Yard-of-the-Month - 2024
Williamsburg Settlement
the prestigious Katy community

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Each month the yards in our subdivision are judged. If the resident of the one that is considered to have the best display has not won the award within the last two years, is in good standing with the Association and agrees to accept the accolade, it is designated as the Yard-of-the-Month. A sign is placed in that yard throughout the duration of the month, a photograph and write-up are posted here on this web site and on the My Neighborhood News website - which is the successor to our montly newsletter.

Latest Award
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March Winner - Luther and Gretchen South of 1634 Earl of Dunmore
Due to the freeze at the beginning of this year, the first month that a 2024 Yard-of-the- Month was awarded was March.
YOM Co-chairs: Heather Colkos
                                Sachie Etherington
Photos by: Jerrie St. Amant
While traveling through the neighborhood during these cold and dreary months, one of the few houses that has a beautiful green lawn belongs to Luther and Gretchen South on Earl of Dunmore. 

As longtime residents of Houston for 40+ years, they are relatively new residents of the neighborhood having moved here in 2022. Gretchen retired from Pitney Bowes and Luther retired from BP. The Souths love the mature trees and the flowering shrubs that are growing throughout the Settlement. Luther and Gretchen keep their front yard immaculate throughout the year by having a nicely mowed lawn and beautiful flowers in the planters. Low maintenance ferns and dianthus, taller perennial shrubs along with a dwarf magnolia tree make up the main focal point of their front bed. Most of their heavy landscape work is handled by Portillo Landscape Company, who handles everything from mowing, mulching, weeding, and tree trimming. In addition, to maintain a green lawn during the winter, their lawn gets seeded with winter rye grass. Meanwhile Luther and Gretchen maintain their potted plants by fertilizing and watering. When asked what plant they would recommend to their neighbors to grow, dianthus came up at the top of their list because they can endure the hottest and coldest months of the year while providing continuous color to a front lawn.

Thank you to our March 2024 Yard-of-the Month winners, the Souths for deciding to move to the Setttlement!  
April Winner - John and Katie Martin of 22427 Wetherburn Lane
John and Katie Martin moved into the Settlement in 2014 and are now blessed with two children, Addie who is seven and Leo who is just one year old.

Like many of our residents, they were initially drawn here by the large trees and the diversity of the houses, and they love the opportunities in and around the immediate neighborhood afforded by the Settlement’s location. A highlight of moving into the Settlement was the enjoyment they had in meeting and getting to know their neighbors.

John is a teacher at Morton Ranch High school and Katie works as an Associate Regional Director for Young Life in Houston.

When they moved in it was their first house and first yard. John slowly began to replace ground cover plants and nandina (which he hates!) with flowering plants and perennials. Now their front landscape has several mature trees surrounded by well stocked beds. Their two Chinese tallow trees are front and center surrounded by daylilies, agapanthus, Louisiana iris and other flowering plants. The oak tree is ringed by various lilies and is the most colorful bed when it is in bloom. The yard is rounded out by several potted plumeria and dotted with amaryllis.

They say they love the redbuds and azaleas, but John really likes to pot and grow the plumerias. When these bloom, they are beautiful and exotic having a variety of colors and incredible flowers. John and Katie’s favorite part of the year is when their Redbud and Bradford Pear trees are in bloom along with all the azaleas in their various colors
Please join us in congratulating John and Katie for nurturing and sharing such a delightful yard, which is well deserving of the April Yard-of-the Month award.

May Winner - Billy and Marsha Cooke of 22410 North Rebecca Burwell Lane
Approximately 29 years ago on Memorial Day weekend, Billy and Marsha Cooke, along with their 3 children, moved into the neighborhood. Like many others who have been nominated in the past, the two reasons why they love the Settlement are the beautiful trees and the welcoming atmosphere.

Billy, a retired civil engineer, and Marsha, an adjunct professor at Houston Community College, do all their own landscaping. According to them, their backyard is just a beautiful as their front yard and serves as a haven for them. In their spare time, when not tending to their garden, they devote their time to their church, Katy First UMC in downtown Katy.

When asked to describe their front yard they stated, “we love year-round color with low growing plants so we can see out of the windows. With 3 large water oak trees, we have had to change our plants over time. We have perennial flowers that come back year after year and surprise us with their blooming, along with multiple Agapanthus, Amaryllis plants and Day Lilies, in all different colors, mostly pastels. And a red bud tree planted in memory of a family member.”

Of all the plants in their front yard, the Cookes recommend the Giant Leopard Ligularia also known as the "tractor seat" plant. This plant is also a favorite amongs Katy gardens due to its unique foliage and the fact that it is a perennial that produce bright yellow flowers multiple times a year. The tractor seat plant also is one of the first plants that comes back quickly after a hard freeze.

We would like to thank the Cookes for being long time residents of the neighborhood and congratulate them again for being May's Yard of the Month winners.
June Winner - Kelly and Lucas of 22223 Bucktrout Lane
Kelly and Lucas have lived in the Settlement for the past six years. They were, as so many have said in the past, particularly drawn to the established trees, beautiful yards and large lots.  

Lucas works in the oil and gas industry (Kelly doesn’t really know what he’s done for the past 13 years, just that he dragged her to Pittsburgh, Ft Worth and then back to Houston again)! For the past three years, Kelly has worked for a direct-response fundraising agency, helping her food bank clients raise donations through direct mail, email and online campaigns.

When they first bought the house, the yard was quite beautiful, thanks to a giant agave plant that some of you may remember. Unfortunately, the freeze in February of 2021 took out said giant agave, along with many other plants in the yard. But for some reason, the evil sago palm/dog killer that Kelly hates and tries to let die, just keeps on thriving. 

Since the freeze, Kelly and Lucas have lived in a state of “front yard depression”, just letting whatever happened happen … aside from regular visits from Texas Green Turf to keep the grass looking green and lush. They are quite proud of their grass! The three large pine trees, which really need to be checked by an arborist, drop pinecones aplenty throughout the year. The rose bushes are mostly left to grow wild and do their own thing (because of nature and thorns!). The foxtail ferns are lovely, especially since they keep coming back every year. There is a big bushy palm thingy that remains unidentified … mostly due to lack of trying … which looks best at the beginning of spring when it’s growing back and hasn’t quite taken over the rose bushes. Kelly and Lucas hope to do more with their yard in the coming year … or years. “We’ll see.”- Kelly.

Congratulations to Kelly and Lucas!!

July Winner - The Morgan Family of 1534 Abby Aldrich Lane
The Morgan Family at 1534 Abby Aldrich Lane are July’s Yard of the Month Awardees. 

As Williamsburg Settlement residents for 45 years, Carolyn and Charles have always loved the serenity of our neighborhood – especially the kind, friendly, and helpful neighbors.

Charles, who was an architect, loved designing his house, while both he and Carolyn designed the flowerbeds in the front and back yards. Although the Morgans utilize Zapata Lawn Services for weekly lawn care and the occasional tree-trimming, the family maintains everything else.

The Morgans have several pine trees, an Arizona Ash, a few understory trees (pink and white Crepe Myrtles, Vitex and Chinese Fringe) along with several hedges and pink and red azaleas. Carolyn uses Landscaper's Pride soil and mulch, Happy Frog soil, and Nelson Plant Food to maintain her flowerbeds and plants. Carolyn also plants colorful flowers such as a dark pink loropetalum, Knock-Out Roses, and numerous bedding flowers. Currently, she has vincas, profusion zinnias, angelonias, pentas, and soiree catharanthus (small vinca-like flowers); while during the winter, she will plant dianthus, snapdragons, and stock.

The most notable characteristic of their back and front yards are the butterflies; their yard is a registered Monarch Waystation. As an administrator of a Facebook group of close to 2,000 members, Carolyn is known for her generosity of sharing both plants and knowledge of butterfly gardening. If butterfly gardening is for you, search for Katy/Houston Butterfly Gardening on Facebook.

Our thanks to the Morgans for helping maintain the beauty of our wonderful neighborhood for the last 45 years!