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Garden is still shining in September

The selection committee for the Ashland Garden Club’s garden of the month program first noticed the beautiful garden at the corner of C and 8th streets over a year ago. When we went by again in September 2018 we knew we had our September 2019 Garden of the Month. Most gardens are starting to fade by this time of year, at least, and some are downright shabby. But not Kelly and Jeff Straub’s gorgeous place at 110 8th St. Kelly’s diligent work shows to good advantage all year. She keeps the planting areas well groomed, and it always is a delight to see with blooming plants.

The Straubs purchased the property only 2.5 years ago. In the short time since then, she has transformed the neglected yard into a showplace. In the interim, she broke first one wrist and then the other, making the work doubly difficult.

But she has had help.

Neighbor Jack Crawford has been instrumental with assistance, as a source of seeds for many of the plants that grace the garden, and for design consultation with Kelly. Jane Hardgrove of Bearclaw Services designed the back garden which is also gorgeous if somewhat more utilitarian, with patios and raised beds for produce.

Until recently when City of Ashland crews finally solved the problem, the Straubs also had to cope with flooding from serious rain storms.

A special quality of this property is that the “parking strip” (the area between the sidewalk and the street) is especially wide, making the sidewalk appear to go right through the heart of the front and side yards. This does two things: It makes the parking strip more versatile as a desirable planting space, and it makes pedestrians feel a part of the garden. Being a block from a popular coffee shop also increases foot traffic, and Kelly enjoys interacting with passersby as she works in the garden. Understandably, she gets a lot of positive feedback.

The stunning display of coreopsis is just coming to an end this year, but the rudbeckia, echinacea, and gaillardia still are going strong and their similar flower form makes an interesting combination. Earlier in the year, foxglove put on a fabulous show, and hellebores star in the winter. Zinnias are a standout in the backyard, where they are protected from deer.

Other favorites include daphne, euphorbia, catmint, erysium, and bee balm. A vibrant purple, walkable verbena stands out in and around the walkway from C Street. Even the small area around the fire hydrant on the corner is lush with low succulents.

The street tree on the C side is mimosa which is blooming now. Other especially large trees on the property include cedar and ponderosa pine. A dogwood is one of the few smaller holdovers from previous owners, and the Straubs recently added a crepe myrtle.

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 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, October through May, at Pioneer Hall on Winburn Way.

photo by Larry Rosengren Kelly and Jeff Straub have Ashland Garden Club's Garden of the Month for September.
photo by Larry RosengrenKelly and Jeff Straub have Ashland Garden Club's Garden of the Month for September.