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Here we are nearing the end of the 2017 summer season and fast approaching upon the heels of fall, not to mention the Cooper Young Festival. Time flies by so fast.

Many years ago, I started considering not so much the years that pass by, but rather the gardening seasons we are given to work the land. It nourishes our pride as well as our well being and our bellies. Working the dirt and watching the progress encourages more participation. First time gardeners buy all these pretty plants thinking, this is so easy. Then everything perishes. Some will be discouraged and some will carry on. A true gardener forges onward. Searching catalogs, joining garden groups, talking with the experienced for the holy grail of green thumbism.  

Do true gardeners ever stop learning? No. If they did, they would be like the above mentioned plants. The average gardener begins by trial and error. Simulating a laboratory of sorts by taking notes, looking up causes for plant ailments and then administering the much needed medicine. We begin to nurture nature, developing an eye for a design which then becomes an outward expression or reflection of us. Gardens say something of their caretakers. Are they tidy, do they cocoon, are they outgoing or like vibrant colors? The list goes on and on. I’m sure there has been a study done on the subject. Sometimes we learn from our gardens, as in supplied conditions, design layout and scale. Gardeners ponder where to put plants, how to layout planting bed lines and to consider how big that plant going to get? Driving around the neighborhood can testify to this. How many houses have you seen that have a massive oak tree forcing up sidewalks and house foundations. Every time there’s a bad storm and the power goes out, it’s a tell tale sign to poor plant placement from long ago, untimely pruning, upkeep or a plant that has reached the end of its life cycle. Gardeners and homeowners alike are able to teach themselves all aspects of homeownership, including gardening, via the Internet. There are apps, programs and sites chocked full of options so the designer can pre layout spaces, add plants and change colors without even leaving their porch swing.

Just ask our September yard of the month. She has been paying close attention to detail and using any and all resources to create a to die for garden space. This is one of the gardens I’ve had my eye on for a while. I’ve been waiting for the right moment to present Angie Wallick with the gauntlet to carry for yard of the month. She is the proud owner of 2164 Nelson. A craftsman bungalow with a somewhat smaller front porch than some of the bungalow examples in the neighborhood. I’d challenge you to notice the difference because the high style this homeowner has added is over the top. This stretch of Nelson is lined up with composite bungalows. These composite bungalows are absent a covered driveway, unlike the larger bungalows in the area. With all the houses being very similar in style, Angie has added curb appeal that makes her house pop out to set the standard on its ear. I wish everyone could view the back garden as well. Charming, absolutely charming.

Located in the northeast quadrant, behind The Memphis Drum Shop is the tastefully painted brick bungalow with it’s low hung rooflines, stucco and brick facade. This sweetie sports a palette of more masculine brown tone hues. The lighter colors pull out the brick details on the front porch posts to the forefront. If this house was still its original brick color, all of the detail would be wasted and washed out. The front of this house faces south, giving the homeowner an environment and opportunity to have a full sun setting. There are no mature trees in the front to create shade and block the pretty house. A manicured Bermuda lawn is what greets every visitor. This gives way to a flower bed that embraces the entire porch and swings around to the side of the house, like a collar on a shirt. The bed is filled with Knock Out Roses, Daisies, DayLilies and various other plants. Even a bird house is perched amongst the bed. It is in keeping with the design style. The bed is edged in my favorite, Arkansas field stone, AFS, for short. Ha! I feel like Rachel Ray and her EVOO, extra virgin olive oil.

Front porch living

The gem of this property is the intimate porch. Bungalows generally have a porch that has a skirt all the way around and a capstone. This one is no different. This is a swell feature that can be used for planters to parade around on or a place to perch your bottom when seating is at a premium. Angie has planters perched on ledges, in window boxes hanging from above and even vertically up the wall. This homeowner captures the laws of good design by using the proper number of three when placing plants, be they in the ground or sitting about. She has three Boston ferns hanging that receive the perfect amount of sun because of the deep porch eaves casting a needed shade during the long hot summer days. A porch swing hangs happily at the far inside of the cozy porch. Curtains, a chandelier with candles and burlap chain covers look as if ideas were pulled from Pinterest boards.

Down the driveway past a board gate is another space that is even more charming. When walking past a row of a dozen Boxwoods acting as docents welcoming the visitors to the “she shed” you know at first glance, the law of a focal point has been met. It’s like a dollhouse with shingle siding painted to match the home and accented with teal on its door. Atop its roof is a small cupola that shines brightly with teal paint too. The shed is perched on an old concrete pad where an old car shed once resided. The old pad has been covered with a new wooden deck that is the porch to the shed. It’s big enough for a wrought iron bistro for two accompanied with a teal umbrella and a delightful potting table made from repurposed items. Little decor touches add a designers touch.

Easy, cute fence decor!

The old concrete drive strips are still leading you to this point. Along the fence is three teal picture frames lined up. Each one has a yellow metal flower creating a 3D effect. On the right, a vast semicircle of green, lush zoysia fills a majority of the back yard. Makes you want to lay in the splendor. Encircling the property along the board fence all the way around the entire property is an AFS edged flower bed. There are many plantings of hydrangea, Black Eyed Susan, Hosta, Knock Out Roses, Iris, Buddleia, and Day Lilies. Scattered throughout the beds amongst the plantings are art pieces placed to draw attention away from and to where Angie wants the viewer to focus. Most of the art pieces have teal paint to create uniformity. This carefree design is void of large trees except a magenta colored Crepe Myrtle in the southeast corner. A Hackberry and and white Mulberry along the back property fence may have volunteered many years ago still stand. Angie is a proud gardener that has garnered much knowledge about plants, design and hardscape to create a true charmer.

Angie, are you native to Memphis or are you a transplant?

“Transplant. Originally from Canton, Ohio. I actually went to college at University of Memphis, did my graduate work at kent state university but was able to move back down to Memphis for a job”

What attracted you to Cooper Young and this bungalow opposed to other areas of town?

“Growing up, my family was always a DIY and I have followed the same path…..I saw this house after it set empty for a long while. A guy was in the middle of flipping the house when I walked in for the first time (it was still a mess) but I loved the tall ceilings, wood floors and big windows and especially the fire place 🙂 so much charm even through all the messes. I really didn’t look anything further once I saw this CY charmer. Other nice things was that it was close to work and walking distance to all things CY related!!!”

How long have you lived oh CY?  

“9 years and it keeps getting better and better living in CY.”

Have you been gardening long and are you inspired by anyone?

“I think I became a Gardner i.e. the person who pulls weeds the day I bought my house – ha. My mom was a great help with ideas landscaping/placing flowers etc. I really just had to start from scratch. It was a gradual process of obtaining plants….many of my plants were hand-me-downs, transplants and some I just bought because they made me happy.”

How would you describe your garden style?

“Not sure I have a specific style, except my own…..its southern style with some eclectic twists??? I really like lots of different and bright colors.”

What was your property like when you moved in?

” My back yard had no grass and all weeds…my neighbor said,” it was a jungle…eek!” The front was pretty overgrown as well, but from there it started to transform…oh my driveway was crumbling mess, so I had it repaved and widened a little bit.”

You have the sweetest yard art, bird houses and She Shed. Are these your creations?

“My dearest Dad made my she-shed which required lots of BBQ and beer. The she shed was one of the first things to happen in the back yard…which was an old cement slab that a garage used to stand on. I then took that teal color and had other accents around the yard with it…..it was my color palet for outside.”

Are any of your plants carried over from relatives?

“You better believe I got some Ohio plants in my yard 🙂 thanks mom!”

Any lessons learned about plants/ gardening you would like to pass along to our readers?

“Water every single morning and pull your weeds/prune when necessary.  Most plants in general are needy and crave your attention.”

What’s it like being so close to a thriving business district, not to mention the CY festival?

“I love living in CY and I take full advantage of all the great things it has to offer. I have great parking always for cooper young festival and actually any midtown event is easy to get to from my house 🙂 My front porch is one of my favorite places of my entire house….you will often find me sitting on my swing hanging out with friends, taking a nap or just having some down time.”

Any future plans for your space?

“I would like to make a little bit more outdoor living space coming out of my backdoor.”