870 Cambridge Street: If you read the letters to the editor carefully, or are involved with Climate Energy Action Plan Ad Hoc Committee or Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, you know that Ashland resident Louise Shawkat is very concerned with environmental matters and very careful about how she lives on the earth to minimize impact. Her garden, at 870 Cambridge St. in the Quiet Village neighborhood, reflects her concerns. With a wonderful mixture of food crops and ornamentals, it is a practical yet pleasing setting. She is a Master Recycler as well as a Master Gardener. Louise’s garden has also been designated an official Pollinator Garden by Bee City USA of Ashland.
Ken Cairn Landscape Architecture developed the original plans six years ago, and the hardscape and many of the front plantings are still the same, but Louise has taken pleasure in adding or replacing plants as she wishes in the intervening years. She averages about an hour a day maintaining and improving the garden. The airy wood and metal screens in the front yard are based on the design of stained glass windows in her previous home.
The quarter-acre property, which Louise purchased in 2010, backs up to a bioswale that serves the Billings Ranch subdivision, with agricultural land beyond that. So her view out the back is pastoral. The front is a rain garden. The back yard has a mixture of curving planting areas and geometric raised beds.
There are no lawns that require excessive water here. The tall grasses (Shenandoah switch grass and tufted hair grass) in the front turn a beautiful golden color in the Fall. Creeping bramble adds an interesting low texture. Trees on the property include a large cedar in front and a long-established liquidambar in back. Red-twig and yellow-twig dogwoods were added more recently. Among the vegetables are tomatoes and cucumbers, with asparagus finally flourishing this year, as well as hyacinth beans, with their pretty purple blossoms. Among the many flowers are hellebore, asters, iris, and giant allium. A passionflower vine is thriving. Sunflowers abound.
This garden cannot be Garden of the Month because Louise is an active member of the Ashland Garden Club, which sponsors that honor. The Club selects Gardens of the Month, usually from April through September. Nominations are gratefully received at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Ruth Sloan