Highland Blooms: Brandl, Crager gardens

The Highland Blooms II: Garden Tour is set for Saturday. Over the next few days, you’ll get a glimpse of the gardens. Today: the Brandl garden and Crager garden.


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Brandl garden

You know Katherine Brandl is serious about having a garden at her Highland area house – she took on the back-breaking project of breaking up and removing two concrete parking pads herself in order to have plantings in both her front and back yard.

Katherine’s garden is an eclectic mix of ornamentals and edibles.

How eclectic?

The front yard includes Sarah Bernhardt peonies, amaryllis, snapdragons, asparagus, artichoke, potatoes, basil, parsley, Easter lilies, pink turk’s cap and blueberries.

The back yard has become a work in progress due to the removal of a large oak tree in her neighbor’s yard, creating a sunny exposure where once there was shade. She’s planted mostly vegetables and annuals in the affected areas until she can decide what permanent additions she’ll make. The change necessitated the relocation of her patio – paver by paver – as well.

Highlights of the back yard include two gorgeous clematises scrambling up a bottle tree, a small pond she installed, a spectacular fuchsia hanging basket and an enormous fig tree.  “If feels so very exotic to come out and pick a handful of figs and have them for breakfast,” said Katherine, who is originally from Minnesota.

That’s the origin of her most sentimental plant as well, a Zephirine Drouhin rose that came from her mother’s home.


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Crager garden

What’s the one thing you won’t find in the tiny front yard of Pat Crager’s townhouse?


“I have rheumatoid arthritis and I just decided I was tired of cutting grass,” she said.

Her solution: slowly convert the front lawn into a rock garden, using rocks, broken pottery, bricks, pavers and whatever else she could get her hands on. “Eventually, it took up the whole yard.”

Even the pots she uses as plant containers, many found on the street, are likely to be chipped and cracked. Some of the bricks found there were recycled after a vehicle plowed into the front of her house, demolishing the wall.

“Broken things give character,” she said.

Low maintenance is the goal for plants, which include Texas sage, crape myrtles, monkey grass and purple heart.

“They’re mostly foliage because they’re easier to grow and they’ll grow year round,” Pat said.

Out back on her deck, Pat has used flea market finds, like old tools and a wood stove painted green, to decorate.

Highland Blooms

  • When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 10. Rain date: May 11.
  • Gardens of: Ben Humphrey, 948 Boulevard St.; Lisa Linn, 627 Rutherford St.; Cathy McDonald, 518 Columbia St.; Katherine Brandl, 323 Washington St.; Bob Specien, 2601 Highland Ave.; and Pat Crager, 2221 Creswell Ave.
  • Also features: Spring Artist Market, 2102 Southern Ave.; food trucks and dining area at the Center for Families, 864 Olive St.; “The Art of Bonsai” talk at 11 a.m., 2601 Highland.
  • Admission: $12, available online at http://www.thehighlandexperience.org/tickets/, any of the gardens or at C&C Electric, 2430 Line Ave.




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