Because of Maywood Park’s sylvan nature, it was logical for the first event in the city’s 50th anniversary celebration to be a yard and garden tour. Nine community homes, each marked by a balloon and a sign, opened their yards for visitation on June 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Maywood Park’s ambience has appeal that draws the appreciative eye, based largely on the plethora of trees, bushes, flowers and kitchen gardens outside the more than 300 homes. Dominant among local trees are the many Douglas firs and Western red cedars (plus a giant sequoia on Maywood Place) that stand as guardians over the small city. Japanese maples, hydrangeas and roses show up in many yards. One home even boasts a poetry pole. The Memo had only time to visit five homes but found each one charming in its own way.
Themes vary according to the interests of homeowners. Natural habitat characteristics have influenced the yard and habitat construction of Ben and Jean Harrison. Their yard is wildlife friendly and features tall trees, shorter (especially fruit) trees, shrubs and forbs (herbaceous plants). Mr. Harrison, who is Maywood Park’s city forester, says a natural habitat includes “food, water, cover, nesting and breeding habitat.” The Harrisons’ yard and garden includes a small goldfish pond, plus other water sources for birds and small animals. Food and foraging sources exist for pollinators, squirrels and birds. Several varieties of birds visit this yard, including Steller’s jays, scrub jays and chickadees.
Fruit-producing trees and shrubs include an Italian plum tree, a Granny Smith apple tree and a fig tree, plus blueberries and raspberries. Visiting this well-established natural habitat is not unlike sitting on the fringe of an ancient forest.
Thomas and Brandy Barrath moved to Maywood Park about two years ago, drawn in part by the huge trees that framed the east end of their home. Last winter’s severe ice storms took those trees down and resulted in the couple having to reformat much of their front yard. Thomas had the downed trees sawed into slabs that he can turn into benches, tables and other wood items for himself and potential customers. Their garden theme is a mixture of floral and natural habitat and vegetables grown largely in garden boxes. Their goal is to raise a significant amount of their own edibles in the sun-drawing back and side areas, while keeping the front wildlife-friendly and featuring native plants. They plan to create a play area in back when their baby daughter grows older.
Shirley Dawes’ garden emphasizes fragrance, color and style. The front yard is framed by an ornamental wrought iron fence, while the back yard has higher wood fences for privacy.
Dawes’ floral focus is on perennials, a rose garden, herbs and food plants. She covers sensitive plants in hot weather to protect them from burning. She prefers plants that are lower-maintenance but still have plenty of beauty and charm.
Jason and Bonnie Troutman have chosen an eclectic theme, including space for outdoor games like darts, horseshoes and badminton. Their focus, too, is on easy care and providing habitat for small animals, especially the wild rabbits that live under a corner of their backyard deck. They lost a tree in the ice storms, and they hope their surviving maple will come back. Their back yard is a comfortable and eye-pleasing outdoor living space that includes a lively water feature, which creates a restful ambiance after a hard day’s work.
Margo Lawrence’s yard includes trees and shrubs that are easier maintenance. She acknowledges being a “plant-aholic” where her front yard is concerned. Her yard includes a hydro-mister, but her overall theme emphasizes lower water use. She has a great fondness for sedums, and she has a front porch built for overlooking a pleasant yard while relaxing and visiting with friends. Again, she emphasizes use of native plants and classical garden flowers.
Bob and Gayle Borrow have the only yard in Maywood Park that has been certified as a Backyard Habitat by the Audubon Society. It features “multiple bird-feeding areas plus a range of native and ornamental plants” and welcomes rabbits.
This was Maywood Park’s first year to present a yard and garden tour, but from the number of enthusiastic visitors, it was a great success and will likely return next year. n