Melinda McKeown’s interest in environmental issues prompted her to start an organic vegetable garden several years ago.
The neat, fenced-in garden patch — brightened by colorful pieces of metal art made by McKeown’s grandchildren — produces fresh produce such as squash, okra, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, green beans, butter peas, kale and chard. McKeown cans and preserves much of the haul so she and husband Melvin can enjoy it all year.
The McKeown’s organic vegetable garden, and the restful area surrounded by plantings behind their Springlake Road home, will be one of seven gardens open to the public Saturday, May 12.
It’s part of the annual Backyard and Beauty Spots Garden Tour, presented by the Episcopal Church Women of the Church of the Good Shepherd in York. Proceeds from this year’s event will go to Meals on Wheels.
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“I spent most of my time in the vegetable garden, so consequently, I try to keep the rest as simple as possible,” McKeown said. She uses low-maintenance, water-wise plantings such as sedum and other succulents behind the house.
McKeown has two large rain barrels she uses for her plantings, and she reuses and recycles. The yard is designated as a national backyard wildlife habitat.
The other gardens on the tour are:
• Mr. and Mrs. Marc Philemon, 206 E. Liberty St., which includes a fountain as the focal point and a small garden house, original to the property. Flower beds edged with coping are planted in an array of colors, bordered on the back by an iron fence. A new guest house is at the rear.
• Mr. and Mrs. Steve McCrae, 2 Kings Mountain St., which features an historic home where the porch is an integral part of the garden. The yard with asymmetrical beds and sculptures reflects the artistic interests of the owners, and a patio sheltered under a large ligustrum serves as a picnic area.
• Mr. and Mrs. William Perkins, 1191 Springlake Road, where pathways lined by small trees and gigantic ferns lead to a pool area, with bamboo plantings as a focal point. Flower beds are enclosed by dry stacked stone borders that were designed and laid by the owner.
• Mr. and Mrs. Dan Hall, 1171 Filbert Highway, which offers a glimpse of modern farm life, from a chicken house to a paddock for horses. Beds of flowers, herbs and vegetables, including a rose garden, overlook a large pond with a view of the surrounding woods and pasture.
• Moore Park, 1 Kings Mountain St., once the site of the Walter Bedford Moore Home, was donated to the city of York by a grandchild of the Moore family. The gazebo is the site of parties and weddings, and the pathway bricks show the names of those who live or have lived in York. The Yorkville Historical Society maintains the seasonal plantings.
• The garden at Good Shepherd, 108 E. Liberty St., which is planted and cared for by parishioners. The fountain centerpiece is surrounded by Lenten roses, knockout roses, azaleas and camellias, while borders of creeping Jenny, Angelina and crocus enclose daffodils, tulips and daylilies.