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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Music in the Gardens Tour, Long Beach Peninsula

a benefit for the Water Music Festival and music programs in local schools

ticket tour map

ticket tour map

Garden 5: Somsri’s Garden

A fire-circle patio welcomes you to this plant collector’s two-year-old garden, whose owner has shopped globally for unique plants from Hong Kong, Japan, and her native Thailand as well as nurseries in the Pacific Northwest.  Her beautiful raised-bed septic drain field includes driftwood creatures and garden art partially hidden among the flowers.   More magical pairings of plants and art await your discovery throughout this garden.  

Sit yourself down and make yourself comfy as I have a lot to share about this garden, which I visited twice before the tour as well as on tour day.

Nancy and I went out pre-touring on June 1st.  When we got to north Surfside we took a wrong turn and ended up half a block west of Somsri’s garden.  On that block, I said we must stop and look at the raised septic field garden.

down the block from Somsri

down the block from Somsri

a driftwood serpent

a driftwood serpent

with a marble eye

with a marble eye

When Nancy and I went in the right direction, and saw Somsri’s garden, I realized that she must have created the neighbouring one, too.  Yes, she said, she helped her neighbour by planting that garden and making the artistic touches.  I am always smitten with someone taking her personal gardening outside of her own space to beautify the world.

As usual, I will intermingle pre-tour with tour day photos of Somsri’s garden.

Somsri's garden: Photo by Bob Duke

Somsri’s garden: Photo by Bob Duke

photo by Bob Duke

photo by Bob Duke

On tour day, we arrived at the same time as our friends Ed Strange and Basket Case Greenhouse’s Fred Aust.

Basket Case Nancy was gone visiting her mother, so Fred and Ed toured together.

Basket Case Nancy was gone visiting her mother, so Fred and Ed toured together. (Allan’s photo)

My nephew Jackson

My nephew Jackson

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo: Jackson was having a break from riding in the truck.

Pretty soon Debbie Teashon also turned up!  She was touring at a slower pace than ours because of taking photos and videos and listening to some of the music.  In fact, she saw only six of the gardens.  That’s a good reason to have no more than seven gardens next year, in my opinion.

me, Debbie, Ed and Fred

me, Debbie, Ed and Fred

west side of the garden

west side of the garden

south side

south side

main entrance via the driveway

main entrance via the driveway

east side of driveway

east side of driveway

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

dragon2

Allan’s photo

June 1st

June 1st

June 1st: the moment I fell in love with this garden.

June 1st: the moment I fell in love with this garden.

tour day

tour day

Somsri’s repurposed found objects and her driftwood scupltures are throughout the garden all the way out to the street.

driftwood and shell planter

driftwood and shell planter, June 1st

acanthus

patio

patio2

patio

patio3

patio4

Across the patio, the music tent.

walkway to front door, photo by Kathleen Shaw

walkway to front door, photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

entry garden, west garage wall, photo by Kathleen Shaw

Debbie taking photos.

Debbie taking photos.

front porch

front porch

pre-tour visit, June 1st

pre-tour visit, June 1st

west window garden, photo by Kathleen Shaw

west window garden, photo by Kathleen Shaw

pre-tour visit, June 1st

pre-tour visit, June 1st

balls

pre-tour visit, July 3rd

pre-tour visit, July 3rd

dierama, July 3rd

dierama, July 3rd

and on tour day

and on tour day

planters

Brian O’ Connor was the tour day musician.

brian

This man has an excellent voice.

This man has an excellent voice.

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

daisy

Somsri (whose nickname is Sam), right, walks with a tour guest.

Somsri (whose nickname is Sam), right, walks with a tour guest.

On the west side of the garden, the raised drain field, required in modern septic systems at the beach, has been transformed into an eye level garden.  In my opinion, this area is the star, planted up with cool plants chosen by a true CPN (Certified Plant Nut) who is always on the lookout for something new and interesting.

south end of the drain field garden

south end of the drain field garden

pre-tour visit, June 1st

pre-tour visit, June 1st

June 1st

June 1st

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

eye level garden

eye level garden

ird

Allan’s photo

June 1st

June 1st

Sam and a tour guest

Sam and a tour guest

pre-tour visit, July 3rd

pre-tour visit, July 3rd

July 3rd

July 3rd

raised2

June 1st

June 1st

July 3rd

July 3rd

June 1st

June 1st

June 1st

June 1st

hens2

June 1st

June 1st

north end of raised garden. June 1st

north end of raised garden. June 1st

June 1st

June 1st

plants

plants

I could walk around and around this raised bed garden for hours.  It’s great seeing the plants at this level.

pulsatilla

pulsatilla

Nothing much gets past Somsri's desire to turn objects into art.

Nothing much gets past Somsri’s desire to turn objects into art.

cup

cup2

Allan’s photo

farm

hens

bird

nest

Allan’s photo

dahlias

Allan’s photo

drift

white centaurea, June 1st

white centaurea, June 1st

A driftwood fence backs up the garden on the north side of the house.

north side of house

north side of house

a tour guest explores

a tour guest explores

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

Among the beach pines on the south and west sides of the lot, Somsri places her driftwood, fishing float, and shell planters and decorations.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

shell

out

mobiles

The garden extends out to the street.

The garden extends out to the street.

Gunnera, June 1st

Gunnera, June 1st

guests

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

out3

out4

out6

Allan’s photo

June 1st

June 1st

out5

Allan’s photo

out7

Allan’s photo

out9

out10

Allan’s photo; Someone else had told Allan to look for the painted driftwood pieces.

out11

June 1st

June 1st

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I am sure that if you were to walk by Somsri’s garden and saw her outside, that she would invite you to tour the garden and share her love and enthusiasm for each plant and each creation.

Somsri talks to us about a plant she brought back, years ago, from Thailand.

Somsri talks to us about a plant she brought back, years ago, from Thailand.

siam4

Allan’s photo

It spends the winter indoors.

It spends the winter indoors.

She calls it Siam Lucky Plant.

She calls it Siam Lucky Plant.

siam3

Allan's photo: Somsri's spouse quietly watching the tour guests.

Allan’s photo: Somsri’s spouse quietly watching the tour guests.

I told him that I loved the garden because walking through it was the best kind of experience of being in the gardener’s mind.  He said Sam has a very busy mind, and he just helps her realize her ideas.  What a nice man.  I also told both of them that Somsri’s edges out all the other gardens as my favourite, because she is an artist and a plant collector and her garden has the quirkiness that I adore.  Another reason it was my favourite is because she does it all herself, and that always pleases me.  It’s not made to impress or dazzle anyone but Sam and her spouse, yet provides delight for anyone who walks through.  It had plants I had never seen before (ones she’d brought from Thailand and Japan years ago when it was easier to bring plants through customs).  I’d like to see the garden in all seasons.

interlude

Before we left for the next garden, I took a walk a block down the street and saw Sam’s influence on other gardens.  The way her passion for gardening has spilled out into the neighbourhood is another reason her garden was this year’s favourite of mine.

a couple of houses to the west

a couple of houses to the west

I like the wooden deck.

I like the wooden deck.

wooden deck next to raised drain field.

wooden deck next to raised drain field.

a half block to the west, the garden Sam helps out with.

a half block to the west, the garden Sam helps out with.

It has that Somsri touch.

It has that Somsri touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday, 1 June 2015

Allan’s day

Allan went back to the community building as he had not been able to finish the job before dark yesterday.  I feel bad that he is giving up days off to this job but have been unable to convince him to let it go.  His photos:

before

before

 

after

after

 

in progress

in progress

I sent a hardy fuchsia magellanica start with him from my garden.  How I would love to replace that salal in the above photo and yet what a pain to dig it up.

Although it had rained, Allan bucket watered the first third of the Ilwaco planters.  Rain does not get in to planters put together with what Ann Lovejoy called “the principle of stuffage”.  In fact, it is a rare planter that readily absorbs rain, in our experience.

He looked for a place in the boatyard to fill buckets with water...

He looked for a place in the boatyard to fill buckets with water…

 

The Kathryn I was one the move; fortunately, he picked a faucet that turned out to not be the slip for which she was heading.

The Kathryn I was one the move; fortunately, he picked a faucet that turned out to not be the slip for which she was heading.

DSC01194

DSC01195

After that chore, he checked on the tadpoles in the meander line pools at the south end of our property.  Behind Nora’s and Mary’s back yards, they were still thriving in the ditch water.

IMG_2170

But our ditch pool had tragically dried up.  We hope they wriggled into the next area of standing water.  Next year, we will be poised for a rescue mission.

But our ditch pool had tragically dried up. We hope they wriggled into the next area of standing water. Next year, we will be poised for a rescue mission.

my day

garden tour sneak peeks

Garden Tour Nancy picked me up at 11:30 to go swanning about on a garden tour sneak peek excursion.  I operate the Music in the Gardens Tour Facebook page and took many photos to tantalize folks with images of the gardens they will see on this year’s tour.  This means, though, that I cannot yet share most of the photos here, not the ones that show too much of the gardens.  These will appear later along with the gardens on tour day…July 18th, 2015.

We went straight up to Nahcotta to Marla’s garden.

edge

outside the garden, right across the road from Willapa Bay

It has come along beautifully since we visited this young garden last year, and is now ready to show how very much can be accomplished in just a couple of years.

outside the fence

outside the fence

Elly, who has grown along with the garden, hurries to greet us.

Elly, who has grown along with the garden, hurries to greet us.

a glimpse of the fascinating porch

a glimpse of the fascinating porch

and a driftwood gate

and a driftwood gate

Elly got so excited that she had to go in the fenced next door yard before she knocked someone over.

Elly (still a pup) got so excited that she had to go in the fenced next door yard before she knocked someone over.

There are chooks....

There are chooks….

and lots of them!

and lots of them!

Alliums by the wrap-around porch

Alliums by the wrap-around porch

Marla, me, and Ed Strange were the three lucky people to get one of these signs from the Basket Case Greenhouse.

Marla, me, and Ed Strange were the three lucky people to get one of these signs from the Basket Case Greenhouse.

Marla’s garden sign was a gift from Ginger next door, who owns the Charles Nelson Guest House, which will also be on the tour with its garden which is quite possibly half an acre large.

peeking over the north gate

peeking over the north gate

Chooks live here, too!

Chooks live here, too!

and two adorable and friendly dogs.

and two adorable and friendly dogs.

dog2

dogs3

old fashioned roses

old fashioned roses

stone

You'll want to see the view of this little formal pond from the deck.

You’ll want to see the view of this little formal pond from the deck.

I wondered if this is Cornus controversa variegata...the wedding cake tree?

I wondered if this is Cornus controversa variegata…the wedding cake tree?

A Waterlogue of the front of the Charles Nelson Guest House

A Waterlogue of the front of the Charles Nelson Guest House

We left the B&B garden to have lunch at Bailey’s Café just a bit up the road.

Bailey's Café

Bailey’s Café

Sambucus 'Black Lace' at Bailey's door

Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ at Bailey’s door

inside

inside

tortilla soup and tuna in pita bread

tortilla soup and tuna in pita bread

Just during the course of lunch, we saw Anchorage Cottages manager Beth and Shelly of Flowering Hedge Design.

and this cutie pie

and this cutie pie

On the way to our next sneak peek garden, way up as far north as you can get in Surfside (without entering the northernmost private estate), we saw a promising garden that we WISH would be on the tour.

a good planting over the raised septic system

a good planting over the raised septic system

a promising garden, from the street

 promising garden, from the street

across the way, the Surfside canal

across the way, the Surfside canal

Next, we found Sam’s garden, which will be on the tour.

Sam's garden, from her driveway

Sam’s garden, from her driveway

I soon recognized some of Sam’s touches must also be in the garden we had admired down the street, and she said that yes, she does help out with that one, as well.

Sam's garden, sneak peek

Sam’s garden, sneak peek

Acanthus in Sam's garden

Acanthus in Sam’s garden

artful use of driftwood throughout the garden

artful use of driftwood throughout the garden

white Centaurea and driftwood

white Centaurea and driftwood

Sam, originally from Thailand, has an assortment of interesting plants including some unusual specimens.  I wish I could show you more, as I took many photos, but they would be spoilers for the garden tour.  I plan to publish them along with the actual tour day photos.

She pointed out this handsome fellow whose perch is in a tree on the ridge to the east:

DSC03205

After our departure from Sam’s garden, Nancy and I drove by a house on the corner that has a lovingly maintained landscape:

another Surfside garden

another Surfside garden

And we then drove back south where we had just a look from the outside at a pocket garden in Tides West, one that will be featured for its artful use of containers.

Tides West garden

Tides West garden

 

Tides West garden vignette

Tides West garden vignette

With that, our pre-tour ended with three gardens unseen, one on the bay, one in Klipsan Beach, and one that was not confirmed till after our drive-around.

at home

Mary was snoozing in her new favourite spot, a temporary plant holding bench on the back patio.

Mary was snoozing in her new favourite spot, a temporary plant holding bench on the back patio.

I had a gardening mission which had come to me when I looked out my window this morning.  I had realized that when I look south down one path that passes the center bed, I can see the edge of the garden bed that lies under the former danger tree.

looking south

looking south

But when I sight down the other path, I can’t see the bed that is under the east side alder tree.

looking south down the other path

looking south down the other path

I could bring the alder tree shade bed forward from the east side, giving me room for more of the ladies in waiting!

the bed in question

the bed in question at 4:46 PM

and at 6:49 PM

and at 6:49 PM

 

with a bed of ajuga pulled and last week's weeding debris picked up

with a bed of ajuga pulled and last week’s weeding debris picked up

Now I need to get all the way to the back in weeding along there, and I need a yard of soil.

Another large patch of ajuga, gone.

Another large patch of ajuga, gone.

Next to go will be this bed of golden creeping jenny...

Next to go will be this bed of golden creeping jenny…

and more ajuga must go!

and more ajuga must go!

I have gone off groundcovers, it seems.

Tomorrow, we must begin a busy four day work week.  I am determined that on one of those days, I will manage to fit in getting my yard of soil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

We managed to make it to the cash mob at the Oysterville Store, almost to the very north end of the Peninsula, by a little after 11 AM.

from Ilwaco to Oysterville

from Ilwaco to Oysterville

Oysterville meadow in the mist

Oysterville meadow in the mist

Oysterville

Oysterville

Of course, we had to stop so I could look over the fence at the Huson garden which I so much admire.

on Territory Road

on Territory Road

peeking over the fence

peeking over the fence

next door: the Oysterville church

next door: the Oysterville church

We arrived at the Oysterville store just ahead of the cash mob crowd and we were pleased with the good attendance.  Everyone bought a little something and gave the shop a good boost during off season.

Oysterville Store

Oysterville Store

store

ostore

Local artist Joe Chasse arrives.

Local artist Joe Chasse arrives.

and Lisa and Buzz of Crank's Roost and the hydrangea house

and Lisa and Buzz of Crank’s Roost and the hydrangea house

a veritable mob

a veritable mob

Buzz looks at books.

Buzz looks at books.

Steven, Jan, Allan, Joe

Steven, Jan, Allan, Joe

green fern soap

green fern soap

owner Greg gets some cash from Long Beach city councilman Steven Linhart

owner Greg gets some cash from Long Beach city councilman Steven Linhart

sign

a beautiful bag

a beautiful bag

our dear friend Jamie arrived!

our dear friend Jamie arrived! with Oysterville Store owner Greg

twig basket

twig basket

a rustic box

a rustic box

fabric baskets

fabric baskets

the original owners of The Oysterville Store

the original owners of The Oysterville Store

As the crowd moved on to have lunch at the cash mob eatery of the day, so did we.

from Oysterville Store to the great day café

from Oysterville Store to the great day café

sign

great day café

great day café

great day is one of our favourite lunch spots, one we rarely visit as usually the only time we get so far north is when we are very busy doing Marilyn’s garden.

the menu and Chef Steve

the menu and Chef Steve

Steve and Shelly with Allan in the background

Steve and Shelly with Allan in the background

shelly

Shelly is the prime organizer of our wonderful local beach clean up group, the Grass Roots Garbage Gang.

the tiny café

the tiny café

Shelly told us that the cash mob crowd had been just perfectly staggered to enable them to keep up with having enough room in the smallish space.

We were delighted to lunch with Jamie and afterwards to visit her home which is just a few blocks away on the other side of the Surfside canal.

starfish

Starfish Cottage

Starfish Cottage

sign

window

decor

a mosaic that Jamie made

a mosaic that Jamie made

in Jamie's garden

in Jamie’s garden

overlooking the canal

overlooking the canal

I like this idea of the birdhouse pattern repeated all around the back porch.

I like this idea of the birdhouse pattern repeated all around the back porch.

pattern

on the back porch

on the back porch

chicken bench

chicken bench

the best canal view

the best canal view

We moved the chicken bench to get a better photo so as not to tumble backwards into the water!  Jamie told us she has seen mating raccoons roll right down the slope and fall into the canal.

chickens

inside the cottage

inside the cottage, stars echo stars

I asked Jamie HOW in the world she and her spouse keep the place so perfectly neat and clean.  She smiled and said “I like it that way.”  I do, too, but I sure cannot achieve that in my own house!  It is a skill that I wish I had.

I have this blog to thank for having met Jamie; she happened upon it as a reader, somehow, and then came up to greet Allan and me as we gardened in Long Beach.  I always want to tell people how cool she is; along with being a writer and a retired teacher, she had a singing career, including singing during a tour for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass; her spouse was a session drummer (now karate teacher) and can be heard playing drums on the intro for the Fat Albert animated tv show.  And they once lived in Laurel Canyon, locale of one of my favourite songs (Ladies of the Canyon by Joni Mitchell) and one of my favourite films (Laurel Canyon, of course).

After the joy of seeing Jamie’s abode and now being able to visually place our friend at the center of her universe, we drove down the Peninsula to stop at The Basket Case Greenhouse and have a look at the first plant order form of the season to see if there is anything we wanted to add to it.  (Yes, there was; expect some cool perennials soon!)

basket

bright tomato cages

bright tomato cages

a wealth of violas

a wealth of violas

I personally prefer the small flowers of violas to the big blowsy pansies, just because the violas hold up better to the weather.

and yet the pansies have such expressive faces!

and yet the pansies have such expressive faces!

Next:  my afternoon visit to the Peninsula Quilt Guild show.

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Coral’s garden

In midsummer, I took on a one-off job at a Surfside garden that was pretty much a blank slate except for a few trees.

before

before

I brought in two other garders and worked in coalition with them to get it done:  Carol of the Elves and my good friend Terran, who had a gardening business at the time.

before

before

I planned out the job according to Coral’s vision and drawings of a dry “waterfall” and creek bed with a berm along the street side.  Carol of the Elves and I plunged into the job and spoke after a day of moving rocks that we should merge our two businesses and change the name to Amazon Gardening. I could move rocks for 8 hours back then, at age 49, and only feel tired in the last hour…

during

during

Carol left halfway through the job because of a crisis pertaining to her friend and my ex: She thought I was awfully cold-hearted to not want to be involved.  So Terran stepped in and helped finish the job.  That was the end of my work association with the Elves, although I continued to pass extra jobs onto them.

Coral's new creekbed

Coral’s new creekbed

bermTerran helped me finish the berm that the owner wanted along the front of the garden.  I could have finished myself, but did not have the time as I was sandwiching this in among all my regular jobs.

Coral's creekbed

Coral’s creekbed

Coral was happy because the job came out just as she planned.  She would complete the rough edges herself after having a deck built next to the house.

after

after

Below:  Coral’s garden, January 2010…still there!  By this time, the deck which we had left space for had been built along the house. Coral was there and I told her the true story of the drama behind the making of her streambed, and she said she had no idea, and was just impressed that this assorted crew of women kept showing up to do the work.  I’m pleased that I successfully hid the crisis going on behind the scenes.

2010

January 2010

Discovery Heights

I had taken on the job of making a series of entry gardens for the new Ilwaco development called Discovery Heights.   Below,  the north side of the lower entry garden after the developers had put rocks in place. 

new garden, south side

new garden, south side

Discovery Heights lower garden, north side

Discovery Heights lower garden, north side

I got started on the project so late that the clients must have wondered whether or not I was really going to get around to it.

I would not have taken it on at all had I not known that a new partner was going to join my business in January (more on this later).  Meanwhile, Roger of Clean Cut Services helped with clearing the ground and adding a nice layer of washed dairy manure.

Roger helping out

Roger helping out

In 1992, Roger had been the bartender at the Heron and Beaver Pub who had helped inspire Robert and me to move to the beach with his tale of having moved here with no job and little money and living in a place with a leaky roof and cold water only, just to be here.

middle garden

middle garden

Meanwhile, the middle garden waited clearing.   Roger went up one day and did it, and then it was ready for me to plant it up as one of the first projects of 2005.

the middle garden awaits, late December 2004

the middle garden awaits, late December 2004

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