Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Topekans Add Unexpected Touches to Yard ; Nancy and Roger Leonard's Colorful Wildflowers Attract Wildlife to Property

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Topekans Add Unexpected Touches to Yard ; Nancy and Roger Leonard's Colorful Wildflowers Attract Wildlife to Property

Article excerpt

Unexpected touches add beauty, sentiment and interest to Nancy and Roger Leonard's Topeka yard. Among the most striking is what Roger has done along the banks of the creek that borders their home on the front and the back side of their yard.

The city placed rocks along the sides of the creek to prevent erosion of soil into the creek. Although utilitarian, the rocks don't create a pretty sight. Roger tossed wildflower seed among the rocks. He thought the wildflowers could choke out the weeds so the city wouldn't need to spray. He thought the city's spraying might kill plants in his yard.

The wildflowers by the creek -- and in other places throughout their yard -- are mixtures to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

"My favorite are the poppies as they have such vivid colors -- vivid red and vivid orange -- they are so pretty," Nancy said.

The side of the yard by the creek is edged with flowers, shrubs and trees, including red lilies, a forsythia bush, roses and a walnut tree. With the wildflowers growing on the sides of the creek, it looks as if the yard has spilled over its edge and into the creek.

Butterflies, bees and goldfinches flock to the wildflowers on the bank of the creek. At certain times of the year, goldfinches fly up and down from the wildflowers to the safety of the nearby tree.

Another potentially plain place in the Leonard yard is the driveway, which is 4 inches from a wooden fence. With little room to grow any plants, Roger tossed wildflower seed in the area, and now the fence is beautifully bordered by wildflowers, as well as daylilies that have crept over from the neighbor's side of the fence and wild violets that have planted themselves.

On the other side of the driveway, with a little more room between the asphalt and the fence, red begonias bloom.

Sentimental items in the yard are a wooden wishing well that Nancy's father made and a bench that used to belong to Nancy's sister.

"My oldest sister passed away suddenly four years ago. Two years ago, I got a call from one of her neighbors. My sister had told him to make sure I got her bench. …

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