Glencoe resident wins beautification award

Pictured: Valdonia Melton stands with her Glencoe Beautification Award designation outside her home July 12. See 5A for more photos. (Emma Kirkemier/Messenger)

By Emma Kirkemier, Editor-in-Chief

While many are looking for a way to beat the Alabama heat this summer, one local resident has found “serenity” in landscaping and gardening in her own front yard.

Glencoe owner Valdonia Melton received the Glencoe Beautification Award on July 12. Town officials and members of the Glencoe Beautification Council praised his hard work for his home.

“It’s my passion,” Melton said. “I love it. It’s my serenity. When I’m in the yard, it’s just peaceful and calm.

Looking at Melton’s front yard, one could see hints of this serenity in every detail.

Its green lawn was punctuated with flowering crape myrtles and manicured rose bushes. The grass gave way near her driveway to small flowerbeds, marked with stepping stones.

The single large oak tree adjacent to Melton’s driveway provided shade for its visitors, as well as drawing their eyes to the plants and flowers surrounding it at regular intervals.

The real centerpiece, however, was Melton’s porch, which was built on the front of Melton’s house a few steps above his lawn. Bordered neatly below by clipped bushes and above by hanging ferns, Melton had a small shady oasis.

Melton explained that she enjoys the comforts of her home thanks to her hard work. Melton has gardened and landscaped for most of his life.

“My mother, she was a court person,” Melton said. “I remember coming, I never worked in the yard, but I loved the yard.”

Both as a child and today, Melton noted that she had a real penchant for being outdoors. She sometimes stays in her yard for six or seven hours at a time.

“Seriously, I stay out more than I stay in,” Melton said. “There’s something about being inside, it’s like I’m locked up or something.”

Melton added that when she’s not working in the yard, she likes to sit on her porch in the evenings to ” [her] peace and quiet.”

Melton makes it a priority to care for its plants organically.

“Most of the time I like to pull weeds with my hands because I don’t like using chemicals,” she said. “I got it from my mother.”

Melton is known for helping guests and family who come to take photos of her yard and get inspired by her.

“I don’t mind sharing, and I go around people’s house[s] and help them settle in sometimes,” she said. “I don’t charge. I just help them, that’s all, (when) they don’t know what to do.

Melton’s gardening work has long been appreciated by neighbors and friends.

“Wherever I lived, my neighbors always told me I should get the beautification award,” she said with a laugh. “But I guess no one ever really pursued it.”

Melton has lived in his Glencoe home for seven years. It took him about two years to complete the majority of the landscaping, doing “a little something” here and there. Melton achieved the beautification of her home entirely through her own efforts.

“It was a blank canvas,” Melton said. “I planted every flower, every tree, every rosebush, everything.”

Melton noted that she even single-handedly moved the rocks and mulch used to line her driveway and flower beds.

“I didn’t have it transported,” she said. “I did it little by little in my car.”

Her Melton roses, which total 22 including her front and back gardens, are her favorite plants. She explained that they mimic her own landscaping strategy: she takes care of them little by little, but with unwavering consistency.

“I said when I was younger, ‘If I ever have enough land, enough property, I’m going to put as many rose bushes in there as I can,'” Melton said. “They are easy to maintain and I love them, but you have to keep working on them. Because if you don’t debud them and maintain them, they won’t do well. You have to work with them.

Despite his best efforts and his recognition by the Glencoe Beautification Board, Melton’s work seems never to be finished. She always seemed to have a new project ready to improve her house.

“I’m sticking with it,” she said.

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