The board of directors of Keep Morristown-Hamblen Beautiful announced at its recent annual meeting that four residences in Hamblen County received the organization’s Beautification Award.
The homes of Amy and Sid Boyd, Debbie and Tom Hyde, Brian Jacobs and Brenda and Jay Smith were visited by KMHB judges, who sought out every bloom, every stone paver, every shady spot and ground covering before declaring their gardens to be community treasures.
Awards presenters were Bill Hale, KMHB board treasurer, Terry Rust, KMHB Volunteer of the Year, and Joe Whiteside, KMHB board member. Board members provided food and decorations for the meeting that was held at Rose Center Council for the Arts in Morristown.
“There is no season such delight can bring as summer, autumn, winter into spring,” William Brown (1591).
“Brian has spent the last several years fine tuning the look of his garden, making it neat, simple and tasteful,” Hale said.” “He has chosen a color combination of green and yellow with touches of red. His favorite plant in the yard is the yellow lantana planted at the corners of the landscape.”
On each side of Jacobs’ front door are concrete planters, heirlooms from his grandmother, filled with yellow and red Gerber Daisies.
“He can often be seen sitting in the chair on his front porch enjoying the outdoors and visiting with passing neighbors,” Hale said.
Another sign of Jacobs’ hospitality is an arrangement of a green lawn table and chairs with some coordinating blue and green planters. His choice of potted plants continues to be interesting neat and simple, working well to contribute to the whole effect.
“He has a fairly conservative approach to using color,” Hale said.
While the focus of his landscaping is in the front of the house, Jacobs enjoys one of the largest backyards in the neighborhood. It gives him privacy and some wide open space and goes all the way back to his neighbor’s vegetable garden several hundred feet away.
“He doesn’t even mind mowing it,” Hale said.
Jacobs said gardening is not too challenging, as he has always had a green thumb. He likes to keep things not too complicated and said. “Simple is best.” He likes to talk to his plants because in doing that “they will grow and give you what you need,” Jacobs said.
His favorite time of the year for his garden is summer when the weather is good and things are growing. At Christmas he enjoys putting out decorations in the yard, again keeping them simple but thoughtful and effective.
“The whole neighborhood enjoys Brian’s yard and his hospitality,” Hale said. “We sure appreciate his willingness to share the joys of his garden.”
Amy and Sid Boyd
Amy and Sid built their house when their children were in high school, and have continued work on their gardens for almost 14 years.
“In the beginning, the landscaping was planned by Chris Hughes, but has been maintained to perfection over the years by Frankie Perez,” Hale said. “The garden and flowers here are the inspiration of Amy. As the seasons change, she has always been active in deciding what varieties to plant, what colors to use and what containers to fill.”
Some special features of the garden are: the brick edging around the landscaped beds, well-placed shrubbery and striking urns on each side of the front entrance.
“Amy found a pair of unusually beautiful urns in Knoxville one day and brought them home for Sid to unload. That was no small feat as they are made of heavy iron and had to be lifted onto the brick pedestals,” Hale told the crowd gathered in the community room at the Rose.
The colors used in the beds are a mixture of red and white vinca, and in the urns are red verbena and white Mandevilla. These urns showcase incredible outdoor flower arrangements which change with the seasons.
“There is a stunning topiary trimmed into a spiral, a unique espaliered Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar tree and a tall Hinoki Cypress tree which adds structure and interest to this garden,” Hale said.
In the side yard is a row of red Knockout Roses, and from time to time the pots on the terrace are filled with an assortment of flowers and colors.
“The wonderful lush, green grass is a special feature of this garden and gives the place an overall finished look,” Hale said.
Spring and early summer are the favorite times of the year for the Boyds to enjoy their garden and its color when once again red and white azaleas are blooming in the landscape.
“We are very grateful to Amy and Sid for letting us feature their garden this year and sharing its beauty,” Hale said.
Debbie and Tom Hyde
“If you ever have the privilege of experiencing the gardens of Debbie and Tom Hyde, the pleasure is certainly yours, because it can be described in a number of ways, including: ‘a labor of love,’ a ‘hidden treasure,’ and an acre of ‘heaven on earth,’” community judge (and KMHB Volunteer of the Year) Terry Rust said.
Surrounding their home, visitors will find terraced wall gardens, fully planted with flowers and shrubs.
Describing the couple’s efforts as a “laborsome hobby,” Tom Hyde said that something is blooming in the garden year-round.
“Even in the dead of winter, Lenten roses (hellebores) share their cheerful bright colors,” Rust told the crowd gathered for the recent KMHB annual meeting held at Rose Center.
Next on the bloom calendar are the daffodils, chosen by Debbie, in a number of varieties which have color lasting for five to six weeks.
Tom is most proud of his bearded Dutch iris collection, according to Rust. One of the varieties, a wild, dwarf blue iris, was found growing along the roadside up on Locust Ridge, the pathway to the driveway of Dolly Parton’s childhood home place outside of Pigeon Forge.
“Then, Debbie’s large collection of peonies take their turn to provide visual pleasure and fragrance,” Rust said.
The blooms continue throughout the summer, with lilac, gladiolus, cleome, coneflower and hydrangeas, along with the repeat blooming of the iris,’ providing constant surprises.
Debbie strategically places urns, “chock full of upright and cascading annuals,” according to Rust, on porches and patios off the Hyde home, to be enjoyed by the couple and their guests from every window.
Tom’s heirloom cherry tomato plants are grown from seeds he has kept for years, and the couple’s grandchildren enjoy popping them in their mouths.
Numerous birdhouses, some of which were built by Tom, attract several types of songbirds to the property. The couple’s bird sanctuary is fully stocked with a variety of feeders and food, along with five bird baths. The oldest bird bath came from the Boxmoor estate, the home of the late Sen. Herbert S. Walters.
Jay and Brenda Smith
The property was purchased by the couple in 2004.
“I watched Jay pretty much start from a clean slate and start all over. He has put a lot of work, time, energy and love into his garden, and it shows,” Whiteside said.
The garden includes a wide variety of Japanese maples. Whiteside was particularly intrigued by the small archway going into the yard, off the driveway.
“The white, picket fence gives such a warm, cottage-like feeling,” Whiteside said.
Along the driveway, there is an edging of brick pavers and dwarf boxwoods. Whiteside described the river rock on the property as both decorative and functional, for erosion/water control. He said the proliferation of Crepe Myrtles blooming were beautiful.
The back patio includes a double swing and overlooks extensive landscaping that includes generous ground cover. The property includes a lot of privacy that makes the gardens inviting. Hydrangeas, hostas and ferns are on display in the shade garden. A multitude of separate planting and seating areas all work together to create a comfortable inviting garden. Ornamental grasses line the exterior of the picket fencing. One particular area includes hostas planted among Birch trees, with a bird feeder. Another includes a river rock border, a concrete pot and River birch nearby. A simple pine tree plays host to a blanket of vinca (an ivy-like ground cover).
“This is another great use of textures – the fence, the rocks, the plants, the grass, it’s very appealing,” Whiteside said.
Jay’s favorite part of the garden is a small playhouse he built for the couple’s grandchildren. There is a vintage bell for them to ring, and the area has a rustic feel to it. The house is set under a group of shade trees and contains a collection of antique toys and other items for the grandchildren to play with when they visit. The gardens also include a stone gravel walkway leading to a meditation area that includes a sun dial.
“The appeal of a well-planned garden is the variety of textures,” Whiteside said. “There uprights and low-growing plants; there is color sprinkled in — the color is not overpowering, but there is a lot of foliage with interesting hues. From watching Jay over the past 18 years, he’s put a lot of work and a lot of time into this.”