Marcus Larson/News-Register##McMinnville homeowners Linda and Craig Saunders enjoy creating a bright, colorful landscape at their home at 545 N.W. 10th St. The couple’s efforts earned them April Yard of the Month honors from the McMinnville Garden Club.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##McMinnville homeowners Linda and Craig Saunders enjoy creating a bright, colorful landscape at their home at 545 N.W. 10th St. The couple’s efforts earned them April Yard of the Month honors from the McMinnville Garden Club.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Craig and Linda Saunders have combined yard art with plants chosen for color and texture to create a winning appearance.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Craig and Linda Saunders have combined yard art with plants chosen for color and texture to create a winning appearance.
By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Yard of the Month: A Floral Transformation

Both grew up gardening.

“I think we both enjoy the therapeutic aspects, and the physicality of it,” Linda said. “It’s a good way to get off the couch.”

The work they have put into the yard is clear. Located on a corner lot, the charming landscaping extends along both street fronts, punctuated by various bits of garden art and salvaged pieces among the brightly blooming flowers.

Pots of flowers march up the steps to the porch, and a bed of tulips braves the rain in front. In another bed, azaleas are blooming, while flowers and garden art grace the long fence line past the corner.

The two have lived in McMinnville for 20 years, and have enjoyed recreating the yard.

“There was no yard,” Craig observed. “There was a lot of junk buried in the backyard,” Linda noted.

Today, the expanse looks as if it had always been well tended.

The couple said both of them grew up gardening.

“I grew up on Hawn Creek, on three acres,” Craig said. “My dad said, ‘Do it,’” he said, so he learned landscaping. “Then I had a place on Hidden Hills that I landscaped and gardened,” he said.

Craig credits Linda with designing the flowerbeds. “She goes out and finds a color, and decides where she wants it put, because I have no idea of what goes where,” he said.

Linda demurred.

“Well, you know, you make mistakes, and you pull it out and do it over if you don’t like it,” she said. “And sometimes the mistakes are what you end up liking.”

Craig, who recently retired, is now catching up with various long-planned projects, including the azalea bed added after the yard was chosen for the Yard of the Month honor.

“There’s a lot to get caught up on,” he said. “A couple more years and I might have it done.”

Later in the season, dahlias will replace the tulips, providing an ongoing show of color.

“I like to have color all year round if I can, so I try to pick things that, whether they flower or not, will give us pretty colors and interesting textures,” Linda said.

“It’s pretty easy here in the Willamette Valley,” she said. “If you can’t grow something there, you’re pretty challenged. Half the time here, the challenge is beating things back.”

Craig said they put in much of the work on weekends. On weekdays, he explained, “She works eight hours, so by the time she gets home, she’s pretty tired.”

He noted, “I’ve been accumulating plants and building materials for 10 years ... OK, 20. Now is the time I guess I get to put them to use.”

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