Yard-of-the-Month: 509 Woodland / by Michael Graves

The yard of Marci DeBock, Mike Conner, and Dylan Conner captures a lot of what I like about the Woodland Heights: it's practical with its herbs and vegetables front and center in the right of way to take advantage of the least shady spot in the yard, and simultaneously whimsical with the art that they have both made and procured in their more than quarter century at 509 Woodland. Their yard is lived in, played in, and loved, hosting insects and wildlife that feed their creativity and nurture their plantings.

They have two iconic pieces that make their yard unmistakable. Their dramatic night-blooming cereus cactus, planted about ten years ago, stands tall at the east end of the yard. During the day the blossoms droop, but at night they are on full display. Its base is surrounded by bamboo muhly grass, bat face cuphea, and red firecracker fern for the hummingbirds and bees. And the shark, of course! Why not a shark? It was a gift from a good friend of theirs when the opera was clearing out their warehouse.

Around the yard you can find Dylan's early metalwork art on display in monkeys and bottle trees, and functionally in their chairs, gates, and hedges. One of his more recent works is on display in Woodland Park: Firefly Field. As with the cactus, it comes alive when the sun goes down.

And more throughout the yard: herbs of basil, rosemary, and oregano are always plentiful, and the mint has returned with the rain. Fall plantings are going in now, or soon, with parsley, fennel, and thyme, along with vegetables (kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, neon chard) in purples and greens to complement their home. Sugar snaps will come along later. One year their sweet potato patch gave them 75 lbs of the root vegetable!

And still more: dewberries along the front fence, dwarf Meyer lemon tree, pink angel's trumpet, Indian Hawthorn, yesterday today and tomorrow, vincas border with their neighbor, and sweet olive with a sweetly scented and understated fragrance.

Finally, an evergreen wisteria arches welcomingly at the front gate, with a mango tree planted by their son many years ago.

Thanks for sharing your yard with us!