This summer, Holliston in Bloom has made weekly awards to residents and businesses to recognize their floral gardens and landscaping successes. Members of the committee chose the winners based on their own opinions and/or nominations suggested by residents at our website, www.hollistoninbloom.org .
We recognized big efforts and small ones, too.
This little garden at the entrance to the property of Karen Sarsfield at 65 Wingate Road uses color to draw your eye to the front door
A single pot of flowers or window boxes can provide a splash of color without a lot of fuss. The window boxes here are on the second floor, which draw the eye upward and balance the height of the large, old tree.
Sometimes a blank canvas is an opportunity but it can also be an overwhelming challenge. Jason and Amberly Cooper live on Mohawk Drive and met their challenge - a yard of open land with little vegetation, boulders and slopes. They began by claiming the front entranceway as their own and went from there. The perennials provide a backdrop for the annual color, but in other seasons, those perennials will be the focal points.
Layering is an effective design technique that mimics natural woodlands. Healthy woods have a tall canopy of trees, with mid-height undergrowth, low and creeping plants like princess pine for groundcover, flowers, natural moss and mulch. Some may bloom and each has a different leaf shape, color, shape and texture. Their different heights provide cover and food for different wildlife.
In suburban landscapes, often we copy the design of nature when we layer plants. These gardens demonstrate how layers appeal to the eye and serve a purpose.
The Goves have created a layered barrier between their home and the street with this design. This island of plants would look very different if everything were one height as in a hedge. Either way, the view from the front windows of the house is softened with plants and turns into a soothing relief from looking at passing cars and asphalt.
Also at the Goves’, notice the ground covers (page 6). There are many options besides grass to cover bare ground. Some varieties offer flowers; but even without flowers, groundcovers offer soft leaves or prim needles or any number of options. Grass is a monoculture and offers nothing in the way of food or places to hide or nest for helpful insects and small critters. Some of the best parts of our lawns are the “weeds,” the plants we don’t want but seem to attract bunnies and honey bees.
Admittedly, my summer lawn of crabgrass is not my favorite, so I like to find other alternatives.
Benefits of Gardening
Holliston in Bloom is not just about flowers and landscaping. It’s about building community around lovely public spaces. But there are many other reasons to value flowers, trees, plants and gardens.
There are many scientific studies that document the benefits of being outdoors in general and in working in the landscape specifically. The conditions that gardening can help include everything from ADHD, dementia, depression, muscle pain, balance and more. There are many such articles online.
Here’s one website that is devoted to the topic.
University of Washington’s “Green Cities: Good Health”
If you are committed to expanding your knowledge and would like to be part of a community of like-minded people, consider the Master Gardeners program. Here is their website.
If you enjoy plants, gardening and landscape design, there are many organizations that provide newsletters with good information. Here are a few.
National Gardening Organization - https://garden.org/special/offers/newsletter_signup.php
UMass Extension - https://ag.umass.edu/landscape/landscape-message-aug-10-2018
America in Bloom - http://www.americainbloom.org/resources/E-newsletter.aspx
We will continue to make awards into the fall when our regional landscape puts on its most brilliant colors. We make these awards to draw attention to how plants and being outdoors in nature provide many benefits to us individually and to the environment at large. And in Holliston, we all get to enjoy the efforts.