August 17, 2008

And the Most Notable Yards Go To…


Home of Bonnie and Michael O'Neill at 1212 Shore Road.

The O'Neill's yard was cited for a beautifully edged lawn that resembled a green carpet and a "diverse and healthy selection of plants and trees" that included Japanese maples, crape myrtles, roses, creeping flox, pineapple guava and daylilies.

The couple, who have lived at their home for six years, wanted to create an outdoor living space through use of comforting plants, flowers and shrubs.

Judges also cited the backyard landscape's circular design, giving the space "a soft and comfortable" feel through additional use of birdfeeders, bird baths and a pond filled with a variety of fish.

Story by Eric Feber

The Virginian-Pilot

The bragging rights for the finest yards in the city are out.

Each year the Chesapeake Environmental Improvement Council sponsors its popular Chesapeake's Notable Yards competition. Nominations are sent in to the CEIC - usually from neighbors, family or friends. Judges visit each home, and, finally, the city's top green spaces are announced.

Nominations were accepted until April 30 and judging took place May 1-31. This year's Notable Yards judging was handled by CEIC chair Jean Pfaehler and co-chair Vickie Greene.

The CEIC divides the city into it high school districts - Deep Creek, Great Bridge, Hickory, Indian River, Oscar Smith, Western Branch and now the new Grassfield district.

The volunteer judges rate the nominations not only on the attractiveness of each landscape but also on the use of sound gardening, environmental and pest management practices. Those would include composting, judicious use of pesticides and chemicals, proper placement of plants, varieties of flora, and the use of specific plants to attract various birds and butterflies or to ward off pests. In addition, no yard can be professionally maintained.

Each of the seven winners received a $50 gift certificate from White's Old Mill Garden Center and the placement of a sign designating the space as a Chesapeake Notable Yard .

In a CEIC news release, Pfaehler said visiting all the nominated homes was "fascinating. Every yard is different and interesting in its own way."

Here is a quick glance at Chesapeake's most outstanding seven yards, with comments in quotes from CEIC judges:

Eric Feber, 222-5203, [email protected] GRASSFIELD

Home of Kris Beaudry at 604 Santiago Court.

Kris Beaudry's neighbor calls her "the garden ninja" for displaying such a fervor in creating a garden spot described by CEIC judges as "walking through a charming, lady-like gift shop ... full of hundreds of varieties of flowers, bushes, trees and yard art."

The area includes a grassy path that "allows you to walk easily between joyfully colorful, curving beds full of beautiful plants and trees." Judges were impressed by numerous bird accouterments, plants favored by hummingbirds, a compost in a hidden corner of the garden, topiaries created out of recycled glassware, and handmade concrete leaf castings made by the Backyard Gardeners, an organization that counts Beaudry as a member. GREAT BRIDGE

Home of Susan and Douglas Palmateer at 905 Meadow Trail Road.

To the CEIC judges, the Palmateer's yard bespeaks of their hard- working, industrious and meticulous nature.

Calling them "gardeners with an eye for detail," they cited a yard where everything is "balanced, perfectly manicured, and healthy." Nothing has escaped the couple's creative gaze; even their window shutters, front door and hose reel "are painted a lovely, warm shade of brown."

All of the Palmateer's "plantings are balanced" and their "bigger than a car" dwarf crape myrtle features pale pink blossoms with nary a blemish in sight. The area includes begonias, daylilies, lantanas, royal star magnolias, autumn blaze maples and a purple plum tree.


Home of Nina and Merv Troyer at 504 Woodards Ford Road.

Since the Troyers own several golf greens, it's only natural that one gets the sensation of "driving up to a beautiful golf course" on the way to their home along a curving driveway that passes by a lush, green lawn.

The home's environs include "stately, mature" trees and a putting green installed by Merv himself, a play area for their grandchildren and an outdoor "living room" complete with multi-level deck and pool.

The yard's appeal is accented by a fountain and statuary, along with birdbaths and bird/squirrel feeders. It offers an invitation to nearby wildlife among the area's roses, sweet potato vines, herbs and lavender plants, plus crape myrtle, oak and poplar trees. INDIAN RIVER

Home of Karen Bridges and Steve Brennan at 1503 Debbs Lane.

Although the couple has lived in their Indian River home for 15 years, they've only been gardening for the past four. But in that short time, the couple has produced what they call their "outdoor room."

It features a "lush abundance" of plants, trees, yard art, and "quiet places to sit and enjoy nature" that includes butterfly bushes, pampas grass, roses, elephant ears, petunias and zinnias.

There's a brick patio that features a pergola (an arbor or passageway usually with a trelliswork roof) and swing made by Brennan, and a variety of plants and accessories that lure plenty of bees, hummingbirds, songbirds and butterflies into their green space. WESTERN BRANCH

Home of Teresa and Charles Morgan at 1721 Swan Lake Crescent.

"Tasteful and elegant" are the two words CEIC judges used to describe the Morgan's yard and lawn that includes backyard flora that "pops against the dark, green wooded area behind their home" and foliage displaying several shades of green in contrast to a variety of flowering plants and trees sowing off variations of pink, purple and lavender hues.

The crowning touch to the winning yard is a "beautiful, old- world looking stone wall" in the back garden built by Charles Morgan. That garden also has an angel statue and a curved, small Oriental-styled bridge.

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