Water-smart yard offers color, great view

By: Gloria Young Home & Garden
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When Bruce and Celia Broadwell built their home in the 1980s, it was all about the view. The three-story residence with its tall windows and wrap-around decks overlooks Lake Combie. The Broadwell, both retired teachers, added a flagstone patio last year that makes the most of the property’s lake vantage point and offers a perfect place to relax. There are panoramic views of the lake from the lower- and middle-level decks, too. On the side of the house, a walkway off the deck makes an “s” pattern down the hill onto the patio. Celia Broadwell is a devoted gardener. “I spend as much time out here as I can,“ she said recently. And it shows. Her green thumb is apparent in the islands of colorful spring bulbs that dot the yard and the variety of flowers and plants flourishing across the landscape . Instead of a thirsty lawn, the front yard is a mix of flowers, herbs and greenery — forsythia, sweet peas, lamb’s ear, lavender and primroses. Thriving groups of bearded iris are on the verge of flowering. Along the walkway, an area planted with hellebore is in full bloom. “I also have some that are brick red,” she said. Mature trees provide plenty of shade. To combat the rocky, harsh soil of the foothills, Broadwell regularly replenishes the topsoil. Over the years, she has cultivated a patchwork of blossoms that provide color and interest year-round. Her latest project is planting forsythia cuttings to create a border along the driveway. Typically, Broadwell starts her plants in a series of window boxes on the deck. When they’re sufficiently mature to be replanted, she chooses the perfect spot for them in the yard. The Broadwells have lived in Meadow Vista for 45 years. Bruce Broadwell is from Vermont and Celia is from South Dakota. Both attended college in California and met when they were teaching. When it came time to settle somewhere, they used a unique method. “We drew a line across California at San Francisco and said we didn’t want to apply for any (teaching) positions south of that line,” Bruce Broadwell said.