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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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

Pollinator Garden

870 Cambridge Street:  If you read the letters to the editor carefully, or are involved with Climate Energy Action Plan Ad Hoc Committee or Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, you know that Ashland resident Louise Shawkat is very concerned with environmental matters and very careful about how she lives on the earth to minimize impact. Her garden, at 870 Cambridge St. in the Quiet Village neighborhood, reflects her concerns. With a wonderful mixture of food crops and ornamentals, it is a practical yet pleasing setting. She is a Master Recycler as well as a Master Gardener. Louise’s garden has also been designated an official Pollinator Garden by Bee City USA of Ashland.p1_870-cambridge-street

Ken Cairn Landscape Architecture developed the original plans six years ago, and the hardscape and many of the front plantings are still the same, but Louise has taken pleasure in adding or replacing plants as she wishes in the intervening years. She averages about an hour a day maintaining and improving the garden. The airy wood and metal screens in the front yard are based on the design of stained glass windows in her previous home.p2_870-cambridge-street

The quarter-acre property, which Louise purchased in 2010, backs up to a bioswale that serves the Billings Ranch subdivision, with agricultural land beyond that. So her view out the back is pastoral. The front is a rain garden. The back yard has a mixture of curving planting areas and geometric raised beds.p3_870-cambridge-street

There are no lawns that require excessive water here. The tall grasses (Shenandoah switch grass and tufted hair grass) in the front turn a beautiful golden color in the Fall. Creeping bramble adds an interesting low texture. Trees on the property include a large cedar in front and a long-established liquidambar in back. Red-twig and yellow-twig dogwoods were added more recently. Among the vegetables are tomatoes and cucumbers, with asparagus finally flourishing this year, as well as hyacinth beans, with their pretty purple blossoms. Among the many flowers are hellebore, asters, iris, and giant allium. A passionflower vine is thriving. Sunflowers abound.p4_870-cambridge-street

This garden cannot be Garden of the Month because Louise is an active member of the Ashland Garden Club, which sponsors that honor. The Club selects Gardens of the Month, usually from April through September. Nominations are gratefully received at aogardenclub@gmail.comp5_870-cambridge-street

By: Ruth Sloan

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