Yard of the Month: 1980 Nelson

John and Tyrina Browning learned the art of gardening after trying unsuccessfully to save some azaleas in their yard 20 years ago. Photo by Sydney Ashby.

John and Tyrina Browning did not know that trying to save some azaleas from blight almost 20 years ago would lead to one of the most amazing yards in Cooper-Young: 1980 Nelson.

They have been Cooper-Young residents for 20 years, living first on Elzey and then recently moving to Nelson. Shortly after moving onto Elzey, they noticed the azaleas were suffering. John says he must’ve spent more than $100 trying to figure out how to save them, to no avail. They died.

But that struggle started a process of adding a little of this and that to the yard and learning a lot in the process. You can see the culmination of their journey by admiring a remarkable variety of plants, flowers, shrubs and even a water feature in their Nelson front yard.

A sample of their impressive assortment includes corabells, midnight roses, colorful impatiens, hostas, a Mexican petunia, lantana, juniper, “elephant ears,” and a lovely butterfly bush that had grown so large they had to move it and replace it with a gardenia.

All John has to left to mow is the median, and that’s just how he likes it. He said he also likes being outside and working with his hands. You can find him and Ty outside just about every day working to maintain and improve their yard although, Ty takes care of the inside of the house, too, so you might not always catch her.

Both are very involved in the CYCA and give their time and talents to many neighborhood functions. Ty says about Cooper Young, “We like the people and ambience of Midtown. We are Midtown snobs and proud of it.”

John agrees and tells people who give him a hard time about never leaving Midtown, “I go all the way out east to Buster’s to buy liquor.”

So stroll by and admire their remarkable work. They’ll probably be outside.

– Sydney Ashby


Thank you to Midtown Nursery for sponsoring Yard of the Month. Please visit them at the corner of Cooper and Central on Mondays-Saturdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., or Sundays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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