Fillmore Civic Pride’s 2020 April Yard of the Month

"Truth, beauty and goodness"...these are what our community needs! And the truth is that we have some amazing gardeners among us bringing such beauty, and all to share for the good of others. Gardeners define what it means to live well, no matter how big or small the gardens be...

There is supposed to be only one 'Yard of the Month', but if you don't mind I want to include other sites for you to check out each month from our fair town...these homes didn't win the prize, but in my eyes they embody the truth of beauty and goodness! If you find yourself near one of these sites, stop by. Do check out the home at 1044 Candalaria where there are so many lovely personal touches that make it a delight to see. The 745 Fine Street home has done an exceptional job of planting its front yard to low maintenance, drought resistant, and/or edible plant varieties- and it all pulls together to enhance the facade of the home, well done! At 615 Yucca the folks here put in an orchard of fruit trees in the front yard with a side raised bed of lovely perennials, all secured with a permascape that not only looks beautiful but cuts down on water usage and maintenance. Finally at 607 Lemon Way, Apt. A, I spied a Dragon Fruit making its way over the wall- looking in I found the happiest of low maintenance, low water specimens (the scarlet blooming cactus was exquisite!) among joyful Mexican folk art. The yard was obviously set up for easy outside entertaining with family and friends. Gloriosa!

But April's 'Yard of the Month' goes to Doug and Nancy Cope at 603 Fourth St. They came to Fillmore over twenty years ago, originally from Canada, an entire country where everyone is just so dang 'nice'- something that our world can use a little more of today. Thus the Copes are not only to-the-core gardeners, but I was in for that to-the-core 'nice' of the Canadian I knew I was in for a double dose of just plain wonderful.

They live in the 'office' of the original orange ranch there in north Fillmore and what they have done to make it 'home' is remarkable. I met them as I interrupted their outdoor dinner in the cozy nook they created, complete with overhead bistro lights that softly lit the sitting area and hearth made from blocks ("so the grand kids have a place to roast marshmallows"). Pots of succulents were tucked into every corner, mature roses interplanted with bearded iris line one side and where ever there was a strip of bare ground, Nancy made sure to have something growing. Any structurally needed walls were covered with something in full Spring bloom, whether it was panels of intoxicating jasmine or a retaining wall that carried happy geraniums up and over to other side, altogether some twenty feet of blooms!

Though the Copes live literally in the middle of town, they have created a place of quiet contemplation and privacy...but that does not mean they don't to contend with the issues of gardening in our environment. So far this year, they have trapped and rehomed nine racoons (who would have thought coons could have such a party in those tall and narrow Italian Cypress trees!), four possums and two squirrels... being nice goes only so far! The costs of utilities in Fillmore require water to be conserved- everything is hand watered or micro irrigated to control its use. Doug, quite the handyman, even put together in an irrigation system that has a weather sensitive component to it.

Their orchard is crowned with an original orange tree from the founding ranch. Alongside it, and girded by colorful Nasturtiums and Belladona Amaryllus, are Grapefruits, Guavas, a Pinkerton Avocado (a truly great, and locally found!, variety of avocado), Peaches, Bananas (Burros variety), Blueberries, Tangerines (the old variety of Dancy- so the taste is exceptional, and its marmalade is sublime), and Limes. Apricots and a Mission Fig that provides fig jam for everyone that visits, and over twenty grapevines of wine and table varieties, and a gorgeous Pomegranate that Nancy freezes the juice from for year round use. Whew! The Copes can sure show us how we can pack a lot into a small space!

The next project they have up their sleeves is to plant the large pots they picked up on travels to Mexico with various cactus to line the full sun driveway. There already is an 'Old Man
Cactus' in a pot at the entryway that they bought when it was no more then an inch in height- and it is now over three feet in height...with that, I think this next project will probably turn out well!

As I left their place, Nancy loaded me up with bulbs for my garden and two kinds of marmalades from her kitchen by way of their orchard...yup, I hope when I grow up to be as nice as these folks! Let's all love the places we live in by bringing beauty into them, and sharing our garden knowledge- and results!- with our is like a good infection -the truth about living a life well is it really does bring with it goodness and beauty. And let me hear from you if you find a gem of a garden in your neighborhood that I might miss Thanks for spreading the infection!

Remember the Flower Show this weekend folks! Share any and all your yard's beauty with the rest of the town- bring them by this Saturday between 7:30 and 10 AM. There will be plenty of help for you (don't worry if you can't remember the name of that 'special rose' from Aunt Clara!) and for $5/adult (youth free) you can bring in as many buckets of flowers, pots, bouquets and arrangements that you can muster! See you there!