The front garden at 519 Liberty St. is often eye-catching. In April, there is a stunning show of daffodils. In May and June, it is irises and peonies. In July, it’s daisies, coreopsis, and foxglove. The owner adds annual color to all the beds. In the spring it is lobelia, million bells, geraniums, snapdragons, and stock. This is a small garden, jam-packed with beautiful plants.
Sue Harmon has gardened on this property since 2003. Some years earlier, she took a two-year series of horticulture courses at UCLA that is the equivalent of Master Gardener training here. And when she first moved to Ashland, she took a garden-planning workshop at SOU. A Master Gardener from that program helped her plan the courtyard garden. Sue does all of the gardening herself. She spends approximately eight hours a week during the busiest seasons of spring and fall, and about four hours a week the rest of the year. It shows.
In addition to the ever-changing show of blooms in front is a large mimosa tree with lacy foliage that will have fringed pink blossoms in the summer. The front also is home to a holly tree, two dogwoods, and numerous evergreen shrubs. Through the unique gate, there is a private courtyard, with a bistro table and chairs. A bubbling urn fountain provides soothing sound. A Japanese maple anchors the space that is filled with azaleas, ferns, heuchera, daphne, camellias, hellebores, nandina, toadwart and teucrium germander.
The side yard, featuring lilacs, tulips, more irises and fragrant geraniums, is visible through a wall of windows in the family room. A Cecile Bruner rose that peaks in June separates the side from the back and screens the compost bin, sharing its arbor with a clematis.
In back, a tall hedge of Leland cypress screens the neighbors and continues the feel of absolute privacy. A small lawn is bordered by a riot of color. A tiered fountain, dining patio, bench swing, and romantic garden bench furnish the back yard. Among the many varieties of plants in back are hostas, bear’s breech, sedum, columbine, bleeding heart, tulips, fuchsias, Japanese anemones, ajuga and creeping jenny. There is also a kitchen garden in half-barrels and large pots with lettuce, tomatoes and herbs.
A statue of St. Francis keeps watch over the courtyard. A restful stone angel guards the side yard. A large sculpted dog carries a basket containing a real blooming plant. And a metal stand features a charming collection of watering cans.
The Harmon Property was the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month in July of 2011, but did not appear in the Daily Tidings at that time.
Ruth Sloan is a member of the Ashland Garden Club, which has been selecting Gardens of the Month from April through September since 2000. Nominations are gratefully received at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the Club’s website at ashlandorgardenclub.wordpress.com or come to meetings at 12:30 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, October through May, at the Community Center on Winburn Way.