Creekside hideaway

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Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

How's this for creekside dining? We visited a friend in this delightful setting on Sunday night and enjoyed wine and finger food as the sun went down. I was struck by the natural beauty of this place, tucked away in a very conventional neighborhood, which just goes to show: You can't judge a place by its zip code. But I also noted that our host had carefully planted the hills on either side of the creek with ordinary ferns and hostas. They not only provided support for the eroding soil, plainly visible on the unfinished part of the creek downstream, but they created a lush effect you might have thought cost a fortune. The hostas in my garden (not the ferns, just yet) are ripe for dividing. They've been growing for five-plus years and are really thick and tall. Sitting on the bridge overlooking our host's do-it-yourself creek environment, I made a mental note to divide my hostas and spread the wealth this fall. This is the frugal gardener's alternative to unlimited spending at the garden center, which is easy to do. Still, no creek in my city garden, unless we get a monsoon. But at least I'll have the look. The rest, we imagine. 

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