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: 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

Horticulture Report: Oakleaf Hygrangea

Plant Name: Hydrangea quercifolia Hydrangea_quercifolia_ Oakleaf
Common Name : Oakleaf Hydrangea
Cultivar: Ice Crystal
Plant type: Deciduous Shrub
Height:   3-6 Ft tall – 3-6 Ft wide
Bloom Time: Summer to Fall
Flower Color: Creamy White aging to Pink (clusters of conical shaped flower heads)
Exposure: Sun to Part Shade
Soil Requirements: Acid soil, Excellent Drainage
Water Needs: Low to Moderate ( prefers drier soil after established)
Attributes: Showy Flowers, Interesting Leaves that turn red in Autumn, USA Native, Compact Mounding Shrub, Papery Bark, Multi-Stemmed, Fragrant Flowers.
Note: Will not tolerate “wet feet”. Plant will get root rot very fast if left in soggy soil!
Uses: Woodland Plant, Borders, Group Plantings
USDA Zone: 5-9 ( hardy to -20 F)

By Carlotta Lucas