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For The Lancaster News
Forty-seven years ago, Philip and Hedwig Burbach, along with their three young daughters, left their homeland of Germany behind and moved to the United States. They were following the lead of Philip’s brother, George, who settled here in 1957.
“We followed him here after visiting him and seeing what this country was like. We decided to spend one last Christmas at home (in Germany) and then move to the states,” Hedwig said. “We officially moved here to Lancaster on January 7, 1965.”
Settling into their home, built by Philip in 1970, they painstakingly planned their yard with memories of their homeland in mind.
Their yard, at 3480 Pageland Highway, was selected as the May Yard of the Month by Betsy Folks, a member of The Lancaster Garden Club.
“Their yard is a reflection of the homeland they left behind,” Folks said. “It’s filled with beautiful flowers and trees, but the highlights of the yard are the stone castles Mr. Burbach built himself.”
After retirement, Philip, a retired brick mason and machinist, put his talent to work creating copies of ancient German castles using stone and mortar. By taking a photo of the real castle, he intricately designed the castles with details like working drawbridges, motes and even knights who once defended them.
“One of my castles is a replica of a castle found between the Black Forest and Lake Constance near the Swiss border,” Phillips said. “I was always fascinated by the castles and the knights of the time.
“Another castle I duplicated is from Landsberg, Germany, in the Bavarian Alps. A famous artist built it in the 1800s for his mother. She actually lived in it.”
Their yard is like one adventure after another with carefully planned flower beds filled with perennials like yarrow, black-eyed susans, purple coneflower and lilies (calla, tiger and day).
Bird feeders and birdhouses (also made by Philip) are scattered through the yard. There are some anchor flower beds and some are hidden among the trees.
Alongside their house, a bed filled with bright blue hydrangea, more black-eyed susans, phlox and red hot poker plants brings a maze of colors.
Keeping the yard open and uncluttered is important to them so the trees, flower gardens and even the castles have open space around them creating a nice view.
Two red spruce trees in their front yard also hold fond memories. Back in the mid 1970’s and early 1980’s, the evergreens were the family Christmas trees. Now they stand 25 to 30 feet tall.
“We wanted a Christmas tree we could save and enjoy,” Hedwig said. “We tried to keep a Fraser fir but the weather is just too warm here. We learned that red spruce trees acclimate well here so for several years we bought one to enjoy during Christmas and then planted in the yard.”
As their daughters grew up and had families of their own, they built houses just behind the Burbacks' home. The Burbacks said they enjoy having them nearby, but especially have enjoyed watching their five grandchildren grow up.
The Yard of the Month is sponsored by the Lancaster Council of Garden Clubs. Recipients receive a $25 gift certificate, complements of The Home Depot. If you would like to nominate a Yard of the Month, call Patty Noll at 285-6232.