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August Yard of the Month

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Ann Robertson treats yard work as physical therapy

By Sherry Archie

Ann Robertson made a decision years ago.  After recovering from a stroke and later being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, her doctor told her that her future was in her own hands. 

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She learned that while the fibromyalgia would be painful, she could choose to be active and deal with the pain or let the pain control her.

She chose to be active. Part of her active lifestyle includes planning and maintaining one of the prettiest yards in Lancaster.

At 1784 Deaton Circle, her neat, well-kept landscaping style drew the attention of Betty McCorkle, who nominated her yard for the Lancaster County Council of Garden Clubs' Yard of the Month (YOTM).

Jackie Palmer, YOTM chairwoman, recently gave Ann and her husband, Preston, the August Yard of the Month award.

Palmer said it was an easy choice.

“Ann does all the gardening herself,” Palmer said. “She has a pretty front-yard garden, full of perennials, and it’s always very neat.”

Ann spends most days outside, where she loves tending her yard. Whether it’s pinching back blooms on her 3-foot-tall coleus plants to encourage better growth or mowing the bright green centipede lawn, she is exactly where she wants to be. 

“I enjoy being outside caring for my plants and yard,” she said. “Keeping active has given me so many rewards. Every day I do something in my yard and some days I even help my neighbors with theirs.”

When a neighbor is under the weather, Ann will mow their lawn and even tend their garden until they are back on their feet.

Looking around Ann’s yard, it’s easy to see her love of hummingbirds. Sculpted hummingbirds  cleverly sit atop bushes, hang from trees or are imprinted on yard ornaments and stepping stones. 

The backyard, however, hosts the live version. Ann has at least five feeders that attract up to 20 birds throughout the day. 

“They swarm all around, trying to beat the others to the food,” Preston said. “Sometimes, we just have to stay out of their way.”

Ann has a special knack for nurturing animals, as well as plants.

Hummingbirds often find themselves trapped in their screened porch. Ann will catch them, gently pet them by rubbing their backs and take a few photos before setting them free in the yard. 

Many of Ann's plantings actually began as cuttings of bushes and flowers found in yards of friends and families.

“My Knockout roses began when a friend of mine gave me a stem from hers,” said Ann. “I have a special section in my yard that I keep moist just for the plants I would like to root. After dipping the stem into Rootone, I place it in the moist soil.

“Soon roots begin to grow, and before you know it, it’s ready to plant in my yard,” she said.

Ann’s most sentimental yard additions are the bright red lilies rescued from her the yard of her mother, the late Edell Gainey. 

“I always loved those lilies, so before we sold my mother’s house, I dug up a small section of them,” she said. “They have multiplied time and time again. I just keep thinning them out, sharing them with family, friends and neighbors.”

Ann may share flowers and plants with others, but she’s keeping the lighthouse flag at the corner of the carport all to herself.

“That’s my most prized possession,” she said of the hand-painted Christmas gift from her 10-year-old grandson, Christopher.

“It’s as cute as can be,” Ann said. “He did it on paper first and then transferred it to fabric. He really did a good job.”

The Robertsons will receive a $25 gift certificate compliments of Ace Hardware and Garden Center of Lancaster.

If you would like to nominate a yard for YOTM, call Jackie Palmer at (803) 283-4562.