Cheney Free Press -

Late bloomer Pat Crowley's handiwork chosen as July Yard of the Month


Honor is second time around for Salnave Road yard full of lush flower beds, fancy water feature


Staff Reporter

One might call Pat Crowley a late bloomer.

The admitted hater of yard work, until about 15 years ago that is, had his Salnave Road home selected as the Cheney Garden Club's Yard of the Month for July.

The honor is the Crowley's second. Pat and wife, also named Pat, were awarded a $25 Ben Franklin gift certificate from Kiwanis representative Pat Isbell for their efforts.

Having an interest in being a showplace was not always one of Crowley favorite pastimes. “I could not stand yard work,” he said matter of factly. “You used to have to pay me,” he said. “I never had a mower until 15 years ago.”

Crowley's hand – and maybe his hoe, rake and shovel – was forced into yard work he said, “When all the kids that used to mow his yard for $5 grew up and moved away. “I had to go out and buy a mower.”

It appears being forced to get his hands dirty has been a good thing, however. Crowley not only has an award-winning yard but has established a family tradition as well.

When a Crowley grandchild was born a tree was planted in their honor so in order, Madelyn, Sebastian and Michael all have trees of varying heights growing in the yard.

The secret to success is simple, Crowley said. “Cheney compost.” Crowley estimates the yard has about 80 yards of the byproduct from Cheney's wastewater treatment facility.

It's been in use in his yard for 15 years. “Everything out here's been solid rock and I just kept putting it on,” he said. The yard and garden area is 18 inches higher than when Crowley started.

Crowley's award-winning yard appears to have very few weeds as could be expected. But the rich soil, deeply enhanced with his special compost makes it a snap to pull weeds, roots and all.

“It's very simple to pull them, once you get around to it,” Crowley said.

Crowley doesn't spend as much time as he used to in his yard. “I have too many other projects.” When he thought about it, Crowley figured he invests five to six hours a week between the yard, mowing and pulling weeds.

Crowley's showplace all started from an investment of $100 in some small plants in 3-inch pots.

When Crowley had developed his award-winning layout his wife, also named Pat, wanted her own hosta bed. That project grew from one bed to a string of them that now pretty much surround the entire back yard, and deck at the Crowley residence.

Perhaps, one of Crowley's crowning achievements in the yard is a water feature in the back corner. “It pumps 4,000 gallons an hour,” Crowley said. “The stream runs down under the bridge and the pots catch it and put it back up (to the top).”

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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