The Yard of the Month for July has been awarded to Russ and Sandy Prichard, at 427 Main Street, by the Dysart Development Corporation.
Russ was the park officer at Hickory Hills Park until 1986 when he and Sandy moved to Dysart and he became the Blackhawk County roadside botanist where he planted prairie flowers in the ditches. He attended Iowa State and majored in fish and wildlife biology with a minor in botany, hoping to work with animals, but ended up working as a botanist, where he developed a love for prairie plants.
The colorful flower beds attract birds and butterflies and are filled with native Iowa prairie plants, including prairie flowers and grasses, which have spread since planting. Russ can name off every variety of prairie plant in his yard and provide interesting facts about the plants. Like the Silphium laciniatum, commonly known as the compass flower because the pioneers believed that the leaves pointed north-south, or the Big Bluestem, a tall prairie grass that used to cover the Iowa prairies.
Here, the yard of Russ and Sandy Prichard is on display, complete with a nicely decorated archway. Below, some of the many flowering plants the Prichards keep up adorn the property.
Sandy loves the variety of colorful flowers in their yard. While Russ prefers perennials, Sandy prefers annuals. She has over 60 different sized planters filled with multi-color annuals. She does have a few perennials that she cares for, including a Hibiscus and a variety of Knock Out roses.
While one might imagine a yard filled with so many different plants would require a lot of work, the Prichards joke about the real reason they planted so many plants. "We started all of the flower beds so we could mow less," said Sandy, "We wanted to retire the lawn mower," said Russ with a laugh. The retired couple is just doing what they love to do.
Looking at the Prichard's yard, one would never imagine that the only plant on the location when they moved to the home in 1986 was the apple tree in the back yard, which offers shade near two porch swings. The yard features stepping stones with each of their grandchildren's hand prints, a couple of garden arches, a homemade bird feeding station and an area dedicated as a shrine to the memory of their parents.
The yard is beautifully maintained and provides a peaceful retreat to the Prichards, just outside their door. Stop by and congratulate the couple for earning the Yard of the Month for July.