August 2015 Yard of the Month

August 2015 Yard of the Month
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Judy Tully & Peter Holzwirth, 59 South Street

The Gettysburg Garden Club is pleased to present its August 2015 Award of the Month to Judy Tully and Peter Holzwirth, of 59 South St., nominated last year by Jay Brown, who appreciated the color and life in this very small property! It is a very tiny parcel of land, approximately 50’ X 50’, which includes the house, a shed, and two cars!

The lack of outdoor space did not stop these two determined gardeners from doing the most with the least! Judy, originally from Gettysburg, and Peter, from (East) Berlin, (East) Germany, met at the Moose Club many years ago and first became friends. He kept asking her for a date, but she always said, “No.” until, finally, she asked him out! Fast forward to 1015 years ago when they bought this cozy 1920’s house and began landscaping/gardeninghe planting vegetables and she, flowers.

Although the front and right side of the property are where the flower show is, begin the visual tour along the front left quadrant of the property where one first notices a tree of unknown name, with its bright green leaves, growing of its own volition. Sitting quietly around its base like wellbehaved preschoolers at story time are cheerful marigolds. Next the eye comes to a Rose of Sharon, along with a colorful array of zinnias, dahlias, hydrangea and mums, and a gourd vine.

Both Peter and Judy grew up around plants and flowers, so improving their own space was a natural progression. His favorite vegetable is the tomato, which he grows in abundance on the back left quadrant of the property. Along the fence on the left side are cucumbers, zuchinni, peppers, blackberries and red raspberries. In the back corner is a Peterbuilt shed, which keeps company with a very wellbehaved clematis vine. Next in line across the back of the property are more tomato plants and, finally, two gooseberry bushes, a gift from Judy, a memory of Peter’s German childhood.

Adding color and variety along the right side of the property, adjacent to the house, is Judy’s cheerful, colorful flower bed. Although her favorite flower is the calla lily, and pink her favorite flower color, she doesn’t let these preferences stand in her way. Closest to the house are tiger lilies, goatsbeard, hydrangeas, and zinnias; next are snapdragons, calla lilies, and Easter lilies, along with Peter’s favorite lupines. Bordering the front of the bed are shorter flowers like toad lilies, marigolds, day lilies, coral bells, with some jeepers creepers by the back steps. But as with many gardeners, she is smart enough to let them all adjust to what location works best for each.

On the front porch hang pretty baskets of annuals such as Boston ferns and begonias. Tucked among the furniture pieces are pots of other ferns, begonias, zinnias, and unnamed little plants that drape themselves among the flowering plants. Judy likes the soft look that trailing plants provide as counterpoint to more erectgrowing partners.

Color continues everywhere as the visitor looks to the sidewalk. With no inground planting possible across the sunny front of this property, where the porch meets the sidewalk, Judy turned to container planting. On each side of the front steps stands a large pot containing darkleafed Mexican petunias nodding to all who wander by, each sharing space with a light green sweet potato vine. Also sharing space are other pots of various size and color that hold pretty petunias; carrots, peppers, and parsley; lovely dahlias; and brightlycolored portulacas, all happily sunning themselves.

Judy plants, as she says, “…from early to late.” So, from the early tulips, crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, and columbines, to the later azaleas, hydrangeas, daylilies, goats beard, clematis, marigolds, zinnias, and others, the property is always awash in color. When asked which plants are more difficult to grow, she had to think before answering, because this smart gardener reads plant tags and asks questions before deciding what to buy, thus not generally having problem plants! And she believes this is good advice to all gardeners.

As advice to a novice gardener, Judy suggested starting with one small pot and plant such as a marigold, which is easy to grow. Then expand to another pot, as confidence is gained. Also, get the kids involved. An important bit of advice if we are to be good stewards of the land. She further suggests that the novice plant two pots and place one on each side of the front door or steps. Then add another pot on the porch with a taller plant and a shorter “viney” plantshe likes plants that cascade, because they soften the look.

Additional tidbits of information from this helpful gardener’s experience included advice to:
plant parsley around taller plants in pots because they are very easy growers and regrowers, inexpensive, colorful, and edible; leave calla lilies in the ground over the winter with a protective cover of peat moss; grow Mexican petunia plants easily by cutting off a stem, placing in a glass of water and planting when rooted; and use ferns, which are are very quickgrowing. Take a drive past 59 South Street and see what is “growing on” there. Every inch of this small property is utilized to its fullest…. a lesson for everyone. Don’t let a small space or lack of soil be a reason not to have something colorful at the door.

Next month the Gettysburg Garden Club will be honoring working farmers in the 17325 zip code area. Please help us by nominating one who has landscaped his/her personal property. Go to our website at or call Lorainne Farmer at (717) 2537730. Also, please give us feedback about our Award of the Month program. Again, go to our website or call Lorainne Farmer.


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