Sandy Speed looks around her yard and sees areas she'd like to work on, but the Wadena Garden Club members see a yard worth celebrating as they planted the Yard of the Month sign at her home in the last week of July.

The home at 305 7th Street SW was struck by the 2010 tornado and required a great deal of work to bring it back to the beauty it is today. Sandy and Steve Speed bought the property after it had been remodeled in the fall of 2010. They went to work creating an outdoor oasis including a front porch and back patio surrounded in plantings.

"I love being outside," Sandy said. That includes doing the work to make it look great.

Enter the backyard and see a retaining wall with ninebark lining the rear. At their feet are sedum plants and lilies filling in open areas. On the ground floor are hostas, adding another flash of blue to the mix.

The back patio sports potted plants galore that can move based on the activities in Sandy's favorite outdoor escape. Along the outer edge of the Speed home are decorative grasses that Sandy said offer a nice look with little maintenance.

"It's just a work in progress," Sandy said.

They have hopes of expanding the back patio and adding more trees to the lot next to their home. More and more ideas keep coming of what they might do next, but for now it's a sight worth seeing in a very visible yard, just of Hwy 29, across from the high school.

A look into the back patio gives a glimpse at some of the potted plants on hand.
Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal
A look into the back patio gives a glimpse at some of the potted plants on hand. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

The local garden club chose the Speed's yard after a recent tour of six yards in the area.

The Wadena Garden Club formed in 1949, 70 years ago.

"We have presentations (programs) on various topics. This year's included: -Good Weeds-Bad Weeds; -Coleus;- Companion Planting; and -The Birds & Bees. In June we toured the Miltona Greenhouse by Parkers Prairie and had a potluck picnic there," said garden club member Shirley Hartjen.

The club's mission: "To Learn; To Grow; To Share. " A quote from the president Lora Foust. "And we enjoy each other's company!"

Meetings are usually held on the fourth Tuesday of each month (except January and February) at St. John's Lutheran Church, 710 Franklin Avenue SW, Wadena. New members are welcome. There is a cost to join but you can attend several meetings before formally joining. Members do not need to have their own garden, just an interest in flowers and gardening. Contact a Garden Club member or Lora Foust 641-420-5613.

The Wadena Garden Club started the Yard of the Month project in 2004. The first recipients were Dennis and Soledad Henriksen. Anyone interested in nominating a yard for "Yard of the Month" may call Shirley Hartjen 631-3888 or Marilyn Wicklund 631-1773.

The next Wadena Garden Club meeting is August 27 and includes a potluck supper. They invite several other Garden Clubs to attend as guests.