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Twelve years ago, when Derrick Robinson bought the house at 204 York St., he knew the yard had great potential.
Like a true “yardener,” Robinson saw past the overgrown, 50-year-old azaleas that nearly covered the front windows.
Robinson said he knew that if he could somehow replace them, he could make the York Street yard a showplace.
Today, he has succeeded.
He and his wife, Lana, have now been awarded Yard of the Month for April by the Lancaster Council of Garden Clubs.
Janice Smith, Yard of the Month chairwoman for the council, loves the array of plants used in the yard and how they complement the Robinson home.
“The yard has great curb appeal,” Smith said. “It’s very well-kept and the variety of foliage and blooms really makes it look welcoming.”
But getting it that way – by removing the well-established azaleas and most of the plants – wasn’t easy.
“We cleared one spot at a time,” Derrick said. “I had stuff lined up all the way down the street in front of the house for the city to pick up.”
After the clearing was complete, the Robinsons started searching magazines for gardening ideas. They also rode around to examine the landscaping in other yards, not hesitating to stop and ask fellow gardeners about their plants.
Their neighbors, Derrick said, would always stop by and offer free advice while sharing a plant or two.
Derrick also sought direction from Laney Hill Nursery in Waxhaw, N.C. After examining a picture of the house and front yard, they drew up a small plan to help the Robinsons get started.
While they gathered ideas together, Lana said Derrick does most of the yard work.
“I told him that I would take care of the inside of the house, if he would take care of the outside,” she said.
And their yard has become a revamped showplace.
Boxwoods, nandina, rose bushes, variegated hollies, day lilies and Indian hawthorns were the new selections. They also added new azaleas that fill the yard with hues of white, pink, purple and red in the spring.
During the summer, the crepe myrtles display their flowers of white and purple.
Leyland cypress trees provide a natural fence bordering the sides of the yard. Budding Stella d’ora day lilies complete the border preparing to offer summer color.
Two pinto palms add a tropical flair to the front yard. Derrick said one of the palms is now 9 years old but continues to grow well.
The bright green rye grass will soon give way to centipede as the temperatures rise. Derrick believes in fertilizing well to maintain all his landscaping work.
“I just spread 100 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer in my yard to give it a boost for spring,” he said.
In the side yard, a windmill palm surrounded by flowering vines takes center stage. The palm is still small and needs protection from the cool evenings of spring. To provide warmth, landscaping lights shine on it at night. Nearby, yellow and purple irises are in full bloom – a beautiful sign of spring.
For all of their hard work, the Robinsons received a $25 gift certificate compliments of Ace Hardware and Garden Center.
To nominate a Yard of the Month, call Smith at 283-4191.