Lush greenery, pond and tranquil fountain set one Old Louisville garden apart. Take a peek

Bill and Becky Medley’s front yard boasts several new plantings that are just starting to bloom.

"The winter took a real hard toll," Bill told The Courier Journal. "I had to put in all these (new) plantings — holly and boxwoods, and ferns."

After last winter’s cold snap, the Old Louisville couple redid most of their outdoor spaces. The front area now also boasts fresh new coral bells, begonias, and other flora. The backyard — which features a fish pond and fountain — is also filled with lots of new greenery.

For the love of a garden

A trellis and flowers in the backyard garden of Bill and Becky Medley.

Bill explained that he and Becky moved into their Old Louisville home about eight years ago.

"Some of the big things were here — the pond and big trees," he said. "But the yard was kind of (just) mud and weeds, so we’ve been doing little things as we go."

They started working on the garden immediately upon moving in, first getting the grass reestablished and growing. Next, they added perennials like hostas. Bill said that neither he nor his wife has any formal training in gardening, but he has many years of experience and grew a fondness for flora at an early age.

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Flowers surround a sitting area in the backyard garden of Bill and Becky Medley.

"When I was a kid, I was involved in vegetable gardens," he explained. "My father was a farmer. … That’s probably where I learned to do any gardening — planting tomatoes, beans, and peppers, and that sort of thing."

He has since moved on to gardening more for aesthetics. He and Becky usually choose what kinds of plants they want to bring home solely based on how they look.

"My mother used to have beautiful flowers in the yard, so I guess I try to do something in her honor — keep (flowers) growing and blooming," he said.

Trees and more

A water feature in the backyard garden of Bill and Becky Medley.

Though the Medleys lost a lot of plants to cold weather this past winter, there are several large trees in the backyard that have stood the test of time. A large holly tree sits on the right, a Japanese maple in the center next to the fish pond, a weeping cherry toward the back, and what might be a weeping mulberry on the other side of the yard.

The large trees predate the Medleys' time in the home, and Bill is working on identifying them all.

"I’m going to have somebody from the extension office come out here one day and help me," he said.

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Flowers dot the the backyard garden of Bill and Becky Medley.

Bill joked that he can’t name many of the plants that are growing around their home — but that hasn’t stopped him from keeping the space looking green and lush.

"I don’t (use) many chemicals," he said, explaining that he puts a little fertilizer on the grass in the spring, but that’s about it. Even though he has noticed holes in the hosta leaves — a clear indication that something has been eating at it — he opts to let it be.

"I’m not going to spray it," he said. "If that’s the worse thing they’re going to do, let them do it — even a bug deserves a dinner."

Safe space for wildlife

A water feature in the backyard garden of Bill and Becky Medley.

Insects aren’t the only creatures traipsing around the Medleys’ yard. They’ve seen robins, hummingbirds, and hawks pass through the garden, too. Bill explained that large birds are the reason the once-filled fish pond doesn’t have a single koi in it anymore.

"There’s a hawk’s nest (out here)," he said. "And one day, I walked out and a big blue heron — standing three feet tall — was out here. They were all fishing out of my pond."

He has considered replenishing the fish supply and adding a net to the top of the pond, but he doesn’t want birds or other animals to get stuck and potentially hurt themselves trying to break free. In any case, the pond is a lovely focal point in the garden — and it still serves its purpose.

Mirrors and paintings along the fence in the backyard garden of Bill and Becky Medley.

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"It runs all year long — even in the winter," Bill said, adding that the sound of the fountain is his favorite aspect of the garden.

The public is welcome to enjoy the fountain, too, as Bill and Becky’s space is part of the Old Louisville Hidden Treasures Garden Tour this year.

"I want (tour-goers) to build a little separation from being in the city and always looking at concrete," Bill said, "(and) just notice how much green there is."

Know a house that would make a great Home of the Week? Email writer Lennie Omalza at or Lifestyle Editor Kathryn Gregory at

nuts & bolts

Owners: Bill and Becky Medley. Bill works in marketing at Simpson Aerospace Services and Becky works in banking at Wesbanco. Also in the home is the couple’s dog, Doc.

Home: This is a 5-bed, 4-bath, 5,300-square-foot Victorian home in Old Louisville that was built in 1895.

Distinctive elements: Classic Victorian with eight fireplaces, original hardwood floors, and grand staircase.

Applause! Applause! Bill's brother and retired golf course manager L.A. Medley, who helped restore the turf; and Bill’s late mother Bessie Medley, who helped him appreciate the beauty of flowers.

The Old Louisville Hidden Treasures Garden Tour

WHAT: The Old Louisville Hidden Treasures Garden Tour welcomes garden lovers into the private green spaces of the nation’s largest Victorian residential neighborhood.

WHEN: June 10-11. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Registration and will-call will be on the lawn of the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum at 1402 St. James Court.

TICKETS: Tickets purchased the day of the tour are $25; tickets purchased in advance at before 5 p.m. on June 9 are $20. Tickets for seniors ages 65 and older are $20.

PARKING: Street parking is available.

MORE INFORMATION: For more information, visit

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Sneak peek inside 2023 Old Louisville Hidden Treasures Garden Tour