Posts Tagged ‘Terence O’Donnell’

I’d had my eye on a certain garden in Seaview for years at a house named Crank’s Roost, the former beach home of author Terence O’Donnell.  (His book Cannon Beach: A Place by the Sea captures the history and feel of nearby Cannon Beach, Oregon.) In 2008 we almost got the job but we were so busy with our garden tour that it went to a different gardener.  But in 2009, we snagged it, even though we again waited till after tour season.  I knew from having met the new owner, Lisa, that I would like to work with her on garden ideas, and ascertained our commonality when I saw the bumper stickers on her car.

enticing cottage and sympatico bumper stickers (community radio, yellow dog Democrat)

I had met Terence at a dinner party and occasionally chatted with him while working in other Seaview gardens, but he died before I took him up on the offer of stopping by to see his garden.  So I had only glimpsed the very secret and tidy English style boxwood edged garden through the concealing street-side shrubbery.  At last I entered the sanctuary.

tidy gardens around the cottage

boxwood, hydrangeas, echinacea

The house itself is tiny.  I’m a big fan of tiny houses so was thrilled when  Lisa showed us the cunningly designed inside.  It’s a writer’s haven with a built in guest bed under the front window and a desk overlooking the back woodsy garden.

looking from patio to woodsy garden

From the writing desk we could see the area that would be our challenge.  Other than maintaining the pretty, formal gardens on the north and east sides of the house, a wilderness on the south side called out for definition.

into the wild: (right) possible path down west side

Marsh grasses, blackberries, a bit of bindweed, and salmonberries blurred the landscape to the south of the house, an area roughly the size of a city lot.  We dove in with the idea of adding clarity and access paths and places just to stand and and look.

Allan clearing ground; (right) new path down west side fence

One of Lisa’s goals was to hide the big grey wall of the house to the south (background, above left).

In one day, we had created some paths and some open space.


The rhododendrons and ferns planted by Lisa and Buzz had room to breathe, freed especially from the vigorous grasses.

room to breathe (more like the mid-west area rather than southwest)


We wanted to get to the back of the east side of the woodsy garden area.  But we were hampered by the discovery of a wasp nest under a tree trunk.

Hampered by the wasp next from getting all the way back to the wood fence, we at least got the path in front of that area weeded and widened.  We thought we would be back soon to remove some more wild grasses but as fate would have it, we didn’t get back to this job until October.

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