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LOS LUNAS—The Valencia County Extension Master Gardeners have chosen “Angie’s Garden” of Los Lunas as winners of “Yard and Garden of the Month” in the contest co-sponsored by the News-Bulletin.

Angie Casias and her son, Manuel, work together on their yard, section by section, with many more ambitious plans in development.

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“They have unique areas in their yard, each with their own title,” says Merlinda Acevedo, president of the Valencia County MG Chapter. “You have the ‘Turtle Crossing,’ ‘Ansiley’s Garden,’ the ‘Lantana Beauties’ and the ‘Labyrinth Escape.’ The Casias’ incorporate things that are meaningful to the whole family.”

The Labyrinth is made with beautiful bricks, each carefully placed by Manuel and Angie’s hands, with a statue of Saint Francis overlooking it. Manuel states “Many friends and family use the Labyrinth for prayer, meditation or to just sit and reflect in a peaceful place.”

“There is creative, family art sprinkled throughout the yard,” adds Master Gardener Jan Villa. “The family’s tile creations speaks to the family’s closeness.”

One of the tile creations is a family tree.

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“We gave each family member a tile and had them paint their tile to represent themselves,” says Manuel. “We put it all together along with the tree tiles.”

The family tree displays proudly on their back porch.

They have some amazing metal sculptures and a gate in the garden areas made by Manuel’s twin brother, who is a welder. He also helps Manuel with other things, such as cement work needed around the yard.

“The Casiases are passionate and proud of their garden areas and say it is a work in progress,” said Master Gardener Bob Henry.

Master Gardener Vice-President Dave Cates said, “The garden was beautiful and showed great planning and creativity.”

The Master Gardeners welcome any local businesses that would like to be a sponsor for the Yard and Garden Contest. Sponsors can donate gift cards or certificates for their services to award to contest winners.

If you would like to be a sponsor please email either Rigo Chavez at chavrf66@gmail.com or Merlinda Acevedo at mercruz_2000@yahoo.com.

The contest will continue on a monthly basis through the growing season in October. The nominations for the monthly contest in August are due by noon, Friday, Aug. 14, and must be submitted via email to either Rigo Chavez at chavrf66@gmail.com or Merlinda Acevedo at mercruz_2000@yahoo.com.

Contest nominations must include:

• The name and telephone number of the yard/garden owner;

• The address of where the yard/garden is located (all nominated yards/gardens must be in Valencia County);

• A brief statement of why the yard/garden deserves the award;

• Nominators may also submit up to two photos of the nominated yard/garden via email.

The Valencia County Master Gardeners is a community service program of the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service and provides courses and information to help community members improve their gardening skills.

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