by Connie Oswald Stofko
Julie Wood liked the house on a corner lot, but the tiny front and side yards needed some TLC. There was an area that was supposed to be lawn, but grass couldn’t grow. And there were thorny bushes by the sidewalk.
“Why put thorny bushes there?” Wood wonders. “So people wouldn’t cut through the grass?”
The landscape has changed a lot since she and her husband Jason moved in about 10 years ago. She gave up trying to grow grass and instead cultivated gardens that are friendlier and more attractive.
Wood shared her gardens on the Ken-Ton Garden Tour in July.
One thing I noticed was her use of raised beds. Parts of the front garden are sectioned off at different heights. The side gardens are raised as well.
“I wanted them to have dimension,” Wood said.
She also has some tricky lighting conditions. Street trees cast shade on different parts of her gardens at different times of the day, but Wood doesn’t mind.
“Shady plants are fun, too,” she said. “It’s obvious I love coral bells.”
Coral bells, also known as heuchera, have leaves with interesting colors, have many varieties to choose from, are easy to grow and stay pretty through the winter.
Wood also likes ground covers because they help her perennials stand out better. The ground covers are full and look as if they have been in place for years, but she added many of them just this spring. She said she “jammed” them in.
I like the approach she took. When I tried using ground covers in my garden, I was stingy and spaced out the small pots of plants, hoping they would spread quickly. Unfortunately, the weeds were quicker and found the open spots before the ground covers could fill in.
Wood also noted that if her ground covers spread too much, she can always take some out and plant them elsewhere.
Wood surveyed her garden.
“It’s always changing, right?”