October 7, 2023 · Filed Under Events and News 

The Bartee family made major improvements to their front yard at 1901 Ashland Ave. since moving there four years ago. 

Leeann and Chad Bartee are old hands when it comes to transforming their front yards and winning accolades for it.  After moving to 1901 Ashland Avenue in 2019, they planted everything in the front yard, except for the grass.  This spring their Ashland neighbors honored them with that street’s Best Yard award.  The same thing happened in 2006 when the Bartees moved into their previous Arlington Heights home at 4512 Calmont Ave.  Five years later and after many hours of digging in the dirt, they received AHNA’s Yard of the Month award.

The Bartees use the trial and error approach, experimenting to see what works. “We try to use natives as much as possible,” Leeann says.  “And we work within our climate and area.  It’s getting hotter, so some of the plants we used to rely on, don’t always work anymore.”  Most of their yard is filled with perennials, but the Bartees always leave a little room for annual color, like this summer’s pentas and last winter’s pansies.

Front and center is a thriving Chinese pistache tree with a bed of yellow lantana underneath.  In the other beds, pink groundcover drift roses are flourishing in between salvia, tulips and Mexican sage. Spider plants are planted directly into the ground where they die back in the winter, but pop back every spring.  A young cypress tree is struggling after two hot summers in a row.  A lone loblolly pine at the south end of the yard is doing surprisingly well.  Container plants include an asparagus fern, coleus and succulent ground cover.

The magnolia tree on the north side of the house has taken off and survived the summer heat very well.  Beneath it is a spread of Blackfoot daisies and yellow coleus.  The three Purple Pillar Roses of Sharon are on Leeann’s list to be moved to a shadier location. “They wilted midday every day this summer, no matter how much I watered them,”  she explains.

Leeann, who is a school improvement consultant and leadership coach, does the plant selecting and “pointing,” while Chad, the City Engineer for the City of Keller, does the digging, tending and mowing.  The Bartees have always gardened organically, using lava sand and green sand to recondition and fertilize their heavy clay soil.

Leeann shops at Archie’s and Calloway’s, with a yearly trek to The Flower Ranch in Keller for annuals and container plants.  For miniature and specialty plants for the small fairy garden at the side of their house, she orders from Etsy.  The Easter lilies are pass-alongs from neighbor Ann Wilson and Mexican petunias from neighbors Kanani Mahelona and Ralph Wynn.

The Bartees received a $25 gift certificate to Archie’s Gardenland and a year’s membership in Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association, courtesy of AHNA.

If you see an award-worthy yard, even your own, please let us know by sending the address to president@arlingtonheightsna.com.



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