Garden of the Month: 386 Laurel Street
Joyce Van Anne and George Kramer have a charming house and garden at 386 North Laurel Street. The 1911 bungalow, purchased in 1982 by the couple, is surrounded by lush gardens and fascinating artifacts. Over the years, they have had professional design help from Ted Loftus Landscaping, Robert Selman of Pyramid Landscaping, Laurie Thorton of Laurie Sager & Associates Landscaping, and Travis Stumpff of Sage Hill Landscape, but they do all the routine maintenance themselves, and Kramer has built all the wood structures on the property, including the arbors, fences and deck. The garden is Van Anne’s labor of love.
They have a “Little Free Library” (one of three in Ashland) in front. An arbor, featuring bookmatched fretwork like the low fencing, supports banksia roses and clematis. Boxwood tops the river rock edging that lines the sidewalk. Surrounding the small lawn are pieris, roses, rhododendrons, cranesbill geranium, and many other plants. A small weeping cherry was recently added to complement the mature Chinese elms trees in front.
In addition to a colorful array of pots filled with healthy and pretty plants, the back features a small stream with recirculating water as well as a large and comfortable deck. Large mulberry and maple trees plus a mid-size dogwood shade the area. Japanese anemone, wisteria, and lilacs, as well as other plants abound.
A photinia hedge lines the alley and provides privacy. The side yard features, among many other things, a gorgeous orange trumpet honeysuckle and a gnome mugo pine planted to provide views from the house windows.
Many odd and wonderful artifacts are placed throughout the landscape, including a large sign that spells PEONY, made from letters Kramer salvaged from the J.C. PENNEY CO. building in downtown Medford that now houses the Southern Oregon Historical Society. At its’ base is a rusty sculpture that was once a 55 gallon drum, but was river-tumbled to a unique shape.
This is one of the most interesting and delightful gardens in Ashland.