Posts Tagged ‘our garden’

An article for fans of our new favourite show, Detectorists:

‘Roman haul’ turns out to be TV show Detectorists prop

A guest photo from Steve of The Bayside Garden, featuring a hellebore:

Hellebore ‘Snow Fever’, photo by Steve McCormick

And here, especially for Steve, is his favourite cat, Skooter.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

I looked out my window and saw a visitor back in the bogsy woods.  Allan got some photos.

a Big Bird

I had decided that tomorrow would be the first work day of 2018.  Today, good weather allowed me to get to the bottom of one of my compost bins, in preparation for bringing home more clean debris from work.  (By clean, I mean no invasive weeds and no diseased foliage.)

Skooter helped.

glorious sifted compost

I got to the bottom of bin three.

Allan’s photo

added fresh newspaper to keep weeds from coming through

I shifted enough debris from bin two to keep the newspaper layer in place.

Today’s other project was to coppice two golden Leycesteria (‘Golden Lanterns’ and ‘Jealousy’) and a smokebush.

Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’ before

and after

Behind the bench: Leycesteria ‘Jealousy’ and the cotinus, before the chop


I had not liked the twisty shape that the cotinus had.  Chopping it down will give it a new chance and should result in showier foliage. (Allan chopped that one for me, because I was getting tired.) I wanted all fresh green stems on the leycesteria.

I walked around admiring a few plants.

Hellebore ‘Appleblossom’, with a sneaky mollusk that I did not see till I looked at the photo.

Hamamelis (witch hazel) in the front garden

and a very red Hamamelis in the back garden (from Dave and Melissa, with a tag too faded to read)

Iris unguicularis ‘Mary Bernard’

Todd gave me that Iris, and has provided a guest photo all the way from Hawaii, where he has been visiting his twin sister.

photo by Todd Wiegardt

Meanwhile, Allan had run errands and had taken some photos of a certain garden that I have been asked to take on again.  Here is a hint:

The photos told me a lot of my cool plants are gone, and someone has planted calla lilies all over the place, to my horror (because they take over and are SO hard to remove).

It all depends on whether I will be given free rein and a plant budget…I KNOW that I like the person I’d be working for.

While picking up some library books, Allan got some photos of the Ilwaco Community Building garden.

the tiered garden

Crocus tommasinianus

tommies with Oregon grape

The ramp railing post has been broken out again.  Allan informed the city works crew.

I hope (and dread, and am excited by) that we will start work tomorrow.  Allan heard a drip under the house and we called our friend and plumber, Don Anderson, and for awhile wondered if we WOULD be able to work tomorrow, having given him such short notice of our new problem.  He called and will come at ten in the morning, so if all goes well, staycation is over.

I made out the spring clean up work list:

The right hand column is the at home list that did not get done because of shingles and weather.

Just for the most bookish:

I have been working on a new project, adding to my Goodreads (for posterity, I suppose) my lists of books read from my old notebook.  As I get each year done, I will add a bonus post, just for myself and for the avid readers among you.  My reading habits have changed drastically over the years.  So tonight will be the first of those posts, of books read in 1982.  I am going to be writing over twenty of these posts (!!) and am going to do sort of a strange thing, which is set them to publish all on the same day (eventually, as I write them), so that I can find them all together.  Just because I got three done already, there will be three tonight.






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During the last part of January, I was obsessed with the 1975 UK flashback blog and worked on it for hours every day till it was done—except for one nice weather day, when I had to garden at home.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

I made it out to the greenhouse to water.  Otherwise, I was completely preoccupied in writing my UK trip blog.

snowdrops in one of the new windowboxes on the shed

Friday, 26 January 2018

One day of fine weather let me get out into the garden.  Allan took some photos.

I had intended only to mess about with my compost bins for a bit, and then realized I had five shrubs to plant and replant.  First, out came a Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ which went from the front garden to the back.  Into its place went a Grevillea ‘Victoria’ that Steve of the Bayside Garden had kindly procured for me.  Allan planted the new shrub while I started to dig up my Rosa pteracantha.  Then he helped with that! The second rose also went into the back garden, and (again with Allan’s help) a Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’ went where the rose had been.  Poor Tasman had very little root ball because this is its third move.  Now it is in the perfect place to help block some bright security lights, and I do hope it survives.  Finally, the gift from Steve of a Grevillea rosmarinifolia went over by the driveway.  I think the spot I found for it is not perfect; I hope it will not end up being moved around three times.

trying to get Rosa pteracantha out  (Allan helped)

Grevillea ‘Victoria’ in

Tasman Ruffles in

Allan helped me move some Geranium ‘Rozanne’ around to make room for the rose.

Skooter helps me make a new spot for the rose.

Rosa pteracantha in

Later, I will prune this rose because it is on the new growth that the thorns glow the most red.  It will be superbly back lit in this spot.

I decided I must also cut down the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.  Allan helped again.

Skooter helps, but not as helpfully as Allan.

Ooops. Stuck again.

clipped Autumn Joy

Finally, I got to the original plan, some compost sifting.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

snoozy times for the cats while I blogged about the UK

Skooter helped me blog.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

A dear friend, Shaz, who I have not seen in person for years dropped by, with her new spouse (they live near Portland).  She brought me flowers.

Shaz meets Skooter

They were only able to visit for an hour, having driven up from Cannon Beach mainly to track me down. (They were staying at a place where I’ve stayed in Cannon Beach, the Sea Sprite, in the same unit that Carol and I once stayed in.)

Years ago, I had a wonderful time creating a garden with Shaz, back when she lived on the bay.

Shaz’ garden way back when

Sharon’s beautiful bird bath.

In 1998, Robert and Sharon and I created this garden around Sharon’s house where once had been just three scraggly rosebushes.

..and we made a rock wall garden along the bayside of her lot.

Wonderful memories were relived in our conversation today.

I had finished the UK blogs, which were set to publish daily for another 12 days.  Finally, I was able to devote my day to a book.  I had heard of it from author Leslie Buck, who wrote the brilliant gardening memoir Cutting Back.

I had not heard before of Mary Delaney, who as an old woman began to make glorious flower collage art out of bits of paper. Her flowers will amaze you.  Have a look here. And I do think some of you will want to read The Paper Garden. Poet and biographer Molly Peacock weaves her own story in with the life of Mary Delaney.  I treasure this part about grandma art:

On whether to keep or discard those sentimental things:

On looking for role models, I agree that I have found several who are already gone…

When Mrs. Delaney remarried happily in midlife, she created with her husband a garden in Ireland.

I agree with Mrs. Delaney on gardening being the best thing to spend money on.  We had something else in common:

“She stayed up late and got up late. ‘We live magnificently, and at the same time without ceremony.  Our hours for eating are ten, three, and ten again.'”  That is an ideal schedule for me.  The first meal might be too early for staycation, though, when I find myself awake at four AM and having breakfast at noon.  It will be hard to readjust to work time, which IS ten, three, and ten for meals.

Molly Peacock writes of seeing art in the everyday.  I would like to emulate this man:

It is more likely that Allan would create the quotidian art on the grocery store belt, whereas I would make the jumble.

In a Dublin pub, Molly Peacock is advised, “Don’t take another picture of people!…Photograph the dishes on this table! It’s pictures of people’s everyday lives that we need!”

Inspiration: At age 59, Mrs. Delaney “thought of herself as old, although we now know she was just at the end of the second third of her life.”

Here is Mrs. Delaney as an old woman.  She looks so familiar to me.  I wept to finish the book on February 1st, because I did not want to let her go.

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In real time, we interrupt the narrative flow to wish those of you who celebrate Christmas a happy day.  The blog still running five days behind is keeping it from going on winter hiatus.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

I had a late start because of getting a solid eight hours of sleep for the first time in awhile.  By noon, the weather looked to be a windless 45 degrees and I decided I would do some weeding.

the rain gauge from last night

Skooter on the roof

Frosty was watching Skooter from below the arbour.

Frosty went up to the cat door platform and they exchanged looks.

This is part of Skooter’s route to and from the roof:

I clipped some catmint in the front garden.  That must have released some scent; all of a sudden both Skooter and Frosty converged upon it.

I thought to myself that I had made a mistake in leaving the much less sunny front yard for weeding now.  I’d be warmer if I had done the front garden during the milder days and saved the sunny south side for chilly days.

so much warmer back here where I already weeded

In Allan’s garden, a tall mahonia catches the sun.

In the front garden, east side, the big libertia is all of a sudden on the move.  I will dig up these smaller ones and take them to the droughty gardens at the port.  I might also remove the rather tatty large one and replace with a smaller one or replant somewhere in the back garden.

In different areas, I have four large swathes of epimedium that should be sheared back so the early flowers show.  Googling tells me I can and maybe should wait till February.

pieris backed with epimedium

OH, I see something that might interest Mr. Tootlepedal.

I don’t know much about such things, but that must be a lichen or a fungus…Maybe a lichen IS a fungus.  I am uninformed.  With a hardy fuchsia for good measure.

I was glad to be in the front garden when Seaside gardener Pam drove by, on her way to the port with her mom, Harriet. They stopped for a brief visit.

Pam and Harriet

After they left, I began weeding the shady part of the garden.  It wasn’t as hard as I had thought it would be.  My hands stopped hurting from the cold and I made great progress.

shady front garden, before

The bed to the right was a solid groundcover mass of baby dwarf fireweeds that peeled off in sheets.

Billardia longiflora

Billardia longiflora berries

As the sun set, I could feel the ground starting to freeze and the weeding became slightly more difficult.

after, with hands to cold to pick up the last of the debris

I went indoors at dusk. After hearing the sounds of raking, I looked out the front window. I do think that Allan had raked this path.

I was able to erase the front middle and east beds from the work list, especially since I downgraded the heading from “good weeding” to just weeding.  Now I can think about whether or not I am going to get a big pile of mulch.  (The problem with said big pile is that it will block the garage.)

Skooter had worn himself out with his roof escapades and/or a catmint high.  (Catmint, Nepeta, is not the same as catNIP.  It doesn’t make cats as high as catnip does for some, but they still enjoy it in a mild way.)


I got a most pleasing Christmas card from Jo and Bob, who you might remember as former clients of ours till they moved away last year.  I loved seeing their new house, on a lake.

Longtime blog followers may like to see this.

And I got teary-eyed over this photo of my good friend Coco.  I miss all three of them!

lovable Coco!

Tonight: The treat of the season finale of Survivor and some more Black Cat Bookshop mystery.

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Monday, 18 December 2017

At the Ilwaco Post Office, Allan delivered our card:

inside, Allan’s sketch

He saw a cute dog waiting outside:

The postal staff told him that this is the busiest day of the year.  In our small town, we have to get our mail at the post office (no home delivery).  I remember in Seattle that the busy holidays would have lines out the door.

busiest day

We all have to go there for our mail. They should get more than two cards!

When the rain stopped in the early afternoon, I went outside with the intention of raking some of last year’s debris out of the garden and chopping it into the compost bins.

We’d had this much rain.

After deposting a wheelbarrow load of debris into a compost bin, I was inspired to dig up an ornamental grass that was now languishing in the west bed too close to Leycesteria ‘Jealousy’.

I gave that up for a moment and decided to move a pink and white old rose that had become lost and invisible in the middle of the bed.

This particular old rose, maybe Rosa ‘Mundi’ used to live at the Wiegardt Gallery, a former job of ours (that is now handled by Todd, brother of artist Eric Wiegardt).  I removed the rose from the gallery for two reasons.  First, the deer discovered that garden so every year the rose got eaten to a nub.  Second, I planted it when the building was pink, and the rose color did not go with the latest gallery color, a pale sort of pea green.

Back when the gallery was pink and blue:

In 2007 or so, the gallery became a sort of faint purplish colour (not lavender) that still worked with the pink theme.

In 2009, it became a pale green and most of the pink theme did not look right anymore.

So the sad deer-chomped rose came home to live with me.

Now it has been moved to a spot where some gold Helenium and gold foliage shrubs are no doubt going to clash with the pink and white flowers.  I can pick the roses for bouquets if the combination is too painful.  This placement will enable me to watch the rose for rampant blackspot and to decide if it is worth keeping.

new home for a rose (where the soil is most ruched up)

Allan walked out the back door just when I was heading into the garage for the heavy pick to get out the big grass.  Lucky me, unlucky Allan.  He agreed to help me by hoiking out the grass and digging out two clumps of boring orange daylily and one big clump of grass infested shasta daisies.

An extra tall Boltonia asteroides went into the middle of the bed. The grass went toward the north edge of the garden, in the hole the boltonia came out of,  to balance another white and green variegated grass. A bit of shasta daisy went where the daylily came out, and Allan helped me do a better job of standing up the columnar apple I had transplanted into the west garden bed not long ago.



It was a tremendously satisfying work session and solved several problems that had been bothering me all summer.

After dark, which comes at 4:30 now, I read the shortest book of my reading year:

At 31 pages, this darling book is to be a gift for Dave and Melissa (who I am sure don’t read this blog, so don’t spill the beans).  They have a nice flock of chickens.  I read Lovgreen’s book in the 1970s and have always remembered its charm.

I have requested her memoir, As Far As I Can Remember, via interlibrary loan.

In 1982, I visited a friend who was renting a small house on Bainbridge Island.  Imagine my amazement and thrill when it turned out to be Minnie’s old house.  How I wish I had taken pictures of the house and landscape… Those were the days when film was precious and blogging was a thing of the far future.

All I have to show of that day is this photo of me and my significant other, Bryan, sitting in Minnie’s house.


Today, in the evening, Allan wrapped all the presents.  He does a good, neat job.  My wrapped presents come out like bundles.  Some friends found this endearing, or so they said; this year, only Montana Mary got the bundled style of wrapping.

I can now show you how perfectly the little truck I got at NIVA green goes with a Christmas card from The Card Lady.

Tomorrow, much excitement awaits because we will go to see the new Star Wars movie with Dave and Melissa.

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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Finally, I got eight hours of sleep.  Unfortunately, after being up till all hours watching meteors, that meant a late start to the weeding day.

In the front garden, I partially weeded the beds from east to west in order to plant crocuses, so I can count those beds as almost done.

If I had not clipped a lot of Geranium ‘Rozanne’ in Long Beach town, I bet it would still be blooming there like it is in my garden.  This summer weather in winter is surprising.  Usually, my blog would be on a partial winter hiatus now because of inactivity.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ in mid December

a stand of borage still covered with stars of blue flowers

You can float the blue flowers on a soup or use them in salads.  Just carefully pull the blue stars off the fuzzy part.

Today was a bit chillier and slightly more seasonal. Skooter helped me again.

between me and my crocuses

With the front garden packed with new crocuses, I returned to weeding the west bed so that I could plant some down the center there.  Allan walked by at just the right moment (for me, probably the wrong moment for him), and I asked him to remove a nest of Solidago ‘Fireworks’ mixed with rampant creeping buttercup.  If he had not, I would have run out of daylight and been unable to erase “west bed” from the weeding list.

creeping buttercup mess, before (Allan’s photo)

Skooter (Allan’s photo)

Once I broke up the dug up mass of this medium height clumping goldenrod, I ended up with a surprising amount of good clumps that I can plant around Long Beach and at the boatyard. Today and Tuesday, two members of the Peninsula Gardeners Facebook group had come to pick up the  hardy fuchsia pieces that Allan had dug up two days ago.  It’s a pity that I did not have clumps of the excellent goldenrod to share at that time.

Skooter inspects the job (Allan’s photo)

after, with crocuses placed and Skooter enjoying the new clearing

I filled the area with a Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer” that had been lost in the middle of the garden bed.

at dusk, west bed weeded and crocused up

All the paths are a mess now and need a good raking (or mowing).  Allan has been coming along behind me with a rake, doing some of the tidying, and he ran the string trimmer all along the edges.

As the light faded, I got the last 50 crocuses planted in three beds around the campfire area.

Danger Tree bed

two of the three big beds I’ve weeded this week


sunset next door

across the street

I still have not even put up our own Christmas tree, and I have a feeling it may not happen this year, unless the weather becomes properly wintry very soon.

I was able to do some satisfying erasures, and I changed the “Good weeding” to just “weeding”.  I have to admit it has not been a perfect job.

Tomorrow, rain and some wind may return, and we must go to a late afternoon political rally, and so we might as well try, if the weather is not too bad, to accomplish a few of the “post frost check ups”.  Without frost, I will just call them pre-holiday checks ups.  I long to clear the board of work and be fully on staycation.  Maybe if “call accountant” is the last thing on the work side of the board, I will make myself find a new accountant (our nice local one retired) before it is too late.

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Monday, 11 December 2017

When I realized that just having “good weeding” on the work board for at home staycation projects would not provide me with much erasure satisfaction, I rewrote the list.

itemized weeding list

Skooter and Calvin

As soon as  started weeding the center back garden bed, I realized I had forgotten to add the garden boat area to the list.

Garden boat area needs intense strawberry control.

center bed in progress

Allan worked on getting a string of white lights working along the back eaves of the roof.

wheelbarrow load…

after wheelbarrow load

and done

I was surprised at how long it took weeding this one bed, and the back of it still had an unweeded batch of iris so I couldn’t erase this task yet.

A box of 500 40% off bulbs arrived from Van Engelen: 400 crocuses (the big ones) and 100 mixed miniature narcissi.  I’m not far enough along with weeding to plant them yet.

Near dusk, Allan started to dig out a big Fuchsia magellanica.

Allan’s photos: before


digging all around it

A dogwood that had been too big along the edge is now in its place.

Fuchsia seeking new home

Before gathering food for a campfire, I offered the fuchsia up on the Peninsula Gardeners Facebook group.  By the time we had the campfire going, I was already getting responses, and arranged to give away the big clump to one person and two smaller pieces to another.

winter campfire dinner

arranging plant pick ups

I deeply missed Smoky, my campfire companion.

in the good old days with my campfire cat

I need rainy days and the right frame of mind to do a Smoky retrospective photo series.

Allan had gotten all our holiday lights working. (Allan’s photo)

I’m not in a very holiday sort of mood and have not gotten anywhere near deciding to put up a Christmas tree, nor have I written Christmas cards yet.  I must get the latter project done within days.

Meanwhile, Tony and Scott had visited the North Head Lighthouse today, just a mile or so west of us, and I offer up these guest photos:

North Head Lighthouse, photo by Tony Hofer

photo by Tony Hofer

clam tide photo by Tony Hofer

Tony has given me permission to share his photos whenever I like; this could help liven up the blog during stretches when it’s all weeding.


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Friday, 8 December 2017

at home

We stayed up till 2 AM finishing season one of Stranger Things, and since I did not get to sleep till four, my idea of getting back to the compost project early did not come to fruition.


Noon! Allan is on the job, with the two new pallets that he got last night.


1:15: The new Bin One. Getting it installed involved shifting a heap of compost.

It took me an hour to shift most of bin two into bin one.  Now that bin one is installed, the job entailed shifting compost sideways to make room for bin two.  I longed to get the project done, but since we had a rally to attend a half an hour away at three thirty, I figured we’d be lucky to get two bins done.


1:40 PM: Bin One is full


Allan helps.

When the space for Bin Two was close to the bottom, it was possible to skoot the compost around in order to install the back and second side.


Two PM, with Bin Two installed. A long throw from Bin Three.

We were also moving the bins forward so that they would now be accessible from behind.

3 PM: Three bins installed!

We now have a walkway between bins and greenhouse.

We had pushed hard to get that far before having to leave for the rally.  I wanted so much to stay home and finish the fourth bin!  I sternly told myself that there is no composting for people languishing in the detention center.

Ocean Park: Rally for “Rosas”

“Rosas was arrested when going to Okie’s early in the morning of November 27. When he asked why he was being arrested, ICE officers said “My supervisor asked me to come find you because of what appeared in the newspaper.” We want to speak out against this arrest and on the attack on his rights to free speech. Please join us!”


The original story in the Seattle Times (my home town paper) is here, and well worth reading.

The follow up, after the arrest of Rosas, is here.

He appears to have been sought out because he spoke (under his nickname) to the Seattle Times.  ICE did not detain him earlier, even though he asked them why they took his family and not him.

This story has drawn the attention of the Mexican consulate and has been picked up by national and international news, including the Washington Post and The Independent, UK.

Here is a link to the gofundme where you can contribute, to help him and his family, who were deported to Mexico.  (His children are American citizens, who went with their mother.)

We arrived to find folks on both sides of the street by Okie’s Market, mostly on the other side of the street because we don’t want it to appear that we blame the local markets for the fact that ICE uses them to catch Hispanic people who are shopping for groceries.

Another group had settled in three blocks east on the main intersection.  Eventually, we walked down there to join them.  As we walked, a man came out of one of the shops and said “Thank you so much.  I would love to join, but I don’t want to be targeted.”

by the new medical clinic and pharmacy

on the right, newly elected Long Beach city councilman Isa Cline.

Allan’s sign:

I suggested he put something warm and fuzzy on the other side:

We had enough people to be on three of the four corners of the intersection.

by Doc’s Tavern

Someone who walked by the sign holders by Doc’s said something about people being illegal, and then went into Doc’s.  A few minutes later, she came out and said, “You are right!”  Something in there had changed her mind.

A woman paused her car to say she had just moved to Ocean Park and was pleased to see us, as she had no idea there were protests here.  I want to meet her.  None of us got her contact information.

I was heckled by a driver with a scowly face, something about “illegals” and “securing our borders” and “they should get legal.”  “It takes years and costs thousands of dollars,” I replied, but he had driven on.  That was the only heckling that I noticed.  Mostly, we got some honks and thumbs up.

Lee Hogan Knott, local teacher at Sea School Cooperative and yoga instructor at Earthlight Yoga, joined us with her children.

Lee’s photo

Lee’s photo


Some black and white photos by Stephanie:

Two counter protestors showed up after sunset, just as we were ten minutes away from departure.

The counter-protest duo paraded back and forth on the other side of the street with their yuge Trump banner.

The rally ended at dusk, when it was too dark to easily read signage.  Some ralliers went to a nearby pizza place.  Allan and I had other plans.  Since my goal is to not get out much during staycation, we combined the rally with our annual visit to the Hungry Harbor Grille to see their lovely holiday village.

Hungry Harbor Grille

Every year, Hungry Harbor sets up an ever larger and more elaborate village.

It is a coastal village with boats and lighthouses.

Allan’s photo

Jessie’s Fish Market is one of many buildings personalized for our area.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

second from left, back: I dream of living in the top floor flat with a roof garden.

It’s odd that the flat with roof garden is my dream instead of a house with towers and room for a garden….

…or a farm with animals.

You could spend hours looking at the details. Some people bring binoculars.

tree house and train tunnel (Allan’s photo)

Our burgers and onion rings were perfect comfort food.

Allan’s photo

the best dinner seating in the house

Tomorrow: Barring calamity, I WILL finish the compost project!

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