June’s Yard of the Month: part passion, part hobby, part therapy
Special to the Post Independent
The front yard at 112 Polo Road in Glenwood Springs has no grass but instead is graced by a flowing and mingling canvas of colorful and varied perennials that bloom throughout the seasons softened by various ground covers. This home belonging to Craig and Pam Tate has been selected by the Glenwood Springs Garden Club as the June Yard of the Month.
The front landscape of their home has undergone a gradual transition, one described by Pam as, “a labor of love, part passion, part hobby, and part therapy.” She is a teacher at Sopris Elementary and when not at school just she loves digging in the soil and transplanting often.
“It feels like relaxation to me — it’s a good reset,” Pam said.
Currently the blooming “antique look,” tall irises of golds, browns and shades of purple next to the street sidewalk welcome visitors and onlookers. Behind those are explosions of many different hues of purple flowers planted on several berms, and along curving flagstone pathways. The most recent transplants are in another section of the yard along the driveway and include fuchsia, sweet woodruff, roses, salvia, lavender, and candytuft. Snow in the mountain softens the larger plants and adds variations on heights. The purple sand cherry and the maple tree add more texture and height. The yard all flows and mingles together with casual charm.
“It was a typical ’50s house when we bought it in 1996 with only grass in the front yard, the two pine trees, and a straight concrete sidewalk,” Pam explained. In 2004 after adding a front entry and porch to the home, she and Craig began the yard transformation with the goal of eradicating the front yard grass. Their children had a neighborhood area and their back yard for playing in the grass, and the couple wanted to reduce watering needed to maintain grass here. The first berm area they created was next to the porch in front of the picture window where they added a decorative tree and peony bushes. Then over the years Pam’s passion and hobby expanded to cover the entire front yard with perennial flowers.
Pam gives Craig credit for hauling the topsoil, and their son and neighborhood friends for hammering and moving out the chunks of the concrete sidewalk. But she is the primary gardener choosing mostly low-water plants in groups of threes for the various added berms, adding new plants, moving plants regularly as they thrive and spread through the years, and collecting rain barrel water. Mindful of low water usage and reusing materials as well, they had even repurposed some of the old sidewalk for one pathway, and the flagstones for the other path came from a sandbox no longer needed in the backyard. Their showy and colorful front yard is definitely an example of a labor of love for gardening.
The community is invited to admire these gardening successes. Drive by slowly or bike and walk along the sidewalks in their pleasant neighborhood. The Glenwood Springs Garden Club wants to recognize various notable front yards in Glenwood and appreciates recommendations.
Ann English is past president of the Glenwood Springs Garden Club.
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