LOS CHAVEZ — The Valencia County Extension Master Gardeners have chosen the yard of Brandon and Sirissa Galarza as the September “Yard and Garden of the Month” in the contest co-sponsored by the Valencia County News-Bulletin.

Brandon and Sirissa Galarza in front of one the fountains in their Los Chavez yard.

“The Galarzas have converted their once ‘dirt lot’ into a welcoming grass and tree-filled yard for family and friends” said Rigo Chavez, who chairs the Master Gardener Yard of the Month committee. “It was amazing to see what they have been able to accomplish in just a couple of years.

“Again this month we saw a variety of yards and gardens nominated or entered in the contest — everything from a Japanese-inspired garden complete with a pagoda in Rio Communities to a Los Lunas-area garden that yields hundreds of pounds of vegetables each week to be sold at an Albuquerque farmer’s market.”

The Galarzas, who live on Kendrick Road in Los Chavez, said they wanted to transform the area around their home on the 2.75-acre lot so that their two sons could get out and play.

The Galarza’s backyard includes a pergola with a hammock for relaxing.

“That was the major reason we put in the grass,” said Sirissa Galarza, adding that it has been a challenge to keep weeds like goat heads out so that the lawn can be enjoyed.

Brandon Galarza said Sirissa designed the yard, chose most of the plants and trees and takes care of the lawn.

“We really wanted to make it a place we could enjoy now that we have settled here,” added Brandon.

Both are Navy veterans and Brandon retired two years ago.

October will be the last yard and garden competition for the year, said Merlinda Acevedo, president of the Valencia County Master Gardeners.

“The theme for this last contest will be harvest/Halloween,” Acevedo said.

Nominations and entries are due by noon, Friday, Oct. 23, and 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;

• Nominations must be submitted via email to either Rigo Chavez at chavrf66@gmail.com or Merlinda Acevedo at mercruz_2000@yahoo.com;

• 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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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.