet Saturated with life

Dense thickets conceal a universe beneath

Seasons cycle through Balance emerges essential

I bought four more plants at the plant sale, judging them by their weight as to whether we could get them down the hill.  In a great (small) tragedy, I did not get back to the lecture hall in time for door prizes and I actually had won a plant for once! but was not in my seat so I lost out on it.  DANG it all to bits.

Sunday morning offered two lectures.

Janice Currie: My Recipe for a Lifetime of Gardening Pleasure.

The talk was about her world travels in gardens and did not offer up many plant names or information so did not teach me much. I did not quite realize it until another attendee pointed that out.

My notes, mostly about her useful information about rock gardens (as she has made an impressive one with tons of rock at her home garden):

use sand in scree beds

a rock garden of rock piled on a cement slab with little rocks in between

“Czech alpine gardens and gardeners” must refer to this.

make trough crevice garden 

Jimi Blake: A Beautiful Obsession

Jimi’s second talk was about his garden, which is on the same huge estate as his sister June’s.  He provided a slide list with 71 plants which I will be looking into.  The ones I gave multiple “must have” stars to are Erythronium ‘Joanne’, Corydalis calycos (the best, 1.5 feet high (??), Impatiens omeiana ‘Sango’ (pink stripe in leaf)  Epimidium ‘Wildside Amber’, Linaria vulgaris f. peloria, Linaria ‘Peachy’ (sterile), Linaria ‘Oslow Pink’, Geranium wallichianum ‘Havana Blues’, Sanguisorba ‘Black Thorn’ (6-7 feet, no staking), Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Martin’s Mulberry’, Cosmos peucedanifolius, Rudbeckia triloba ‘Prairie Glow’, Musa sikkemensis ‘Bengal Tiger’, Veronicastrum ‘Mammy Blake’ (named for his mum, can probably never get it here), Allium ‘Purple Rain’, Schefflera delavayi, Schefflera koranasii BSWJ1138.  And more.

He will have a book out for Christmas 2018.

You can follow him and his sister on Facebook.

the view from our lunchtime seating on the terrace

brief thoughts on garden tour kindness

Much has been written about the proper etiquette for touring gardens, but not much about how tour goers and garden hosts should treat others.

Let me just say that if I were hosting a tour of people that had paid to be in a horticultural group and had paid handsomely to attend a big event like the Hardy Plant weekend, I might very well, if my house were halfway through the tour and situated so people could easily access a bathroom, offer up its use.  I have seen this done on many other tours and it does make the day more comfortable for older people.  I would have no problem allowing members of a garden group like the Hardy Plant society to use mine, although I would feel differently about a regular garden tour where anyone could pay $10-20 and get in. I got through the day ok, but Allan saw a woman having to implore being allowed to use a bathroom.  Surely the budget could run to having a sanican on one of the larger estates halfway through.

And if I saw a disabled person who could not access my view deck because of stairs, I would offer him or her a quick way through the house to the deck.  I have seen this done on other garden tours that are for people in a big garden club (not a public $10-20 garden tour, although I would offer up such access to a person with a cane on any tour!)  JUST SAYING.  Members of the study weekend are not going to rob your house.

As for how garden tour guests should treat each other:

If someone is going against the flow, it is probably for a good reason, especially if you see that the person has a cane or other sign of disability.  I did not enjoy the experience of the snobbish man who said to his companion when I passed them, “I see someone is making up her own rules.”  I almost turned back even though I could not do the stairs going the other way.  Nor did I enjoy the woman older than I who cast her eyes to heaven when I passed her going “the wrong way”.  I can tell you for sure that these appeared to be moneyed upper class people.  Rude people.  It’s enough to make a lowly hobbling person give up garden touring for good, were it not that only in Seattle area tours (my home town!) have I run into this, never in Portland or Eugene and certainly not around here.  I am only a Northwest garden tour-er so I cannot speak for other places.

It wore me out.  Upon arriving home, I walked through my garden and I said to it, “I like YOU the very best of all.”

Sunday evening, 8:45 PM: back home:

Getting out of the passenger side of our van: HOME.

the front path

sweet smelling Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’


(Thank you so much to Devery, Jenna (Queen La De Da), and Our Kathleen, who had visited Skooter and Frosty over the five days we were gone.)  Devery watered, Jenna unscrewed a scary hot light bulb on a timer, and Kathleen found the missing Skooter and gave Frosty belly rubs.

Allan’s garden

our new plants

more new plants


back home to campfires

Frosty and Skooter

looking forward to sifting compost

front garden again

I’m going to repaint my poles next weekend!

driveway again

front porch view

a sweet welcome home from Jenna

There is no place like home, when you are lucky enough to have a home like ours.

A garden tour of the near future that is not to be missed:








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Sunday, 17 June 2018

at home

Rose ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ and bright blue skies

Midmorning, I started sifting compost from bin two.  My goal was to mulch the edges of the center bed as far as possible.


at least a foot of good compost at the bottom of the bin

I did not get even one barrow full before I gave up and went inside.  It was too hot…in the low 80s.  I worked on billing and blog posts instead, waiting for the day to cool down.

I did not get back outside again till five.

my view while sifting compost

all the way to the bottom of bin two

Bin two was turned into bin one. Bin three will be turned into bin two.

I was able to mulch all down the east side and the front of the center bed.

my audience

And I got my small batch of ladies in waiting planted.

In the evening, because of the extra hot day and because Sunday is the quiet day there, Allan watered at the

Ilwaco Community Building.

fern at the entrance to the library

same fern after cutting off the last year’s fronds

another fern that Allan trimmed up today


Earlier this weekend, I finished the fourth in Virginia Ironside’s Marie Sharp series.  I do hope there will be a fifth one, seeing Marie into her 70s.

I knew exactly which documentary she refers to in this passage:

…The first of the Paradise Lost trilogy.  I have watched them all, the earlier ones twice, and it is a strange thing to find such a documentary enjoyable to watch.

When Marie goes to buy an iPhone:

I am a fan of Piet Oudolf, so i was terribly amused at this passage about a garden made by Marie’s friend James.

Marie follows David’s example and goes on to say, “It’s not like a normal garden, true…

I discovered Virginia Ironside by reading (three times in all) her book about pet loss, Goodbye Dear Friend.  So of course, the passage about Marie burying her cat is perfect.

You might not want to read it; it had me in tears.  It is at the end of this blog post so you won’t miss anything if you stop right here.

I still miss my heart cat Smoky and my good feline friend Calvin and can’t even bear to put their ashes in the ground yet.



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Saturday, 26 May 2018

I had so much weeding and planting to do and three days to get as much done as possible.  My goal was to not leave my property at all.

Frosty observing my breakfast

Much planting loomed ahead.  I would enjoy it, I suppose, if I were retired and not under time pressure.

ladies in waiting

more ladies in waiting

I potted up three shrubs from Digging Dog (shrublets, really) till I can plant them and remember where they are and to water them.

I managed to carve out some space among the weeds to plant some more cosmos, some painted sage, and some of the Digging Dog plants.  What a relief; now I could mostly focus on weeding for the next two days.

Meanwhile, Allan ran some errands in Long Beach (hardware store and getting more potting soil for me).  The town was busy.

Here is an interesting new potting soil, about five dollars more than the regular kind of the same brand.

Gardeners’ World presenters Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don always refer to using “peat free” soil mix.  Maybe here it is considered a renewable resource?

I had had a question mark on the work board regarding whether or not we were working Monday.  It all revolved around watering the sanguisorba that I had planted (dug up from KBC garden) at the Shelburne.  Allan stopped today and watered it in order to get Monday off.

It looks…sort of ok.

[Flash forward: I did not look at this photo till Monday night, and then I got so worried about it that I lost sleep.]

Artemisa ‘Ghuizo’, moved from one spot to another to make proper room for the sanguisorba, is happier.

Allan observed boaters and paddle boarders on Ilwaco’s Black Lake.

And fishing from the dock.

In the evening, we celebrated the calm and almost windless weather with a campfire dinner.

Allan’s photo

Camassia leichtlinii Alba …I think…  (Allan’s photo)

As Allan got the fire going, Jenna (Queen La De Da) stopped by to give me a Caturday present.

She sat with us at the campfire for awhile and was most impressed with our cordless chainsaw.

Jenna chainsawing; she wants one of her own now.

Later, a campfire dinner:

I was able to erase my own garden from the cosmos/painted sage planting.

Frosty checks out my present from Jenna:

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Saturday, 21 April 2018

I actually do think that weeding, in my own garden, among plants that I like and  therefore enjoy a close look at, is fun.  Sort of. I don’t mind it, if I have time to keep up with it.  I started in on the west front garden (between our driveway and our neighbour’s driveway) while awaiting my social engagement.

MaryBeth came by with a gift of a generous clump of her Kerria japonica (with pompon-like flowers), and we walked into my back garden and I got her a clump of my single-flowered Kerra japonica.  She also brought me a book written by the husband of Margaret Drabble, one of my favourite authors.

Allan will enjoy it, too: “Michael Holroyd confronts an army of automobiles in this charming book. Weaving together memoir and historical anecdote, he traces his relationship with cars through a lifetime of biography.”

Soon after, Our Kathleen arrived for our lunch date at the Shelburne Pub.  She had picked up some violas for me and helped me, by un-potting them, while I bunged them into the edge of the front garden (for edible flower garnish).

Shelburne front garden, looking north

and south

This may have been Kathleen’s first time dining in the pub, at least in its new incarnation.  We had good food and a good long talk; it has been awhile since our schedules coordinated.  I look forward to her living here full time after retirement.

I am working my way through all the non-oyster items on the menu, so this time I tried the crispy, crunchy, and satisfying fried chicken sandwich, an unusual idea that I have never seen anywhere else.  The “Fisherman’s potato salad” has smoked herring in it, also innovative and delicious.

Kathleen had the pub burger.

Followed by bread pudding:

A musician played mellifluous guitar in the living room.  We were there at the quiet hour before the early dinner crowd.

I put some money in his hat.

Back at home, I finished my weeding project:

before (from a couple of days ago)

this evening

The back garden at 7 PM:

two cats


window box detail

In the window boxes, the redtwig dogwood twigs that I put in for winter interest have rooted and will go into the garden when I change the boxes to annuals. The tulip is ‘Princess Irene’.

It would have been a good day for boating had Allan not been still recuperating from his cold.

Because the chill wind prevented weeding till dusk, I had time to finish In the Eye of the Garden by Mirabel Osler.  After watching the harrowing film, Detroit, I returned to peaceful garden reading at bedtime with Osler’s A Breath from Elsewhere.

Guest photos:

I thought you would enjoy these photos from a neighbour’s walk in Beards Hollow, a woodsy trail to the beach about a mile west of us.

photo by Missy Lucy Dagger Bageant

photo by Missy Lucy Dagger Bageant

Beards Hollow, via google

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Saturday, 14 April 2018

Looking out the front window, I noticed that the goldy-bronze Japanese maple, which I planted for eventual privacy, tones well with the cottage across the street.

Allan picked up some books from the library and did some deadheading there:

Ilwaco Community Building

Tulipa sylvestris

Tulipa (probably) ‘Peppermint Stick’

at home

In the early evening, Allan went on a splashabout in the back garden.

I wish that white bucket was not sitting there. Fire water bucket. I keep forgetting to move it.

in the bogsy wood

looking north from the Bogsy Wood

Bogsy Wood bridge

Bogsy Wood swale

the seasonal pond at the Meander Line

looking north

fairy door

at the north edge of the Bogsy Wood

lawn under water

In the evening, we watched the documentary Kedi, about the cats of Istanbul.  It was glorious.  You can watch it right here.

Skooter, lower right

To protect our telly, we had to put Skooter into the laundry room.  The soundtrack of meowing cats had him all in a tizzy. He never gets worked up by the meowing on the show My Cat From Hell.

After the film, I studied the first couple of chapters of this book, a gift from Lorna, former owner of Andersen’s RV Park, a longtime past job of ours..

I have looked at all the lovely photos before, but this time I am seriously studying it as I am not all that successful at intensive cutting gardens.  I am wanting a small one around the edges of the back garden of the Shelburne Hotel and would like to do better with cutting flowers at home because I am taking bouquets there on a regular basis.

A sweet story of how the author got started:

I don’t often pick bouquets for myself but I do like to make them for other people. I learned useful items already, such as succession seeding for annual flowers up till July 15th.  And planting them extra close together for cutting flowers.

After midnight, I looked to see how much rain had fallen on Saturday: 4.36 inches! And 8.55 since this storm began.

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