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February Yard of the Month

By Sherry Archie

Back in 1999 when Michael Burgess first began working at Hartley Funeral Home, little did he know one day he would end up owning and operating the business.

With a degree in Sports Administration from Limestone College, he worked in his field of study for about a year before his uncle Jerry Hartley offered him a chance to learn the funeral business. He accepted the job and spent most of his time maintaining the landscaping of the funeral home while learning firsthand about the business.

After becoming a licensed funeral director in 2002 and later receiving a certification in mortuary science, he gradually moved into a more official role while still making sure the grass was trimmed and hedges neatly groomed. Fast forward to today where Michael and his wife, Casey, are now the owners of the Hartley-Burgess Funeral Home and Crematory, following the retirement of his uncle. Michael‘s role has changed but one thing has remained the same.

He still prefers to personally maintain the landscaping himself. Keeping the grounds attractive with painstaking maintenance has not gone unnoticed. Beth Craig, Leaf and Petal Garden Club member, says the grounds are always beautiful no matter what time of year. She awarded the Hartley-Burgess Funeral Home and Crematory with the February Yard of the Month designation. The Yard of the Month is sponsored by the Lancaster Council of Garden Clubs Council.

“Keeping the lawn looking nice is important to me. By regularly trimming the grass to 4-inch height and alternating the direction of the cut in straight lines, I create a striped effect on the lawn. I’ve always liked that look and really enjoy getting out there and taking care of that myself. It’s like therapy to me. I collect my thoughts and take pride in what I’m doing,” Burgess said.

While the grass certainly compliments the other landscaping features, it’s probably the details of the shrubbery that truly catches your eye.

A variety of hollies from trees to mounded shrubs are neatly grouped at the entrance and exits. Lighted brick columns are also featured here to create a welcoming view. Bradford pear trees along with crepe myrtles line the horseshoe shaped driveway. Hedges of well-manicured holly bushes filled with bright red berries create beautiful border between the front door and the fountain. Tea olive bushes are along the fountain. Sculpted beds filled with groupings of tall, slender evergreens and mounds of yaupon and compacta holliescreate a beautiful view that can be appreciated as visitors walk along the side walk to the front door of the building. Large urns are filled with dwarf spruce trees along the sidewalk and colorful pansies on each side of the doorway add color and interest to the setting.

“We take pride in our facility from the inside out just as we take pride in the services we offer our customers. We feel they are coming to us at a difficult time and we will do everything we can to meet their needs,” said Burgess.

The Hartley-Burgess Funeral Home and Crematory will receive a $25 gift certificate compliments of the Home Depot.

If you would like to nominate a yard for Yard of the Month, please contact Patty Noll at 285-6232.