Garden of the Month: July 2012


From the Street
354 Wrights Creek Drive :
A shady oak glen in front of the home of Linda and Tony Fern at 354 Wrights Creek Drive has been transformed into a colorful and imaginative, peaceful garden.  The Ferns have graciously opened their garden to Ashland Garden Club members during the entire month of July!  They ask only that you enter and exit via the wooden gate at the front, taking care to latch the gate as you arrive and depart.  The handsome iron ring twists to operate the latch. With any luck, you will catch Tony gardening. He’s out there a lot and his hard work is much in evidence.
Along the Driveway

Tony does most of the work, selecting, positioning, planting, and pruning the plants.  Initially, Bonnie Baird designed the hardscape and perimeter plantings about ten years ago, but Tony has made all the subsequent choices.  A crew comes in regularly to help with cleanup, dead-heading and raking.  Tony designed and built the front gate as well as the pergola on the left side of the house.  He designed the complex of decks, stairs and bridges at the front of the house.  The deer fence has been in for only about a year, so the garden is now only in its first year of unfettered growth but it already looks well established.

The gorgeous garden replaced a lawn that previous owners had planted.  The process of substituting the lawn took two years, accomplished about a quarter at a time to reduce shock to the oak grove that shades the property.  When the garden was being established, the Ferns had 80 yards of compost brought in.  Since then, 60-70 yards of bark have been distributed twice to help retain moisture and reduce weeds.
 The Ferns added a recirculating pump to the little waterway that follows a naturalculvert, piped under neighborhood driveways, that ultimately joins Wrights Creek.  The stream bed has been lined and artfully bordered with rocks.  Art pieces abound and colorful plant supports add to the cheerful ambiance.  Colorful flags mark spots where Tony plans to add bulbs in the Fall, knowing those plantings will not interfere with an abundance of bulbs already in place but not currently visible (wish I’d thought of that!).
Asiatic Lilies
Right now, Asiatic lilies are putting on a spectacular show throughout the garden.  Tulips and daffodils have come and gone for the year.  Perimeter plantings concentrate on natives and drought-tolerant plants, including cotoneaster, ceanothus, Oregon grape, rockrose, Russian sage, smoke tree, and manzanita.  Other parts of the garden include lilacs, daphne, Japanese maple, pieris, and Mexican orange.  Laurels include English, Portuguese, and mountain.  Redbud trees and strawberry bushes, one recently replaced, flank the inside of the front gate. Double-potted bamboo screens the hot tub.
Japanese Umbrella Tree
 Among some highly unusual
and beautiful plants are a Japanese umbrella tree and broad-leaf ceonothus.   
There are, of course, ferns—both animal and vegetable.
— Ruth Sloan