May 2011 - Yard of the Month

Neighborhood group recognizes Yard of the Month for May

May 27, 2011 @ 12:00 AM
The Herald-Dispatch

The Southside Neighborhood Organization's beautification project, Yard of the Month, was launched in the spring 2010 at the prompting of Gene and Robin Howell. The organization is continuing the project from May through September 2011. It gives recognition to residents who do an outstanding job of taking care of their yards. Lavalette Nursery provides gift cards for each winner. Announcement of the May 2011 winner was made at the monthly meeting at the Junior League Building on Thursday May 12, 2011. Ohio State University Extension Educator, Hal Kneen, from Meigs County, Ohio, was a guest speaker, and he presented an excellent program on lawns and gardens.

Scott and Gail Stapleton, whose home was selected as the very first Yard of the Month in May 2010, assisted the organization in selecting the May 2011 winner. The home and yard of Glen and Jan Imlay at 1226 12th St. was selected. Their home sits on a hill overlooking 12th street. From the front porch they enjoy a lovely view of their well established lawn. Across the street, they can see the stately trees that border the walking path at the east end of Ritter Park.

The Imlays moved to Huntington from Columbia, Mo., in 2002 following Glens's residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. They purchased a home on Woodland Drive. When their neighbor, Phyllis Romine, came calling to welcome them to the neighborhood, she commented to Jan that she had seen her husband Glen mowing the grass, and she remarked "That shows such good character." Her remark amused the Imlays. Jan said "Coming out of the lean years of residency, they had not had the luxury of considering maintaining one's own lawn as an actual choice." Phyllis had made an impression. Not wanting to lose his reputation for good character, Glen continued to mow their lawn. Today, he still does the lion's share of keeping the lawn and perennial beds looking their best. Jan does her part by keeping the weeds at bay. Their son, Riley, is a big help to Glen with mowing and spreading numerous bags of mulch to slow the growth of weeds and keep moisture in the soil.

The Imlays bought their current residence on 12th Street in 2007 from Dan and Vita Shoemaker. The home had been in Vita's family for many years. The Imlays and their three children moved to the residence in 2008. A drought during the summer of 2007 damaged the lawn and the shrubbery. Since graduation for two of their children was approaching in spring of 2009, Glen and Jan were motivated to refurbish the yard. They consulted with Kristy Scarberry of Landscaping by Hillcrest to assist them, and they chose to keep as much of the existing plantings as possible. Hostas and irises were available in abundance. They wanted the yard to be planted predominantly with an colorful array of perennials which would not require a lot of upkeep. Two existing beds near the crest of the hill overlooking the street were expanded considerably. A flowering dogwood tree became the centerpiece in each bed, complemented by yellow knock-out roses and pink azaleas. A lovely white dogwood tree now anchors the west corner of the house and stands protectively over hostas and mature rhododendrons . Their beautiful bright pink blossoms can be seen from the living room windows each spring.

Along the driveway is an ivy covered stone wall leading up to a unique wrought iron gate that was custom designed and built by Carrie Wallace. Both the ivy covered wall and the iron gate give the property an air of antiquity. Along the driveway is an entrance to a brick walkway which goes to the front porch. Large leafed hostas in various shades of green soften the entrance to the walkway. Two varieties of Japanese Maple trees with gracefully arching branches and wine colored leaves provide contrast in both color and texture to deep green boxwoods. White azalea bushes and pale yellow knock- out roses brighten the landscaped area, and their light colors stand out against the dark foilage especially in the evening. The overall look of soft and lush vegetation along the walkway is a welcoming sight for visitors.

The Imlays were pleased that their planning came to fruition and that Hillcrest completed the refurbishing job in a timely manner. With new plants in place and the fresh scent of mounds of mulch in the air, the family enjoyed the graduation celebration of their two older children. During the next couple of years, lots of sunshine and rain helped the lawn, shrubs, and perennial plants to grow and thrive.

When asked what they liked most about their yard,the Imlays gave these replies. Jan likes the various textures in the yard. Their two Himalayan cats, Charming and Fiona, came to them from the shelter, and she takes great pleasure in seeing the cats roam about the yard and sun themselves on the porch. Glen is a strong advocate of physical exercise. Working outdoors in the yard provides an opportunity for him to use different muscle groups than he does during an ordinary work-out.

Many pedestrians pass by their house on the way to Ritter Park, and they have the pleasure of looking up at a beautiful and well maintained green space. The Southside Neighborhood Organization applauds the Imlays for the investment they have made in their yard and the care they have taken to create a place of beauty for all to enjoy. We encourage other residents to take a second look at this yard and to adopt an idea or two for their next project. We hope that beautification becomes contagious among our neighbors.

Sandy White is the chair of the Beautification Committee for the Southside Neighborhood Organization.

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