Yard of the Month
ob and Deni Cooperrider experienced culture shock when they moved to Canby 20 years ago. They were one of the original organic farmers in the Willamette Valley and after leaving farming, they relocated to Canby.
"That first weekend in our new home, we awoke to the sound of lawn mowers and leaf blowers, our welcome to gardening in the 'burbs,'" Deni explained. "We weren't used to having a defined yard space. On the farm, I was never sure where the farm ended and our yard began. In Willow Creek, we had fences and sidewalks, and the lines were clearly drawn. This was great -– but also a challenge as we had to confine growing things into a small suburban lot."
Today, the Cooperrider home at 1911 N.E. 21st Ave. is a mini-farm and was tabbed the Canby Garden Club's Yard of the Month for June.
In the back yard are a vegetable and herb garden, 20 blueberry bushes, a dozen espaliered fruit trees, an Italian plum tree, a grape arbor, cane berries, flowers, shrubs and even a little grass and two small patio areas.
The front yard is still a work in progress. When the house was built in 1992, the builder put a maple tree close to the house, not taking into account how large it would become. And the Cooperriders planted a southern magnolia, which proved to be a very messy tree. Both trees were taken out within the last several years, necessitating a redesign of the front yard.
"We've been very pleased with how well Hebe shrubs do there," Deni said. "They aren't bothered by our heavy clay soil. And a giant rhododendron provides a lovely spot of color in the spring. We're mulling over what to do to create more interest in the area where the maple tree once stood, especially later in the summer. We've placed potted flowers and shrubs temporarily into the blank area to help us visualize a final design."
The Cooperriders still use organic gardening methods. Bob raises mason bees, which aid in early pollination. They use mulch to help control weeds and have a dynamic ecosystem that, in addition to the bees, includes Deni's least favorite things –- garter snakes.
"I hate snakes," she said, "but they do a good job controlling bugs, snails and slugs, so I tolerate them. It's all in the interest of having our own little farm in the suburbs."
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