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Front Yard Garden of the Week: Darchuk garden is a family effort

The front yard garden of Jim and Marijean Darchuk at 717 Lake Boulevard offers spring and summer colors. Submitted Photo

Do you have a spot in your front yard that just won't grow plants? If so, take a hint from the front yard garden of Jim and Marijean Darchuk at 717 Lake Boulevard.

Before they purchased their 1904 home, Lake Boulevard had been worked on and some excess paving materials had been buried on the front edge of the property. Because of this material was just below the soil, grass and plants refused to grow. The sons in this family spent many hours digging all the offending materials out and replacing them with fertile soil.

The front edge of this property is now a wonderful contrast in shade and full-sun plants. On the south side of the sidewalk, the plants are ones that love full sun. This bed is approximately 3 feet deep and 12 feet long. Perennial plants in this area include a peewee hydrangea, coneflower, smaller-sized daylilies in two different shades of red, plus a full-size day lily in another shade of red. There are two different kinds of iris, dianthus, sedum and other flowers combined with a Rose of Sharon shrub. Annuals such as snapdragons and moss roses have been added for additional color.

On the north side of the sidewalk, the planting bed may be a few inches shorter, but the plants are just as colorful shade lovers with the shade supplied by a very thick and full burr oak. The shade garden has a viburnum shrub with small blue berries surrounded by larkspur, phlox, petunia, tiger lilies, daylilies and others.

The Darchuks also have a very large and very old flowering crab growing in the front yard. Every spring this tree is covered with a profusion of dark pink blossoms and in the winter its bare branches provide architectural interest.

This front yard garden may be appreciated from two directions. The homeowners see the garden from their front windows with a view of Lake Bemidji beyond that. And from the street, this garden is inspiration to any beginning gardener looking for an example of a manageable but colorful planting bed. And while Marijean maintains and waters these beds, she also enjoys visiting with those who walk by including the residents of nearby Baker Park.

The Darchuks have additional planting beds in the rear of their property that are only viewable from the alleyway, and they continue the theme of growing a variety of plants that provide color and texture in a small space. There is also a tomato plant happily growing surrounded by flowers. This property with its narrow lot is inspiration for those who think that they don't have enough room to grow flowers. Because the house was recently painted, the beds next to the exterior walls were not planted this year. But the potential is there for a necklace of color to be grown next to the house, with those flowers echoing those in the street side planting beds. This front yard garden has been planned to supply color all spring and summer, so drive or walk by several times during the growing season and enjoy different flowers and colors at each visit.