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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Ritcheys earn Yard of Month honor

  • Fifteen years ago, a plot of land was wall-to-wall cedars, but today, the Rolla Floriculture Club has chosen it as the August Yard of the Month. The efforts of Ronald and Joyce Ritchey, who live at 517 Tipton Court, also are a trot along memory lane. They began gathering back plants from relatives or seeking trees that grew in their old yards.
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  • Fifteen years ago, a plot of land was wall-to-wall cedars, but today, the Rolla Floriculture Club has chosen it as the August Yard of the Month.
    The efforts of Ronald and Joyce Ritchey, who live at 517 Tipton Court, also are a trot along memory lane. They began gathering back plants from relatives or seeking trees that grew in their old yards.
    The front walkway sports hosta plants in bloom, an oriental lily peeking over a clump of lavender phlox and sweet potato vines tumbling out of a planter.
    The river birch marking the driveway with its shaggy bark replace one they had in St. James.
    The honey locust is another favorite as is the purple-leafed smoke tree. Iris and sweet peas came from grandparents.
    Joyce calls one plant ‘the mole plant’ as she remembers her dad ordering it to counteract garden moles, but she says, “They never did the job.” Its buds resemble the rattlesnake master (shown in August’s Missouri Conservationist magazine), but the leaves aren’t spikey.
    The cleomes, a gift from an aunt years ago, are sprouting long, thin stamen which look like tiny, dangling green beans ready to re-seed the entire yard unless restrained.
    Ornamental grasses fence part of the back and side yards, which is much easier than digging post holes and is much more attractive.
    An angel trumpet, waiting to show its huge white blooms, slumbers near the back steps. But it’s no match for the many rose mallows in red, pink and white blooms larger than saucers that accent the yard.
    In all this bounty of flowers, the visitor finds charming, often whimsical use of garden statuary. A garden fairy holds an umbrella at a bird bath. A bird house is surrounded by elephant ears, red hollyhocks, a bush dotted with miniature white roses, while wisteria combs a trellis at the back porch.
    It’s no wonder the Ritcheys find it a quiet place for morning coffee, recalling the time they planted the lamb’s ears, the Knockout roses, cannas, daylilies, periwinkle, strawflowers, impatiens, purple oxtail or found the passion plant at an Amish garden shop.

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