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Kintschers cultivate garden ‘rooms’

Ashland Garden Club members Joanie and Paul Kintscher have a lovely garden at 316 Scenic Drive. It is not eligible for AGC Garden of the Month honors because members’ gardens do not qualify. But it is more than worthy of notice.

The Kintschers have downsized twice, starting with an eight-acre farm in Napa, to a praiseworthy two-acre garden in Jacksonville, and then in 2014 to this standard .21-acre lot in Ashland, always searching for a more manageable amount of work. They have made the most of this smaller property and have created the illusion of a deep garden by mounting colorfully framed mirrors on the back fence.

The pretty French-provincial house had been empty for quite a while before the Kintschers bought it, and the garden had been greatly neglected, so they had a blank slate to start. A big aspect of their evolving landscape design is the creation of garden “rooms,” or separate areas that work together to form a cohesive whole. Fast growing trees and larger plants such as English laurel have been used to screen some views and frame others. Joanie says she chooses chaos rather than order in the garden, but most visitors would be more likely to describe the effect as tranquil.

Last summer, the Kintschers instituted an “art in the garden” display in the front garden to showcase the work of local artists, encouraging passersby to stop by to take a look. Much of the work exhibited here, and in the private sections of the garden, are “found” pieces from garage and yard sales.

Both Joanie and Paul work a bit in the garden every day. Much of that time in the hotter months is spent in watering because the garden was developed without an irrigation system and many of their plants are in containers. Luckily, they have access to TID water. They also have occasional help for especially labor-intensive maintenance.

Paul and Joanie like to place interesting conifers throughout the garden for year-round color. Arbors and gates are framed with vines such as the akebia and wisteria. In the public spaces in front are many of the usual deer-resistant plants such as sage, rosemary, euphorbia and Oregon grape.

In the enclosed back garden, Paul indulges in his favorite succulents, and he and Joanie grow many edibles such as raspberries, triple berries, guava, gooseberries, and grapes. Joanie keeps an extensive herb population, mostly culinary, but some are scented varieties for sachets, teas and dried bouquets. She nurses along the kumquat and the kieffer lime, her favorites. Other favorite plants among so many are roses, pieris, camellia, bear’s breech and Japanese anemone.

— 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.