Behind a fine metal gate ornamented with leaves and a screen of large grasses, box hedges and a sculptural weeping Atlas cedar is a little gem of a garden.

Ashland has many hidden treasures. Think of the Shakespeare Garden, tucked behind the Elizabethan Stage, or the little swimming hole above the dam on Ashland Creek.

The small garden at the corner of Morse and busy East Main is another hidden treasure, and is the Ashland Garden Club's Garden of the Month for July.

Behind a fine metal gate ornamented with leaves and a screen of large grasses, box hedges and a sculptural weeping Atlas cedar is a little gem of a garden. Current owner Polly Hodges inherited this garden when she purchased the home at 33 Morse St. two years ago. Although her home is on a busy corner, her garden provides a sense of seclusion and privacy.

Hodges is learning to manage the plantings that she is now tending. She has made a good start by learning to identify all the many plants, and by attending to their seasonal changes. She has help with garden maintenance from Jeanine Sturm.

According to Polly, the garden was installed more than 15 years ago by local metal artist Cheryl Garcia, whose works adorn the garden. Besides the metal gate, there are giant metal flowers that nod over a garden nook and an ornamental screen overhung with wisteria.

Unusual plants abound in the garden: a fruiting quince tree, a Cider Gum eucalyptus, large-leafed rhubarb used as an ornamental and an enormous bamboo-like grass called Arundo donax. In addition, year-round color is provided by a variety of perennials, such as Goldenrod, Yarrow, Echinacea, Shasta Daisy and Day Lilies.

Local deer sometimes rest on the small lawn and munch on the clover (and have recently "pruned" the day lilies.) Neighbors who walk by on East Main pause to enjoy the shade of the Magnolia grandiflora and other street-side trees and stop to tell Hodges how much they enjoy the garden.

Hodges is developing some of areas of the garden that were created when she joined the garage to the rest of the house. She encourages folks to stop by to view her progress. If anyone has a fondness for quince jelly, she would be happy to share her quinces when they ripen later this year.