Yard of the Week
Williamses win yard prize
Jim and Krystal Williams are long-time residents of Baldwin City but they have lived in their new home on 1217 Elm only 2 1/2 years. Danny and I can remember when they lived on High Street for years because they were on the parade route. They very graciously offered to let Danny (Elmo the Clown) put his clown make up on at their house every year when we lived in the country and couldn't get into town for the parade because of the traffic. I also remember Krystal as a young Baker student who helped me for class credit when I taught preschool. Now, after all these years, we are nearly neighbors.
When we walk by their home, we can't help but notice their beautiful yard. Danny had a long lawn care discussion with Jim. They both finally decided one can do all the right things the experts suggest and still have problems. The answer is to just go out and yell at it. Some people say talking to flowers helps them grow so maybe this is a 'guy' thing to make lawns grow. It must work, because Jim has a green thick yard.
I like the way their house and yard are turned facing sideways to the street. The railroad track is on one side with a thick covering of trees and honeysuckle separating the two areas. Jim is sorry to say that from experience he knows there is also poison ivy growing wild along the track. Nearby is a den of red fox, which play in their yard in the moonlight. Occasionally a deer will visit, too.
A metal yard art of Christopher Robin with his upside down umbrella is beside the fire hydrant. A graceful walk frames a flowerbed between the garage and the house. Perennials and annuals fill this attractive bed beginning with a yellow daisy type flower called osteospermum. There are zinnias, iris, Stella de ore day lilies, hostas (halcyon), a mini rose, meadow sage and a variegated maiden grass. A sedum is beginning to spread nicely along the walk. A hanging basket of Mexican heather hangs from a shepherd's crook behind a birdbath that Krystal bought from a vendor at the Maple Leaf Festival. There is a burning bush for fall color. The mums in this area didn't survive the extremes in weather and will be replaced next fall.
On the porch is a big pot of bright red geraniums. Nothing is as cheerful to greet people by the front door than these colorful old-fashioned flowers. The front porch area is lined with Anthony Waterer spirea and a miniature rose. Nearby sits an iron teakettle belonging to Krystal's grandmother which makes a unique planter for impatiens. Seeds of marigolds are coming up in a green wooden planter. A Dwarf Golden Barberry, burning bushes, an evergreen and iris wrap around the corner of the house. Daffodils bloomed here earlier in the spring. A tan Weather-wane sofa and chair with a small table between them make a comfortable place to sit on the front porch.
The front yard has plantings of a young pin oak and a maple tree. The maple tree was a seedling taken from the nearby windbreak.
As we walked around the house, there is a planting of Caroline Gable azaleas that bloom vivid red in the spring. Jim has built a retaining wall for flowers. Moonbeam coreopsis, asters, sedum (kamtschaticum) and Blue Rug juniper are a few of the plantings in this area. The trees in the back include a crabless crab-apple tree, sweet gum, maple and river birch. Below the deck are tea roses and forsythia. Two baskets of fern hang from the deck roof. A colorful planter, a gift from her daughter, Carrie, for Mother's day, is filled with dusty miller, rose moss and marigolds with a spike for an accent.
Two pots of Ernest Markham clematis are yet to be planted against a trellis.
Many of the flowers have been gifts from friends to welcome Jim and Krystal to their new home. Krystal's mother always had flowers and vegetable gardens as Krystal was growing up. Krystal doesn't have a vegetable garden and doesn't grow as many flowers as her mother but she enjoys growing on a smaller scale. Many of her ideas came from booklets produced by the Kansas Association of Nurserymen that were available at the Lawrence Flower and Garden Show. In order to maintain their busy schedules, the Williams have kept their flowers and yard easy to maintain and yet pretty and colorful. Their son, Bryan, is attending Baker and plays football there. Grown daughter, Carrie, lives in Lawrence but still pops in and out often to see her family. The Williams want to enjoy an attractive yard and yet have time for their careers, family and friends.
Gardening quote of the week:
Your job as a gardener is to try to keep things running smoothly for the plants and animals that live in or visit your garden, whatever the weather decides to do.
Ruth Shaw Ernest
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- Letter to the Editor: New sidewalk appreciated