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Instead of trashing old wine bottles, Clara and Thaddeus “Tee” Sexton have incorporated them into the landscape design of their Buford community home. Capitalizing on ideas picked up from home and garden magazines, the Sextons have created a greener garden by adding innovative glass touches throughout their yard. Old wine bottles (angled bottoms up) edge the natural area and sidewalk leading to their front door. They've also used the bottles to create a tree and wind chimes.“I once read in Southern Living magazine that every Southern home should have a bottle tree,” Clara said. “So I decided we would make one.” This creativity has now been rewarded. Their lawn, at 4461 Rowell Road, has been designated the July Yard of the Month, sponsored by the Lancaster Council of Garden Clubs.
The Sextons will receive a $25 gift certificate, compliments of Ace Hardware and Garden Center of Lancaster.Peggy Little of The Lancaster Garden Club said the Sextons were chosen because of their lawn’s innovative concepts.“This yard provided a unique feature of using old wine bottles to border the sidewalk. Thad and Clara even created a bottle tree and placed it at the side of their garden,” Little said.Glass isn’t the only thing the Sextons have recycled.The natural area along the home’s foundation is filled with nandina bushes that were originally part of the old Buford Elementary School landscaping. “When the workers pulled up all the miniature nandina from the school yard, we were able to get about 25 of them and scattered them throughout our yard,” Tee said.Banana trees grow tall alongside the garage wall and front porch. Tee said it takes three years for the tuberous trees to produce fruit. And since the year-round weather here isn’t conducive to producing mature bananas, the trees begin to die only to be replaced by another banana tree the following year. Maintenance for these banana trees involves cutting the tree completely down in the winter and covering the stump with mulch. Then around Easter, the stump is uncovered and the banana trees begin to flourish again.While the trees don’t produce mature fruit, they still manage to provide a broad canopy and grow as tall as the roof line of their home.“We enjoy watching these trees grow and produce tiny little bananas,” Clara said. “We’ve even added a few trees to the backyard now and enjoy the cool shade they create on hot summer days.”The Sextons' home was built in 2002 on the site of Clara’s old “family home place.” At first, the yard was barren, except for a tall holly tree and a giant cedar tree that Clara dubbed “The Guardian” because of its significance.“My father planted that cedar tree over 60 years ago,” she said. “I feel as if it looks after our home and yard just like he would.”But the yard didn’t stay barren very long as the couple has continually worked to create an innovative, yet traditional setting that combines various elements. “All the plants in our yard are special and unique to us,” Clara said. “We received them through friends and relatives so they all have special meaning. That makes us enjoy them even more.”The Sextons' bird-friendly backyard was designated as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Foundation in 2006. Clara said to earn the designation, a yard must have three watering places for birds, such as birdbaths or water features, along with multiple bird feeders.While NFW guidelines only required two bird feeders for a yard the size of the Sextons, they have eight, along with several birdhouses for nesting. The Sextons take it a step further by making suet and scattering it over driftwood at the base of a large tree for songbirds to enjoy. To nominate a Yard of the Month, call Janice Smith at 285-4191.