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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
4:53 PM Sat, Dec. 15th

Garden of the Month: Alta Vista Garden Club

This foxtail fern winters in Phoenix. (Courtesy)

This foxtail fern winters in Phoenix. (Courtesy)

“Welcome! Welcome!” says this garden at 621 Glendale Ave. in Prescott. A beautiful lavender Adirondack chair flanked by vibrant pink potted geraniums on a side table and backed by a soaring Ponderosa Pine is the first invitation. “Sit and enjoy the day,” is the second.

Just across the walk is a beautiful English-style cottage garden with a great variety of flowering plants and colorful, whimsical accents. This scene causes many drivers to step on the brakes to get a better look. This is Alta Vista Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for August.

Peter Madine and Virginia Mullins have been gardening here for seven years. When they first bought the home, the garden and the front yard were overrun with Vinca and scrub oak. First on the list of to-do’s was to clear all the overgrown vines revealing the underlying structure of the yard and the stone terraces. One neighbor asked when they had put the terracing in, not realizing terraces had always been there, just buried under the green ground cover.

The couple carefully researched the history of the home, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built by Perry Germand in 1926, the patriarch of the family came to Arizona from Illinois to convalesce from TB.

Because he could not be in the garden as much as he wanted, he had the garden oriented to face the house so he could sit on the porch and enjoy its beauty and serenity. Virginia and Peter often sit in that same spot with their morning tea to savor the same serenity that Mr. Germand found.

Virginia says she favors her husband’s English garden style, adding “If we notice a bare spot, in goes another plant.” For a small area there is a striking variety of plants in this garden sharing space with gaily colored garden art - colored watering cans, a gnome named Rosemary and art deco flowers, as well as statuary. Among the most eye-catching plants are carpet and climbing roses, the sculptural jojoba tree with branching trunks close to the ground, Asiatic lilies and bee balm. A foxtail fern fills a giant blue pot standing where a Siberian elm once grew.

The garden blooms in all seasons: An amaryllis blooms very early with the help of extra mulching, followed by peonies, snapdragons, pin cushion flower, Agapanthus, tickseed, gladioli and day lilies, in their own sweet time. Virginia like to grow “anything, as long as it’s not orange!”

Although Peter helps Virginia garden organically in the front yard and calls himself her “go-fer,” he claims the hidden back yard as his domain. There, he grows fruit trees and roses on trellises and vegetables in colorfully decorated tubs painted a lively pink called “Frankly, Scarlett.”

Listen to the garden’s greeting and enjoy a visit to Virginia’s and Peter’s always evolving garden at 621 Glendale Ave. You will be delighted.