Beautification

Yard-of-the-Month: 934 Euclid by Michael Graves

This month's Yard of the Month fittingly celebrates the harvest! It may not be the most beautiful (because that might be the yard three doors to the west, at 946 Euclid), but it is the most BOUNTIFUL.

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According to the current resident, Jeff Shell lovingly cultivated the yard in the early 2000s, so now the massive persimmon tree dominates and fruits generously, along with pomelo and pomegranate. These juicy trees provide a buffer to the equally abundant butterfly gardens closer to the house. It's all looking a little wild and fun, yet somewhat low maintenance, and absolutely delicious.

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Yard Of The Month: 134 E 7th Street by Michael Graves

This Yard of the Month is special because, by the time you read this, the very thing that makes this yard so extraordinary may be gone. It's also special because to really appreciate this yard you will look up, and take your time in the shade to appreciate the century oak's quiet life, and now its death. The limbs reach far toward its nearly-as-old home, which it has guarded until now, and to me they look like wind, if you could see wind. To Telia Weisman, the tree wraps itself in a hug. Across the street, the mighty oaks reach out everywhere, locking arms in solidarity with their neighbors.

Telia and her husband, Mark Guzman, have tended to the tree for three years, but now after consultation with arborists, it's determined that the tree is dying inside, causing a danger to those around them as it drops its limbs. The City has marked it for removal as they search for some way to save it. Arborists have now warned that neighbors should take caution around it, and yellow tape moves admirers away.

As sad as this is for Telia and Mark, I think many in our community will miss its awesomeness, even if we did occasionally bump into its great limb that swoops over the sidewalk. Maybe as we dodged that limb we looked up and took it all in. It was there when soldiers returned from wars abroad, when all kids walked or rode their bikes to school, before freeways buzzed, and when everything was quieter and cooler. Time stands still on this corner. I hope others will have time to walk around Norhill and E 7th and enjoy the peace of the oaks all around here, find some acorns, and plant a tree. They can't be taken for granted in the Woodland Heights.

- Stephanie Riceman, VP-Beautification

Care and therapy for stressed trees by Michael Graves

Trees have been having it tough in recent months, arborist Matthew Petty told a Houston Chronicle writer. “We’ve had odd weather patterns, with Harvey, hard freezes last winter and long, hot dry spells this summer.”

In a story appearing Sept. 6, 2018, Molly Glentzer, staff writer, said some arborists have coined a term for trees that appear to be alive but, in fact, are standing on dead roots. The term is “zombie trees.” Trees, you see, can take years to die.

On the positive side, care and intervention can sustain or occasionally revive trees that have endured stressful conditions.

Here are tips for prolonging tree life:

  • Periodic pruning

  • Regular fertilizing

  • Show, deep watering during dry spells

  • Checkup by a certified arborist

The drought of 2011 killed almost half the trees in Memorial Park. Yet, hope remains for some of the survivors of the drought, specifically post oaks. The Memorial Park Conservancy is hoping to revive some of the post oaks in the park through a regimen of aerating their root systems and injecting them with biological material made from the compost of fallen trees.

- Rosie Walker, Writer and long-time WH Resident

YOTM: 418 Byrne by Michael Graves

418 Byrne is the vibrant, yet subtle and pretty yard of Megan Mastal, who has nurtured her greens and flowers here since 2001, and in the neighborhood for 25 years. The white, lime, and yellow hues come through in potato vines and fig ivy, hugging the brick, tracing up little statuettes, and bringing the century home to life.

While I think her delicate yard shows the cool and calm charm we love in our historic neighborhood, Megan says she and her neighbors have big decorating plans for Lights in the Heights! I’m so happy to have Byrne on the LITH route this year!
- Stephanie Riceman, VP-Beautification

YOTM: 125 Payne by Michael Graves

Maximizing curb appeal in a cozy garden. 

125 Payne is July's Yard of the Month. Lovingly maintained by owners Rachel Eddins and Mathew Zamzow, this compelling garden is nestled in the heart of historic Germantown, which features many beautifully maintained yards. What makes 125 Payne stand out from the rest is not just the way the front walk and historic porch are framed by the greenery from the featured crete myrtle, but rather, when viewing this home in the early evening, when the perfectly manicured beds are illuminated, giving a sense of warmth and welcome. 

FIREFLY FIELD HAS ARRIVED! by Michael Graves

The Friends of Woodland Park are proud to announce that Dylan Conner’s remarkable sculpture, Firefly Field, has been fully installed in Woodland Park.

Friday, July 27th was a banner day for FWP and the park as everything came together when Dylan’s colleagues and a crew of experienced metal sculptors worked all day to install his inspirational sculpture.  Lighting was completed as well so by evening the park was transformed into a native spectacle.

Since Friday, FWP has been approached by a significant number of neighbors plus park and art lovers wishing to donate to the project and to have their families’ contribution forever memorialized on the donor plaque to be installed soon.  We have therefore decided to re-open the fund raising to allow those who would still like to contribute to this park improvement to do so.  Details will be posted on our website, www.friendsofwoodlandpark.org.  This opportunity will likely only be available for the next 30 days or so, so please be sure to act soon if you are interested.

Our next phase of this project will be the initial creation of the landscape garden which has been designed by our friends and neighbors at SWA.  The bed with flagstone edging, a premium garden soil mix, and mulch will be built in the next few weeks, and then in early fall when the weather is cooler we will plant various native grass species.

For those who would like to be a part of this addition to the park and contribute their time, perhaps in addition to their financial donation, we certainly need volunteers to help with the installation of the landscape.  Please check our website for future details or look for updates posted on NextDoor.

Our tremendous artist, Dylan Conner, is a third generation Woodland Heights resident, a graduate of HSPVA, and a scholarship winning graduate student currently enrolled in U of H.  He has contributed public art in the Houston Heights Boulevard Art exhibit and been involved in the installation of huge and noteworthy sculptures in the area.  He is a truly remarkable talent and an extremely loyal Woodland Heights resident.  We thank all of you who have supported our local artist.

We hope to see you at the park.

YARD-OF-THE-MONTH: 1102 Euclid by Michael Graves

There is a lot to love about the yards horseshoeing our Norhill Esplanade: a jasmine arch, rose garden, two plank swings, flower-lined walkways, a Little Free Library, and little pops of color in yard chairs, yard art, and embedded in paths. 

But the anchor to all that you find here is at 1102 Euclid. Artist Elena Cusi-Wortham moved here in 1992, building her unique home that is also her workshop and an expressive space for her craft, social passions, and gathering place. Her banca jardin is a lively community bench that draws children in to discover a handmade mosaic of nature's influences, which plays out all around the tile pieces.

Throughout her L-shaped yard you will find plantings that are both practical and simply pretty: persimmon, fig, tangerine, and a bay leaf bush are useful. For shade and flowers: magnolia and ash trees, orchid tree, African daisies, Mexican olive, palo verde, and bottlebrush. A raised bed forms an inversion of the arc in the bench, and has been a vegetable patch in the past, now home to milkweed, lantana, chives and more.

Elena's yard is a place of rich discovery for our neighborhood, but she has also shared her talents all over Houston, including four elementary school Spark Park and a Cotswold Project on Prairie St. downtown. She is currently working with the Community House on Avenue F and 72nd where she helps neighborhood children create their own tile mosaics, and discover art in nature.

New Free Library Near The Norhill Esplanade by Michael Graves

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Our neighborhood woodworker is at it again! Paul Carr designed, built, and donated this Little Free Library for our community to enjoy, and Norhill Esplanade-adjacent resident Norma Martinez welcomed it to her yard. While this is Paul's first library, his handiwork can also be found at the Woodland Park trolley, Field Elementary truck, Donovan Park train, and more. 

These boxes have been popping up around our community and serve as hubs for us to give and take books. More information can be found at Little Free Library. 

Many thanks to Paul for his talents and generosity and Norma for welcoming our new library. Share away!

Yard-of-the-Month: 2604 Morrison by Michael Graves

The first thing you'll notice is the lovingly restored Craftsman home of Karen Merriam and Thomas Bevilacqua, who has lived here for about 30 years. But take a closer look at the thoughtful landscaping and you'll see what makes it extra special. The yard has weathered flooding from storms so they've taken a survivalist approach, now thriving with variety: flowering with gardenias, drift roses, loropetalum, dianthus, vincas, day lilies, and liriope; oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, and satsuma tree for flavor; crepe myrtles for shade; and Asian jasmine for ground cover. This tidy no-grass and low-fuss yard was arranged by local design architect Pam August, and installed a few years ago by Bella Terra's Humberto Bolanos. 

Honorable mentions received from neighbors this month go to 601 Woodland and 528 Bayland. Thanks for sending nominations! If you see a lovely yard you would like to nominate, please email the address to beautification@woodland-heights.org. Thank you!

Yard-of-The-Month: 802 Woodland Street by Michael Graves

802 Woodland Street, home of Janet and Harry Tallichet, is absolutely popping in our spring sunshine and showers! Janet is a "semi-retired" landscaper. Harry is a home builder and did the add-on to the original home in 2009. Moving from Memorial, Janet welcomed the chance to just play with a smaller garden in a neighborhood that didn't dictate plant material and minimum sod areas or maximum cutting heights. Her garden is for the birds and the bees and one dog, one cat. Always with natural habitat in mind, the garden has evolved through the years and Janet enjoys (in a mad scientist sort of way) experiments with wild flowers from Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, TX. She hopes to encourage the love of nature and beauty to all residents. 

Also...

Nods to two also very lovely and playful yards nominated by neighbors: 711 Euclid and 506 Euclid. If you see a yard that you would like to nominate, please email me at beautification@woodland-heights.org. Hope to meet more neighbors out for walks enjoying our community - there is so much to enjoy here, especially this time of year.

- Stephanie Riceman, Beautification

 

Yard-of-the-Month: 2624 Reagan by Michael Graves

Yard of the month goes to Pat and James at 2624 Reagan. I have never seem a more beautiful garden than the one they have created on their triple corner lot over the last 30 years. It is truly magnificent! Pleasure your eyes and walk on by for some inspiration on how to create an oasis of green in the inner city.

Carla Reed
VP Beautification

Yard-Of-The-Month: 1026 Omar St by Michael Graves

Yard of the Month goes to 1026 Omar St.  This is a new house, with new neighbors, and a new kind of lawn that is gaining popularity in the Woodland Heights, artificial grass.  The Woodland Heights has always been a diverse neighborhood where we celebrate and embrace different ideas.  On my street alone, Omar, there are now 3 houses with front lawns made up of artificial turf.  While most yards are looking pretty sad in our neighborhood after 2 hard freezes this month, 1026 Omar looks vibrant.  

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Artificial grass has been growing in popularity because it doesn’t have to be mowed, and has the eco-friendly quality of not needing fertilizer or water.  Lawns use 1/3 of all residential water consumption.  Some of the new artificial grasses are even partially manufactured out of recycled materials.

 

Woodland Park “Firefly Field” Sculpture Update by Michael Graves

The weather has played havoc with the completion of the Firefly Field installation. Our artist, Dylan Conner, has had the sculpture completed since late summer but delays due to the aftermath of our recent storms (Harvey, ice storms, etc.) have created distractions and other necessary priorities for our contractors and public support organizations. But final terms for the construction and adoption agreements are being circulated, and construction permit presentations are being prepared. Funds from the city and our council district that were committed for the project have been transferred to the Houston Parks Board, which oversees all such construction projects. And the remaining funds due from FWP are available for transfer as soon as we receive the instructions to do so.

As of this writing we expect to have the sculpture installed by early spring.

P.S. Please consider renewing your FWP membership.

Yard of the month: 404 Bayland by Michael Graves


Craig and Katherine Vollmers, residents of Woodland Heights for over 18 years, get yard of the month for their corner lot at 404 Bayland. Although it is one of the few lots on lower Bayland with only one mature oak tree, it is rimmed with crepe myrtles. It has several lovely wisteria vines, Aztec grass, liriope, and azaleas for year round interest and color. There is also a beautiful mature sycamore tree in full fall color thanks to that dusting of snow the Woodland Heights received on December 8th.
 

New YOTM Signage by Michael Graves

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The very attentive among you may have noticed that the most recent Yard-of-the-Month story differs from past YOTM stories. It's the first showing of a new Yard-of-the-Month sign.

The WHCA wanted to let the neighborhood know that our old Yard of the Month sign for the neighborhood, which served us so well for many years, has finally given up the ghost. The new design is based upon an arts and crafts drawing featuring the Dard Hunter rose that was so popular at the turn of the century when our neighborhood was built.

If you have any ideas about homes to be considered for Yard-of-the-Month please send your suggestions to beautification@woodland-heights.org.

YARD-OF-THE-MONTH: 931 BAYLAND by Michael Graves

Yard of the month goes to Eric and Bianca at 931 Bayland for their sculpted shade garden.  It is filled with English ivy ground cover, mature well trimmed live oaks, and artfully arranged river stones, sand stone pavers, and gravel.  The curved front sidewalk and cleverly constructed raised beds only add to it's Zen simplicity.  

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Garden Enthusiasts Hosted by Woodland Heights Naturalist by Michael Graves

Members of the Heights Garden Club were guests on July 8 for a garden tour at the home of Carolyn and Richard Hall on Bayland. Richard is a known in Houston and along the Gulf Coast as an artist, author, naturalist and conservationist. He and Carolyn are enthusiastic “urban farmers.”

During their visit, guests were able to experience the “farm” while gaining hands-on learning.

Following are some of the practical lessons and demonstrations Richard shared.

  1. For optimum result, plant those species known thrive in the Gulf Coast climate. For example, the Halls have a Mexican sabal palm in their yard. “This tree is native to the Rio Grande Valley, so it thrives in Houston,” Richard said.
  2. To build soil for your garden, practice the art of composting. Richard uses everything except animal material for composting. “Animal material is a no-no for composting,” he said.  But grass clippings are excellent. Richard picks up bags of freshly mowed grass left by landscapers at large buildings after a mowing session. The grass is bagged and waiting for pickup, he explained, adding  “Sometimes the landscapers help me load it.” To prevent the grass clippings from souring, you should first spread the material out and let it dry. Regularly turn the organic material in your compost pile as you add material. Finally, you sift the composted material.  What comes out of the bottom of the sifter is excellent soil. During this point in the tour, Richard demonstrated how he sifts. The visiting gardeners were invited to put their hands into the newly sifted soil.
  3. To get fresh eggs, use poultry science. Each hen in the Halls’ coop has her own personality. Richard and Carolyn know each hen by name.
  4. Conserve water by collecting condensate to water plants. A typical central a/c system pulls about a barrel of water an hour out of the air. Instead of that resource being wasted, the Halls use the water from their a/c to water their gardens. One of their barrels, which has a capacity of 25 gallons, fills up twice a day.

- Rosie Walker, Woodland Heights resident since 1975.

About the Heights Garden Club

According to its website, “The purpose of the Heights Garden Club is to nurture an active gardening community in the greater Heights area of Houston, to share the love and knowledge of gardening in the peculiarities of our Gulf Coast climate, and to restore, improve, and protect our neighborhood’s environment through educational programs, demonstration gardens, and by promoting the incorporation of organic practices, native plants and edibles into the urban landscape. And have fun doing it.” For more information, visit http://www.heightsgardenclub.com.

About Richard Hall

Richard Hall is a resident artist at The Silos at Sawyer Yards, across I-10 from Woodland Heights. To learn more about his work and background, visit http://www.thesilosonsawyer.com. Then scroll down to #134 (the location of his studio).

Yard-of-the-Month: 402 Euclid by Michael Graves

Yard of the month goes to Mary and Peter at 402 Euclid at the corner of Florence.  Their yard is a beautiful blend of old and new with a mature Yaupon Holly with old fashioned Aspidistra underneath, several blooming crepe myrtle trees, holly ferns, and some great climbing fig ivy.  The wisteria on the front fence is in vibrant bloom which stands out beautifully next to the foliage of their cypress tree.  Looking forward to going back in the fall when the maple tree turns colors along with the red fruit of the nandina.