Garden of the Month: August 2018

622 Drager Street:

Earlier this year, Alison Lerch, the Fire Adapted Communities Coordinator with the Ashland Fire Department, gave a presentation to the Ashland Garden Club about firewise landscaping. She mentioned a garden that was not only firewise but waterwise, calling it the perfect Ashland Garden. Since then we have discovered that the garden at 622 Drager Street, is also pollinator-friendly and deer resistant. The perfect Ashland garden indeed!01_622 Drager

Nancy Garriott is responsible for this wonderful garden. She and her husband Ted had the craftsman house built on the corner lot five years ago and took on the landscaping project themselves, relying on knowledge accumulated over the years.02 summer garden

Nancy has been creating gardens all of her adult life. Each of the eight gardens in her past taught her something about the secrets to gardening success. Early on she immersed herself in gardening publications and classes. Later, she found each plant was teaching her what it liked and what it needed. She says, “It turns out that getting your hands dirty does have a ‘grounding’ affect and is a great way to learn how to care for your plants.”03 summer garden

Nancy and Ted started with the hardscape of small rock retaining walls and garden borders, flagstone and gravel paths, and drip lines. They found a stone mulch that looks like wood but is obviously not fire-prone. Nancy propagated many of the perennials, including favorites that are drought tolerant, deer resistant, and non-invasive with colorful, long-lasting blooms. Among them are echinacea, gaillardia, helenium, coreopsis, rudbeckia, crocosmia Emily McKenzie, sedum autumn joy, and yarrow. She discovered that a bonus is that these plants are great pollinator plants too. She also propagated several varieties of sedum which she likes because they are evergreen, drought tolerant, come in many colors which adds interest to the winter garden, and spread easily without being invasive. Then Nancy developed a list of shrubbery that would enhance the small space but would add an evergreen element to the winter garden when the perennials die back. She focused on dwarf varieties of native, drought tolerant, deer resistant plants, looking for a variety of textures and colors which she thinks helps the plants contrast with each other and stand out visually. The plants she settled on were low growing manzanita, arbutus, nandina, evergreen candytuft, myrtle, hebe, and choisya (Mexican orange). She also found that some evergreen herbs such as sage and basil make good aromatic border plants.

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In designing the new garden, she applied the knowledge that she needed to leave enough room around each plant to accommodate its growth, put taller plants in the back, and create a color and texture balance. She also leaves room for her favorite annuals which are gazanias and many varieties of zinnias. These also happen to be drought tolerant and deer resistant and add joyful color to the garden.05 summer garden

Nancy says that “The favorite thing about my garden is that we live in an accessible part of Ashland where I can share my garden with the many people that walk by.”

Submitted by: Ruth Sloan

Photos by Nancy and Ted Garriott.

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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

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: 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