“Right now there’s not a lot of color with the perennials,” said Marlene Craft. She remedies that situation by making great use of clever container plantings.
“I can move things around and get color where I need it,” she explained.
Above, the large watering can is filled with licorice (light green) and coleus (red). The yellow plant in the small can is creeping jenny or goldilocks. Marlene also uses bird cages, carpenters’ tool boxes and other unusual containers as planters.
The gardens of her home were open to visitors during the 2011 Lewiston GardenFest on Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26. The GardenFest was sponsored and presented by the Lewiston Garden Club and included vendors and speakers.
She and her husband, Ron Craft, live on the corner of N. 4th St. and Center St. Their shop, Fine Antiques, is attached to their home. Marlene has added floral interest to their business sign with a hanging container that includes a blue lobelia. But that yellow plant didn’t come from a garden center; it came from a fabric store. Because it’s hanging overhead, you can’t tell the plant isn’t real.
“I tend to do that if things aren’t blooming,” Marlene said.
As lovely as her many container plantings are, they can’t steal the show from the gardens themselves. Above you can see the beautiful side yard surrounded by full beds. Marlene and Ron like to sit there and listen to concerts in the nearby park.
Notice the stone path toward the left of the photo. Visitors who followed it around the fence were amazed to find themselves in still another garden setting in the wonderful backyard, seen below right.
“There’s a lot of garden here,” Marlene said, surveying the large expanse. “We bought the house in the wintertime; we didn’t even know the gardens were here.”
Another thing you should notice in the photo at right is the dead branch on the fence that seems to be magically producing purple flowers. The bare branch is just a curly willow that Marlene picked up on the side of the road after a storm. The flowers are clematis that have their roots on the other side of the fence. Marlene takes no credit for the illusion; she said it happened by accident.
Marlene has many unusual plants in her garden. At left is an autumn fuchsia, named for the fall-like colors in the leaves. She also has a hydrangea vine that is about 25 feet long and about 25 years old. Many visitors have told her it’s the largest specimen they’ve ever seen. It wasn’t looking picture-perfect during the garden walk.
“It’s not at its best because of the rain,” she explained.
That’s something all of us sympathize with this year.