Commercial Garden of the Month

The Ashland Garden Club's commercial garden of the month choice for July is a very new garden.

Created in September of 2005, it is barely two years old. In spite of it's young age in the garden world, it's unique and bursting with promise. When you drive by Morningstar Healing Arts at 534 Washington Street, the first thing to catch your eye is the tranquil setting, the unique architecture and the magnificent front door with the red glass heart shining with the sun's light. The garden below has a pond with the sound of moving water cascading over rocks.

"People say they feel better the moment they show up," said Doctor Howard Morningstar. He and his wife, Sue, a women's health nurse practitioner, are herbalists and they work with the medicinal and healing plant world. "The energy of plants all contribute to the healing experience; the sights, sounds and the smell of them".

The plants they've chosen in their landscape with the help of master gardener, Karen Caird, are either used for medicinal purposes or are edible. Right by the front door is lemon balm which Morningstar said, "gladdens the heart."

"We are a healing temple and our garden should reflect that."

There are also plants that are just beautiful like the blue star creeper ground cover, ferns, pink gaura, rushes, lotus and a Japanese maple. The garden continues around the circular building which stands out in it's beauty and uniqueness, especially in a complex with more traditional architecture.

There are roses planted near windows to let in fragrance, foxglove known for its heart medicine, a fig tree representing fertility, black cohash and peony used in women's health and a ginkgo tree used to enhance memory. There are herbs of thyme, rosemary, passion vine and golden seal.

Around the sides and back of the circular outdoor space are fruit trees of peaches, cherries, figs and pears, an unusual feature for commercial landscaping. Eventually some of the trees and vines will shade the building, saving on energy costs. The plants aren't just outside. The Morningstar's idea was to bring the outside in.

"We want to bring the healing power into every aspect of our practice" said Morningstar. The sounds and smells filtering in from the outside have created a space where healing takes place.

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