Better Homes & Gardens picks Lockport front yard as contest finalist

Contributed photoJohn and Mary Brennan Taylor's front yard has been chosen as a top 10 finalist in "America's Best Front Yard" by Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

Mary Brennan Taylor has watched her husband dig and nurture and grow their acre of land in Lockport for over 30 years. When a friend suggested she enter the front yard as a part of "America's Best Front Yard," a contest put on by "Better Homes and Gardens," she thought, "Why not?"

Never did she expect to be in the top 10.

"On a lark, I gave them a photo of the front yard," she said, noting she'd watch her husband grow from seed many of the plants gracing the front and back of their home. She considers him to be an architect of living things.

For John Taylor's part, this is something only his wife could've gotten him into, but, as usual, he's happy to be a part of it.

"I think all the people involved understand how therapeutic it is, and it gives them joy," he said. "Every spring things come back to life."

The contest isn't over yet. The final 10 are open to community voting until June 5, and that'll be considered by the judges who have already narrowed down thousands of photos.

"It's really about giving back to the community," Mary said. Every spring, John is happy to give cuttings away of the various plants his wife calls, "Quite a lovely work of art."

"The word is stunned," she said of being picked by the magazine. "Stunned but delighted."

"My wife inspires this year after year," John said. "She's the promoter and I'm the grower."

While its hard to put a definite finger on when John's green thumb started, a look at the Memorial Tree Garden in Canalside Park today as it stands compared to 32 years ago is a testimony of the things Mary brought John into.

"John dug each post hole and nurtured them to their present state," she said. One of those 121 trees planted was dedicated to a friend of Mary's, and after word spread, 120 friends and family of someone special but who has passed, also sponsored a tree for each of their loved ones.

"Just as an example of what my wife gets me into," John said. "I thought it'd be one tree and it turned into 121 trees,"

"I married her anyway," he concluded.

Interested parties can vote for the Taylor's front yard (number 7) at every day until June 5.

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