Archive for Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Bright colors highlight Howard’s ‘Yard of the Week’

June 14, 2000

Lisa and Gary Howard and their children, Allison and Monica, moved to Baldwin City from Lawrence not quite two years ago. Their new home at 1111 Grove is already blooming with pretty flowers.

The front mail box is surrounded with burgundy and white star petunias. The island flower bed in the front yard is filled with perennials and annuals. A blue gazing ball reflects the daisies about to bloom and a clump of ornamental grass. Lamb's ear softens the bright colors of petunias, Stella de oro, marigolds and a pretty blue flower.

In the middle of the flowers are the first of Monica's stepping stones. Monica's class at school made stepping stones in pie tins filled with cement and added pretty rocks, shells or oddities such as nails, a few screws and even a miniature wrench. Mrs. Howard helped with the school project. Monica wanted to create a few more stones. There are stepping stones with Monica's hand print, rocks and shells and even a special commemorative "2000" in each flower bed.

The Howards have planted an Autumn Blaze maple tree in the front yard. It is a small front yard. My husband Danny commented that one tree is just right for this size yard. A maple tree can grow to 40 feet and encompass at least a 30-foot circle. It is tempting to plant more trees than a yard needs when a sapling is small and young. This detracts from the house and yard as the trees mature. A tree needs room to develop its full potential of growth and shape. It also saps the moisture from the grass under the trees as they compete.

At the front corner of the house, blue ageratum is planted in front of a large daisy that blooms in the fall. Along the front walk are bright orange and yellow tiger lilies, ageratums, dusty miller, begonias, coreopsis and two trellises of clematis. A white Henrii clematis is beginning to bloom. Two of the new planting "bags" are planted with blue and white lobelia. Pots of petunias and geraniums sit next to the front door entry. In the beds under the front windows old fashioned foxglove, Crystal Palace coral bells, astible, hosta, begonias and impatiens give a feeling of coolness in this shaded area.

Walking around to the back yard, there are three azalea bushes planted along the foundation. The first area one sees is the small fish pool. Gary dug the pool deep in the center with several levels of shelves along the sides. Lisa explained that water plants need to be planted at various depths according to each plant's growing requirements. A liner was put in next and rock laid around the pool. A water pump with a box filter and bell head fountain adds interest to the pool and helps keep the water clean. Allison and Monica told us about the two hardy water lilies, an umbrella plant, a purple prickle rush, an arrowhead and gold fish. Several of the plants and the gold fish go to the deeper areas of water for the winter.

Along the small tool shed in the back yard are rows of sunflowers, cosmos, zinnias, gladiolus, carnations, scarbosia and bachelor buttons. Most of these flowers were planted from seed and are just beginning to bloom.

There is a hedge of rose of sharon and forsythia along the back of the yard leading to a resting area. A whimsical pair of angels and a bench create an inviting spot to stop and enjoy another bed of summer flowers. Beginning in early spring the first flowers to bloom are a bleeding heart and columbine. Begonias, hostas, balloon flowers, dusty miller, coreopsis, cannas and daisies fill this corner with an array of color. There is also a delightful view of their neighbor's back yard, Jeffery and Robbyn Van Horn, which has a particularly well planned and colorful flower bed planted in the corner area of the fence.

Two trees have been planted in the back yard. There is a Bradford plum and a maple. Below the deck are roses, Kansas gay feather, coneflowers, bee balm, live forever, statices, deep rose and white yarrow and several scabiosa (pin cushion flower). A Cardinal flower is beginning to vine up the post of the deck. It will quickly be covered with small red flowers. On the deck there are several colorful moss-lined planters filled with a variety of flowers.

Before leaving the back yard there is one more small niche to admire. Around the corner from the pool are bright red galillardia and four o'clocks planted in front of another fall daisy.

Allison and Monica's favorite gardening chore is to dead head the flowers. Allison mentioned there was one additional flowerbed we had not seen. "The flowers don't even need deadheading or watering," she said. I was curious about these unusual flowers. Allison invited me inside to see her room. Her mother had created a garden on all the walls of Allison's room by painting foxglove, hollyhocks and other lovely flowers. Mrs. Howard has also painted a doghouse in one corner and a likeness of "Mattie," the family dog. Not only is Lisa a dedicated gardener, she is a talented artist, too. These flowers were not stenciled except for the leaves of a tree. Lisa pencils in her flowers and then paints directly on the wall.

Mrs. Howard credits her love of flowers to her parents. They both enjoy gardening and flowers and she hopes to pass this legacy on to her children.

We welcome an active family such as this to Baldwin City. Between attending their daughter's ballgames and helping with many school activities, they have created an attractive, well maintained yard that says "Welcome." The Howard family has added beauty and color to the town.

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  • We need help with nominations. We are considering choosing a "Block of the Week" too because there are several areas that have more than one pretty yard. If you feel your block deserves a nomination or you have another block to suggest, please call or e-mail us.

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  • Gardening quote for the week: "What a man (or woman) needs in gardening is a cast-iron back with a hinge on it." Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900)

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