June 2018 Garden of the Month
Gardening into the Night
The Gettysburg Garden Club, through its Garden of the Month committee, is pleased to present the Garden of the Month award to Rosa Bernstein of 615 Highland Ave, Gettysburg, PA. Rosa Bernstein can spend hours gardening and finds weeding “therapeutic’. She might set up an umbrella or small tent to shield her if the sun is too hot. She can muse or perhaps listen to music, while she plants, transplants, and plans out garden projects. Once, when her brother was visiting, Rosa was surprised by the fading light as she worked. When she noted the light to her brother, he smiled and said “It’s called night time!” Rosa bought the cottage style house in Colt Park 17 years ago when she moved from New York City.
The basic shape of hardscape and gardens has changed little since then but Rosa’s visions and gardening philosophy have certainly enhanced the property. She loves the concept of an English cottage garden and has fond memories of an island paradise such as the Dominican Republic where she was born. A center walk sided by two full gardens leads one to the front porch. One side is anchored by a sweet bay magnolia and “false” indigo with hydrangea, azalea, Solomon’s seal, and cascading pink geranium among other plants fill the space The other side contains a Japanese maple, Japanese fern, plumbago, coral bells, campanula, service berry, and other ornamentals. The porch is fronted by deutzia gracilis and hydrangea. An elegant, large blue-green hosta greets one by the porch steps.
Round stepping stones take one to either side of the house. A white arbor with a climbing rose, “beautiful” and “friendly” (no thorns) introduces the visitor to the back garden. The rose is a French 19th Century one called vepherine drouhin, one of the several heirloom roses that Rosa grows, although she also loves a “stunning” Eden rose of the late 20th Century in the back garden. This side garden contains false indigo, sedums, variegated wigelia, holly, hostas, and other plants. The hospitable deck at the back of the house looks out upon a dogwood, an ornamental plum, and a hawthorn tree. Fragrant summer sweet (clethra alnifolia) frames the deck. Arborvitae are in a corner of the attractive fencing that Rosa is restoring. A “paprika” rose, a red-flowering hibiscus, tiger lilies, iris, columbine, echinacea, and herbs share the space as well as other false indigo plants. A walkway threads from the alley, from where one can glimpse this garden, to the deck. The other side garden contains a small “hospital bed” where plants such as a cherished rose can recover; here also is a bed for tomatoes. Peonies, hosta, roses, and crepe myrtle line the fence which continues from the outside of the back garden. A climbing hydrangea emerging from some sweet woodruff and fall-blooming anenomes grows up on the side front corner of the house.
Ms. Bernstein’s gardening philosophy includes organic principles, using no inorganic additives to ameliorate the soil or to deter pests. She will reserve shells (eggs, seafood) chop them up, bake them to remove bacteria and odor, then uses the mix as a calcium for certain plants. She employs a garlic-soap mixture occasionally on roses. She uses newspaper and/or biodegradable fabric sometimes to limit weeds. Wildlife lives on Highland Avenue; squirrels, Rosa said, used to throw acorns from an oak tree, now removed, onto the front porch. Rosa researches where various plants will thrive and transplants them when they seem unhappy. Local nurseries, antique-rose catalogues, garden books, on-line
information, and neighborly advice help her in gardening decisions. Because of some past experiences she wishes that professional sources would give more advice about what plants will do well where, or be invasive, or will conflict with neighboring plants. As to future plans for her cottage-garden paradise, Rosa wants to try a Chicago fig tree, a dwarf apple tree, definitely more shade plants, and probably more roses. Such visions with the concomitant work should keep her busy well into the days and nights ahead.
To nominate your property or someone else’s for the Garden of the Month award please call or text Deb Steckler at (717) 357-3623 or fill out our form.