by Sharon Balke
Some will accuse me, unjustly, of being lazy when it was my turn to pick Yard of the Month and I chose 1023 Waltway, right across the street from my house as the June winner. But once you drive or walk by the home of Kendall and Jordan Smashey you will agree with me that it is worthy of the distinction.
Kendall bought the house in the fall of 2011 as rental property. At that time he was living next door. He and Jordan married about that same time. Last year they decided to sell their home and move into the rent house. They completely gutted the inside - Jordan jokes that she lives in a three-room house because it is basically two bedrooms and one huge living area (oh yes, and a bath). They had already done a little yard work when it was a rental including planting a nice size live oak in the front yard that was devoid of trees.
This past March Jordan designed what she wanted the front and back yards to look like. First, they installed an irrigation system, next came a large patio in the back yard stretching nearly the width of the house and an expanded sidewalk created with the same pavers from the driveway to the porch. A wooden fence went up next. Finally, on what probably seemed like a very long weekend to them, they hired two workers and started putting in new beds, mulch, shrubs and flat after flat of bedding plants. Kendall remembers that the first four hours of the project it rained but they kept working, even in the cold and damp.
Jordan, whose family spent lots of time in their northwest Houston yard when she was growing up, wanted lots of seasonal color, heat/drought resistant plants and butterfly attractants, especially in the back.
The deep beds in the front hold pentas, petunias that will soon be replaced with vincas, zinnias, bulbine, fox tail fern, esperanza, weeping bottle brush which is pruned in more of a tree form than a bush, drift roses, firecracker fern and amaryllis bulbs from the original home owner, William Machemehl. The majority of the flowers are in shades of pink with yellow in the zinnias and esperanza. The beds are backed with virburnum and variegated privet.
Along the driveway are three nicely shaped magnolia gems.Hiding the air conditioner in the back is a passion vine, more petunias, bulbine, bottle brush, iris, a Japanese yew, camellia and ligularia. Surrounding the fountain, which Riley the black lab thinks is her personal water fountain, are creeping jenny, pentas, zinnias,society garlic, shrimp plant, plumbago, Mexican milkweed and Gulf Coast muhly.
Along the fence in the back are more virburnum and coral drift roses. One side of the garage holds more virburnum and one of Jordan’s favorites, agapanthus. Mature fountain grass is nestled by the back gate. I had to suppress my giggles when Jordan walked over to her Meyer lemon to show off the four tiny lemons only to find that the squirrels had removed all of them and even left a half eaten one on the patio table (you all know what a squirrel lover I am).
Kendall, who owns his own pipe company, and Jordan, who is in business development for Golden Thread, a Houston based jewelry company, say the next step may be an herb garden since Jordan loves to cook but Riley has claimed the intended flower bed as her own so the subject is still under discussion. Says Kendall, “Ever since we got married we’ve enjoyed working in the yard together.” It shows. Congratulations!