September’s Yard of the Month award winners are Robert and Taylor Duncan of 804 Baltimore Ave. The home, a new construction with historic design features including a wraparound porch and dormer windows, was built in 2014/15. 1910 Sanborn Fire Maps show two single-story homes with front and back enclosed porches in the 800 block, when it was still an unpaved road called Mimosa Place. By 1951, Mimosa place was paved and renamed Baltimore; 804 was still there, clad in new asbestos cement tiles, but its neighbor was gone. In the latter half of the 20th century, the original 804 Baltimore was also demolished. The two lots were purchased by a developer in 2014, who built two new homes with Craftsman features, from whom the Duncans bought 804 in July 2015. It is the Duncan’s second Fairmount home in four years, which they bought when they learned they were expecting twins.
By winter 2015/16, the Duncans had settled in, become new parents, and Bobby was working on his vision for a front garden. Bobby Duncan did all the landscaping himself, carving the flower beds out of the lawn in our recent, mild winter. He planted mostly annuals, except for cannas and roses, but is looking forward to landscaping the backyard with perennials this fall.
The current wood construction house is painted a stunning plum color, with red brick columns, cream and white railings and trim, and naturally aging cedar shingles on the second story. The composition of the flower beds complements and contrasts the paint nicely, with tall, bright yellow cannas at the back of the bed, and dark purple and acid green sweet potato vines spreading near the front. The plantings are symmetrical, with each side of the door and staircase planted with variegated bushes, and the beds filled in with multiple plantings of Bobby’s “favorite,” the heat- and drought-tolerant pentas cleistostoma in pink and white. On the front steps leading to the door are some potted annuals and herbs, including nasturtium, sweet William, and basil.
Bobby reports, “This house was the first one we’ve been in that has full sun. Our first Fairmount house had two wonderful trees that covered the home but made it hard to have a lot of color.” Like our May winners, the Suasnovars, Bobby enjoys buying “Lazarus” plants on sale at Lowe’s at the end of the season and bringing them back to lift. Another “reborn” plant was a geranium they received as a gift when their twins arrived from an aunt; it was pummeled in the St. Patrick’s day hail storm, but recovered gracefully in a few months. A third emblem of their parenthood is a gnome, a Father’s Day present to Bobby from Taylor, tucked amidst the potato vine.
Our thanks, and a gift certificate to C. C.’s Touch of Nature, go to the Duncans.
The Fairmount Yard of the Month committee is Susan Taylor Harper and Bonnie Blackwell.