Garden of the Month: July 2018

995 Park Street-

The selection committee for the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month program has had its eye on D’Anne and Steve Shaw’s charming garden at 955 Park Street for a very long time.  The first time we approached them, they said that the back yard was not ready for prime time.  The next year, the giant incense cedar in the front yard was felled.  The year after that, they were remodeling the house.  Every year something happened because these homeowners are never idle.  Finally, the time has come:  This is the July 2018 Garden of the Month.
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The wedge-shaped garden is gorgeous, both front and back.  D’Anne and Steve both love color and work hard, each averaging ten hours per week despite their busy careers.  They share responsibility for design and maintenance.  They consider it a work in progress, continually making changes.  The garden is entirely organic and is a designated pollinator garden.  Don’t miss the Pollinator Garden tour on July 15 (https://www.ashland.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=17460).  The Shaws were part of the tour last year but have made way for new gardens this year.IMG_3600

Steve reports that he was introduced to gardening as a child by his father who taught him the value of hard work from an early age and gave him a deep appreciation for gardens.  Three pretty Gingko trees were given to D’Anne in one-gallon pots a long time ago and she cared for them in the pots for years until settling on this property. IMG_3609

You will see how much they have grown and thrived in the 18 years since being planted in the ground.  The unusual round metal arbor in the corner of the front yard was made for them for their wedding.IMG_3605

Among the many beautiful flowering plants are roses, hydrangea, peonies, lilies, foxglove, columbine, ground orchids and dahlias.  Walk or drive by to see how prettily these things and many others look together.IMG_3607

Article by: Ruth Sloan

Photos by Larry Rosengren

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Garden of the Month: June 2018

128 S. Laurel Street:
Luna Bitzer has been gardening at 128 S. Laurel Street for 22 years and it shows. She lives in the historic home there with her husband Joe. He built the charming garden shed and occasionally helps with heavy lifting, but mostly Luna does all the work herself, including some extraordinary tasks such as installing the paver walkway to the front door—using just a shovel—and forming stairs between levels in the terraced yard.

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While she has had some help over the years with specific improvements, such as the all-female group of friends who helped build an arbor, or the Bitzers’ children who helped maintain a pond, she devotes a very large amount of time to keeping the property healthy and beautiful. In summer and fall, she averages 20 hours per week working in the garden. In the winter she takes some time off and in the hottest months of summer she works fewer hours outside. This is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for June.

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Among the biggest trees that dot the third-of-an-acre city lot at the corner of Almond Street are an ancient black oak (Ashland’s 11995 tree of the year), Douglas fir, silver maple, and blue spruce. When this garden was on the AAUW tour ten years ago, Luna created a list of plants with nearly 150 names. Luna’s current favorites include Howard McMinn manzanita, microbiota decussata (a low-growing evergreen cypress), agastache, hesperaloe and several varieties of viburnum, ornamental grasses, and hardy geraniums. Cotoneaster franchetii forms a hedge along the alleyway.

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Luna says that the installation of a deer fence in 2013 changed her life as she no longer has to worry about what she plants or where. The garden is constantly evolving. What was once a pond that she created is now a shady raised bed, and most of the lawn has been converted to a berm that is rarely watered. The hot tub was removed and the deck rebuilt with a roof for outdoor dining. In all, it is a totally enchanting garden.

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Article by: Ruth Sloan

Garden of the Month: May 2018

186 Ohio Street –  It’s such a pleasant surprise to discover the beautiful garden at 186 Ohio Street.  Although the house is on a flag lot, much of the garden is visible from the street or sidewalk.  Stacy and Eric Poole own the property and have lived here with their two daughters Allie and Aimee, a dog, cat, and three chickens since 2001.  It’s easy to find the property because of two large basalt pillars installed near the sidewalk by their friend, the stone sculptor Jesse Biesanz.IMG_1

In fact, the Pooles have many talented friends who have added to the charming ambience of the property.  Metal sculptor Cheryl Garcia is a friend who helped Stacy with the original garden design and installation.  There are numerous Garcia sculptural pieces throughout.  Landscape designer and friend Jane Hardgrove has helped transform areas of the garden with her vision.IMG_2

Stacy averages two to five hours per week working in the garden but wishes she could spend more time.  Vidal Cervantes has been helping with weeding and cleanup.  Allie and Aimee enjoy spending time in the garden and help their mother realize changes.IMG_3

The garden has evolved as the children are growing up.  The current trampoline replaced a swing set, and is likely to be replaced before long with a fire pit and seating area.  Other areas of the landscape have been reworked in phases.IMG_4

Among Stacy’s favorite plants are the sunflowers of summer and Japanese maples.  There are raised beds for vegetables, including lettuces, tomatoes, and basil, and various kinds of berries abound.  Tiny (less than two inches high) cyclamen catch the eye in March.  Pleasant surprises are everywhere at all times of year.IMG_5

Article by Ruth Sloan
Photos by Larry Rosengren

Garden of the Month: August 2017

The garden that Jacob Gougé has created around the home he shares with his wife and LR 5-17daughter at 240 N. First St. reflects both his creativity and his respect for living things.  It is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for August.  Over the 17 years they have lived there, Gougé has salvaged and bartered the materials to create terracing in the back, define garden beds, build a fire pit, display interesting artifacts, and more on this small lot.   It was bare dirt when they moved in.  He is very resourceful.

But Jacob has a generous spirit as well that prompts him to offer lilacs to passersby, share cuttings of his many succulents with those who ask, and invite admiring strangers inside the gate to see the whole garden.

IMG_2993Along with two smaller lilacs elsewhere in front, there is a huge lilac bush in the northwest corner of the fenced area.  Many of the branches of this lilac are five or more inches in diameter and have an unusual shredded bark.  This lilac bush is strong enough to support one end of two hammocks!

There are extraordinary ceramic pieces throughout the property, most of them created by Gougé.  He also pursues all manner of artistic expression via painting, sewing, beading,and other media. In addition, Jacob makes interesting planters for succulents out of stones or gnarled wood in which he drills holes to plant materials and for drainage.

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Food crops are concentrated in the back yard, that Jacob calls his “in town farm.”  This garden is 100% organic.  He grows lettuce all year, protecting the yield from the blazing sun at this time of year with a colorful umbrella.  He also grows asparagus, squash, carrots, snap peas, herbs of many varieties, and much more, often in recycled containers. He starts most plants from seeds in a hot box.  The family has three healthy chickens that provide eggs as well as droppings for compost.IMG_3001FullSizeRender 3

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