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

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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: April 2018

842 Faith Avenue –  There are always colorful displays in both front and back gardens of Faye Garland’s home at 842 Faith Avenue. Often plants are flowering, but even on those rare occasions when nothing is in bloom, cheerful objects dot the landscape. The garden was designed and installed three-and-a-half years ago by landscape designer Kelly Eaton of Ashland.  Kelly started with a blank slate to create this intriguing garden.IMG_3435

The front is primarily a xeriscape, requiring very little irrigation. The entire property is watered by a drip irrigation system. Faye has proclaimed a narrow side yard, protected by a fence and the south side of the house, a “micro-climate” where moisture- and heat-loving plants such as coral bells and hellebores thrive. A delightful lawn-like area near the gazebo in back is primarily comprised of English daisies, yarrow, and white clover. It requires little mowing and very little water and looks perfectly charming. It’s easy for people and pets to walk on too.IMG_3402

After a few initial plantings failed to thrive in the back, revealing an underground stream running through, they were replaced by arctic blue willows that flourish with the extra moisture. A star magnolia dominates the landscape at this time of year. Also in back are red Twigg dogwoods and a shore pine that grows very fast.IMG_3406

A witch hazel anchors the right side of the front yard. Other favorite plants include manzanita that is blooming this month, gaura and a non-invasive butterfly bush to bloom in the coming months. Bees love this garden.IMG_3417

Faye spends about three hours a week maintaining her garden and enjoys every minute of it. She says she likes to “putter,” moving the colorful objets around to constantly change the view. Her late husband, after observing the stress relief gardening brings her, declared that working in the yard was the “cheapest therapy ever!”IMG_3417

Submitted by:
Ruth Sloan
AGC Garden-of-the-Month Chairperson

Garden of the Month: April 2017

Garden on the Month:  310 Kent Street

April may not be the very best month for the garden at 310 Kent St., but it’s still remarkably good and, more importantly, it is the last full month in the care of homeowner/gardener Cyd Smith who has sold the property and plans to relocate to Seattle. Realtor Pattie Millen attributes the very quick sale of the home (four days) to the beautiful yard.Pic 1

Smith has been gardening here since 2009 and, with the initial help of garden designer Jane Hardgrove, has transformed the landscape from bare to luscious. At the height of the growing season, Cyd has spent eight hours per week working in the yard, on average.
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The pretty front yard is anchored by a picket fence and arbor. The latter features a trumpet vine in season. Two redbud trees flank the path leading to the front door. Four varieties of euphorbia, along with several sedum and thyme, weave throughout the yard. Barberry, spirea, privet, honeysuckle, daphne, irises, and gaura are among the many plants that create such an inviting entrance.Pic 3

There are 25 to 30 roses in both the front and back. Fair Bianca is one of Smith’s favorites. Peonies also abound.
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The back of the irregularly-shaped nearly quarter-acre property has a large section, or “room,” defined by a lush photinia hedge, with raised beds for vegetables. Also in back, there are apple, cherry, fig, and pear trees. The largest tree on the property is a golden locust. A Japanese maple frames the view to the back through the study window. Favorite plants include oakleaf hydrangea, black-lace elderberry, and gold-thread cypress.

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Smith, a professional musician, thoroughly enjoys the many benefits of gardening and hopes to create an equally relaxing retreat at her new home.

Article By: Ruth Sloan
~Photos throughout the year by Larry Rosengren and Cyd Smith

Garden of the Month: October 2016

The gardens at 170 Logan Drive are the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for October. Chris Eberhardt and Gene Miller bought the property in 2008, and the gardens then were nice enough. But in 2013, they decided to re-landscape to update and unify the property, and to make it deer resistant. They refer to certain sections of the garden, and the adjacent v-shaped plot at the corner of Logan and Scenic, held by the property owners’ association, as the “deer highway.”  They hired Solid Ground Landscape Inc. to develop a comprehensive plan and provide regular maintenance. Solid Ground included a pathway for the deer to encourage a certain route.

The back is on a steep grade, dotted with tall oaks, from a lovely balustrade terrace, with rhododendrons and daisies providing seasonal color. A charming and private outdoor “room” featuring Japanese maples, was created just outside the hexagonal dining room that was previously exposed to the street. A yew hedge provides much of the privacy. This room has a more formal look than the rest of the garden, with its manicured boxwood border. In addition to specimen plants, the front features drought-tolerant grasses and large boulders, some of which are indigenous to the property. Enormous pots, filled with gorgeous plants, flank the front door.

Photos by Larry Rosengren