The Garden Club of Frankfort has chosen the home of David and Eleanor Blakeman as Frankfort’s House of the Month. Homes are chosen based on outstanding landscape design.
The journey back to Frankfort and this beautiful home was a long one. Both were born and raised in Frankfort. They attended Elkhorn High School and met in the Beta Club. In 1963, they married, and their careers took them away from their hometown for 46 years.
A high school reunion brought them back to Frankfort in 2009 and with some free time before heading for the airport, they went for a drive. It was only natural that the drive would take them through the Tanglewood neighborhood, as it was where Eleanor’s friends from work held her bridal shower and had always held a special place in her heart.
As they turned down one of the streets, they spotted a for sale sign. The view from the back of the house looking out over the river valley was love at first sight, and by fall, they owned the property. The actual move took a bit longer, since they had to sell two properties in different states and wait for school to finish for their grandchildren, but they finally moved into their new home in the summer of 2010.
Tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac, the entrance to the Blakeman home gives a feeling of seclusion even though the Capitol is just a couple of blocks away. The stone entrance, flanked by containers of flowers, leads to the house and, the front yard is an amazing, terraced garden with meandering paths, stone walls, benches and even a small water feature with a quaint bridge.
David and Eleanor were told that the front of the house was once just a sloping yard with grass and trees, but was turned into a terraced garden by the previous owners. Over the last three years a considerable amount of masonry work has been added.
David is particularly fond of the spring garden, which begins in February with snowbells, followed by crocuses, azaleas, daffodils, dogwood and redbud and tulips.
The water feature or koi pond and bridge are special favorites. These features were in place when they bought the property, but the bridge deteriorated and was replaced with a duplicate a couple of years ago.
The border bed along the driveway is lined with liriope or monkey grass, and red and white begonias. Last summer the jumbo begonias were especially beautiful.
Stone paths meander throughout the garden and boxwoods and shrubs create separate garden rooms.
Shade trees, both large and small, provide wonderful spaces that beckon visitors to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet of the space. Throughout, the garden containers add color and dimension.
Stone steps lead from the garden to the front door. The front door is flanked by stone containers of dwarf evergeens and window boxes and planters in front of the house and on the side of the garage add to the charm.
The house is much bigger on the inside than it appears from outside. Once inside, additions and modifications over the years have greatly expanded the living space, making the house an ideal place to entertain. The owners say that they have the impression that most of Frankfort has been to parties at their house over the years.
In a small amount of space there is a feeling of a beautiful, secluded park and the twisting and turning paths lead you through the garden and encourage you to sit and stay awhile.
The Blakeman’s are delighted that their odyssey of 46 years, and a spur of the moment decision to take a drive through the Tanglewood neighborhood, led them to this wonderful oasis.