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July 2017 Yard of the Month: 2404 Belvedere
July 6, 2017 @ 8:00 am - August 4, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
July’s Yard of the Month is 2404 Belvedere
Gary and Esa Weinreb live in the small 1930s bungalow on Belvedere Avenue between Chatham and Club, with the bright yellow door and the abundance of flowers blooming at almost any given season of the year. Esa is a self-employed interior designer as well as an artisan chocolate maker who sells her chocolates at the Sustainable Farmer’s Market behind Pure Pizza, which will be reopening soon.
Their home was purchased in 1993 when there were two huge old maple trees in the front yard, flanking the center sidewalk leading to the house. There was very little sun in the summer, and an abundance of falling leaves in the fall. The lawn was well-established but patchy, and required constant upkeep. As the trees reached their end of life, the larger one on the left of the house began to split, and the Weinrebs employed an arborist to cable the upper branches in an attempt to preserve the tree for as long as possible. Finally, the large tree split – falling across Belvedere – and had to be removed. Sadly, two years later the one on the right simply failed to show up in the Spring – the Weinrebs believe she missed her mate.
Now with a front yard full of sun, little by little, Esa and Gary transformed their yard into a grass-free zone filled with wild flowers and drought-tolerant evergreens and native plants. Except for the zebra grasses along the side and front of the house and some mondo grasses in the back, they have removed all of the grass in the yard and have reduced routine yard care chores to occasional watering and weeding, with other seasonal chores such as dividing and planting perennials, pruning trees and maintaining backyard beds of seasonal vegetables. They collect rainwater in several large rain barrels, compost kitchen and yard waste and harvest and dry figs from their prolific fig tree. Gary and Esa are both very passionate about protecting the natural environment and do not use any chemical fertilizers or weed killers. Their yard is a “Certified Wildlife Habitat” as designated by the National Wildlife Federation. They would like all of their neighbors to be aware that chemicals used in the yard can easily drift onto neighboring yards, gardens, and pets – and runoff into local streams. They hope to set an example that once established – planting drought tolerant plants and flowers instead of a traditional grass lawn – requires less water, less energy, less maintenance and creates an abundance of joy and beauty for all to appreciate!