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Wednesday October 9, 2013, part one

When I heard that the owners of Crank’s Roost had bought the Willapa bay view house where we used to prune 300 hydrangeas, I went through a gamut of emotions:  I thought I had said goodbye to those darned [word edited for politeness] hydrangeas forever (when the house went up for sale a couple of years ago).  I could not bear the thought of seeing them again!  Maybe Lisa would not want to hire us for the job anyway.  But…remember how excited we were when we first started the job in August of 2007?  The garden had so much potential, and we almost got it back to its original state of Japanese style perfection.  And then…remember how sad we were when we got sort-of-fired about a month later!?  And remember how even though, when we were re-hired just to prune the hydrangeas, all the beauty we saw while working there?  But…remember how hard the hydrangea job is and how long it took…and yet…remember the mossy meandering woodsy semi-formal landscape and how much it needed a loving gardener to care for it?

The builder of the house, local carpenter Bill Clearman, had kept his hand in caring for the house while it was for sale, but, with the previous owners deceased, had not been able to get us back to prune during that time.

By the time Lisa asked us to come assess the garden situation, I had gone through all the emotions from dread to delight and settled on being quite pleased to go back there again.  So today….

peaceful glade next to garage

peaceful glade next to garage

up the driveway...

on up the driveway…

wall enclosing parking courtyard

wall enclosing parking courtyard

Again we see the glorious blue tile roofs...garage, walkway, house, guesthouse

Again we see the glorious blue tile roofs…garage, walkway, house, guesthouse all topped in blue
azalea cloud gone all spiky.  Lisa said the path had disappeared before she clipped back...

azalea cloud gone all spiky. Lisa said the path had disappeared before she clipped back…

I found myself itching to clip those azaleas into a drifting cloud shape again.

Looking from the guest house back to the front door, along the blue tile walkway

Looking from the guest house back to the front door, along the blue tile walkway

I had walked all the way around the house and had only taken one photo of the hydrangeas on the bay side, perhaps because the sight of them (about 275 now, I think) was so overwhelming.

just one corner

just one corner

They have not been pruned since we last did them, and new flowers are mixed with deadheads.  After we had walked around other areas, we went back to view the hydrangeas again.

from the porch

from the porch

Interestingly, the hydrangeas gone wild are still not tall enough to block the view.  The previous owner wanted them cut too low, I thought, to get the most profuse possible bloom.  I think I might have just a tad more say in the height this time around.  The other great change will be that the previous owner wanted them pruned in the bad weather month of February.  Many times we stood under the eaves as sleet, hail, and even snow passed over.  I remember texting a friend who was coming to help us rake up debris with continued dire weather reports as Allan and I sheltered by the guest house door.  (During those years, the owners were always gone to a warmer clime during the hydrangea pruning time.)  As the weather that day got worse and worse, we aborted the whole mission and the drive up there had been for nothing.  Lisa is all for pruning in the fall, with possibly a touch up in spring.

from the covered deck

from the covered deck

Now me, I like to leave hydrangea blooms on all winter because they look pretty cool with frost or snow on them, but this particular time I will be very happy to address the pruning starting next week rather than face this much of a mess in colder weather.  Another huge improvement:  instead of dragging all the branches many rough yards to a burn pile close to the bay, we can make piles right next to the field for our friend Ed Strange, who does mowing and lots of “heavy” gardening, to haul away.

They run all the way to in front of the guest house, where the hydrangea field becomes even wider...

They run all the way to in front of the guest house, where the hydrangea field becomes even wider…

I do remember well the grim first two days of pruning when it feels like one will never get done, and then how on days three through five (!!!) one can feel that progress is being made and there is a distant hope of completion and then the joy of getting done on day six.  Perhaps not having to haul to a burn pile will make the job less daunting.  In the autumn, with longer days than February, it may take fewer than six days to complete the job.

Inside the house we marveled at the ceiling of the living room.  Bill had given us a tour of the house once before, and told us how he had raised the beams to the ceiling on his own.

living room ceiling

living room ceiling

He had bought Japanese carpentry tools in order to do the job with complete authenticity.

walkway from guesthouse, looking south to front porch

walkway from guesthouse, looking south to front porch

inside the roof of the walkway, carpenter craftsman Bill Clearman's artistry

inside the roof of the walkway, carpenter craftsman Bill Clearman’s artistry

I am thrilled that Lisa agrees with me that the ivy must eventually go.  (See noivyleague.com.)  She had already clipped it back from encroaching on the bricks and had pulled it off one pillar.   I can see a collection of hellebores where the ivy is.  Lisa asked what to have for summer….How about hellebores mixed with hardy fuchsias?  But first…the hydrangea pruning…then the azalea pruning…

Before we left, I had to take a photo of the red bridge, off to the side over a swale which fills with winter water.

enticing mossy path....

enticing mossy path….

and the red bridge

and the red bridge

I am so ready.  This time I believe that the garden is going to get to make a complete comeback.

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