The Garden Club of Frankfort has chosen the home of Crit and Lynn Luallen as Frankfort’s House of the Month. Homes are chosen based on outstanding landscape design.
Driving through the stone pillars and up the driveway to the Luallen house on the outskirts of Frankfort, one immediately gets a sense of history. The land was settled by Crit’s ancestors in 1783. Crit grew up as Crit Blackburn with five older brothers and has lived in the house all of her life. The surrounding farmland is owned jointly with her brothers. Two of the brothers and a nephew also make the farm their home.
The house was built around 1900 and is sited, as many farmhouses were, high on a rise with beautiful views and nice breezes from the east. The house is surrounded by numerous mature trees, which include walnut, elm, hackberry, locust and catalpa. Sadly 16 massive ash trees, some over 200 years old, have been lost to the emerald ash borer.
A large wraparound front porch is where you will find Crit and Lynn during the summer. The porch serves as a wonderful place for entertaining friends and family. At the end of the porch sits a long farmhouse table where they enjoy hosting dinner parties.
The numerous perennial beds in both the front and back yards are filled with traditional perennials including phlox, rudbeckia, coneflowers, peonies, obedient plant, bee balm, false indigo, daisies and plumbago. Each year a cutting garden is planted with favorite flowers that include gladiolia, dahlias, sunflowers, pink and yellow cosmos and zinnias. Crit loves to create flower arrangements both for their enjoyment and to share with friends.
On the south side of the house is a horseshoe shaped garden anchored by a trellis that has a stunning display of clematis and roses flanked by an outer row of Annabelle hydrangea and an inner row of peonies. The area was designed with weddings in mind. No weddings have been performed there to date, but many have taken place in other areas of the yard.
The peonies are favorite plants. When their remarkable blooms open it signals that winter is over and spring has arrived.
A truly special feature of the yard is a quaint garden cottage that holds tools, pots and baskets. In front is a garden planted with phlox and pots of annuals. The cottage was original to the house, but a decade or so ago an effort was made to stabilize the foundation and instead it completely collapsed. The windows were saved, and it was rebuilt with aged barnwood and a new, solid foundation. It is always one of the most admired features of the landscape.
A playhouse is a new addition to the backyard for two special little girls that are frequent visitors. A window box is filled with impatiens and a fairy garden is found in a small firepit. Crit says she think she has enjoyed the playhouse more than the children.
Lynn and Crit have large extended families on both sides and their house is the gathering spot for family get togethers such as weddings, picnics, hayrides and reunions. Several political fundraisers have been held on the property with as many as 300 guests enjoying the yard and porches.
The couple feels a responsibility to respect the history of this incredibly special spot and to preserve it as a place where memories will be made for many future generations. When Crit sees the daffodils and day lilies come up each year that were planted by her mother over 80 years ago, it reinforces her passion to carrying on the gardening tradition for those yet to be born.