The garden of Kathy and Mike Delaney can be best described as eclectic. The hardscape includes brick and stone paths, as well as a patio. The garden mostly contains a combination of shade-loving annuals and perennials. Visitors will notice the giant hostas, which are among the Delaney’s’ favorite plants because, besides being shade-lovers, they grow dependably from year to year. The oakleaf hydrangeas are also among their favorites because they remain showy year-round.
The Delaneys have become adept at choosing and growing shade-loving plants because each of the other homes they have owned have also been surrounded by trees, creating lots of shade. However, they recently lost a huge walnut tree at the back of the yard, which opened up a small sunny patch that is now as full of as many sun-loving perennials and annuals as the space can handle.
Their most surprising success is a Japanese rose that was grown from a shoot that Kathy pulled out of the ground near its host plant and stuck in a small pot on the kitchen counter. It quickly took off and now grows like a weed in a corner of the only sunny spot. It blooms continuously from spring until the first hard freeze.
Colorful pots and containers accent the garden, and the fences and walls contain accents of tiles acquired from their travels. Multiple water features and unique artwork delight visitors.
The Delaneys consider themselves fortunate to be caretakers of their home, known as the Colonel Blood House. James Blood, an early settler of Lawrence and the first mayor, elected in 1857, built the front portion of the house in 1867. He added a two-story addition in the rear in 1870. The elaborate porch was added several years after the front portion was erected. The home underwent major interior renovations in the late 1980’s and continues to be a work in progress. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
The Delaneys have owned five homes in the past 37 years, landscaping each one. They take a team approach to gardening, and cleaning yard waste. Raking up all the leaves that accumulate beneath the numerous trees, is one of the projects they least appreciate.
The biggest landscaping challenge has been the demolition and construction of the back patio living space. The brick retaining wall and patio floor were so badly deteriorated it was difficult to find a brick mason willing to tackle the project at a reasonable cost. In the summer of 2020, the reconstruction of the rear living space became their personal COVID project. They faced many obstacles during the renovation, the biggest of which was finding construction materials. In the process, Mike became a skilled amateur brick mason, while rebuilding the retaining wall, laying the stone patio floor, and constructing the pergola. With the additional lighting and a ceiling fan to help keep the mosquitos at bay, the Delaneys created an outdoor living/dining space usable for two-thirds of the year. Visitors are cautioned to watch their step on the brick and stone paths.