May 2016 Yard of the Month
The Gettysburg Garden Club, through its Yard of the Month Committee, is pleased to present its May 2016, Award of the Month to Jan and Dick Morse, of 11 Woodhaven, The Preserves.
Jan, originally from Massachusetts, and Dick, from Michigan, met as teenagers at a roller rink in Norfolk where her USN dad was stationed. Dick, with Jan at his side, had a navy career of his own, and eventually the couple settled in Gettysburg, near their daughter and granddaughter.
Though only .34 acre in size, this property appears larger, thanks to Jan’s landscape design talent and Dick’s willingness to do the “hard stuff.” The lawn is like the piano accompanist for a singerperfect in the background, but key to a successful concert. To make this happen, it takes regular use of a garden weasel to loosen the mulched beds; plus constant attention with a weed and feed product, weed spray, weed-pulling, and over-seeding.
Making plants and grass grow on top of their solid rock foundation is also work. But, “Waste Not, Want Not,” Dick dug rocks and used them as a short, neat, rock wall around the property marking its boundaries. Although the whole is perfect, there are four areas that stand out individually: the two front corners of the property, the front wave of azaleas, and the patio area in the rear. These corners are like giftwrap: lovely themselves, until the the package is opened and the gift itself azaleas revealed.
Because Jan and Dick needed some privacy at the front right corner of the property, they planted a background wall of seven Green Giant arborvitae, adding Oak Leaf hydrangeas, a maple tree, quince, lilac, and roses soon to show their colors. This neatly mulched bed continues to the rear corner of the property, along the way opening up to the sun with fewer and smaller plants. Near the front, Jan has thoughtfully tucked in a concrete bench and a large, graceful upturned tree root “driftwood” piece.
While not mirroring the right corner bed, the left corner balances it well. Jan and Dick anchored the front with a river birch tree, ground-hugging junipers, with taller evergreens serving as a green fence, along with a climbing rose which Dick will spread out over the rock “wall” as it grows. As this bed leads to the back of the property, it also stars white Rose of Sharon, white dogwood, crepe myrtle, and weeping spruce; knockout roses, quince, peonies, and hydrangeas which will all add their color as the season progresses.
The surprising feature in this bed is a craft project of Jan’s – a glass birdbath made from a thrift shop plate, goblet, bowl, and vase, each completely filled with water and glued together, using cleardrying Lock Tight Exterior. The water reflects the sun and makes an alluring art piece as well as bath for the birds.(Note: These can also be made using colored water and/or glass objects.)
The “gift wrap” has now been pulled aside, revealing the beautiful gift itself: a vibrant, energetic row of red and dark pink azaleas, that sweep across the front of the house, continuing around the corner. The home’s facade of grey stones, and the grey and white siding and trim are like the tissue paper around the giftperfectly highlighting its star. Watching from the right corner of the house is a Blue spruce
While Dick and Jan both state that their favorite plants are the azaleas, for the color and ease of care. Jan also favors the Scottish broom by the front door, and the peonies. Additionally, she likes the view of the bench area, and enjoys watching the butterflies, bunnies, owls, and birds that are attracted by the plants both hers and her neighbors’. Dick enjoys the neat and tidy look of a freshly tended yard. From outside, his favorite view is from the round patio where a row of pretty white spirea wave over the curved stone wall to spread cheer. The white of the flowers and the white of the rear siding and decking appear to extend the house, a nice optical illusion.
Jan’s advice for a new gardener is to first look for privacy needs and plant there. She adds that one should buy, borrow, or check out library books, and go online. Do your research, for design ideas, and for plants. She was also quick to suggest joining a garden club! Dick strongly believes in putting everything on pieces of paper, then moving them around until you are satisfied with the plan. And he believes that a gardener needs to, “ Be patient; give it five years to look good. Be involved in the planting.”
For someone with little money, buy plants at school sales and other sales, buy what you like, and plant where you can see them. Lastly, Dick wants people to remember to walk their property constantly, checking for weeds, then pulling or spraying them. But use caution when using Round-Up, as it can blow onto plants in a breeze.
Congratulations to Jan and Dick for a property that will continue to make people smile as the season continues.
To nominate someone for the Award of the Month, please call Lorainne Farmer at (717) 2537730, or go online to www.gettysburggardenclub.com.