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  • Spring Serenity in the Phoenix Hills

  • There is something ineffably serene about a well-landscaped garden. Stepping into such a landscape, you feel an atmosphere of beauty, unity and calm. Karen and Keith Marshall's garden is like that — it soothes the soul.
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    • good planting advice
      If you want to avoid one common mistake when planting your trees and shrubs, then Karen Marshall has some advice for you. With the prevalence of clay soil in the valley, many people opt to use comm...
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      good planting advice
      If you want to avoid one common mistake when planting your trees and shrubs, then Karen Marshall has some advice for you. With the prevalence of clay soil in the valley, many people opt to use commercial potting or topsoil to give plants a good start.

      "Unfortunately, when the roots go through the amended soil to the native soil they encounter a shock," Karen says. Coming from good soil into hard clay, the plant roots are not prepared for the work it takes to get through the clay. In effect, the hole becomes a pot, limiting the growth of the roots.

      "You need a transition zone, a soil interface," Karen says.

      She recommends filling the bottom half of the hole with the dirt removed from the hole, but amended with 40 to 60 percent organic matter such as compost or cocoa fiber. The top half of the hole can be good topsoil.

      And remember, a rule of thumb for holes is 1.5 times as deep as the container it came in, and at least twice as wide.
  • There is something ineffably serene about a well-landscaped garden. Stepping into such a landscape, you feel an atmosphere of beauty, unity and calm. Karen and Keith Marshall's garden is like that — it soothes the soul.
    When the Marshalls bought the 2 1/2 acres on the Phoenix/Talent border in 1997, the house was surrounded by a scrub oak forest. Karen felt there had to be a view hiding on their hillside, but all you could see were oaks. They began a judicious cutting program which opened the home to magnificent views of the Rogue Valley in several directions. Now they can see from Table Rock to Ashland.
    Open space for planting was cleared amid the oaks. Karen considers trees the "bones" of any landscape, and they planted a lot of them, including evergreens like coast redwood, sequoia, pine, and cedar. Deciduous trees include birch, dogwood, cherry and maple.
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