Sharon Giles, Gold Master Gardener

A trip to Ron and Sharon Giles’ home was such an education to me.  I enjoyed viewing their greenhouses and garden beds.  Their gardens are a peaceful retreat in the country on the west side of Evansville.

Sharon worked at the Mesker Park Zoo for eight (8) years as a Vet Tech.  She joined SWIMGA in 2000,  and was elected president from 2010 to 2012.  She is presently serving on the SWIMGA board.

We began my tour on the hillside in the front of their home.   The rock wall was designed by Kraft Nursery and provided a beautiful entrance.  They are letting the woods grow right up to their flower bed to provide more food for the wildlife.   Evidence of the deer enjoying the fruits of their labor of planting flowers and bushes was evident!   They use only organic/natural insect repellants and fertilizers.  On that hill a small grape arbor is planted and sacrificed to Japanese beetles in hopes they leave the other plants alone. The Lenten Rose trail has seven (7) varieties of hardy Chinese orchids along with the Lenten Roses.  Ferns are also planted throughout.  Canna Stuttgart with its variegated leaves is a standout in the garden bed.  The Butterfly bed is about four (4) years old.  Butterfly weed; salvia; goldenrod; Prairie Dock and milkweed are planted for host plants to the butterflies that will finally feed there.

Their four (4) grandkids each have a garden named after them.  The first is grandson, Noah, appropriately named ‘Noah’s Ark’.  Sharon has plants with animal names for this garden:  L.contis Savannah Sunset (Lion’s Tail); Turtlehead; Lamb’s Ear; Catmint and Cat Whiskers.  There is a chocolate vine on the arbor.  Many animal statues are adorning the garden.
 
In the Shade and Stump garden there are 23 different kinds of ferns – Ostrich; Deer; Red Lady; (the sign says Ron’s Stump Garden); Autumn; (there is a picture of the Deer Fern); Male; Log; Tatting; Dwarf Lady; Christmas; Upside Down; Japanese Tassel; hairy Lip; Dwarf Lady; Southern Fragile; Alaskan; Giant Lady; Burgundy Lace and Fairy Wings…Many are purchased through the Plant Delights catalog.  There are also three (3) kinds of Woodland Iris.  Ostrich ferns surround the two gargoyles.
 
Grandson Ian’s garden is inhabited by Gnomes.  There are many red flowers, green and gold/yellow flowers.  Red, green, orange and blue stones are added to the area because Gnomes occupation is mining, you know.  Butterfly weed (Mexican Hat); Wild Daisies and Agastache are planted to draw the butterflies and hummingbirds.
 
In granddaughter Mia’s garden, Angelonia; Balloon flower; Bee Balm and Dutchman’s Pipe Vine all bloom happily among the many fairies that grace the garden. Their beautiful pond is 1½ years old was installed by Kraft Nursery.  Ron and Sharon wanted a water feature for the birds.   There are five (5) fish that dwell in the deepest section.  The pond was constructed to where the fish have a hiding place under the rocks that surround the bottom portion of the pond for protection against any predators.  The deepest part of the pond is 33” with rain runoff from the roof feeding into the pond.
 
The fourth grandchild, Evan’s garden is created with the “Alice in Wonderland” theme.  There are Sun Coleus, a red rose bush (with card men painting the roses red); Becky Daisies; Red Hot Poker; Banana Cream Daisy; Coreopsis; Giant Iris that blooms light purple and a red 5-Point Star Hibiscus.  Alice, The Mad Hatter and rabbit statues are the emphasis of the garden.  Click on each picture to enlarge.