Keeping downtown colorful

As an organization whose theme is "Ashland's Beauty: Our Civic Duty," Ashland Garden Club recognizes, appreciates and encourages the creation of green spaces in our community. One way we do this by awarding the Garden of the Month designation each month of the growing season to both a residential and non-residential garden.

We have chosen the six planting boxes at Paddington Station as the fall non-residential Garden of the Month. The owners of Paddington Station, Don and Pam Hammond, installed the boxes in 1994. The inclusion of growing things makes an urban landscape more welcoming, especially in commercial areas. Their boxes, planted to attract year round, help make the downtown area beautiful and unique. The Downtown Task Force has recommended to City Council that amenities such as these boxes be allowed where there is enough space on the sidewalk.

Last November the Hammonds employed Connie Skillman of Potluck Container Gardens to take over planting and care of the boxes. Their request was for "lots of color." Connie does two major plantings a year. One is summer planting, which includes red and pink zonal geraniums, ivy geraniums, pink calibrachoa ("million bells"), dracaena, vinca minor and both Blackie and Margarita sweet potato vines.

In October Connie will plant both bulbs for spring and a combination of pansies, ornamental cabbages, duckfoot ivy and vinca minor to last though the winter. In the spring varieties of white and yellow daffodils and iris reticulata will come up. The bulbs are selected to have different heights and bloom times so they provide color until summer plants can go in.

Don Hammond looks after the drip irrigation system that has been installed and Connie checks to see if plants need replacing during the summer season. Connie believes that plants in the downtown area add texture and dimension to the scene, and the element of fragrance, important to those with poor sight.

Including plantings in the downtown area just "finishes" it she said. Paddington Station's planting boxes supports the idea of adding beauty through creating green areas in downtown Ashland.

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