Yard of the Month – June 2016
The Gettysburg Garden Club, through its Yard of the Month Committee, is pleased to
present its June, 2016, Award of the Month to Jeannette and Walter Smith, of 2866
Jeannette, a mechanical engineer, and Walter, a building foundation expert, met at work.
After many times moving and traveling for the job, they 26 years ago settled on Gettysburg as
home base. They soon found the opportunity and challenge of a lifetime, buying the 216+ year
old historic stone Throne House near Arendtsville, and bringing house and grounds back to life.
They removed overgrown trees, leveled the ground, grew grass, and added dogwood,
azaleas, and tree peony. Jeannette, of English ancestry, loves the “comfortable feeling that the
English Cottage Garden gives.” So it was natural she would incorporate its design around their
Driving north on Mummasburg Road the first thing that grabs the eye is the pretty, dark-
pink English rose vine climbing the house wall, as if quietly saying, “Over here!” Around the
corner, dark blue clematis and pale pink English rose vines bookend the streetside wall. With
these three smiling vines as “nannies” and several anchoring peony and azaleas as “big
sisters,” the “flower children” in this compact, wrap-around English Cottage Garden, seem to be
enjoying a day at the park. Jeannette has planted blue and yellow irises, bleeding hearts, Asian
lilies, lamb’s ear, green succulents, blue and pink lupines, and tulips and other bulbs, daffodils,
Shasta daisies, asters, columbine, hyacinths, pansies, English bluebells, primroses, black-eye-
Susans, lavender, salvias, and Johnny-jump- ups, among others, following her favorite color
pattern of soft blue-purple- pink with yellow accents. Finally, to fill in any temporarily bare
spaces, she adds small potted azaleas or geraniums.
It is fair to say that, to the eye, this lovely space appears very casual, but that is the way
of the English Cottage Garden. For the gardener, it takes planning and work. Mature plant size
and height, placement for soft palette color coordination, and bloom time must all be taken into
account. Roses, both climbing and shrub, are mainstays, as are freely-spreading perennials,
which eventually find their preferred spots, all without fighting. Simple lessons from these
gardens are that one can get good results with inexpensive materials, and every inch that is
planted is one less inch for weeds!
Yet, this beautiful English Cottage Garden is not the only feature of this property. With a
private rear landscaped area, entered through a rose and clematis-covered trellis set in a very
stately row of lush arborvitae, the visitor has an expansive overview of the property beyond. The
deck, with its geranium-filled wrought iron wall planter, and focus of potted geraniums and
evergreens, plus hand-painted bird box, all resting among Jeannette’s artfully-placed stones,
also provides an extended view of the property. Finally, a lush Green Garden fills the viewer
with calm as its waves of hostas and ferns provide another, “Ahhh.” moment.
Walter most enjoys the view from the deck, plus the fragrant, fresh-cut garden flowers
filling the house. Jeannette prefers sitting under the pink dogwood, facing her beautiful cottage
garden, while sipping a cup of tea. But the visitor’s most interesting view just might be up the old
stone path to the welcoming front door, with the many randomly-placed grind wheels nearby,
appearing ready for work!
Asked for landscape design advice Jeannette said to, “Be flexible and change plant
location for arrangement or growth, if and as necessary; do what makes you happy; plan ahead;
and divide pants as necessary.” Walter responded, definitively, “In spring, make sure you know
if something is a flower or weed before pulling it!”
For a cottage garden, she emphasized, “Start with what you like best, and use
complimentary flower colors.” And Walter added that, “One should prepare the soil– -for any
garden– – with mulch, wood chips, or aged horse manure, adding mushroom soil every two
years.” Jeannette added that roses love horse manure, especially in heavy winter frost.
As someone once told Jeannette when passing the house as she was working in her
garden, “Your house smiles at me every time I pass it.” No one could say it better.
To nominate your own, or someone else’s property, for the Award of the Month, please
go to our website kathif13.sg-host.com or call Lorainne Farmer at (717) 253-7730.