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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Garden of the Month: July 2017

59 N. Wightman
Looking at the garden at 59 N. Wightman, you would think a person who loves color and possibly an artist lives there. You would be correct on both fronts. Patti Browning has been living and gardening here since July of 2008. Hers is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for July 2017. She has changed more than 75% of the garden in those nine years. The biggest trees, obviously, and the wisteria are in their original locations. Browning removed lawns front and back to achieve more planting area for blooming plants. Patti loves to design gardens or “co-create with nature” as she puts it. She likes to be intuitive, with paths and borders that meander. She says that “magic happens when you look beneath the way things appear to be.”IMG_2754

Browning has taken no horticulture classes but has been gardening since her early 20s. Color is most important to her, and very specific shades of color are critical to her aesthetic. She likes the garden to be harmonious, but with bright accents. She gets regular help with maintenance from Mariano Chavez who, by chance, left his business card for her to discover on the day she moved in. She calls him her “garden angel.” She adheres to principals of feng shui, plus does all she can to encourage birds.IMG_1702

Violas and pansies, along with lobelia, dominate the front garden for much of the year. Azaleas and rhododendrons provide bright seasonal color. Japanese maples, cherry and plum trees in the back, roses, nandina, rock roses, chrysanthemum, ferns camellias, lilac, gaura, peonies, shasta daisies, daylillies, and euphorbia are among the many blooming plants. Climbers, in addition to the wisteria, include clematis and a Cecile Bruner roseLR 4-17

A pond graces the side yard. In addition to the gorgeous plants, there are many sculptures, including Buddha, Quan Yin, a Madonna, a cherub, and a fabulous lizard. Colorful pennants add to the beauty.IMG_5992

Article by Ruth Sloan

Garden of the Month: June 2017

946 B Street

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Lisa and Marc Blackburn purchased the charming house at 946 B Street almost three years ago.  Two years ago, they started re-landscaping with help from Jane Hardgrove and Juan Meraz of Bearclaw Landscape Services.  Now their garden is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for June 2017.

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Lisa Blackburn’s instructions to designer Hardgrove were that she wanted a whimsical, fairy-tale garden that did not feature the usual deer-resistant plants such as rosemary, heather, and lavender.  The result is a charming, inviting space with lots of texture and color.  A water feature provides pleasant sound.  Marc does almost all the maintenance, averaging ten hours a week in the garden and has started getting creative on his own, adding or replacing plants as necessary.  He uses a deer-repellant on some plants.

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This is a relatively small space shaded in front by ash trees and on the side by a giant cedar.  Hardgrove added Japanese maples for color and texture.  Among the many plants are hellebore, Japanese anemone, brunnera, choisya, bleeding heart, digiplexis, columbine, hostas, peonies, pieris, black-eyed Susan, salvia, Japanese fuchsia, and goldmound spirea.   Golden creeping jenny and stands of ornamental grass (called orange sedge but bronze in color) fill in and provide balance.  Private spaces on the side and in back feature azaleas as well as daphne for fragrance, among many other choices.

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Stroll by 946 B Street for a treat for sight, sound, and aroma. If you come in the morning, you may find Marc at work in the garden.

Article by: Ruth Sloan

Garden of the Month: May 2017

Tika Squires says that “the garden is my child,” meaning that she had to persuade her husband to have professionals design and maintain it. The beautiful garden she shares with husband Chuck at 195 Van Ness St. is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for May. Tika says she is “a gardener in my imagination.” She clearly has a flair and style that is reflected in the house and garden.Front_1

The Squires purchased the property in 1999. The previous owner had developed a lovely garden, too, but it was labor-intensive. As part of the award-winning process of rebuilding the garage (with living-space over it) five years ago, they had Kerry KenCairn redesign the surrounding hardscape and garden to the left of the driveway. Installation, including the spectacular stone walls, was done by Solid Ground Landscape. Later, Solid Ground replanted the parking strip with drought-tolerant vegetation, adding to the double-blooming non-bearing cherry trees planted by the previous owner; rebuilt the front stairs and terrace; and changed the plantings in front of those stairs and terrace. Ultimately, Solid Ground also installed a graceful patio in back, edged by yews on one side and English laurel on the other to create a private retreat. The Squires always specified low-maintenance gardens and Tika says that the “only fussing we do in the garden is the fussing we choose to do.”

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In front on the left, an almond tree was spared and a fig tree has been allowed to sprout. On the south side of the garage, an espaliered apple tree thrives. A heritage butterfly bush graces the south side of the house.

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Among other notable plants on the property include Japanese maple, magnolia, red oak, euphorbia, camellia, flowering plum, barberry, iris, rosemary, lilac, lily of the valley, tulips, clematis, and honeysuckle. The overall effect is very inviting.

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