45 Alta Vista Drive

Below is an article that appeared in Rochester’s July 5, 2014 Democrat & Chronicle about the gardens at 45 Alta Vista Drive in Penfield:

DIY garden retreat part of Rochester Civic Garden tour

You might call Teddy Carr the frugal gardener. When she and her partner Mark Regan moved into a mid-century modern style home in Penfield designed by architect Don Hershey, the expansive backyard was barren save for a few bushes. With her artistic eye, Carr had grand ideas about how to paint the blank slate that was her backyard. But she lacked extensive funds to implement her plan. So with some elbow grease and creative shopping, she was able to create a show-worthy garden on three-quarters of an acre. Carr’s garden retreat is filled with colorful perennials, a large water feature with koi fish and shady areas to retreat to. Her garden at 45 Alta Vista Drive will be part of an eight garden tour in Penfield hosted by Rochester Civic Garden Center July 12.

The garden tour is one of the biggest fundraisers for the non-profit gardening group, says executive director Chris Froehlich. “Every year we pick a different area,” Froehlich says, noting that there are many impressive gardens in Penfield.

Froehlich discovered Carr and Regan’s garden as Carr is a member of the Rochester Civic Garden Center. Carr joined the group while she was working on her garden, finding it to be a good place to meet other gardeners for advice and use the center’s library.

Carr’s Monet-like cottage garden style is a constant work in progress. She is always adding and subtracting from the garden beds. Her butterfly bushes died due to severe winter cold and her foot bridge needed repairs this spring. A weeping larch was added this year but she would like to take out the orange day lilies. Carr is happy to put in the work as gardening is a serious hobby for her. She teaches piano in the afternoon and spends most of her morning tending to her garden.

When the couple first moved in seven years ago, Carr took a year to survey the landscape, carefully contemplating how to create her masterpiece. Over the years, Carr and Regan created stone walls, a pond and a haven for bees and birds in their backyard.

Look around the garden and you’ll find Carr and Regan’s upcycling efforts. Most of the rocks in the garden were free; Regan hauled them from areas where rocks were plentiful. The logs that decorate their yard were trees that came down in storms. She grows many of her plants from seed and swaps plants with other gardeners.

The major project was the water feature that was created in 2009. Carr always wanted a pond, but couldn’t afford a professionally installed one. So she and Regan embarked on a DIY project. Regan is good with digging and building and Carr is careful with plant selection. She purchased the plants in October when most nurseries were offering their inventory at deep discounts.

The colors in her garden change throughout the seasons. Right now, Carr’s garden is filled with yellow corydalis. Yellow is a popular theme with the Tequila Sunrise coreopsis dotted throughout the yard.

The entire garden is organic and natural, Carr beams. “I don’t spray or use fertilizers,” she says. That’s because she is concerned about the plight of the bees and wanted to created a haven not only for the bees, but other animals as well.

On any given morning, Carr can sit out on her patio and see visitors in the forms of hummingbirds, cardinals and even the occasional rabbit.


Click here to go to the article on the D&C’s site.

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