Garden Diary - June 2022

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Designed For Nature: Ann Boyer and Steve Auslander Garden
Saturday, 18 June 2022

There is a garden tour today, presenting five local residential gardens in transition to the use of native plants and creative water management. Organized and presented by The Woman's National Farm & Garden Association, Bucks County Branch, in partnership with Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve. Rain or shine, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Modestly priced tickets are $10.00 in advance, $15.00 on the day of the event. Be inspired, we are told, to see what can be done to bring nature back into your own private oasis. Generously provided with a gratis media pass, I decide I will see as many gardens as my knee allows. Weather is cooperative, with comfortable temperatures and some overcast that makes for better pictures. And I'm off!

Garden of Ann Boyer and Steve Auslander

This garden's tourists are to park across the street in Chapman Park. A benefit of such off-site parking - there's a porta-potty. I take advantage of this amenity, then head across the street where there is a traffic light with push button for pedestrian crossing. Established in a couple of ways: the property dates back to 1929, her mother was a gardener, and Ann Boyer and Steve Auslander have lived here for 20 years.

Ann is an artist as well as the gardener. The description of the garden mentions "whimsy."
It's more than that. Not mad hatter tea parties. As visitors stroll along the sidewalk to enter

there are some striking columns rearing up among the undergrowth.

I asked, and Ann was gracious enough to tell me about her creations.

The china bits and pieces are fastened to the PVC pipe core with Amazing GOOP adhesive.
She wears gloves while sticking pieces. And goggles when breaking plates etc into pieces.

The tour's brochure has a description for each of the gardens.
For Ann's garden, along with the mosaic pillars, mention is made

of mirrors. The Acer griseum is embellished with a robin's nest. And
dangling mobiles of mirrors, flickering light as they twirl in the breeze.

The fence around the in-ground swimming pool has more mirrors,
reflecting the green grass and acting as backdrop to the flowers.

These include native perennials such as thread leaf coreopsis, Coreopsis verticillata,

evening primrose, Oenothera biennis, that typically open at dusk, close in morning.

Scarlet beebalm, Oswego tea, or bergamot, Monarda didyma, is a lovely member of
the mint family native to the eastern United State and down to Georgia. Dry leaves

make a pleasant tea, while bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds nectar on the flowers.

Beard tongue, Penstemon digitalis. This is the wild type that I see in fields
along the roadside as I drive by. A plant information sign offers more details.

There is a modest vegetable garden. As always, tomatoes. And some lovely garlic.
Ann tells me they have been raising this strain of garlic for 6 years, always saving
the best from each harvest. The original cloves came from a New York City festival.

Walking around admiring and enjoying the garden I chatted with the volunteers there to answer questions from the garden tourists. One of them mentioned Ann's huge cat. I do love cats. Daringly, I asked if I might meet it. She invited me into the house. I met a black cat, a black and white cat, and . . .

a wonderful Maine coon cat who allowed me to pay homage and scritch under his chin.
I hasten to add that the other two cats were also given appropriate greetings and strokes.

It's mentioned in the writeup for the garden that fox, toads, bees and birds enjoy this garden, as do the owners. Native plants, we are reminded, serve as an impetus for responsible land stewardship and offer a pleasurable way for each of us to reconnect with nature.

The other gardens I visited were the garden of Beverley Rhinesmith and Paul Patent and the garden of Marcello and Priya Mangano

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