Lawn Candy

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Vivian Ferguson's yard always grabs the attention of motorists

By Sherry Archie

Forty-five years in the making, Vivian Ferguson’s yard at 601 Laurel Court is a  sight to behold.
After careful planning and lots of tender loving care, her yard is now a true showplace filled with a wide variety of perennials, trees and shrubs that offer colorful blooms year round.
If you’ve driven along Woodland Drive near Lancaster High School, you’ve probably noticed it, especially in the spring.  
All of those bulbs, trees and blooms grabbed the attention of a passerby who nominated Ferguson for the April Yard of the Month.  
Joyce Morin of the Lancaster Garden Club left inspired when she visited Ferguson.  
“Years of planning, planting, pruning and primping have been rewarded by a beautiful garden that brings surprises each season,” Morin said. “When I’m 86 years old, I hope I’m still gardening and have a yard as pretty as Mrs. Ferguson’s to show for my efforts.”
Ferguson said she enjoys spending time caring for her yard. Yard work not only keeps Ferguson active, healthy and busy, but offers her the chance to escape from the world for a few hours at the time.
Large sweet gum trees stand tall among a centered silver maple and dogwood trees. The hardwoods seem to be connected by year-round vinca major slowly covering the natural area in the front yard.  
A large window box built by her youngest son, Roy, is now filled with impatiens, begonias and ivy that add seasonal color.  
“I never even knew he could build window boxes until he surprised me with them,” Ferguson said. “I always keep some type of annual flower in them.  In fact, I just pulled out the pansies and replaced them with these.”
A bed of azaleas (old and young), sedum, lantana, calla lilies and a single peony bush covered with large white flowers border the edge of her yard.   
An oak tree stands along the border as well.  
Ferguson said the majestic oak was a sapling when they moved to Laurel Court in 1965. Today, it towers over the yard with branches reaching out seemingly to protect it.    
Her patio is surrounded by gardenia bushes just about ready to bloom, oxalis with its delicate pink flowers, hosta, and two clematises that are beginning to climb up their trellises. Sweeping beds filled with perennials are connected by small walking paths leading around the back of the house into the side yard.  
More azaleas are hidden among forsythia (yellow bells), gardenias, camellias, holly hocks, Dutch and bearded irises and money plants. Money plants (annual honesty) have bright green leaves, purplish flowers, and flat green pods that gradually dry out and fade to beige.
Sometimes called Silver Dollars because of the shape of the seed pods, money plants allude  to Judas Iscariot and the 30 pieces of silver he was paid to betray Jesus Christ.   
Ferguson said as the pods dry out, you are supposed to pull them off the plant and rub them to free the seeds inside. By tossing these seeds around, Fergusons said she now has money plants throughout her garden.
Daffodils and tulips grow abundantly. Combined with the blooms of the azaleas, dogwoods, and camellias, these spring bulbs annually provide a colorful and welcome site after a long winter.
Ferguson also enjoys adding a little whimsy to her yard through garden statues including St. Francis of Assissi (the patron saint of birds and animals), as well as ceramic bunnies and deer.
Ferguson received a $25 gift certificate complements of Ace Hardware and Garden Center of Lancaster for being selected as the April Yard of the Month.
If you would like to nominate a yard of the month, please call Jackie Palmer at (803) 283-4562.