Carol and Francis “Buck” Robben have been named the last Highland Garden Club Yard of the Month for their garden located at 719 Dolphin Drive East.
“There’s flowers all year round somewhere on this property from winter to summer to spring,” Buck said.
Buck, who was a printer by trade, said he loves to keep the yard looking trimmed, and exact to help keep the neighborhood looking proper. Carol, who is a self proclaimed “neat freak,” loves to see beauty in their home. While Buck does most of the planting, Carol said she enjoys doing the work to keep the plants alive.
“It is just something that is very enjoyable and something that is close to my heart,” Carol said.
Berms with boulders and landscape rock flank the driveway and frame the well-manicured lawn of their ranch home. A lamp post is one of the focal points in the berm accented by colorful flowering pots on both sides of the driveway.
A curved brick path leads you to the porch and front door where you can see Carol’s creative touches. Container plants, a wreath, and welcome plaque greet you at the entry, and a bench invites you to sit and take in the view. At the end of the porch is large fern that Buck inherited in 1982 when his mother passed. He winters the fern inside and brings it back outside in the spring.
Stepping stones lead you down the side yard to where you can see a dogwood tree, raspberry plants, quince and forsythia. The bright, glossy green holly leaves and red berries pop out against the brick on the side of the house.
Around back, their property is enclosed in a hedge of bright red crape myrtle, blackberry bushes, zebra grass and Rose of Sharon. Flowering annuals add color to a raised berm in front of the hedge, and a bird bath, birdhouse and hanging basket add artful touches and structure to the plantings.
“The back of the house is more beautiful than the front I feel,” Buck said.
The real jewel of the backyard is the patio surrounded by containers of tropical plants. Bright red mandevilla plants climb out of tall pots, and hanging baskets, potted flowering plants and herbs surround the patio. Bicycle planters can be spotted nearby, and the sound from a wind chime hanging in a nearby tree graces this backyard paradise.
A red wheelbarrow holds cocktail tomatoes, containers hold herbs for cooking and red beets are grown in pots and the greens are used in smoothies before the beets are harvested. In another container, tiny spinach leaves are pushing out of the soil from a fall planting of seeds.
Yard of the Month winners now get an etched rock as a keepsake for their achievement, and the Robbens will get to keep their title until next year, because September is the last award for the season.
The city of Highland, Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Garden Club would like to thank all the homeowners that submitted entries for the Yard of the Month program.
“We received many wonderful entries. Look for the program again in May of 2018,” a joint statement said.
Highland Garden Club Yard of the Month chair Barbara Stallard contributed to this article.