Posts Tagged ‘public gardens’

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock, Washington

We continued our exploration of Castle Rock public gardens with the

Castle Rock Visitor Center.

According to an article in The Daily News, the majority of the $247,000 project was completed by community volunteers and public works employees…including the landscaping around the building.  The center opened in May of 2016, so the garden is still young.

I walked this path away from the building…

…and back again.

By the wheelie bin enclosure at the end of that path, we had found a picnic shelter and pretty bed of annuals.

The hanging baskets were padlocked.

Allan’s photo

The enclosure had some useful posters.

More posters described assorted trees.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
the tree our bogsy wood is made of

Across the big parking lot….

…is a pollinator meadow.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

I could not find on my phone the location of the old jail, so we drove back downtown and got out and looked for a pedestrian to ask.  We found one just as I saw, across a parking lot, a garden that looked promising. Indeed, the pedestrian said it was the place we sought.  I noticed his t shirt for the Crosscut Taproom, which was one of two restaurants recommended at Nancy’s garden.  He was the owner, so that settled which one we would dine at (the other was Wine Down Dog).

Old Jail Park

Allan’s photo

The walls are reinforced with scrap iron and old horseshoes.

Allan’s photo of a horseshoe

A diseased tree had been recently cut…

…resulting in some scorched hostas.

Allan’s photo; beds are sponsored by local businesses.

downtown Castle Rock

We took a two block walk up and down one street a block from the park.

Allan’s photo of a poster behind the window display.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
a curbside garden and an apartment building

One of the apartments had its own little garden display, freshly watered and next door to the library.

The double baskets are gorgeous, as they were two years ago.  Then there were more trailing potato vines; this year, the theme is pink.

In the containers, the theme was green.

I liked it very much. The big containers had plants which I feel sure like lots of water.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
another street heading off south (Allan’s photo)

It took me till now to realize that Wine Down Dog is a pun (wind down).

Allan’s photo

We ate at the Crosscut Taproom, having gotten directions from its friendly owner.

We got there just before it got busy with the dinner crowd, including a large party who recognized us from today’s garden touring.

We enjoyed teriyaki rice bowls, cider and ginger beer…

Allan’s photo

…and petting a nice dog named Loki on the way out.

He was maybe a little tired from having had attention from many people.

As we drove away, we saw the other side of the apartment building with another sidewalk garden, one which I think I noticed two years ago.

Allan’s photo

We got home by dark.  I am already looking forward to next year’s tour.




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Saturday, 25 August 2018

Cannon Beach

After touring gardens from Cannon Beach to Manzanita, Pam and Allan and I were mighty hungry.  We had a delicious meal at The Bistro in Cannon Beach.

The Bistro

Allan’s photo

ahi tuna

Omelette españole (potatoes, onions, sour cream) (Allan’s photo)

crab cakes (Allan’s photo)

Energized, we then returned to the town of Seaside and walked the couple of blocks from Pam’s house to the garden that she has created at the

Seaside Public Library.

We walked in on the south side in a light and welcome drizzle of misty rain.


Allan’s photo

The garden is an education in plants, with six different types of escallonia so that people can compare.  This side provides a visual barrier from inside the library—except for areas where someone else came along and pruned; those areas are filling in again.

pink snowberry

On the north side of the library, a stone wall encloses a garden providing a view while reading.

Allan’s photo of an especially lovely fuchsia

Moving on around the building…

As simply a gardener of small things, I am impressed by the size of this project.  The new building was dedicated in 2008 so this garden is less than ten years old.

north side with escallonia hedge

Acer griseum (paperbark maple)


I love the painting of a reader.

holly ferns

the west border with Magnolia laevifolia

parking lot beds with a pinky-gold heather

Pam’s gardens opened my eyes to using heathers, which I had always resisted because I mostly saw winter blooming ones of boring white or muddy pink.  She recommends Highland Heather for a good selection.

I love the bright gold and green; am a big fan of gold foliage.

This beautifully shaped magnolia, which Pam was able to save during the building of the new library, has “gorgeous huge pink flowers” in spring.



This garden gave me much to ponder, especially because there are a couple of small areas in Long Beach that I want to make more shrubby.  I felt very much like the “gardener of small things!” compared to this effortlessly flowing landscape.  We intend to revisit it next spring when the magnolia is in bloom.

a long view from across the parking lot

Our tour day was over with only an hour of daylight left.  We departed, with the van scented by a flat of curry plants from Pam and we were home by dark after a very good day.






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23 July 2018: 

I photographed 17 of the 18 downtown Long Beach street tree gardens for my reference. I often feel that these are miserable little gardens.  They get walked on, kids and dogs rootle through them, bicycles get parked on them, and they only get watered once a week. Many of the plants are free divisions that I scrounged up back before there was much of a plant budget.  I always tell myself I will make these tree gardens better.  It is a struggle because of the difficulties just described and because cool new plants will get stolen.  The cooler they are, the sooner they’ll be swiped. (Thorny plants do not prevent theft.) Annual seeds don’t seem to take well in these little beds.  I’ve tried assorted California poppies with little success.  Sometimes I manage to get a Cerinthe to grow, but by this time of summer they are done.

They all have good bulb displays in springtime.

The first four blocks going south to north have four trees each, and then a block is skipped, and the sixth block (by Dennis Company) has two trees.  The trees themselves are a columnar pear and an ornamental purple leaved plum.  We don’t prune them or deal with them other than watering or maybe pruning a lower branch.

The photos were taken while I watered planters and Allan watered trees.  I photographed some of them before he got to them to tidy them up while watering.

From south to north:

Block one:

west side, First Place Mall

I often regret planting variegated vinca in the tree garden by First Place Mall.  It is aggressive and has taken over, battled by Hesperantha, which I also somewhat regret. At least the vinca is variegated and thus rather pretty.  It’s low maintenance except for persistent big grass weeds and cutting the vinca back hard once a year.

East side, below Paws by the Sea
East side, below Paws by the Sea

Rugosa rose self seeded into this bed and I let it, thinking it was charming at first.  Now it is totally taking over, and if we shear it back and pull some once a year, it is prettier than a lot of the other tree beds.  It is smothering two Lonicera that I intend to remove this fall (and put in a park, probably).  One end seems to consistently get walked upon and is therefore bare.

east side, north tree
east side, north tree

An untrampled tree garden with lavenders, santolina, Knautia macedonica, and some blue scabiosa, Eragrostis curvula (grass).  There are no busy tourist businesses nearby so this one fares pretty well.

west side, Credit Union

Only slightly trampled, has santolina, some sad hesperantha, some well behaved (so far) Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, some Knautia macedonica, some low sedums. I wish it looked more interesting.

Block two:

east side, Anchor Realty

A vigorous Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ reigns here, with the edges having golden oregano and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ that get walked on just a bit.

West side, bike rental place

Golden oregano with Pennisetum ‘Heavy Metal’, which I am sure looks like a weed to most passersby.  Some badasters crept into this one, and some actual weed grass. If only people understood how cool ‘Heavy Metal’ is, this would be a success, especially since this tree has no working plumbing so has to survive on Allan’s bucket watering.

east side, Benson’s restaurant
east side, Benson’s restaurant

I suppose that huge and rather tatty lavender could go, but it would be hard to get a new one established, so it stays.  This bed has a big creeping sorrel weed problem.  Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, a white catananche, some oregano, some lady’s mantle that snuck in here.  This tree garden seems to hold its own.

west side, Malai Thai restaurant

Has Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, beach strawberry that I do not want because it gets in everyone’s business, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ behaving itself on one side, looks good in spring because it has a good yellow primula. Verbascum and yellow evening primrose which I have gone soft on pulling this year.  Despite how full it looks, people have parked their dogs and their large baby carriages right in this garden.

Block three:

west side, Marsh’s Free Museum
west side, Marsh’s Free Museum

Too much hesperantha.  A catmint, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, a Hebe ‘Boughton’s Dome’, an invasive running blue “ornamental” grass that was given to me by a nurseryman with “try this”—regret quickly ensued.  Hesperantha looks pretty good when it blooms, but in the summer it is so thirsty and looks yellowish. For some reason the Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ has not run rampant in this one.  Some golden oregano, too.  Allan came along watering after this photo was taken and cut back a lot of the Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’ (I hope).

east side, Mostly Hats
east side, Mostly Hats

It was mostly Geranium ‘AT Johnson’, which goes through such a sad stage when the flowers are done.  I pulled loads of it out a couple of years ago, with big ideas of adding some hardy fuchsias.  This tree gets so trampled by kids and dogs that I have not been able to get anything new going.  The fuchsias were quickly broken off and destroyed. It is frustrating.  We recently mulched it to at least make it look fluffy.  All the tree beds were mulched well in spring (or maybe it was last fall), but some are so scuffed up you can’t even tell.

Uh oh, I missed the west side tree.  I hope I remember to photograph it before this publishes.  Here it is, taken on July 30th.:

west, Long Beach Tavern

Has mint, which I tried to get rid of and now let be there because it is a survivor and is certainly well contained.  Two little variegated boxleaf euonymous which I love.  Two hardy fuchsias which amazingly survive.

As I took the photo, I saw something in my viewfinder, across the street.

child running in garden
child number two running in garden (had just jumped in and out)
While dad gets something out of trunk, two children repeatedly run back and forth through the little garden bed.

Unless I planted full sized sub shrubs there and managed to get them established well over the winter, nothing will hold up to this.  I think, no matter what I may have written elsewhere in this post a couple of days ago, that I just plain old give up on the trees on this particular block that get so thoroughly walked on.  Shrubs tend to get broken off (yes, even dwarf barberries got kicked to pieces in the Veterans Field garden).  I’m just tired now. I don’t want valuable money wasted on things that are destroyed, so it might just be a last ditch attempt at Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and Lysimachia punctata.  Back to the tour as written up not long ago:

Block four:

west side, Castaway’s Bar and Grille

One of the most frustrating tree gardens.  Just golden lemon balm, hesperantha, and a self seeded aster.  Two years ago we cleaned it all out and planted some lovely hardy fuchsias.  Within a week, we found a bike and later a large dog parked here, and the fuchsias were completely decimated.  So we gave up and let the horrible aster come back.  Pointless.

east side by Funland

This Lysimachia punctata is under this tree only, and it blooms for such a long time that I am thinking of adding it at least to the tree across the street.  I wouldn’t plant it in anyone’s garden.  There’s quite a lot of it at the Shelburne Hotel garden, and I am trying to eliminate most of it there.  It certainly stands up to all damage caused by pedestrians, dogs, and bikes.

Here it is from across the street:

west side, clothing shops

The plumbing is broken on this tree garden so it only gets an occasional bucket of water hauled from another tree’s faucet.  A low hardy geranium, one hardy Fuchsia magellanica (the other one got smashed to bits), and Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson’, which is drying up by now, and Japanese anemone and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.  It will look quite sad by mid August due to drought.  It was planted when the plumbing still worked.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to redo it with succulents? But they would be swiped.  Here it is from across the street, showing how dry it is already:

east side by Pharmacy and Home at the Beach
east side by Pharmacy and Home at the Beach

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ has absorbed most of this tree garden, with some reseeded rose campion.  I don’t like Lucifer’s pushy ways, usually, and yet I am considering adding to a couple of the tree gardens that are terribly walked upon.  It also has Geranium ‘A.T. Johnson and a very prickly eryngium.

Block six:

west side, Dennis Company

Has some tough little sedums, self seeded alyssum, a variegated iris on one side (the other one got destroyed somehow), a helianthemum that does well but has such a short bloom time.  Major chickweed problem and one end gets constantly trampled, I suppose by people walking around the front of their parked vehicles, so is bare.

east side: Hebe ‘Boughton’s Dome’, catmint, sneaky badaster, santolina, dog daisy. Doesn’t get walked on much so does well in its own rather dull way.

One of the things I would enjoy most about retiring from Long Beach is seeing someone else figure out some better plantings for these tree gardens.

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Saturday, 23 June 2018

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend

presented by the Northwest Perennial Alliance

Saturday evening soiree at McMenamins Anderson School Hotel

The soiree took place in a large room, with dinner provided and with Ciscoe Morris as the MC.

Ciscoe (Allan’s photo)

a contest for best garden hat

and most colourful outfit (Allan’s photo)

later, in the courtyard outside the dining room

Afterward, we walked with Alison and with Jean (from Portland) all around the glorious Anderson School gardens (created by Riz Reyes).

stairs from one courtyard to another

Allan’s photo

courtyard wall made of “urbanite”

Allan’s photo

in a restaurant courtyard

dog friendly outdoor dining

flaming post thingie, one of several


the meadow garden by the hotel’s main entrance (Allan’s photo)

I love all aspects of this meadow.

So we are looking at it from many angles!

Note the flaming torch and the late evening sun highlighting a tree.

We finally walked toward the gardens by the most distant parking area.

Seseli gummiferum (moon carrot)

Alison, Jean, and me

Allan’s photo

We all wanted to know what this is.

more moon carrot

Seseli gummiferum, with which I am obsessed.

A balloon floated overhead.

Allan’s photo

We walked past the meadow garden again:

I am going to try to grow Echinacea pallida from seed.

We then walked along the front of the building.  I expect that only the CPNs (Certified Plant Nuts) are still with us.    I am pretty sure that Danger Garden is still with us, because she blogged about this garden before.

We later learned that the path you can see below is a guest-made path, a place where the guests cut through.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

monarda (Allan’s photo)

I do hope you will want to see more of this garden when we tour it again in the rain on Monday morning with its creator, Riz Reyes.

Time to rest up for another day of garden touring, this time in north Seattle.


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Saturday, 23 June 2018

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend

presented by the Northwest Perennial Alliance

Unlike the first night at the hotel, I had only gotten about four hours of sleep.  We had to rise at the shocking hour of 7 AM for the morning lectures.  (The lecture notes will appear all together, later.)  Today, Alison of the Bonney Lassie blog drove again in her car with its superior satnav system.  Unlike yesterday’s cool grey weather (great for photos), today was hot and bright.

The garden I was most excited to see was our first stop.

Cascadia Art Museum/Salish Crossing

I am such a fan of Withey and Price, having heard wonderful lectures by them in the past, going way back to when they had a garden at the home of one of their mothers.  And, of course, public gardening is my life so this garden would be of special interest.

Just feast your eyes on all this.

Alison happy to see and smell a floriferous garden

embothrium, which I recently acquired thanks to Steve and John of the bayside garden

I can get a free start of Tiger Eyes sumac at KBC and will put it somewhere in Long Beach!

cars included for scale

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

like a lace curtain over the roses

I was in heaven.

Allan’s photo

I later learned that this is Alstroemeria ‘Rock and Roll’.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The garden goes around a corner to a restaurant courtyard where the wall is this high. (Allan’s photo)

Allan saw a gardener working on the plants and talked to him for a bit, not realizing he was either Withey or Price.  I was intrigued and found where he was working, with a couple of people talking to him, but I got an attack of the shys and walked away.

Withey…or Price (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Little did Allan know he was chatting with one of my idols.

I followed Alison across the parking lot to what must be the Salish Crossing gardens.


I felt inferior but inspired.

You can view Alison’s exquisite photos of flowers in the Hampton garden and this garden right here.

This, and a garden that we will see tomorrow, were my two favourites of the tour.

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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

at home before work

The pink rose that overhangs the east corner path was one of the few plants that was here when we moved in.  It is a once bloomer; then I will cut it back to avoid the snagging that is happening now.

Clematis ‘Etoile Violette’

Salvia ‘Caradonna’

We’d had more wonderful rain.

Skooter wanted me to stay home.

Geranium ‘Orion’

Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’

rambling roses

Clivia indoors, admired while breakfasting

When we went to the Bank of the Pacific before work, I was smitten with the foliage in their landscape:

After the briefest of checks on The Red Barn garden, we went to….

Diane’s garden

….to weed and tidy and to fertilize the containers.

the raised septic box garden

Brodiaea ‘Pink Diamond’

Allium christophii, Agastache ‘Acapulco Salmon and Pink’

our good friend Misty

I weeded an obscure and neglected corner that I should probably take more seriously.

The roadside garden needs more plants:

The Planter Box

We stopped to pick up a few more six packs of painted sage.  I found a Sambucus ‘Lemony Lace’ that I could not resist (but did not photograph it).

zinnias…I love them but don’t use them much. Should try again.

I could not resist buying some flame-like celosia, for the fire station. (Allan’s photo)

Klipsan Beach Cottages

A deer had gotten into the fenced garden and nibbled the roses.

buttercups in the lawn

We groomed the garden for an hour and took some photos for the KBC Facebook page.

Knockout Roses (Allan’s photo)

Geranium sanguineum (Allan’s photo)

the east gate

the birdbath view

Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’ and Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’


Long Beach 

We did some tidying of the city hall garden…

a welcome snake in the garden (Allan’s photo)

…and got another buckets-load of mulch to apply to the beach approach garden.

Allan’s photo

We got to pet some adorable pomeranians, a family of four.

Allan’s photo

With hope for a better looking display, I added some painted sage to the welcome sign.

Shelburne Hotel

We had time to work on weeding the paths at the Shelburne.

I had an odd encounter while working there today.  A woman said she admired the garden and asked what the variegated figwort was.  I said the common name and then added that its name is “scrophularia’, kind of an unappealing sounding name and that, like many of the plants in the garden, it was a division from my own garden.  She told me that plants people would think scrophularia  was a fine name and that she had a degree in “plant science” and added, “You probably don’t get many compliments, but it is probably just work to you.”  I had no words to respond to that.  It is actually everything to me.

Ilwaco Fire Station

There was no room in the planter for the silly little celosias; they had to go into the garden, where they are too few.

wish this garden would hurry up

Oh, I do have a photo of the Sambucus ‘Lemony Lace’ after all, and my new “stone troughs” that Allan gleaned for me from the city works yard (with permission).

Allan’s photo

I was hoping to get more port curbside gardens weeded this evening.  We ran out of time after a nine and a half hour day and will have to start there tomorrow.


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4 June 2018

To make this somewhat entertaining for the reader, I will start with some photos that show the Long Beach town scenery, and then get down to the nitty gritty.

Wind World Kites storefront was recently repaired. We hope it gets painted bright blue again.

Third Street Park gazebo

Lewis and Clark Square


Hungry Harbor

Sweet Phee’s

Fifth Street Park NW (We will redo this planter in fall, I hope)

Fifth Street Park SW

Fifth Street Park NE

Fifth Street Park SE

Now for the aforementioned nitty gritty.

Long Beach planter reference post

This is a record I am trying to do once a month while watering the planters.  About half of the planters are photographed from across the street before they get groomed and watered, to avoid the stressful and slightly dangerous crossing back and forth.  The others are lucky enough to get photographed after being watered and tidied.

I took the photos walking north to south on June 4, 2018.

block one, west side:

Dennis Company north

Dennis Co south

Block one, east side:

law office before removing bulb foliage

Dennis Co storage lot

Block two, west side:

Scoopers north with would be huge escallonia cut back hard

Scoopers south, leggy erysimums will need replacing

block two, east:


by NIVA green

block three, west side:

stoplight corner

Wind World Kites (he likes the Crocosmia!)

Stormin’ Norman’s

Third Street Park gazebo

block three, east side:


Cottage Bakery


Police Station

Block four, west side:

Third Street Park.

Hungry Harbor Grille

Sweet Phee’s…pretty much swamped with golden oregano

Fifth Street Park. I WILL redo this one in fall!

Block four, east side:

Lewis and Clark Square

Carnival Gifts, all spring flowering shrubs (blah now except for geraniums)


frying pan, shrubby, dominated by hebe

Block five, west side:

Fifth Street restroom; the plan is redo this one in fall because the veronica blooms too briefly.

Smoke Shop

Block five, east side:

Fifth Street pond

north of tattoo shop

As I write this and get to block five, I just found out that Allan hadn’t remembered to take his set of photos for the last block and a bit.  So the rest of the photos were completed by him on June 14, 2018.  

My idea has been to show how the planters read from the street.  He took a different approach, which makes them look more interesting but is not really what passersby see (since they don’t stand out in the street with a camera held up high).  I like these and am debating whether to switch to this angle in the future.  If you have made it this far, what do you think?

Block five, continued:

Herb N Legend Smoke Shop (west side)

Streetside Taco (west side)

Coastal Inn (east side)

Block six, west side:

Credit Union

bus stop

First Place Mall

Block six, east side:

empty lot

Paws by the Sea Pet Supplies (has big old escallonias that are clipped low in spring)

Powell and Seillor accounting (redone last year after a vehicle smashed the planter)





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Sunday, 3 Sept 2017

As we passed through the town of Castle Rock on our way to Evan Bean’s garden, I remembered childhood camping trips for two weeks each summer at the Toutle River, a beautiful campground that got washed away when Mt St Helens erupted in 1980.

 After our garden visit, we returned to Castle Rock and stopped to admire the public gardens.  I was pleased to find a Facebook page for the volunteer (!!!) group that does these gardens.  And, oh, LOOK! They have an annual garden tour (which we have, tragically, missed).

 Next year!

The first garden runs along the parking lot and street of the Riverfront Trail.  Allan went up onto the trail and got photos of the river.

I think this might presage a boating trip.

One of them waved.

The bank below the trail is newly planted.

Allan’s photo

how it gets watered (Allan’s photo)

This looks like the work truck.

Gateway Park

It was 96 degrees as we walked through the garden.

We had driven up that curved road heading to Evan’s garden.

I noted that somebody does hose watering.

roses and hydrangeas

This park runs for several blocks along a one way street going into town from the north.

Feast your eyes on the hanging baskets!  The park shows to the left in this photo.

I realized that each pole has a round banner which appear to be made by locals.  Let’s look at the baskets along this street and then get back to the park.

The baskets have gold sweet potato vine and at the top, some pink gaura making a spray of flowers.

Many hands make light work.

Now for our walk through this most amazing park.  I think that despite what the map below says it is called Gateway Park.

It’s long and narrow, between Huntington Avenue and Front Street.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

around the base of a tree (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

One plant source is Tsugawa. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo, looking down from the road

Is this really all hose watered by volunteers?! (Allan’s photo)

white gaura (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

We’ve walked south, and now we are walking back north.

On the way through town earlier in the day, my first hint of the great garden spirit here was a glimpse of the city hall garden, so we went looking for it.  On the way, we came upon what seems to be the same commercial street and stopped to admire its planters and baskets.

Castle Rock Blooms banner

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

dangling sweet potato vine (I think that is what it is)

painted rock (Allan’s photo)


It was 4:30 PM and we were the only pedestrians.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

sidewalk garden beds

We found City Hall a couple of blocks away.  It had been a great benefit of my freeway avoidance that we had glimpsed its garden on our route earlier in the day.

Allan’s photo

pink gaura, also used in the baskets

Digital cameras are weird. And WOW, what a garden.

The only other person we saw was a man across the street waiting at a table and holding a bouquet. There is a story there.

waterfall rock

Water rill goes under the entry walk.

seems like they get a lot of donations…

Allan’s photo

I was well and truly astonished by Castle Rock.

Here are a few bonus photos from our drive while looking for city hall:

On the way home:

The part of highway 4 (Ocean Beach Highway) between Longview and Cathlamet scares me, but what’s new….I’m no fun on the driving part of a road trip.

The 99 degree temperature as we passed through Longview dropped to 79 as we got closer to the beach.

In Naselle, we paused for a look at the big garden by the library.

They were having a party.

and the garden across the street….

with its big rooster.

I’m kind of in love with Castle Rock now, and I fantasized about moving in retirement to join that group of volunteers….if only it were not so hot there!  Here’s an upcoming event that you might want to attend.




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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Astoria Garden Tour:

a benefit for the Lower Columbia Preservation Society

garden two: a hillside garden

I try to remove the owner’s surname and address from the program, which leads to some awkward deletions at times.  I want you to see, though, how thoroughly the program covers the garden features.  Also, take note of how the garden designers and workers are given credit throughout the program.  This is unusual and much appreciated.





Allan’s photo





Note the rubber ducks.  The box is the Little Free Library, making it clear people are welcome to walk into the garden. There is even a drinking fountain on the left by the chairs, and it works.



Allan’s photo


The  public drinking fountain is this side of the free library on the left.


Little Free Library


Allan’s photo

Allan found a garden map and plant list on the lower patio.  I completely missed it.





Looking up; the beloved banana is to the right.


rocks along the sidewalk

I carefully plotted out a knee brace and cane and sore foot accessible path.  I figured I could go up the gravel path and come to a resting point on a terrace halfway up, where I could see a woman standing, and then walk back down the sidewalk on the north side of the garden.




getting closer

When I got up next to the middle terrace, I ran into a problem that could be so easily solved. I knew I could not do the railingless stone steps.


railingless stone steps going in two directions (Allan’s photo)

To my right was a jumble of rocks between me and the lawn.  I couldn’t go back down the slippy gravel, couldn’t go up the steps, and couldn’t step over the low pile of rocks to the lawn.  I was stuck. My only solution was the impolite move of stepping into the garden and then getting a hand from the woman on the lawn to get me over the rocks.  That makes them sound mountainous.  They were low, but with no way through for a disabled person.  Just moving one rock to make a clear passage to the middle terrace would be better for old folks.  There’s nothing like navigating a garden with a cane to make one think of easy fixes like that.



safely over the rocks and standing on the terrace


Columbia River view looking northeast from the middle terrace


Allan telephotoed the view.  You can see Tongue Point.


looking up


and down



Someone asked for an ID on the Liatris (Kansas Gayfeather)

I walked over to the north sidewalk and was easily able to access the upper lawn terrace and look down from the top of the stone steps.




looking down


Allan’s photo, looking up. The third step up is where to turn right and take more steps down to the grass of the middle terrace.


Deer have browsed as high as they can reach.

The patio behind the arborvitae is this garden’s garden retreat.  Garden writer and designer Lucy Hardiman would call the welcoming hillside garden a “garden advance”.



the patio (Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


looking down to the middle terrace (Allan’s photo)


the view from on high

Another garden guest was able to make her way up the north sidewalk to the upper garden.


attaining the middle terrace (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo


deer proofing (Allan’s photo)


looking from the north sidewalk to the lower patio

I appreciate the generosity of this grand gift to the street.

Next: a garden by Jessica which was my favourite of the tour.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

It is not an April Fool’s joke to say that the first living thing I saw when I woke up this morning, after about an hour too little sleep, was a slug crawling across my ceiling.

very small, thank goodness; probably rode in on a cat

very small, thank goodness; probably rode in on a cat

Why the ceiling?? Why?

Then a good hard rain pelted down on the roof and I thought “At last, a reading day!”

The cats thought for sure it should be a day off.

The cats thought for sure it should be a day off.

 Sure that we would have the whole day off, I was soon settled in my comfy chair with a book I’d been reading for several evenings at bedtime, by one of my favourite authors:


During last night’s reading, I had come across three passages that I especially liked.

In the first two passages, a character speaks of time and memory as one grows older:



And then this, from a scene at a funeral, where the pastor says:

Our memories of our loved ones might not be the point.  Maybe the point is their memories—all that they take away with them.  What if heaven is just a vast consciousness that the dead return to?  And their assignment is to report on the experiences that they collected during their time on earth.The hardware store that their father owned with the cat asleep on the grass seed, and the friend they used to laugh with till tears streamed down their cheeks… The spring mornings that they woke up to a million birds singing their hearts out, and the summer afternoon with the swim towels hung over the porch rail, and the October air that smelled like wood smoke and apple cider, and the warm yellow windows of home when they came in on a snowy night.  ‘That’s what my experience has been,’ they say, and it gets folded in with the others—one more report on what living felt like.  What it was like to be alive.”

“I don’t understand,” [says a member of the family].  “Where did he say she went?”

“To a vast unconsciousness,” [replies his friend].

“Well, that does sound like something she might do,” he said.  “But I don’t know.  I was hoping for someplace more concrete.”

Happily thinking I had all day to read the second half of the novel, I read another chapter and then…out came the sun.  Allan and I consulted all of our weather applications and all called for some showers.  So had yesterday’s forecast, and it had been a fine enough day.  So off we went to work, on a mission to at least finish mulching the Long Beach street trees.

Long Beach

At the city works yard, we collected all the rest of our mulch pile and talked to a city crew member who assured us that they would set us up with more.

every bucket filled

every bucket filled

tulips in the raised planter by Cottage Bakery

tulips coming and going  in the raised planter by Cottage Bakery

We got two trees mulched (in front of Cottage Bakery and Beach Duds) and started on two more on that block.  I could see ominously black sky to the west, which was, unfortunately, the direction the wind was coming from.  The next two trees were done in weather just like this; the saving grace being that miserable though it was, the wind died down:

quite quite miserable

quite quite miserable

We preservered although we did not groom those next two tree gardens as well as the others; they were lucky to get the soil shoved in rather evenly.

This much rain fell in the wheelbarrow in just a few minutes.

This much rain fell in the wheelbarrow in just a few minutes.

I thought a lot about my book and my cats, and how surely I would be back to my reading day soon…after we did four more trees, because we were not about to go home with the heavy buckets of mulch and have to unload them and then reload tomorrow.

And then the downpour turned into an occasional very light drizzle and I realized it would continue to be a work day instead of a reading day.

primroses under the tree by the new Thai restaurant

primroses under the tree by the new Thai restaurant, with mulch

weeding planters, too: Allan's photo.  I'm pulling out some Bad Aster.

weeding planters, too: Allan’s photo. I’m pulling out some Bad Aster.

After mulching three of the last four trees, we began a serious weeding project on the last of our trees, one that has been plaguing me with an infestation of creeping sorrel, the bad aster, some creeping Jenny, and some dull cranesbill geraniums.

tree before

tree before

It was a muddy mess working on it, and hard to even see the weed roots.  We got several buckets of weeds and plants out and I will keep a stern eye on it to make sure nothing unwelcome comes back.  The job was made harder by the painful noise of a pressure washer in the parking lot next to us.  We were both getting shouty and irritable.  When the noise finally stopped, our moods immediately lightened. A boat and a truck were the beneficiaries of the noisy machine. I’m sure it was necessary to clean the boat. Of the truck, Allan, usually not the one to complain about loud noise, said, “He would have done a better job with a soft sponge” and added that pressure washing a vehicle leaves a thin layer of grime. The relative silence of just the usual traffic was utterly blissful.


after, with some ‘Copper Pot’ California poppy seeds planted

the tools for the job

the tools for the job

Before I had gotten in too deep and completely muddy in that last little garden, our friend Bill Clearman had come into view across the street.  The traffic kept him waiting as the town is bustling for Spring Break.

Bill waiting for a traffic break

Bill waiting for a traffic break

He made it across for a brief visit; he’s working on one of his masterful carpentry jobs on that side of the street.

Notice how the yellow primroses match the trim on that building!  Completely accidental.

Speaking of colour coordination, Allan and I noticed while weeding a nearby planter that Red Dog Tattoo has relocated into the small red house on that block.

Now one of two tattoo shops on the same block.

Now one of two tattoo shops on the same block.

I kept thinking about the new Thai place.  The food had smelled so good when we mulched the tree right in front of it.  Perhaps the rain would continue and we could have lunch there as soon as we had finished the last tree.  And then…the latest batch of drizzle stopped, and we could see that we would have some more workable weather.

sky to the south

sky to the south

and north

and north

We had four buckets of Soil Energy mulch left so we headed to city hall where I knew there were some low spots in the garden.

little monument at city hall

little monument at city hall

We weeded all along the west side of City Hall, added the rest of the mulch, and I planted the last of my California poppy seeds (Dusky Rose and Copper Pot).  Although I usually wear lightweight non-latex gloves, I had been in a big hurry and did not put them on.  Our friend, gardener and lawn mower Ed Strange, drove by and paused his work truck to chat about our workdays.  Both he and Allan seemed amused at the hand with which I waved to him.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

the narrow city hall bed

the narrow city hall bed had many little weeds and got most of the mulch and the poppies

and the wider part

and the wider part would benefit greatly from some of the next batch of mulch.

These tulips have returned for several years in a row; I planted no new ones in this area last fall.

These tulips have returned for several years in a row; I planted no new ones in this area last fall.

a tapestry on the low wall by the sidewalk: creeping thyme, sedum, armeria (sea thrift)

a tapestry on the low wall by the sidewalk: creeping thyme, sedum, armeria (sea thrift)

I looked over a stand of white Dutch Iris and wondered why it was not as big and impressive a patch as I had planned.

white Dutch Iris

white Dutch Iris

Then I saw that a clump had been picked by someone for their own personal bouquet.  Infuriating.  Do they think I don’t notice?  It’s like making a painting and someone scribbling on it and wrecking the plan.



After dumping a half dozen heavy buckets of debris back in city works again, we remembered that tonight is the new “noodle night” at the Cove Restaurant.  We will try the Thai place some other night soon.   I wanted a reward for such a tough day.

The Cove Restaurant

The garden at the Cove is all weeded now.

The garden at the Cove is all weeded now, pretty sure by restaurateur Sondra herself

shadows and sun on the golf course

shadows and sun on the golf course

evening sun on one of Sondra's heucheras

evening sun on one of Sondra’s heucheras

in the hallway: Allan's photo

in the hallway: Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo



The usual yummy appetizers were also on offer.

welcome and refreshing hard cider

welcome and refreshing hard cider

a lovely sight

those little bubbles: a lovely sight

north window view from our table

north window view from our table

Allan's telephoto

Allan’s telephoto caught a ‘bird’ shot for Mr. Tootlepedal out the same window


fried artichokes

fried artichokes

Hikkado stir fry with prawns

Hikkado stir fry with prawns

beef stir fry

beef stir fry

It was all delicious; we continue to be so pleased by the flavours provided by Chef Jason Lancaster.

in the garden

in Sondra’s garden, after dinner

Parking Lot Cat popped up out of the bed of a truck as we were leaving.


my good friend PLC

my good friend PLC

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

As we departed, Susie and Bill of the Boreas Inn just arrived; Susie had seen me check in on Facebook but we were already driving out of the lot and just stopped to chat briefly.  We shall see if our financial willpower will keep us from going to our usually Thursday night Cove dinner.

And then home at last after an exhausting and yet satisfyingly accomplished day.  I hadn’t even put the street tree mulching on the work board so I did not get the pleasure of erasing it.

It seems the weather forecast is good for tomorrow so I still won’t have that reading day.

In the last light of day, Jared and Jessika next door were wheelbarrowing a big load of soil from a truck in their driveway to a new raised planting box in their back yard. I called out “I’ll move that soil for you!”  Jared looked surprised and then I said “April fools!”

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