Garden of the Month: July 2011

519 Liberty Street-
The front garden at 519 Liberty Street is always eye-catching. In April, there was a stunning show of daffodils. In May and June, it was irises and peonies. Now it’s daisies and coreopsis with foxglove just ending its reign. Garden Club members, friends, and families will have an opportunity to see inside the intriguing gate to the equally breath-taking and very private courtyard, side, and back gardens at 1:00 on Monday, July 11. This is a small garden, jam-packed with beautiful plants.

Sue Harmon has gardened on this property since 2003. Some years earlier, she took a two-year series of horticulture courses at UCLA that is the equivalent of Master Gardener training here. And when she first moved to Ashland, she took a garden-planning workshop at SOU. A Master Gardener from that program helped her plan the courtyard garden. Sue does all of the gardening herself. She spends approximately eight hours a week during the busiest seasons of Spring and Fall, and about four hours a week the rest of the year. It shows.

In addition to the ever-changing show of blooms in front is a large mimosa tree with lacy foliage that will have fringed pink blossoms later this summer. The front also is home to a holly tree, two dogwoods, and numerous evergreen shrubs. A clematis vine tops the arbor over the unique gate.Through the gate, you arrive in the private bower that is the courtyard, with a bistro table and chairs, as well as a well-established wisteria framing the left side.A bubbling urn fountain provides soothing sound.
Two Japanese maples anchor either side of the space that is filled with azaleas, ferns, heuchera, daphne, camellias, hellebores, nandina, toadwart, and teucrium germander.The side yard, featuring roses, lilacs, tulips, more irises, and fragrant geraniums, are visible through a wall of windows in the family room. A Cecile Bruner rose–now just past its peak—separates the side from the back and screens the compost bin. It’s sharing its arbor with a different kind of clematis.

In back, a tall hedge of Leland cypress screens the neighbors and continues the feel of absolute privacy. A small lawn is bordered by a riot of color. A tiered fountain, dining patio, bench swing, and romantic garden bench furnish the back yard. Among the many varieties of plants in back are hostas, bear’s breech, sedum, columbine, bleeding heart, tulips, fuchsias, Japanese anemones, ajuga, and creeping jenny. There is also a kitchen garden in half-barrels and large pots with lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs.

A statue of St. Francis keeps watch over the courtyard. A restful stone angel guards the side yard. A large sculpted dog carries a basket containing a real blooming plant. And a metal stand features a charming collection of watering cans.

Garden of the Month Committee /Ruth Sloan