The Hidden Gem – Thank You Michael Dawkins

As a manager of an arboretum, I realize the herculean task of babysitting a much-loved collection of trees, shrubs, and woody plants.

Making different plants come together without looking like a contrived mess is the goal of every curator.

The goal is to make it look natural, untouched, like they grew up together…

This look is a real pain in the ass to achieve, as plants mature, die, outgrow each other, just don’t like each other, etc.

A stretch of road that many of us not in the know, drive by every day…

On the corner of Sherman St. and E. Main St. lies a slice of heaven that will warm your heart! What used to be a hostile, sterile, no-mans land of a moonscape has been transformed into a wonderland of the coolest collection of rare trees and plants…

If you were to fast backward about ten years or so ago, you wouldn’t even want to park your car here!

Michael Dawkins has singlehandedly made the “unusable” space into an amazing collection of trees that has to be seen to be believed!

With nothing but a vision and a love for trees, Mike took the ball and ran with it, and run he did. When we first started playing “Show me yours, and I’ll show you mine”, I realized I should have packed my lunch…

Remember folks; this was a 45 degree angle asphalt hellhole to start!

Not satisfied with the ugly option, Mike took the high road, and using his knowledge, and love of plants and trees, formed a vision, a plan…

Enter a crazy tree guy who decided to go WWWAAAYYY outside the box and start terracing and terracing, and terracing,. Undaunted, he added trees that you will not find in any nursery within a tank of gas from here, if you can even find them!

Now, this is not a park, public space, or such. Drawing attention to this private garden comes with a warning: This is a place of plant worship, and tree lovers are welcome. Do visit during normal hours, feel to ask questions, and enjoy! Please remember that this is a special place, and people live here, so act like you live here as well!

The dwarf conifers and super cool Japanese maples really amaze me, but the thing I take away the most, is the countless hours, weeks, and years Michael has put in to this project. Again this is a sole effort, with no compensation, with the end goal of making the little chunk of dirt spinning around in space we call home, well, home!

Thank you Michael for your dedication, bust-ass work ethic, and all-around-good tree-guy-greatness!   

You have made Ashland a wonderful place to live…