This month, the Fortuna Garden Club is honoring the yard of John and Patti Varnado at 3403 Drake Hill Road. The Varnado property has been in the family for four generations, with the home originally built by John's great grandfather in 1943. The lot is 2 1/2 acres, though originally it was about 7 acres and stretched almost to Rohnerville Road. John and his wife purchased the home from John's mom in 1973.
The wishing well in the front yard was built by John strictly as decoration, and is always filled with blooming flowers and also marks the spot where one of their family dogs has been buried, complete with a headstone. All the redwood trees on the grounds were planted by John from small seedlings in test tubes that his daughters brought home from the Humboldt County fair. They have a large garden plot, and raised garden beds for strawberries and greens. Walkways are lined with flowers, and the yellow roses in the yard, planted by John's mother, are at least 60 years old.
There are large cedars, a huge pasture, and even a waterfall with a pond. Everywhere you look there are hanging baskets, flowering shrubs, roses, veggies and trees.
John retired from Palco in 2004 and Patti works as a house cleaner. They have two grown daughters and two grandsons, and an adorable 12-year-old Siberian husky named Roxy.
If you are interested in joining the Fortuna Garden Club or want more information on activities and events, call Debra Strahan at 725-7862.