Brent and Starlene Nearhood, winners of the Garden Gate Garden Club Yard of the Month award, are garden enthusiasts, but it goes much deeper than that.

Starlene has a degree from Kansas State University in Horticultural Therapy. She worked for Shawnee Mission Medical Center in the short-term mental health department using a garden and greenhouse as therapeutic tools for recovery. Patients benefited from being outside in the sunshine, working in the soil with their hands, and growing plants. Starlene Nearhood also worked in Manhattan at a facility using gardening to help developmentally disabled adults.

Brent is a Surgical Technologist earning his certification through Wichita Area Technical College. He worked at Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital in El Dorado.

Both Brent and Starlene Nearhood have now retired, and have more time to devote to their lovely yard.

Living on the busy corner of Taylor and Towanda for 16 years, the Nearhoods say it gives them pleasure to create a beautiful yard, and the reaction of the passing motorists reinforces the idea that the couple’s efforts are appreciated. They give the gift of a lovely scene, and they receive a gift of smiles and knowing they brightened someone’s day.

Typically, Starlene purchases the plants and plans the landscaping. Brent steps in and does most of the digging, planting and caring for the yard. He also pursues his hobby of photography taking photos of blooms, butterflies, and bees. The couple focuses on foliage to attract bees and butterflies, doing their part to help protect these important pollinators.

Drive by their home at 821 S. Taylor, El Dorado, and honk if you like what you see.

Garden Gate Garden Club is a Butler County based group of gardeners. They understand the effort and the joy that comes from a beautiful yard. The Garden of the Month is a small way to recognize and honor our dedicated neighbors.

To submit a yard in El Dorado for consideration, please call 316-321-5556. For more information visit www.facebook.com/kansasgardenclub.