Military support is a clear feature of the Joy and Ed Waln yard located at 104 Elm Avenue NW, Wadena.

A look across the yard shows a great love for troops with no shortage of red, white and blue colors, flags and a sign owner Joy Waln had made clearly announcing "We Still Support Our Troops."

American flags, and signage in support of troops are prominent at the Joy and Ed Waln home in NW Wadena.
Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal
American flags, and signage in support of troops are prominent at the Joy and Ed Waln home in NW Wadena. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

"My husband (Ed) is a veteran and all three of my boys (TJ, Luke and Cory) are veterans. So we come from a strong military family," Joy said. She said she started showing some extra support after 9-11 and when she noticed that the support slowly slipped away in other areas, she decided to make it even more clear. The large front porch tends to change with the seasons, showing off a new look for each holiday.

Shirley Hartjen led a group of garden club members around the yard Thursday, May 27. Joy showed the large amount of plants that have been added mostly with the help of Shirley providing some plants.

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Red is the color of choice for this garden area at the Joy and Ed Waln yard in Wadena, May 27, 2021.
Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal
Red is the color of choice for this garden area at the Joy and Ed Waln yard in Wadena, May 27, 2021. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

"We just started this last summer," Joy said. Already it looks like a well established garden and yard that was just meant to be there. Ed was hard at work preparing an irrigation system that he programmed to water automatically.

"It's a brand new baby," according to the Waln's daughter, Samantha Carlson. Carlson helped set the stage for the yard, planning the layout and placement just right.

Center stage in the yard is a miniature version of the family home fit with a front porch, dormers and one room that pays homage to the family's past. It was a surprise gift Ed planned for Joy when the two took a trip to Alaska. It's a structure that brings visitors to the yard that hope to have a look inside.

A miniature version of the Joy and Ed Waln home sits in a garden space. It's fit with the same dormers and front porch design. Inside are many of the family objects and images of the past. It's a quiet place to escape and reflect.
Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal
A miniature version of the Joy and Ed Waln home sits in a garden space. It's fit with the same dormers and front porch design. Inside are many of the family objects and images of the past. It's a quiet place to escape and reflect. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

Highlights of the yard include a mulched garden space that sweeps across the front of the yard, along a fence line, back around the shed and more surrounding the home. It's filled with flowering plants, shrubs and miniature trees.

Joy has bad memories of growing up pulling weeds but she is excited about the prospects of this more maintenance-free yard and the pleasures that can come from such a beautiful space.

A view through the miniature house gives a glance at the garden, May 27, 2021.
Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal
A view through the miniature house gives a glance at the garden, May 27, 2021. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

If you're interested in being a part of the Wadena Garden Club, contact president Lora Foust at 641-420-5613. The group meets the fourth Tuesday of each month, except January and February, at St. John's Lutheran Church in Wadena.