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The Canby Garden Club recognizes the work done by Denise and Greg Oja at their Ponderosa Street home

Shortly after moving into their current home, Denise and Greg Oja began transforming their yard. By spring 2020, the transformation was in full flight and something special was emerging.

In fact, what the Ojas have put together at their home at 813 S. Ponderosa St. in Canby has blossomed just fine, thank you. So fine, in fact, that the Canby Garden Club has named it the Yard of the Month for August.

PMG PHOTO: DONNA BRYANT - Denise and Greg Oja's landscape work has resulted in being named Yard of the Month for August by the Canby Garden Club.

"Much like other trends in life, our garden tastes have changed during that time as well," Denise Oja said. "It was pretty much a blank canvas with a lawn that spanned from our driveway to the driveway next door, and mostly empty flower beds along the house, which contained a few day lilies and an overgrown, short maple tree that left no ground exposed when it was leafed out in the corner between the garage and the front door.

"We knew we wanted to add character, and as extreme do-it-yourselfers, we looked to Pinterest and other gardens for inspiration. We decided on a meandering, multilevel dry creek bed — making it perfectly straight would have been boring and unnatural — and more flower beds would be the perfect solution," she said.

The couple strategically placed alternating flower beds and grass on each side of the dry creek bed to add even more interest and make it blend seamlessly with the yard next door.

Having come to appreciate gardens with year-round appeal, the couple were striving for artistic placement of plants with varied colored foliage and limit deciduous ones.

"If we have a plant that will die back, we surround it with those that don't to avoid having big empty gaps in winter," Greg Oja said. "Because of this, even when plants aren't blooming, there are pops of color throughout the landscape. Keeping this in mind, we collected plants through our hobby of searching out nurseries wherever we go."

Other than the dry creek bed, the couple admit they didn't have much of a detailed plan, but once their collection of plants was large enough, they decided on placement, planted them and added larger rocks to the flower beds for a natural unified theme.

"Just like rearranging furniture in a home, I have been known to change my mind about where I have planted something and will move it to a new location if I feel it would be more appealing," Denise Oja said. "For me, the design of the yard isn't until the decorating of it is done. So, we also look for interesting things to hang on the wall and fences. Pots and other containers are filled with more plants arranged with contrasting foliage. The front porch is welcoming with a complementary painted door, a chair, cushion, pillow and rug added to the mix. Other items such as door decor and artwork are changed out seasonally. The yard is always a work in progress, and for me, it is quite therapeutic."


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