May 2015 Yard of the Month
Sue & Wayne Hill, 10 White Oak Trail
The Gettysburg Garden Club is delighted to name Sue and Wayne HIll of 10 White Oak Trail, the Award of the Month winners for May, 2015. The setting is perfect healthy green, freshly mowed grass; beautiful flower beds, never out of bounds; and oak, hickory, and maple trees, mixed with a few hemlock, flowering cherry, and honey locust trees.
In 1978, the Hills selected a large wooded lot in the Century Oaks section of the county, and built their present home. As you walk up the driveway, the lovely Delaware stone facade on the end of the Lshape house greets you, as do the blooming pink and white azaleas across the front and side. A cat sleeping in a sunny window, and a finch nesting in the wreath by the door complete a picture of serenity personified!
Everywhere you look, there are beautiful, tidy, mulched beds containing a variety of plants. On one side of the driveway are trees sharing a very large bed with hostas; daylilies; lily of the valley; purple ajuga; a pair of wooden benches; and flat, stacked stones that meander through. On the other side, under more trees, is a smaller bed of ivy and ajuga. Further up are begonias and geraniums surrounding a lamp post. From the small Witness Tree sapling and the single, very large multitrunked tree, to all the beds everywhere, everything seems to be perfectly sized and situated.
Along a brickcolored stone walkway around the house, you pass bleeding hearts, hellebores, lungworts, periwinkles, hardy geraniums, sweet woodruffs, shasta daisies, lady’s mantles, and more hostas, all happily coexisting amid more tall, graceful trees. A wooden bench almost commands on to sit awhile and leave refreshed.
Sue’s favorite spot in the yard is a small patio, near the bench. She says it is quiet and peaceful, with beautiful plants all around through the nicely manicured woods. She is a published author, and one can picture her sitting here to write. From inside, her favorite view is from the kitchen. There, in addition to all the lovely flowering plants that seem to follow the visitor down the path, she can also look out on birds gathered around a feeder, an orientalstyle bird bath, and a wonderful large, heavy, metal bell made from scrap objects, including an old oxygen tank! There is a larger bell by the garage. And Sue is dreaming of a third and still larger one for the front yard.
Around the pool area, you see little violets peeking out from the safety of the larger bushes, hardy hydrangeas, dwarf oakleaf hydrangeas, and a lovely clematis vine trailing up and over the privacy fence. Continue around the fence, and you again see the clematis, continuing its journey along the fence to greet any visitors. Beneath it are a dwarf little lime, and more hellebores, hydrangeas, goat’s beard, irises, and hostas.
Sue Hill, the family gardener, has taken easy gardening to heart, and has let many of their plants naturalize over the years to fit the spaces. Each little plant community seems to have found its happy spot, resulting in a beautiful, healthy, garden that from every view looks as though it was always there.
Sue stated that her favorite plant is the hydrangea. Why? “Because they have beautiful, big, colorful blossoms.” Then she added, “Also the lenton rose and the clematis, and Wayne likes the crepe myrtle.” When asked what was her easiest care plant, she responded, “The hardy geranium.” The opposing question then was asked about their most difficult plant, to which she quickly answered, “The roses. I gave up on them .They always had diseases.”
Thus, there were a few failures amid the many wonderful successes in their gardens over the past 37 years for the Hills. Sue was not an experienced gardener/landscaper. But through trial and error, which is a good teacher, she has become very good at making and managing her many shade garden areas. Still, she hesitates to give advice to others, although when asked her best tips for designing a garden, she did say that they would be to understand the working conditions of the area to be planted, know how large the plants will someday be, and have the time to care for them. As for what not to do: don’t plant too far from a water source! And what to do: fertilize!
Sounds like excellent advice, from a happy, successful gardener!