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Ashland Garden of the Month

Barbara and Len Eaton purchased their home at 841 Beswick Way in 2011. The house was remodeled extensively, and a year later they had their daughter-in-law, Kelly Eaton, design the landscape plans. 

Barbara requested that Kelly use native plants and grasses to provide habitat for bees, butterflies, and birds. Two oaks and a small madrone in front, and a few tall pines in the back were the backbone of the garden. Some grading was done, the paths and structures put in, and the drip irrigation and dry creek bed installed. 

The front was completed first, with many tall and short native grasses, manzanita, echinacea and an orange witch hazel next to the dry creek bed. In addition, a royal purple smoke tree and a crepe myrtle grow on the right side of the walkway. The wood arbor at the entrance supports an akebia vine that shades the lovely swing that affords a view of Grizzly Peak. Star jasmine climbs the screens on the right. Large pots, overflowing with bright orange lantana and red geraniums, give a happy welcome to visitors. 

Above the driveway, there is a beehive in the oak. Kelly put in a few plants that have drip only to preserve the oaks. Beyond the back gate, there is a lovely cascade of hardy geraniums, alyssum, yellow lantana, a family-heritage fuchsia and a pink crepe myrtle. A path leads to a three-tiered fountain in the center of the garden. At the back of the garden there is a very large wood-beamed arbor with a wisteria that provides partial shade. In the center is a fireplace. Barbara has filled some large pots with blue-black salvia and more lantana that the bees love. Behind the garage are raised vegetable beds that produce a variety of tomatoes, string beans and pumpkins. 

The garage wall has a large espaliered star magnolia and two pot-stands filled with cascading creeping Charlie and creeping Jenny. Under the towering pines are a Cherokee Chief dogwood and a flagstone pathway that has Blue Star creeper and flowering thyme covered with many happy bees. Another lime-leaf smoke tree and a yellow witch hazel complete the path. The city of Ashland did audits for water use and fire safety, which passed, and the city even put photos of the garden on their website. This garden was on the garden tour of the American Association of University Women in 2014. 

Len has a shop where he will be building the gate for their piece of paradise. He also mows the lawns and helps with the fall cleanup, while Barbara maintains the gardens. They have achieved their desire for a habitat that keeps the bees, birds, and butterflies happy and, “at the end of the day,” they both enjoy sitting in the swing and looking up at Grizzly Peak. 

The Ashland Garden Club has been selecting Gardens of the Month, from April through September, since 2000. Nominations are gratefully received at aogardenclub@gmail.com. Check out the club’s website at ashlandorgardenclub.wordpress.com, or come to the meetings at 12:30 on the first Monday of the month, October through May, at the Community Center on Winburn Way.