At the darling Seaview cottage called Crank’s Roost, we managed to work one day in September at the project of creating paths through the south woodsy lot. The established gardens inside the front gate and to the east of the house always filled our eyes with pleasant details as we sorted out picks, rakes, prybars and shovels for the job.
at Crank’s Roost, 4 Sept
before and after, 9-4
The paths told me where they wanted to go as imagined where I would want to walk if the garden were mine.
accessing the back corner, 9-4
We need to place a chair or bench at the south-west back corner in order to make it a destination, because it can be nothing but a dead end due to the steep little slope along the south side fence.
a network of paths, 9-4
After one September work day and a check up on all of our regular jobs, we had to get ready for the Rod Run to the End of the World, one of the year’s biggest tourist weekend when the town gardens in Long Beach and Ilwaco need to be perfect. Then we dove with all our energy into sorting my mother’s stuff for her moving sale and getting her home cleaned and ready to go on the market. Finally, in October, we returned to Crank’s Roost to find that the wasp’s nest in the back of the wildnerness had been vacated, and we were able to clear that area.
the south side reclaimed, 10-12
Always the goal on the south side is to hide the north wall of the hulking grey house next door. Its greyness blends with the sky, and it has no high nosily overlooking windows, but until trees grow up to hide it the sense of Crank’s Roost privacy will be incomplete.
On November 22nd after the first big seasonal rains, we pondered the look of the south side garden and decided that 2010s project would be some raised gravel paths to improve drainage and make the garden walkable in all weather.
rainy season, 11-22
The marsh grass could stay in a couple of swales, perhaps even deepened to give a place for the water. Some bog plants like Darmera peltata and perhaps some skunk cabbage (known poetically in the UK as swamp lanterns) could be added.
The storm had been not just lots of rain but some fierce wind, creating an even bigger project that needed to be addressed. The trees planted by Lisa and Buzz in boggy ground had gone all cattywampus and we could see that their now-exposed rootballs were rotting away in the damp.
a sad situation, 12-4
The trees a bit more to the back were still upright. The tilted trees were indeed tall, as Allan demonstrated by standing next to one.
The trees had been rather large when planted. My theory, inspired by other people’s research, is that if one plants a smaller tree it WILL catch up in a very few years to a bigger tree, and will be able to root in and establish itself better because it will suffer less transplant shock. “A six-foot tree will make an immediate impact, but a smaller tree will establish more quickly and soon catch up on a larger one.” (words of wisdom from the Cheltonham Tree Group)
On this last 2009 workday at Crank’s Roost, not all was gloomy trees atilt and boggy puddles. The sun came out and cast beautiful backlighting onto the garden.
Crank’s Roost lantern, 12-4
late autumn, 12-4
our friend Sophie came to work with us and basked in the sun.
Postscript: In late February of 2010 we dealt with the tree problem. When digging them out we heard an earthy squelching sound and found brackish water in the root holes. Wondering if they would even survive, we moved them to the back slightly higher slope where they could work on hiding the grey house.
late February 2010: Look at that tiny root mass!
In 2010 we did make gravel paths and raised some of the planting beds and added some charming smaller trees. In summer at least the willow hides most of the grey house, and as for the trees, we wait. The transplanted ones have, to our amazement, survived.
summer 2011 at Crank’s Roost
Writing this reminds me that I never did plant Darmera peltata there. This would be a great time to transplant some from a vigorous patch in a Long Beach park!
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