By Sue Moore
To see a flower garden in a blaze of glory, all one needs to do is take a drive on East U Avenue between Portage Road and 22nd Street.
Go slow and perhaps drop in to ask for a tour from the creator of the gardens, Pat Ash-Beaty. She’s known to give tours and provide her expertise to members of the Victorian Garden Club, which she hosted in July.
Beaty moved to Schoolcraft Township from Sterling Heights 17 years ago in May and immediately started digging in the yard of the home that had been in the Charlie Schuring family for many years. She says there was no grand plan, but the results certainly look like it could be featured in House & Gardens magazine, many of the club members remarked.
“I buy something I like and then find a place for it,” she said as she named off the many varieties of perennials that she grows. The flowers and shrubs are sequenced so that any time of the season she has something blooming of the more than 100 varieties planted. Her gardens are resplendent with bright day lilies, astilbes, hostas, and a hundred other varieties. There is a multi-tiered fountain that adds a relaxing musical note to the environment.
She has the joy of both shady and sunny areas, which allows for a wide variety of plantings along with garden art that graces many nooks and crannies when they are least expected. She does all the planting, weeding and trimming by herself with much encouragement from husband Richard. His forte was building the lovely porch that surrounds the home on two sides and rewiring the interior completely. When Pat purchased the home, it had never been painted on the outside, now it sets off the flower gardens in a grand manner. She was single and thought she would come here to be nearer family. “I like the slower pace here than on the east side of the state,” she exclaimed.
The secret is planting with compost, fertilizing with 12-12-12 twice a year, and laying down a heavy layer of wood chips. If passersby really want to know the true secret, it’s more likely to be the tender loving care she gives each plant in the extensive gardens that stretch from the roadside, around to the back of the house and even around the outbuildings that dot the property, clear back to a farm pond behind an ancient silo.