Welcome to English Garden Farm!
1) There is construction on the section of highway 435 (the connector between entrances/exits to the US 35 expressway) that runs under I-71. This is not a problem IF you are coming from the west because you get off of 35 at the first Jamestown exit and drive right through town and will never reach I-71. However, if you come from the east on 35 or from I-71, either direction, be prepared to be greeted by a vast display of orange barrels. Traffic is limited to two lanes and there may be back-ups, depending on mall traffic and the truck stops. However, the turn-off from 435 onto Old 35 (now county road 35-B) is untouched and is at the end of the lane restriction section – the road returns to two lanes headed west and you need to turn left at the very first opportunity, where the barrels end.
2) The workshop schedule has been changed! The dates remain the same but some of the topics have been moved around a bit.
3) There will be an ENGLISH GARDEN PARTY on Saturday, May 27 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. This is a fund-raiser for Community Care Hospice (my nursing employer) but, of course, the public is invited. There will be the typical garden party munchies (cucumber sandwiches, potted shrimp, scones with ‘clotted’ cream and our own berry jam) with Earl Grey iced tea and guided tours every hour on the hour beginning at 11:00 with the last tour at 5:00. Tickets are $15.00 in advance and $20.00 on the day of the event. Tickets may be purchased from hospice volunteers or by calling or e-mailing us directly (937-675-7055 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Attendance is limited so we recommend early purchase/reservations. (We have two rain dates, both Sundays: May 28 and June 4.) There is also a prize plant raffle on the day of the event.
The View from above.
1) a private garden which is now open to the public on Sunday afternoons from noon to five during growing season, roughly mid-April through mid-October (and at other times for small groups of five or more by appointment);
2) a place in which one looks at plants;
3) home to over 500 different kinds of trees and shrubs, including about 100 different kinds of conifers and over 80 different roses and nearly 500 different kinds of perennials including over 90 kinds of hosta and 50+ different daylilies.
4) a place for wandering, chatting, looking and generally immersing in a garden which, we hope, is full of interest, beauty and inspiration.
For the past fourteen years, Ashgrove (the location; English Garden Farm is the place-name) has been a work in progress and like any good garden, always will be. Prior to 2002, the property was approximately 2.5-3 acres of grass with a few ‘weed’ trees scattered about and a line of mature ashes along the roadside. There is also a 6 acre hayfield which we use as ‘borrowed landscape’. Otherwise, we are surrounded with industrial corn, soybean and some wheat farming.
So-called ‘anchor’ trees were planted first, walk-ways outlined, and general overall shape determined. Over the course of the next 6-8 years, smaller trees and shrubs were added, areas between plants were made larger and, ultimately, large beds (we call them borders now) were established and the grass restricted to pathways. That process continues, with addition of many perennials with many, many more to come and several ‘hardscape’ projects in the works. Nearly all of the planting is in a mixed style for year-round interest and the pathways meander and wander in ways to pique the eye’s interest while presenting different views of each section.
Our approach to the garden has been governed by a number of principles to which we have tried to remain true:
1) if you can see dirt, there’s room for another plant;
2) if it doesn’t want to live here, we won’t try to force it;
3) every plant needs to earn its own keep, and each plant should play well with others;
4) we plant things because we like them;
5) every view of the garden should be visually pleasing, there should be a surprise around every corner; and you should never be able to see everything from any single vantage point;
6) we work in the dirt because it feels good and keeps us grounded (no pun) in reality;
7) the whole effort should be as sustainable as possible and function, except in emergencies, with the moisture provided by nature;
8) pesticides will not be used unless absolutely necessary to save a valuable plant (and then only in a very limited amount and space);
9) we need to share the results because that’s how we learned and it’s fun!
And lastly (not a guiding principle but a truism):
10) the size of a garden is inversely proportional to one’s distance from the ground (Craig’s maxim).
VISITING AND IN GENERAL
HOURS: The garden is open to the public on Sundays,
from 1:00 – 5:00 PM.
(Please see Garden Clubs and Workshop sections for other arrangements)
We have never charged a fee for visiting the gardens on Sunday afternoons when it is always open to the public; HOWEVER, beginning with 2017 we are asking for a contribution of $5 per person to visit the garden and $10 per person if you join one of the scheduled and guided tours (at 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM).
We welcome you to come and visit.
You are welcome to wander at your leisure.
We are also happy to walk along, answer questions, and hold forth on gardening during guided tours that are available at 2 and 4 PM.
Please plan to visit when you can take the time to look at details as many of our plants are rare and unusual and deserve more than a cursory glance.
We ask that you keep animals in the car park area and small children under control.
We ask that you not smoke on the property (except downwind, on the periphery).
The grounds are not level and all the pathways are grass or gravel and therefore uneven.
Most of the garden is not wheelchair accessible although we will make every effort to assist anyone who wants to see it to do so.
We ask that you keep to the pathways; you never know what may be waiting under the soil in the blank spot you were ready to step on.
Most of the plants are not labeled; this is neither a botanic garden nor do we want to resemble a pet cemetery, but we do provide plant lists and are happy to identify plants for you.
The garden is, we hope, as any decent garden – a work in progress and planting, replanting, moving, trimming, etc. are happening throughout the season.
Wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a bottle of water for yourself, and some mosquito repellant is not a bad idea (they are usually not bad, if at all, but you never know).
We ask that you respect the privacy of the home.
Thank you in advance for visiting and your cooperation.