Partners in life and gardening
Don and Patsy Dye’s work overhauling their yard since their recent marriage won them the McMinnville Garden Club’s Yard of the Month award for May.
The yard is a combination of manicured lawn and flower beds, with woodsy shade. It belongs to them now, but still serves to preserve memories of their spouses, honored in a “memory garden” in a back corner.
For some time, the two divided their time and efforts between two homes, jokingly referring to Don’s as “the vacation home across town,” in honor of its swimming pool, appealing gardens and other amenities. But the dual maintenance was taking its toll, so they eventually settled on just one — Patsy’s place at 1601 N.W. Adisyn Lane.
Both love gardening. Patsy broke her arm a few weeks ago, though, forcing Don to largely take over for the time being.
“My late husband was very ill, and couldn’t help,” she recalled. “It’s nice to have help. Don did all the planting this year.”
One of his additions was a row of brightly colored gerbera daisies along one side of the house.
“There have never been flowers there,” Patsy said. “Supposedly, they’re deer-resistant.
“With the geraniums, they’ll eat the blossoms you’re about to pick anyway. I haven’t trained them to take the stem off yet, but they won’t tear the plant up and they won’t eat the unopened blossoms. It’s like they’re deadheading for me.
“Daffodils they won’t eat. But petunias they’ll just tear right out of the ground.”
As a result, her yard features lots of geraniums and lavender, another deer-resistant shrub. Peonies are just bursting into bloom in front.
Impatiens bloom in the shade along a dry rock creek bed crossed by a wooden bridge. Rhododendrons and azaleas splash bright spots of color.
The crowning touch are an array of tall poles scattered along the creek bed, each supporting several bird feeders. The air fairly shakes with the sounds of birds.
On a recent May day, goldfinches covered the feeders. The couple could sit and watch them for hours.
The birds do make something of a mess. But squirrels help clean up the fallen seeds, and Don has been known to brush them off his plants.
“He’s particular,” she said.
“I’ve always liked flowers,” Don said.
He enjoys figuring out which will fit well with the yard’s particular conditions. “I like to combine colors and make them pop,” he said.
“His special talent is buying the plants and getting them into the ground the same day,” Patsy said, admitting she doesn’t share that trait.
The two have created a memorial garden dedicated to their spouses. Tiles made by Don’s late wife pave the way to a rock-floored sitting area where a bench features sculptures of horses, a love of Patsy’s late husband.
Two chairs provide additional seating, next to a brazier that also features horse motifs.
In addition to being ideal for enjoying the outdoors on a hot summer day, it’s also a charming area for summer evening cookouts. The two plan to add a little chess table to the ensemble.
Both the creekbed, overhung with leaning trees, and the sitting area, were paved by Eden Landscaping, Patsy said.