“When I’m outside weeding, it is a continuation of the pattern my mother set into place,” says Katherine Frankstone. “I’m sure she is sitting on my shoulder telling me what weeds to pull and if I’ve missed one.”
Manning and Katherine Frankstone
Katherine and Manning, her husband, keep the memory of Barbara and Hawk Thomas, Katherine’s parents, alive not only by gardening but also by living in the same home. The picturesque stucco house nestled on a corner in Wales Garden provides a strong connection between Katherine and her parents. “I grew up in this house, so it’s truly home,” she says. “The gardens mean a lot, too. My parents loved to be outside, working in their yard.”
Sophie is the Frankstones’ year old Golden Retriever
However, the Frankstones’ garden is a far cry from the backyard Katherine fondly remembers from her youth. Upon moving into her childhood home after her mother died, she and Manning boldly decided to renovate the house and yard. “In the process of renovating the house in 2006, we decided to add a terrace with steps that would allow easier access to the backyard from the main floor of the house,” reveals Katherine. “The design of the house and the addition of the terrace dictated the layout of the backyard. We added a pool and kept the existing wall around the yard, but after that, it was just a matter of choosing plants we liked that would work with the full sun in the yard.”
The Frankstones’ house was built in the Spanish Revival style, with the garden reflecting the architecture of the entire home. The yard is hidden behind the house, creating a secluded haven for the Frankstones. “Once I enter the garden, I feel as if I have stepped into a different terrain miles away from Columbia,” says Manning. “We wanted a quiet, isolated place to get away from everything, and that’s what it has become.”
Trent Hutchinson of Blue Moon Landscaping designed beautiful beds with a variety of flowers and shrubs.
While the Frankstones worked tirelessly to complete this challenging project, they did not craft their charming garden alone. “Trent Hutchinson, the owner of Blue Moon Landscaping, helped with flower and plant placement,” says Manning. “He helped us sift through the plants we liked and didn’t like –– and brought us the plants we wanted from his nursery. I love Trent’s work; he helped us out tremendously.”
Because Trent helped the Frankstones with their previous yard, accepting the challenge of creating a new garden with them was a natural step. “My plan was to establish a creative and functional landscape that the family could enjoy with plants and features that compliment their house and lifestyle,” explains Trent. “They had a vague idea of the end goal, and I led them to it. They depended on me to get them through the design.”
Trent confides, “The best part of designing the gardens was having the freedom to be creative as the installation proceeded and having the confidence and trust of the homeowners.” Yet, Trent didn’t stop once the job was done. He and his crew at Blue Moon Landscaping continue to help maintain the manicured yard.
The Frankstones’ eagerness regarding their garden rivals Trent’s fervor for his work. “Feeling connected to the earth is the most important thing to me,” shares Katherine. “It is so easy to plug into the internet and technology until you forget where you came from.”
Manning also adds, “We enjoy bringing the outdoors in – from cutting flowers and greenery to have inside to using fresh herbs from our garden in our cooking.”
While Katherine delights in her charming oak leaf hydrangeas, Manning enjoys the beautiful roses and vegetable garden. “I have just always liked roses,” he says. “I lived in Portland, Ore. where there were rose festivals; I guess that’s where it all started.”
Adding a pool with a terrace was part of a renovation in 2006
The vegetable garden is nestled between the protective wall and the side of the house. This fertile plot of land yields an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, herbs and bell peppers. “I enjoy planting and harvesting vegetables each year,” Manning says. “I tried organic farming, but the bugs ended it.” He shares that the tomatoes occasionally present a challenge and require the most upkeep.
As Manning tends to the vegetables, Katherine tackles the stubborn weeds. “I enjoy pulling weeds, believe it or not! There’s something very comforting about digging in the dirt,” she says. Katherine also feels a comforting connection to Barbara, her mother, as she thins out the weeds in her yard. “My mom used to sit for hours in the yard pulling clover out of the ground with a fork. It became her social time because people would drop by to talk. Recently I was out weeding and my neighbor said, ‘The old lady who used to live here did the same thing!’ I responded, ‘I know! That old lady was my mother.’” She chuckles, adding, “Such a simple act has become a special link to my mother.”
The wall surrounding the garden also provides a special family connection for Katherine. “There are handprints on the back of the wall from 1969 when my brother, David Thomas, my cousin, Clif Kitchens, and I left our mark.” This unique set of handprints compliments the strong values of family tradition that has taken root in the Frankstones’ garden.
Trent selected a beautiful variety of Echinacea Purpurea, “Purple Coneflower,” that flourishes in the Frankstones’ front yard, Manning tends to the roses, a passion he brought from his years living in Oregon.
While the yard has become a link to past generations, it also has become a place to make new memories. “We hosted an engagement party for Ashley Herring and Adam Seidel in our garden,” Katherine says. “We put down a dance floor and hired a DJ. It was a happy time.” Adds Manning, “We also host annual Halloween parties!”
This enjoyment the Frankstones experience through their home and garden serves as the true connection to Katherine’s parents, for as new memories are made, old ones are remembered, and the pattern continues.