Stroll along Vann Avenue in the spring, and it’s impossible not to be enraptured by the striking yard enveloping the home at the northeast corner of Gum Street. It’s evident that Tracy Stafford loves to garden, and for the past 35 years, she has cultivated a varied and vibrant collection of flowering plants, trees, and bushes that often stops passersby in their tracks.
The 1940 home’s front entrance — a canvas of white paint strategically peeled to reveal hearty red brick — is charmingly framed by two pink dogwood trees, with a white dogwood anchoring the north and south ends of the property. All were brought over from the woods in Newburgh by the home of Stafford’s late father, who also had a hand in planting the yard’s three burning bushes.
When planning her spring planting, Stafford says, “I get my color scheme, and then I buy whatever I like. I do it all myself.” And that includes laying the bricks for her patio and walking paths.
Around back, colorful azaleas boasting full-throated blossoms bloom at different times a year.
“The secret is, I let them grow naturally, and they go crazy,” Stafford says.
Fanned-out hostas, clutches of salvia, a vine of purple clematis, and spots of striped pansies and hot pink phlox dot the landscaping. Stafford adds one or two rose bushes to the spread each year; her favorites are a yellow rose bush she planted in her father’s memory and a pink rose bush to honor her late mother. Adding more color to the mix, Stafford’s collection of lilies from her father’s garden grows in yellow, orange, dark burgundy, and even peach.
With the perennials timed to trade off blooming periods, Stafford often enjoys a colorful yard for several months each year. And a garden full of blooms has one more treat, she says: “That way, I can always have my own bouquet.”