Highland News Leader

Frank and MaryJo Prusa have Highland Yard of the Month

July Highland Yard of the Month winners are creative in their gardening

Frank and MaryJo Prusa of 2022 Broadway in Highland were named the winners of the Highland Garden Club's Yard of the Month for July.
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Frank and MaryJo Prusa of 2022 Broadway in Highland were named the winners of the Highland Garden Club's Yard of the Month for July.

Frank and MaryJo Prusa’s personal touches to their yard — yard art, patriotic décor, benches and more — show their creativity.

“We’ve always had flowers in the yard, though, and we’ve always liked doing flowers,” MaryJo said. “It’s just something we enjoy doing.”

Their hard work helps to beautify the look of their home at at 2022 Broadway in Highland and maintains the cohesiveness of the neighborhood. It also earned them Yard of the Month honors for July, though that’s not why they do it.

“That was the farthest thing from our mind,” Frank said.

MaryJo is retired from Carol’s Forget Me Knot, which is now partnered with Poppy’s Inc. (d.b.a., Widmer Floral Co. & Greenhouse), and has worked with flowers for several years. When it comes to gardening, she said it’s just something enjoyable.

“I think it has to be relaxing, because she keeps doing it,” Frank said.

One of the first things that catches your eye as you pull up to the Prusa home is their well-manicured lawn and one of the two large Japanese maples with the beautiful burgundy foliage that pops out against the beige siding and blue shutters.

Next, you can’t help but notice the patriot theme with the flagpole surrounded by smaller American flags and a red, white and blue bunting on the porch railing. Off to the left, the patriot theme continues with a small garden bed planted with a container of flame grass, flags and a large mound of purple petunias edged in white. Glance across the driveway and blue hydrangeas are blooming next to the house.

Look further down the driveway and you will see a park-like setting with crape myrtle forming a backdrop for an iron bench shaped like a butterfly, surrounded by a potted hibiscus and begonias planted beneath a lamppost, and lined with red, white and blue solar lights.

Along the west side of the home, you can see ornamental toadstools popping up in the foundation planting among the hydrangea and spirea. Further back, along the side of the home, there’s oakleaf hydrangea, which were in full bloom. The west side of the Prusa’s property is lined with a brick enclosed bed of various grasses and liriope.

On the east side of the driveway, guests are welcomed by a garden bed filled with a tall ornamental grass, surrounded by rudbeckia just getting ready to bloom and encircled with liriope and annuals.

MaryJo said the arrangement started with a small hosta garden, and then the couple began to add more and more with each year. Now, they usually pick a color every year and start to build their garden around that color. But, with their growing age, she said maintaining their yard is getting to be a large task.

“It’s just getting to be too much when you’ve got to transplant and dig up, and you’ve got bad backs,” MaryJo said. “He’s going to be 80 years old, so it’s a lot of work. But I like to do it and mess with the flowers.”

Wendy and Craig Sadler of 1401 Lemon St. were the Yard of the Month winners in June.

HOW TO NOMINATE A YARD

Eligibility

  • All residences, including houses, apartments, townhouses, villas and condominiums within Helvetia and Saline townships are eligible.
  • Yard of the Month winners may win the contest only one time in a two-year period.
  • Residents may nominate their own yard or any yard for Yard of the Month.
  • Entries must be received by the 15th of the month. One entry per household will suffice for the season.
  • Nominations may be submitted by calling the Chamber of Commerce, 654-3721, emailing Penny Korte at the chamber office at penny@highlandillinois.com, or contacting any Highland Garden Club Member with the name, address and phone number of the nominee.

Judging criteria

  • Visual Attractiveness: The yard being judged must be visible from a public street, alley, path or sidewalk and must display general curb appeal.
  • Creativity: Personal touches such as yard art, bird baths and feeders, etc. are encouraged.
  • Originality: Unique while maintaining cohesiveness with the neighborhood.
  • Beautification: Yard must improve the look of the home and overall neighborhood.
  • Overall Maintenance: Well-maintained grass, trimmed hedges, flowerbeds, etc.
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