Bears love their garden too – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

A Japanese-inspired garden on Walker Street is Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month

Lorraine Vail and Ed Smith’s garden at 780 Walker St. is the Ashland Garden Club’s June 2022 Garden of the Month. [Photo by Larry Rosengren]

Vail and Smith started their garden with a nearly blank slate in the fall of 2013. [Photo by Larry Rosengren]

A unique and charming feature of this Japanese-inspired garden is “The Garden Box”, a display case they installed to educate passers-by about the garden. [Photo by Larry Rosengren]

The couple had trouble with bears trying to climb the fence (and doing major damage in the process). [Photo by Larry Rosengren]

Solid Ground Landscape installed the hardscape and did the initial planting, working from Vail’s design. [Photo by Larry Rosengren]

Lorraine Vail and Ed Smith’s garden at 780 Walker St. is the Ashland Garden Club’s June 2022 Garden of the Month.

It is a very special garden in so many ways, not least the couple’s desire to share the beauty and knowledge they gained while creating it.

They started with a nearly blank slate in the fall of 2013. Lorraine took a course from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Southern Oregon University, taught by professional landscaper Fran Adams, during which she submitted a project for the OLLI courtyard garden.

Completing this mission has earned the owners free consultations on their garden from Adams and also from Seth Barnard of Solid Ground Landscape. In the end, Solid Ground installed the hardscape and did the initial planting, working from Lorraine’s design. Solid Ground continues to advise on the design and provide seasonal support, although Ed and Lorraine handle it on a day-to-day basis, an average of 10 hours a week.

A second phase began during the pandemic when the couple had time off. During this phase, Ed, a talented carpenter, completed the fence and added gates in 2020. This allowed them to plant without worrying about deer. They’ve had issues with bears trying to climb the fence (and doing major damage in the process). The side garden offers a more intimate space for relaxation and contemplation, very colorful at this time of year.

A unique and charming feature of this Japanese-inspired garden is “the Garden Box”, a display case they installed to educate passers-by about the garden. Frequently changing content allows them to describe specific plants, share photos, and delight with garden poetry.

Lorraine and Ed enjoy the many changes in the garden throughout the year and look forward to seeing the changes between years as the plants change and mature. An important aspect of their design is color and texture contrast. Among the couple’s favorite plants are horn grass whose variegated leaves stay beautiful all year round, as well as spirea in its many forms, brunnera and weeping redbud.

Walk through the Garden Box and peek through the door to enjoy this special place.

Ruth Sloan is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month Chair. The club has been selecting gardens of the month, from spring to early fall, since 2000. Nominations are gratefully received at [email protected] Check the club’s website at ashlandorgardenclub.org for meeting information.