Homes & Gardens Virtual House Tour - 2021
The House Tour Committee has met with homeowners of six charming homes throughout Perinton to showcase unique properties with an array of architectural styles, including Federal, Colonial Revival, Greek Revival, Italianate, a log cabin, and several types of barns.
The team has researched these properties, discovering many historical and quirky facts. They have written scripts detailing each home’s story.
In addition, the House Tour Team has enjoyed the delightful experience of working with Noah Lucia, founder of Sidekick Films, a talented young media professional.
Noah captured the essence of these properties with a drone mounted video camera, added current and historic still photos, and synched our narrated scripts with the visual component. He is creative and energetic – a joy to work with. From the moment he launches his drone and winds his way around a home and through yards and gardens, the excitement of seeing a property from all angles builds. He creates dramatic shots and highlights features that could easily be missed.
The fact that this year’s tour is virtual allowed the committee to feature homes far and wide in Perinton. Tour goers will first stop at 185 North Main Street, a home built by Daniel DeLand, the founder of the DeLand Chemical Company.
They will move on to 2187 and 2381 East Whitney Road, homes owned by the prosperous Talman family, who farmed extensively and propagated the famous Talman Sweet apple in orchards on their land.
Next, they will view the home at 1120 Turk Hill Road, where an early inhabitant of this property owned Perinton’s first threshing machine, a device for separating grain from husks and stalks.
The next stop will be a home at 425 Aldrich Road, whose former address was 7752 Pittsford-Palmyra Road. This home was not moved. It was built on a toll road that charged $.06 for a horse to pass through and $.25 for a stagecoach.
Finally, they will visit a contemporary log cabin at 344 Loud Road, with its tranquil setting of a pond and gardens.
The House Tour is a membership only event available for online viewing during the entire month of October. Members will receive a link to the tour in September. For members without online access, the tour was shown at the Museum on Tuesday, October 19, 7 p.m., and on Sunday, October 24, 2 p.m.
To learn how to join the Society go to our Membership page.
185 North Main Street - Minerva and Danial DeLand House
Welcome to the busy corner of 185 North Main Street and Whitney Road – an intersection that you may have passed many times.
Here stands a two-story wood frame Italianate house. It has a low-pitched roof with wide overhanging eaves, a large pair of decorative brackets and clapboard siding – all original. It is built on a stone foundation, with the house and adjacent barn located on approximately one acre of land.
This is a beautiful home has an interesting history.
The property had elaborate gardens of rare flowers and trees. These stretched along the back of the house and south toward Parce Avenue through what is now the streets of Deland Park A and B.
In their travels to Europe and parts of the US, the Deland’s had seen many distinctive gardens and flowers which that they replicated at their home. They also added a windmill, gazebo and summer houses.
Note the original wood frame threshing barn with its arched windows, horse stalls, carriage and tack room, as well as a second story loft and a cupola.
The barn represents Perinton’s history as an agricultural community, and is one of few barns that remain in the village that were part of the farming business.
An 1869, an agricultural survey indicated that Daniel Deland had 45 acres in Perinton worth $14,000. He raised cows, cattle and horses -- and grew corn, oats, potatoes and hay.
This Deland house has deep roots in Fairport. Daniel and his brother Henry, and Minerva’s brother, Joseph Parce, operated the Deland Chemical Company which occupied the factory site on the northeast side of the canal between Main and Parker Streets. It is now known as the Box Factory.
The Deland Chemical was a prosperous manufacturer of saleratus, soda, cream of tartar, and superior baking powder. It helped put Fairport on the industrial map during the last decades of the nineteenth-century.
A strong proponent of modernization, Daniel invested a quarter of a million dollars in the business, which employed over one hundred people in the factory, and many more as salesmen and packagers.
A news article in the 1872 Rochester Union and Advertiser, stated that “Fairport, a thriving village of 2,000 owes--if not its actual existence--at least its increase and prosperity to one large industry: the D.B. Deland Company.”
Daniel was a leading citizen in the community as town justice, an active member of the Democratic party and an active member of the First Baptist Church. Sadly, he died at age 49, in a tragic elevator accident in his factory.
Minerva Parce Deland was prominent as well, in charity and church work. She helped raise money for the First Baptist Church at the four corners of the village—where the rose glass window was dedicated to husband Daniel.
She taught Sunday School there and also supported the Mechanics Institute of Rochester – now Rochester Institute of Technology.
When Minerva passed away in 1902, her death was noted as “removing the last member of the Deland family from a homestead occupied for some 45 years.”
This 4,000 square foot historic house is presently owned by Laura and Michael DiCaprio. It is locally designated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They pursued this designation with supporting documentation from the Perinton Historical Society.
The DiCaprio’s are the fourth owners of the Deland House and barn. Previous owners, with connection to a local garden store, added landscaping in the back, and the handsome flagstones that rim the house and gardens.
One of the first projects that the DiCaprio's tackled was extensive electrical work. While that was underway, the attic revealed a wonderful surprise!
Apparently tucked out of sight for about 130 years, they discovered daughter Stella’s pencil drawings of profiles of unknown persons resembling Roman Emperors. The date of 1883 and a signature S. Deland were present on these works from her art studies at Vassar College.
The DiCaprio’s also found a bundle of handwritten letters written between 1884 and 1885, by Stella’s friend Lottie P. Acer, of Pittsford, NY.
The house has many original features, including:
- Two windows and window moldings that are etched with signatures of Deland family members
- double-wood entry front and side doors, with beveled glass
- three chimneys
Notice the wood side door entrance with its original lock and crank doorbell that was used for informal guests and deliveries.
The wooden flag that hangs on the front porch was made by Laura’s uncle to replicate the 1856 American flag with 31 stars.
The interior of the house is adorned with several architectural details of its time:
A carved wood entry stairway with heavy newel post and delicate balusters.
- Crown moldings
- Plaster ceiling medallions
- Wood floors
- Wide baseboards
- Period hardware
- Wood paneled doors
- Six fireplaces. One is wood and five are marble
The DiCaprio's are collectors of old maps. Note the 1858 map of Monroe County with a closeup picture of the Deland house before an addition was built.
Laura, Michael, and family love their home for its location in Fairport Village, its curb appeal, and its unique history.
They say the house and barn are a “work in progress.” They are renovating, albeit it slowly, as they strive to maintain its original character.
If traffic allows, the next time you pass by 185 North Main St., be sure to take a look at this historic home
Research by Nancy Griffin Shadd
2187 Whitney Rd East - Talman-Launer House
One of Perinton’s most prosperous agricultural families lived at this location on 2187 East Whitney Road.
Among the early settlers in New York, Isaac Tallman was one of the first of his family to come to Western New York and eventually, the town of Perinton. He, his wife Sarah and their children first lived in a new house, built at 2396 East Whitney Rd.
Two years later, in 1826, Isaac built 2187 East Whitney Road. By the middle of the century, the Tallman family owned five houses in our town: three on Whitney Rd, one on Budlong Road and one on Wakeman Road.
These families farmed the Perinton soil upwards to 350 acres.
As a seasoned farmer, Isaac grew hundreds of bushels of oats, barley, corn, potatoes, and peaches on this property. He brought the Tallman Sweet Apple (both green and yellow) that was developed in Dutchess County. It also thrived in Perinton, but now, only two apple trees remain on this farm.
This house is constructed from a domestic early ninteenth-century design, which includes symmetry and modest detailing that reflect the Federal period.
The two-story rectangular main block has a common arrangement of six-over-six sash, wood clapboard siding, narrow corner boards and cornice, with no gable or returns. The enclosed one-story porch is located along the east elevation.
A modern twentieth-century brick chimney is located in the center of the facade, where the original front door was situated, per a 1947 photo. This front doorway had a simple hip-roofed porch with slender square posts and wood railing. A modern deck is located on the rear, south elevation of the house. Two other distinctive features are located on the site: a banked gable barn to the east and an iron water pump located on the rear of the house.
This is one of four documented Underground Railroad sites in Perinton.
Gazing at the doorway to the basement where runaway slaves were quartered, one can only imagine the terror they must have felt huddled in such a small place awaiting transfer to the next station. Much history has been written about the Tallman abolitionists, especially Isaac Tallman, and John Tallman Sr. A grandson of Isaac Tallman wrote, “In the winter of 1859-‘60, my father, John Tallman, Sr, an ardent abolitionist, like his father, Isaac, quartered a runaway slave from Georgia. Along with his wife and many children, John Tallman provided them with food for several days, warmer clothing and other necessities. The family remained with us until the time agreed upon by the liberators, when my father--in the dead of night--packed them into a large lumber wagon under quilts and blankets and drove them to the next Underground Railroad station.”
The Launers are very passionate about this part of their home’s history and are committed to preserving it as a part of Perinton’s history.
Circa 1875, the name Tallman began to appear on documents with just one “l” instead of two -- thus causing some legal snafus with the spelling on Isaac Tallman’s will.
The farm passed out of the Tallman family ownership to 1902, when Charles Bills became the owner. In 1950, the property was owned by Edmund Schermerhorn, who farmed it until the late 1960’s.
In 1977, Martin and Lauren Launer wanted to experience a quieter side to country living in Perinton. As fortune would have it, they were driving down Whitney Road and saw a “For Sale” sign being pounded into the front lawn. Quick to make a bid, they purchased the property, moved in and started their family. When their five children needed more space, they built an addition to the back side of the house to accommodate everyone’s needs.
Set among tall pine trees on the west side and the white birch trees on the east side of the house and barn, everything came together to become an instant playground for picnics and family gatherings. While Lauren taught history in the Penfield school system and Martin worked as an engineer, their family thrived. Lauren hosted school tours when her classes were learning about the Underground Railroad.
Like many rural properties in Perinton, barns are included. On this piece of land, a massive red barn was moved here in 1902, from another farm down the road. During the relocation, a Perinton man was accidentally killed.
The barn is immense--as big as a circus tent. It served as a basketball court where the children played on rainy days, holidays, and after school. Hide-and-seek was a regular past-time to get lost amidst the horse stalls, hay rolls and log beams.
This home has belonged to many special families, including its present owners. What remains today is a symbol of HOPE for the future, due in part to the loving care of 2187 East Whitney Road and those who forged a new life in Perinton. We treasure the many contributions made to Perinton and the surrounding towns, including the city of Rochester, in the name of Tallman. This house may pass from generation to generation, yet the courage, the resilience, and the silent voices remain strong.
Research by Wendy E. Murray
2381 East Whitney Road
In 1832, Darius Tallman designed and built this home at 2381 East Whitney Road -- located next to his father Isaac’s house, at 2187 East Whitney. He and his bride Cynthia started a farm and raised six children here. Darius was politically minded and served as commissioner of highways, school trustee, and town supervisor. He was also one of the original founders of the Raymond Baptist church. It is believed that he supplied some of the lumber used to build the church.
“Wouldn’t Darius be surprised to know that almost 200 years later it was being featured on a virtual tour and photographed with a drone?”
This grand home includes Greek Revival, Federal and Queen Anne styles. To quote the architect and historic preservationist, Paul Malo, “It’s a beauty, an imposing house – very large and beautifully sited.”
Its Greek Revival wide cornices and gable end-returns frame the ellipse with its fluted radiating lines that demonstrate the geometric style of Federal architecture. The exterior is covered with six inch clapboards and six-over-one double-hung shuttered windows, a replacement for the original windows.
A gabled porch frames an entryway decorated with turned spindles and carved brackets, reminiscent of Queen Anne styling. The door features carved egg and dart details, which are egg-shaped designs with vertical accents. Note the fluted pillars and divided sidelights.
In 1882, Frederick Warner, a civil war veteran, purchased the property. He raised the east side of the house to be two-stories, and established a summer kitchen above what is now a garage.
The current view of the back of the house provides a welcoming entry with a wide porch, contrasted with this photo taken in 1954.
As we pass by two outbuildings -- one used as a smokehouse and the other for storing wood -- we wind our way through a path of green, arriving at a dairy barn, which still bears the faint name of Nakoma. Nakoma Farms was a dairy farm operated by several families through the years.
So prevalent were the dairy farms, or “cheese factories” in this area that the road was actually named Cheese Factory Road before it became East Whitney. Whitney Road was named after Jesse Whitney, an early Fairport settler who built his house where the Fairport Baptist Home now stands—at the intersection of Whitney and Route 250.
As this appealing poster describes, in 1894 Samuel Warner (son of Frederick Warner) held an extensive auction of livestock, farm equipment and hay.
In 1902, when Frederick and Minnie Steffen purchased the farm, they were already experienced dairy farmers, having previously managed several farms in the area.
The milk products from their Guernsey cows were sold in Brighton, NY.
Richard Williams owned the property in August of 1938, when a fire of “undetermined origin” turned much of the dairy farm into a “seething furnace.”
Fortunately, all six workers escaped the blaze, and the cows were safely out to pasture at the time. Mr. Williams had insurance, so most of the barns, silos and tenant house were rebuilt.
This circa 1950 photo displays the entire complex that once spanned over six acres including the house, several barns, 2 silos and a tenant house.
The current owner, Laurie Copp, has recently replaced the barn roofs with metal roofs to preserve the building for years to come. A peek inside the house reveals an entryway full of ornamentation. The door is artfully bordered with four rosettes.
A carved newel post is decorated with Acanthus leaf at the bottom and pineapple above. The Acanthus plant is known to symbolize immortality, longevity and healing, while the pineapple signifies welcome, good cheer, warmth and celebration.
A carved lion’s paw caps the newel post, and symbolizes majesty and strength. This design appeared in early Greek and Roman furniture and was popularized by Thomas Chippendale in eighteenth-century English furniture.
Bordering the stairway is a Vitruvian scroll pattern, also called the Vitruvian wave, because it resembles waves of water. Vitruvian refers to Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect who is believed to have written the oldest book about architectural theory.
Charles and Helen Butler purchased the property in 1951. Helen served as Perinton historian from 1966 to 1983, and is responsible for extensive historical research on this property.
Laurie Copp is the current owner of the house. She and her former husband, Scott, purchased the property in 1986 and worked at numerous restoration projects as they preserved its original character. Mechanical systems of the house were replaced, bathrooms were restored, and the kitchen was updated.
Scott’s father, Richard Copp, built this “doll house” replica of the home for his young granddaughter, Molly.
It features functioning doors, sliding windows and has even electric outlets. It was built on a 1-inch to 1-foot scale, taking him over a year to build, completing it in 1995.
In 1991, this stately home was designated a town of Perinton landmark.
Research by Elaine Lanni and Sheila Tulloch
1120 Turk Hill Road
One of the many things that make 1120 Turk Hill Road special is the fact that only four families have owned the property in 187 years. Each one has its own story.
Pioneer settler Mulford Butts was the first to develop a prosperous farm on this prominent site.
He was born in 1796 in Dover Plains, New York, the son of Reverend Moses Butts. In 1819, he married Polly Mulliner, and the couple came to settle in Perinton. He built a small house and began acquiring land around it. Tax records from 1836, show him owning 51 acres. Butts was well known for having the first thrashing machine in Perinton, a device that removed grain from stalks and husks.
Martin A. Blood was the next owner of the property. He too was a farmer, he sold milk from his dairy in Fairport, and sold his produce to the Cobb Canning Company. A team of young girls called the “Farmerettes” were known to have picked beans on this farm. They were part of the “Women's Land Army” movement during World War 1 to fill in for farm workers that had gone to war. The young women furnished not only essential labor to the established farms during this time, but added significantly to the much needed food production. This 1924 map, shows the farm when it was reduced to 36 and one-half acres. This section of Turk Hill Road was, at the time, named “Baker Road,” after Jeremiah Baker, who owned the property along the road and the canal.
The third owner from 1932 to 1973 was John Maloney, a turnip and carrot farmer. He was followed by the fourth and current owners Nancy and Michael Driscoll - retired educators who raised their children here.
It is impossible to drive down Turk Hill Road without this bright yellow house grabbing your attention.
Architecturally, it is unique because it is the only example of an Italianate square plan, with a cupola, in the town of Perinton. There are other examples of Italianate homes in Perinton, but the Driscoll's have the only one of this type. The home's significance is further enhanced by its prominent hilltop location and stunning landscaping. A large barn sits to the right of the house.
The house represents two periods of construction. The smaller south wing with gable roof has a narrow cornice and surviving gable end returns that are indicative of the 1820-1830s style of construction. This wing is thought to be the original house. The larger two-story section on the north was completed sometime between 1850 and 1858 when the Italianate style was popular. A main entryway is absent when looking at the west facing facade. It is possible that the primary front entrance was relocated for the installation of the current twentieth-century chimney. The front door is now in the old portion of the house and has a new railing and landscaping. The side porch is cozy and inviting with a swing to relax on as you admire some of the Driscoll's beautiful flowers.
A newspaper story describing a would-be horse thief is part of the home's history.
April 25th, 1907, “Sunday night Martin Blood heard a noise in his barn and went out to investigate. As he opened the door, he saw a man inside who had just struck a match and was reaching for a harness. A horse had been taken from its stall and stood on the barn floor. He asked the man what he was doing and the man replied that he didn't know. Mr. Blood put the horse back in its stall. Then the man had the nerve to ask Mr. Blood for a drink, and after receiving it, skipped out.”
The current barn sits on portions of the original stone foundation. The structure is made of hickory with few nails. Beams have been shimmed over the years to keep the structure straight. Large gaps between the dark tongue and groove boards reveal slivers of the blue sky. Old iron hinges remain. The original hardware on these old barn doors is not like anything seen on the Property Brothers show on the HGTV! There was once a second smaller barn on the property that blew down in the middle of the night after the Driscoll's bought the property. The lumber was salvaged and has been used on projects inside and out.
“Martin Blood met with quite a severe accident Saturday while drawing in hay. The [farmhands] had entered the barn, and Mr. Blood fell from the top of the load down through to the cellar, fracturing three ribs, and otherwise severely bruising himself.”
The old track and pulley system remain on the upper level of the barn. Again, you can see the gaps in the hickory boards that reveal the barn's age and construction. The current owner used some of the old hardware he found in the barn, including a horse shoe, when constructing a tack box for his equestrian granddaughter, thereby passing on a piece of history.
Note the coloration of the hickory barn boards and their unique imperfections. Hickory trees were dominant in the southern portion of Perinton. The Indigenous people that once inhabited the area used the hickory nuts as a food source because nuts have a high level of fat and are an excellent source of protein.
The Driscoll's have been the proud owners and caretakers of 1120 Turk Hill Road, since 1973. It's no wonder that their house has been featured by the Perinton Historical Society in the past.
Research by Nadine Fiero
425 Aldrich Road
Welcome to the Beal House, located just inside the Egypt town line and owned by Brian and Linda Shaw. As you wind your way up the driveway, you are approaching a home whose address was 7752 Pittsford-Palmyra Road from 1805 to 2006 when the highway department widened that road giving the Shaws the opportunity to relocate their driveway to a safer location. Hence the change of address. Pittsford-Palmyra Road was originally a trail used by the Seneca Indians and eventually became a stagecoach route. In 1807, it became a toll road where travelers paid six cents for a horse, 20 cents for 20 cows and a stage coach paid 25 cents.
In 1805, Joseph Beal and his wife Elizabeth came from Massachusetts to settle in this rich agricultural area. They purchased 160 acres of land and built a 30’ by 30’ square house with a summer kitchen and a woodshed. According to the 1820 Federal census they had 7 children. (They eventually had 9) Joseph was listed as a farmer. Egypt was known as an excellent area to grow corn - this attracted both farmers and those who wanted to buy corn.
Joseph Beal held several Perinton positions from 1812-1829: assessor, school commissioner, inspector of elections, commissioner of highways, etc. In 1820, the local sheriff seized the Beal property for “the nonperformance of certain promises and undertakings.” It remains unclear exactly what the dereliction of duty was but 80 acres of his land was sold to cover the amount of $484.20. In 1829, he lost the remaining 80 acres and in 1830, Joseph and Elizabeth and 8 of their 9 children moved to Michigan. One daughter stayed behind and lived in Palmyra. Elizabeth died of consumption in 1831.
In 1820, which is when Egypt was thriving, they enlarged the house by building an addition which included a living room, dining room and second story. The Shaws have removed some ceilings throughout, exposing rough-hewn beams. In 1830, the Allen family added the four pillars in the front resulting in a Greek Revival architectural style. As you walk around the front of the house to the west, the final addition is visible. This was added by Martin Hoyt and his wife in 1942. He was the former secretary and treasurer of Case-Hoyt Publishing Co. They added the large two-story wing which housed an expansive living room and master bedroom making this a 3800 square foot home. The Shaws replaced the large window at the end of the house as the original one was in disrepair. As you continue to stroll around to the back of the house, the views are magnificent. Imagine that you owned the original 160 acres! You are now approaching the glassed-in room built by the present owners. This looks out on a raised flagstone patio complete with hot tub and comfortable seating, again complete with a vista.
When the present owners purchased the property, it was quite overgrown. Little by little, they have managed to “tame” the land and the resulting lawn, trees and gardens enhance the views from the house. There is a very large maple tree that is assumed to have been there when the Beals arrived.
The barn is believed to be pre-1860s. Some claim that it was built elsewhere and moved to its present location since it is on stilts. Others say there is a room underneath that hid slaves with a tunnel to the north as an escape route. The Shaws have refurbished the second floor for use as a party room.
Over the years, several familiar Perinton families have lived in this house-Seymour, Wygant, Warner, Allen, Schillaci. Each has added their mark to our history.
If you enter the home through the side door, which they relocated. To your immediate right is a room which contains a wall with a portion of a chimney showing. It is assumed that the chimney is the remains of the outdoor kitchen. The owners replaced windows with French doors for easy access to the patio.
Heading back into the kitchen we pass through a pantry area where the Shaws peeled away the wall covering to reveal the original boards. The cabinets date back to the Beals and the chestnut floors were discovered upon removing an old floor covering. Passing into the dining room, we again notice the floors. The Hoyts added corner cupboards and a bay window to this room in 1942. As we go through the front hallway, there are stairs up to the second floor that would have been part of the 1820s addition. Next is the pool room. This room was also part of that addition. It now contains a billiard table. There is a fireplace and the mantel is from a home in New England and dates back to the 1700s.
To the left, is a grand living room. There is a wood-burning fireplace. This room would have been perfect for entertaining. It has extensive woodwork which is more detailed than that in the rest of the house. The molding around the entrance and windows, the crown molding and the chair rails are characteristics that indicate professional workmanship associated with wealth. Another sign of luxury are the recessed hot water radiators (which are still in working order) built into the walls. The views to the west and north are spectacular.
As we retrace steps back to the side door, we pass again through 137 years of craftsmanship and family life. This house grew, as did Egypt around it and it continues to be lovingly maintained as a tribute to all who came before.
Research by Kay Joslyn
344 Loud Road
344 Loud Road is in the Hamlet of Egypt, which has been a part of Perinton since the 1790’s and was designated by the town of Perinton as an historic district in 2001. Known for its excellent agriculture, it was also the political and economic center of Perinton until commercial traffic on the Erie Canal grew.
The Palmyra and Rochester Stage Road (now known as Pittsford-Palmyra Road or Route 31) was established in 1805 with Egypt as a major stop for the stage line and where horses were changed for the trip to Rochester.
An early pioneer to Egypt was Oliver Loud, who moved there in 1806. He bought a 60-acre farm where he built a log cabin, married and had seven children. He expanded his home into a Stagecoach stop, post office, inn and operated a tavern. It was even a polling place and Court room.
Loud Road, named after Egypt’s prominent family, is at the intersection of Pittsford-Palmyra Road (Rte. 31) running south – across from Mason Road.
We knew gardening was going to be big since garden seeds flew off the racks faster than toilet paper, in 2020. In fact, Burpee Seed Company sold more seed in March 2020 than in their 144-year history. The Pandemic caused localized shortages of food and fresh produce. One half of those who gardened this past year did so as a way to get out of the house, relieve stress, provide security or add beauty to their surroundings.
Our story continues as you travel up to 344 Loud Road, the home of Brent and Mary Ruth Smith. They designed and had their split log home built in 1998 on six acres of abandoned corn fields. A split log or insulated log home is conveniently built with exterior stud walls, then half of the log is attached to both the outside and the inside wall. Stacked log homes are just what they sound like.
The Smith’s have graciously opened their home so you can see the beautiful stone fireplace, comfortable living room, dining area and kitchen - all creating a perfect space for friends and family to gather. They also built a glass solarium, deck and screened in porch to be able to truly enjoy “outdoor” living. The fireplace looks like it is made from river rock, but it is in fact concrete formed from river stone molds. The beautiful wide plank southern pine floors were shipped in from Georgia and even have vintage looking square head nails fastening them together. The custom banisters are made from Colorado Lodge Pole Pine and hand fitted. Not to be left out, the Northwest is represented with the amazing Douglas Fir wood ceiling.
The property had a quarter-acre spring-fed pond dug which is home to three breeds of fish – Carp that eat the grass and weeds; Koi that eat the algae and Largemouth Bass that eat the tadpoles and insects. Once the grading was finished, the homeowners had a blank slate to start their gardens. Currently the ever-growing number of individually named gardens is at 18. Of the six acres, they maintain about three acres with lawn and planned gardens and trees. The Smith’s have three adult children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Many of them have enjoyed swimming or canoeing on the pond. Mary Ruth is a landscape designer, through formal education and a continual study of the subject. Whenever she travels around the country -- and even overseas -- she spots new varieties of flowers, bushes or trees and finds a way to add these to her gardens.
one of the gardens to the right of the driveway, called the “Children’s Garden contains a playhouse or potting shed and every plant has an animal name, such as Foxglove, Gooseneck or Lamb’s-ear. A delightful area for anyone, but especially the grandchildren to explore. You will also see the six-foot stockade fence area where Mary Ruth grows flowers and vegetables without the snacking by the woodland creatures (bunnies, chipmunks and deer). The Smith’s built the greenhouse to start the plantings before adding to the various gardens. Although Mary Ruth says it takes about two hours a day to maintain – with help from others – she can’t imagine life not “playing in the dirt”.
The tranquil beauty of the Smith’s property reminds us of the restorative power of nature.