For 25 years, Mel Kubasek’s rich and unique yard has been thriving in the Pincher Creek community. Now, it’s being awarded this week’s Yard of the Week.
“I like to have my place looking attractive,” says Mel. “It’s something I enjoy.”
Mel’s love for yard work was certainly picked up on by the previous winner, Dale Ferguson, who selected him as part of this Communities in Bloom “paying it forward” initiative.
This isn’t the first time Mel’s pristine yard has won him recognition. He notes receiving an award for best-maintained front lawn in the late 1990s or early 2000s.
When Mel settled in Pincher Creek many years ago, he did all of his own landscaping. His many plants have since evolved and adapted to the local environment and the ever-present wind touching his hilltop property.
“You’re never fully done when you’ve got a landscape to take care of,” he says.
Rather than embracing a typical flower-based garden, the mature yard relies on contrasting colours and textures from the bushes and trees. Some notable plants in Mel’s yard are his buckeye nut tree, flowering crab tree, juniper, Turkistan burning bush and ninebark bush.
“Some of this stuff has a mind of its own,” Mel says, noting the curious ways some plants grow, or the new plants that are blown in, like his bluebells, “volunteering” their presence.
There are even some wildflowers Mel can’t identify but which, nevertheless, bring more character to the garden.
“I keep things down to a dull roar,” he says.
The plant life isn’t the only thing bringing dimension to Mel’s yard; his two front-lawn boulders also bring a special touch.
“Rocks are some of my favourites,” he says, noting that the rocks have been there since 1996, and were a gift from his neighbour. “I love rocks and boulders.”
With them comes moss — another special aspect of his yard.
Looking at Mel’s yard, you can really see the results of many years of work and adapting to the area.
“I try to plant things that are wind-tolerant,” he says. “It’s a lot of trial and error.”
Mel also shares the secret to completely weed-free rock beds: laying down high-quality landscaping mesh, about a foot of gravel, then topping with the rocks.
Mel’s victory this week brought him some gardening goodies from Miracle-Gro, the Yard of the Week sponsor, and a Communities in Bloom sign he can display.
“You gotta have something to do, and this is what I enjoy doing,” he says.
Mel will be looking for the next winner this week, which you can read about in a future issue of Shootin’ the Breeze.