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From thorns to flowers: March Yard of the Month

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The Bailes' hard yardwork pays off

By Sherry Archie

Back in April 2007 when Mike and Mashalle Bailesfirst purchased their home at 930 Sherwood Circle, they realized the house and yard needed a little attention. With the windows of the house almost covered in overgrown hollies, English ivy and the thorny spikes of ileagnes throughout the yard, the Bailes had to make a few choices.

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Many of the shrubs were removed and replaced with slower growing lower maintenance varieties such as nandina.

They trimmed the English ivy back but wanted to keep its charm. The ivy still grows eagerly along the sides of the house and even covers the trunks of several tall oak, maple and sweet gum trees in the yard. Mike has found the ivy is easily managed by keeping the trailers snipped for example as they near the gutters of the house.

Large natural areas cover the sloping landscape and provide the perfect home for azaleas and seasonal bulbs.

In the yard, encore azaleas are just beginning their spring show of color nestled at the base of the trees where the ground is covered in ivy. A gazing ball and several playful yard ornaments add fun and personality to the setting.

The beauty of this natural setting caught the eyes of Betsy Folks and Sheila Robertson of The Lancaster Garden Club. They selected the Bailes’ yard as the March Yard of the Month, sponsored by the Lancaster Council of Garden Clubs.

“[The Bailes] have beautiful natural areas that highlight the house, as well as the green grass. They have only been in the house a few years, but in that time they have added several outdoor spaces and plantings to complement these areas,” Folks said.

The outside spaces were created by adding pergolas on each side of their home, an idea they first saw when traveling in California. Complete with comfy chairs, outdoor lighting, and even a ceiling fan, they have a perfect place to relax and enjoy summer evenings. Carolina and confederate jasmine are growing, slowly wrapping the columns of the pergola in foliage just before the blooming season begins.

Seashells gathered from one of their favorite vacation spots, Sanibel Island, Fla., are scattered throughout their landscaping. Mashalle says the beautiful pen shells (also known as the sea wing) are her favorite. She enjoys searching for them and bringing them back home to enjoy.

The bright green grass continues to be a work in progress. With Lancaster’s ever present bull tallow soil, the Bailes sought assistance from the local Clemson Extension Agency to help find a way to create a good stand of grass.

“To begin with, we tried zoysia sod and it disappeared the first year. After sowing and top seeding several times, we finally found a grass that works. Creeping red fescue stays green all the time and grows well in our shady yard,” Mike said.

Mike said he also learned to keep the grass and shrubs growing well in the shade, trees should be fertilized well in late spring. Trees take the nutrients out of the soil, so other plant material is deprived and either grows slowly or dies completely.

If you would like to nominate a yard for Yard of the Month, please contact Patty Noll at (803) 285-6232.

Winners of the Yard of the Month receive a $25 gift certificate complements of The Home Depot.