Every month, the Neighborhood Association honors one house with our Yard of the Month award. The Beautification Committee will typically tour the neighborhood during the last week on the month to select the following month's honoree. The Committee looks for a neat yard that has a vibrant array of color and is pleasing to the eye. Because of the large number of gardens in Elmwood Park, a residence is not eligible for Yard of the Month a second time unless the ownership has changed or at least three years have lapsed between awards. Elmwood Park has a great many gardeners, and we are lucky to have so many impressive yards. If you would like to nominate a residence for Yard of the Month, please email the Board.
CURRENT YARD OF THE MONTH
June's YOM is a “lemonade from lemons” story: When Becca & Brendon moved into 914 Aiken four years ago they reveled in the shade provided by the enormous 100+ year old willow oak that graced the verge in front of their house. They planted accordingly; hostas, caladium, sedum, Gerber daisies; all shade loving plants that never seemed to take off as they had hoped. But then they began noticing that large branches were falling regularly from the tree, and by 2017 had became increasingly worried about some huge branches hanging over their house. They also noted extensive fungus around the base of the tree which they later learned was a symptom of advanced decay. They contacted Sox & Freeman in 2017, hoping the tree just needed pruning, but sadly, S & F determined that the tree was badly rotted and needed to come down. As many of us know from experience with our beautiful, but elderly canopy, the removal of such a large tree can be both heart rending and a very expensive proposition indeed, but because the tree was in the verge, it was owned by the city. Brendon contacted the city, explained the problem, and they came out and took the tree down. The city gave them 5 replacement tree options and, after much deliberation, they chose a Quercus schumardii (Schumard oak) which the city planted for them. Suddenly Becca and Brendon had a totally different, sun-filled gardening environment, and decided to go all out with it. Here is the lemonade part of the story in Brendon’s (slightly edited) own words:
“As our lot is very small, the only grass we had to take care of was a small strip between the sidewalk and street. We decided to remove the grass and put in a flower bed. Knowing that the area gets a lot of sun, and is fairly elevated due to the retaining wall on the street, we wanted flowers that would hopefully put down deep roots to survive our summers (and our occasional lapse in watering). We settled on mostly perennials. Last spring we started the front border, planting Coreopsis (tickseed), Echinacea (coneflower), Asclepias (milkweed), Penstemon (bear tongue), Liatris (blazing star), Heliopsis (false sunflower), Rudbeckia (black-eyed susan), Aquilegia (columbine) and other perennials that really look spectacular when they grew back in this year! We have been working on filling in holes and adding more color….We see it as a long-term work in progress, but are thrilled with how it has come on so far!”
The YOMC urges neighbors to keep a loving eye on your big beautiful trees as Brendon and Becca did. While they were truly sad to lose that oak, their new front yard is now a glorious “coat of many colors” and their new tree will someday provide wonderful shade for all of us. Congratulations Brendon and Becca on a beautiful truly “new” front yard.
And now an an ouncement: Elmwood Park has a sponsor for our Yard of The Month. Winners of the YOM will now receive a $20 gift certificate from the Gardener’s Outpost located at 709 Woodrow St. Thanks so much Randall for helping to keep Elmwood Park a beautiful place to be!
2019 Yards of the Month