Garden of the Month: Ornamental grasses do well in heat and drought

Elizabeth and Gerard Boulanger’s garden at 453 Tucker St. is Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for September 2022. Larry Rosengren photo
September 12, 2022

Tucker Street retreat features clean lines, modern feel

By Ruth Sloan

This time of year, many Ashland gardens are starting to look a little tired, victims of prolonged excessive heat and thirst. Ornamental grasses do particularly well in these conditions and those gardens that feature them continue to thrive.

Elizabeth and Gerard Boulanger’s gorgeous front yard at 453 Tucker St. is a great example and is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for September 2022, the last of this year. It requires only a modest amount of water to put on a beautiful show year-round.

Elizabeth and Gerard Boulanger’s garden at 453 Tucker St. is Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for September 2022. Larry Rosengren photo

The Boulangers moved here in June 2021. They tidied the front yard, particularly giving room to the Japanese blood grass, the leaves of which are currently a stunning dark purple, so it wouldn’t get lost in the thicket. Their display of ornamental grasses highlights the varieties of colors (some of which change seasonally), blooms, shape, and blade structure. The large green grasses directly in front of the house turn a bronze color in autumn.

Elizabeth and Gerard Boulanger’s garden at 453 Tucker St. is Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for September 2022. Larry Rosengren photo
Elizabeth and Gerard Boulanger’s garden at 453 Tucker St. is Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for September 2022. Larry Rosengren photo
Elizabeth and Gerard Boulanger’s garden at 453 Tucker St. is Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for September 2022. Larry Rosengren photo

They have done a lot of work on the side yards during their short tenure here, including a massive restructuring on the western side, terracing the space to make it more usable by creating a bocce ball/horseshoes court and pleasant patio on different levels. The handsome block retaining walls were created by Jorge Regalado and his crew from Firststone Masonry. Elizabeth credits Gerard for the design of this area, but admits to making some suggestions.

Dwarf gingko trees border the wooden stairs on one side and buddleia shrubs border the other side. They have started a hedge along the fence in back, along the north side of the property, to soften the near part of the nice view toward the hills. Trees include juniper, maple and ash.

Elizabeth and Gerard personally work in the yard when they can and clearly enjoy the plants. Particular favorites are Pacific northwest myrtle, hydrangea, sweet peas, dogwood and lavender. Christie Mackison of Shooting Star Nursery has advised the Boulangers on plant choices.

The Ashland Garden Club has been selecting Gardens of the Month, from spring through early fall, since 2000. Nominations are gratefully received at aogardenclub@gmail.com. Check out the club’s website at ashlandorgardenclub.org for information about meetings.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.


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