Yard of the Month – August 2016

Yard of the Month – August 2016

The Gettysburg Garden Club, through its Yard of the Month Committee, is pleased to announce that its August 2016, Award of the Month goes to Linda Zhea, of 300 N. Stratton St. Gettysburg.

Linda’s grandparents bought this end unit of the 1912-built, 10-family row-home in the

Gettysburg Historic District in 1922. It eventually passed to her parents, then to Linda, who retired in December, after working in the Gettysburg Foundation Bookstore. This decision has allowed her to catch up on her reading, visit with friends, and best of all, work in her garden…..her happy place!

She first learned about gardening from watching her grandfathers, then her father, work in their vegetable gardens. She now only grows tomatoes, but, oh so many, flowers. Since her favorite flower color is pink, it is in abundant display especially along the front of her house. First the visitor notices two pots with pink and white begonias, impatiens, verbena, guarding her porch. The eye is pleased already! Next, the hanging baskets proudly displaying pink verbena, million bell petunias, and lantana come into full view. And finally, a 3-tiered planter containing more pink verbena and impatiens, and white begonias holds court with a potted Mexican heather. In front of the porch are large barberries and yellow japonica, which Linda hopes to remove due to size.

To the right of the front steps, a narrow flower bed makes its way along the side of the house. Here Linda has planted a colorful mix of coneflowers, wave petunias, Persian shield, gazania, dahlia, several groups of black-eyed Susans, a large angel trumpet, 4-o’clocks, coral belles, clematis, salvia, portulaca, balloon flower, phlox, spider plant, naked lady lily, white corn flower, and lantana, all in various stages of bloom. This long “ribbon” of plants, with its various colors, shapes, and sizes, remind the visitor of a school bus carrying a load of happy campers– – all smiling and waving excitedly!

The rear of this long, narrow lot is like an extension of the side, with another row of colorful flowers hugging the chain link fence along the left side. This row contains tall phlox, daisies, black-eyed Susans, 4-o’clocks, naked lady lilies, a tall sunflower, fall asters, and more, and ends at a shed safeguarding a row of daylilies.

Across from the shed is a work in progress. This bed hosts the tomato plants, providing fruit for the table; with canna lilies, sedum, hostas, hibiscus, morning glory, coneflowers, daylilies, and shasta daisies providing food for the soul.

Linda very much enjoys her backyard view, and her birds. In the well-tended lawn stand several bird feeders on tall poles supporting hyacinth bean and black-eyed Susan vines, while in a small wave petunia bed a hummingbird feeder beckons. Further away stands a birdbath.

Also in the back lawn are a large lilac bush filled with sweet-singing birds, a crepe myrtle, and a butterfly bush, while along the right edge of her property, she has added a couple of knock-out roses. Her lawn is very neatly trimmed and edged. The whole is a “…colorful oasis in an urban setting,” as noted by Linda Spellman, a selection committee member.

Although she has shale underfoot and does not amend her soil, she appears to have no problems because of it. She fertilizes when she puts in a new plant, then leaves it alone. Over time, her gardening plan has changed, with ease of care perennials increasing, and annuals decreasing. She also prefers not to plant from seed, having more success with small starter plants and plants given to her by friends.

Linda has repurposed an old galvanized watering can by planting it with million bells petunias, and placing it by her rear steps– — -a real smile starter! Pots also have important spots in the rear landscape as well as the front. Marching up the back steps are three pots filled with begonias of various pink hues, and white and apple blossom geraniums. Standing tall on her basement walk-out wall are three pots filled with more million bells petunias, phlox, and various annuals.

Her favorite perennial is the cone flower, with favorite annual being the wave petunia.

Linda smiles as she says coneflowers are her most satisfying, “….because the finches love the seeds.” When asked the most difficult plant to grow, Linda responded, “ Fall mums.” Asked what she enjoys most about gardening, she replied that seeing the (satisfying) results of her labors is definitely the answer. Her biggest gardening problem? The dry weather. Rabbits were also a problem, until she tried putting shaved Irish Spring soap around her plants; it stopped the rabbits from their daily meals….an idea worth remembering.

Linda obviously has great gardening experience, and great advice as a result. The first thing to do when landscaping, she says, is to decide on the plants and/or trees, and the design layout. She also cannot overstate the importance of “….always reading plant tags/information before buying.” She reports that her best overall advice is to, “Plant. If it grows, okay; if not, don’t worry. Try something else. Enjoy your garden; if it makes you happy, good!”

She gets very good ideas from Garden Gate Magazine, and keeps a ready supply of past issues at hand. Asked what she would do differently, if she could do it over again, she quickly said, “Nothing. I am very happy with the way it is.” So when also asked to describe her property in a sentence, Linda smiled and said simply, “I love my house; I love my flowers; I love to look at it.” That sums it all up. It could not be said any better.

Congratulations to Linda Zhea, for her wonderful flower show! If you wish to nominate your, or someone else’s, property for the Award of the Month, please go to our website at, or call Lorainne Farmer at (717) 253-7730. Also, please share with us your feedback.


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