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Garden Club presents first yard of the month

Howard Raley stands in front of his award-winning xeriscaped front yard.
Ellen Conry

The Glenwood Springs Garden Club has presented its first Yard of the Month honor to Howard Raley. The Raleys’ front yard at 1211 Bennett Ave. is exemplary for its beauty and for being totally xeriscape.

Committee members Ellen Conry and Ann English presented a certificate and placed a Yard of the Month sign amid Raley’s uniquely xeriscaped yard of low water use and low maintenance native vegetation. This type of landscape is perfect for our more arid area.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to stroll by and admire the lovely street side yard that Raley has created with a focus on shapes and textures in the colors of purple and yellow. When asked how he became interested in developing these gardens, he answered that around 18 years ago he just got tired of mowing lawn.



“I took a maiden voyage into the unknown,” chuckled Raley when asked if he studied this type of gardening. He spoke with many people, studied catalogs, visited High Country Gardens in Santa Fe where there is a demo garden, and “began to try this and that.” In three to four years he developed what he now calls “pure joy,” perennials that take very little work. In fact he now waters just once a month and spends no more than a half hour per week on maintenance.

Raley says that of all the plants in front of their home, smoke bush, which is native to the southwest, gets a lot of admiration from guests and people passing his home. His personal favorite, however, is a Japanese maple hidden in their backyard, which has a totally different form.



The Yard of the Month is a new recognition project by the GWS Garden Club, which is the longest continuously running organization in Glenwood. The club has been active in the community for 87 years. The members over the years have completed many different planting activities and flower projects, including recent garden tours of local homes.

And now the Yard of the Month will be presented to Glenwood Springs homeowners and businesses throughout the summer and fall months. Nominations from the community are welcome. Call 970-319-4262 to share street-view yards for consideration by the committee.

Ann English is past president of the Glenwood Springs Garden Club and a Yard of the Month Committee member.


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