The showcase of a fall garden tour scheduled for Saturday is a spacious, welcoming, 84-year-old space that belongs to Diane Powell in east Medford.

The showcase of a fall garden tour scheduled for Saturday is a spacious, welcoming, 84-year-old space that belongs to Diane Powell in east Medford.

Wrapped around the historic, English-style Patton mansion, the parklike garden offers mature maple, elm, spruce and an enormous, spreading oak with limbs that reach so far out over the garden that one got a steel column to hold it up. An adolescent redwood is shooting up in the front yard.

The garden is one of six featured on the fifth annual fall garden tour sponsored by the Medford chapter of the American Association of University Women. All of the gardens are located on or off Main Street in Medford.

Powell has resisted the temptation to cram little sub-gardens in every nook and open space, instead letting it be mostly a lot of grass surrounded by many beautiful trees, as it was in the Roaring '20s.

A rose garden is tucked in an upper corner of the sloping, 1-acre lot, and a statue of The Three Graces support a fountain in a sunken garden of a lower corner, next to her hidden organic garden. A beehive fireplace adorns another corner.

It's much like it was in 1929 when it was built by orchardist Hamilton Patton, one of a cadre of wealthy Easterners who flocked to the Rogue Valley to turn it into a haven for pear orchards, says Powell. It was the childhood home of Bill Patton, who went on to become the first general manager and executive director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The garden features many fruit trees — pear, fig, plum, cherry — and a grape arbor. A monkey puzzle tree is nestled under a mimosa in front of a lovely, relaxing, back patio with an old, English, carved-wood bench.

On the patio, AAUW members will hold a Budding Scholars Basket Bazaar, raffling off interesting items to benefit area women returning to local colleges after having at least one year of college behind them, says Gail Etchie of AAUW. Last year, the tour made $10,000, which went to 10 scholarships. Refreshments will be served there.

The tour will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21. Tickets cost $15, and are available at all Grange Co-op stores, at Wild Birds Unlimited, 712 Crater Lake Ave., Medford, and at the gardens the day of the event. The tour is self-guided, and visitors can start at any of the gardens. Details, including a map of the gardens, can be found at

Two of the gardens are near Albertsons on West Main, two are near Highland Avenue and two are near the Rogue Valley Country Club. Other highlights include:

The Marshall garden on Clover Lane, called "Shades of Green." The owners have worked on it for more than a half a century. It has handcrafted rock walls made with stones gathered from all over the valley, which serves as a backdrop for hundreds of trees, bushes and mosses in all shades of green. It also features a 50-foot-long, handmade stream. The Forsyth garden on West Main is an oasis in a commercial area. It includes a lovely deck with a miniature garden, hanging baskets, climbing roses, artsy fence and a potting bench. Plantings include grapevines, a secret garden, wind chimes, persimmon and cherry trees. The garden offers ideas for working with limited space. The Perkins garden on East Main features year-round color, stone lions and yucca plants. Glass art by owner Randall Perkins includes a tree sprite high in a clumping birch. There's lots of bear's breeches, sedum, yarrow, bee balm and rosemary, and visitors will spy impatiens beneath a weeping cherry tree, while nostalgic clematis wraps itself about a glass sculpture. The Hawes garden on Sandy Terrace is a lush paradise that's a product of 19 years of loving attention. A palm tree with a fountain attracts lots of birds. A grape arbor adorns walkways, and a pergola is hugged by Virginia creeper. Swings invite visitors to relax, while statues engage their interest. Also included are boxwood shrubs, an ash tree and whimsical garden decor. The Jennings garden on Hillcrest Road may contain more roses than you've ever seen in one place — more than 900 of them — including floribundas, tree roses, climbers, richly scented David Austins and miniatures. Plantings include clematis and other vines, hostas and petunias that inhabit nooks at the fringes of the rose beds.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at