by Timothy Appling

“One potato, two potato, three potato, four …” As youngsters that is how we made choices in our backyard games. In selecting the newest Yard of the Month, that childhood rhyme morphed into “one Pereda, two Pereda.” But, unlike potatoes, when you are counting Peredas, there is no clear choice. So this month we feature double winners: Ramon and Pauline Pereda at 1419 Alston and John and Brenda Pereda at 1423 Alston.

1423 AlstonJohn and Brenda purchased the California style arts and crafts bungalow at 1419 Alston in 2010 and soon after began an extensive renovation. The house had been built in another location in the 1940’s and was moved into Fairmount in the 1960’s. It was vacant for a number of years before John and Brenda rescued it. They moved into the refurbished bungalow as they tackled their most ambitious project: the 1907 foursquare at 1423 Alston, which they now call home. John’s parents, Ramon and Pauline Pereda, occupy the bungalow right next door.

The Pereda compound features some of the lushest, greenest grass to be found in Fairmount. Zoysia sod was installed a few months ago and is well-established.   On Ramon and Pauline’s side, the landscape features sunny yellow day lilies, purple phlox, holly, and other shrubs. A large pecan tree shades the house from afternoon sun. The senior Peredas also enjoy raising vegetables in raised beds on the north side of the house. Their yield includes tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, cantaloupes, and heirloom garlic.

Over at 1423 Alston, one is greeted by cheery blackfoot daisies at the curb.   A grove of lavender-blooming vitex trees grows on the northwest corner. Nearby, a large planting of Chinese fringe-flower and lantana add purple to the palette. The grand wrap-around porch is lined with pink Belinda’s Delight roses, with coreopsis adding a splash of yellow here and there. On the porch two huge pots of cascading pink petunias greet visitors. Brenda recently conducted a tour of both properties for the visiting Oakhurst Garden Club, pointing out many other plant species along the way: lace-cap hydrangeas, Texas native hibiscus, nandina, black-eyed Susans, a Japanese maple, caladiums, and more. Most of the water it takes to keep the green going comes from the Peredas’ cistern, which is supplied by a natural underground spring John tapped into, quite by accident, during the renovation of his present home.

When John and Brenda moved from Arlington to Fairmount, they brought some plants from their former home, including several trees in pots that have survived the relocation. They have also established a tradition of planting a tree in the yard for each grandchild. The love of trees extends beyond the Pereda properties to DeZavala Elementary School across the street, where the John and Brenda helped to organize the planting of many trees on the grounds. Their commitment to the beautification of Fairmount is evident, as they can frequently be found watering and tending these arboreal assets.

Congratulations to Ramon and Pauline Pereda and to John and Brenda Pereda for being co-recipients of YOTM recognition, sponsored by C.C.’s Touch of Nature.

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Our Neighborhood

Located on the near south side of Fort Worth, Texas and covering about one square mile, the Fairmount Southside Historic District contains one of the nation’s richest collections of turn of the century housing. Fairmount is comprised of about 20 subdivisions platted between 1883 and 1907. At the time, Fairmount was a fashionable neighborhood.

About one third of the houses were occupied by business executives who managed their own firms. Professions were represented by many doctors, lawyers, and educators. It was a diverse neighborhood, where craftsmen, inclucing brick and stone masons lived next door to railroad workers. As Fort Worth’s suburbs grew following World War II, the neighborhood fell into disrepair.

Today, through the efforts of of many property owners, residents are working to revitalize the area to restore its past glory.