Bluebird Farm -Crescent OK - home of Phil and Frances Macy
When Phil and Frances Macy were friends and then sweethearts at Crescent OK high school, they never could have imagined that they would be the ones who would restore the family land and farmhouse in their retirement.
The house was already 20-years old when Phil’s ancestors bought it over 100 years ago. The original floors of the 800 square-foot home have been restored and many original features have been preserved.
“My mother was born in this house,” said Phil. “And, she was able to celebrate her 100th birthday in it three years before her death in 1959.”
The Macys lived in many locations around the country and when they retired in 1997 they moved from St. Louis to Edmond. Restoration at the family farm and building the landscape began in 2000.
Now called Bluebird Farm, the Murry-Wilson-Macy property north of Crescent earned an OK Centennial Landmark designation and the Foucart Award for Preservation.
“When we started, there were no trees and no gardens,” said Frances. “I wanted to create a history of pioneer women on the land so I started by planting everything the local people gave us.”
Today, the gardens are a reflection of 15-years of planting, tending and weeding what was a 320-acre piece of central OK prairie.
“We started making the gardens with three peonies from my mom’s garden,” said Frances. “All this became possible when we dug the second well to have enough water-pressure to irrigate 5-acres.”
Plants shared by friends and family include the Larkspur from her mother’s neighbor in Guthrie, red Yarrow from a friend in Cushing, and a slip of White Meidiland Rose from a friend.
When a friend of the Macy’s decided to downsize her tree nursery she invited them to pick out whatever they could use. The next week, the friend arrived with a truckload of trees that begin building Bluebird Farm into what now is a beautifully wooded and shaded lot.
In the front yard, male persimmon trees have taken hold, reproducing shade trees that allow sun to fall on the ground below.
At the back of the house, the 120-year-old well-house and storm shelter have been surrounded with garden, an arbor, and a shaded seating area. The rock path between the house and the smoke house was laid by Phil’s grandfather, Alfred Murry.
In addition to the beds that are stuffed with Lamb’s Ears, Joe Pye Weed, Phlox Victoria, Knockout Roses, pink flowering Weigela shrubs, Nepeta Walker’s Low, canna lily, hosta, daylily, Sedum Autumn Joy, Crape Myrtles, and other perennials, Frances plants hundreds of seeds every year.
“Every year I plant seeds of zinnias, hyacinth beans, tithonia, cleome, cosmos, marigolds, moonflowers, morning glories, agastache, and other flowers,” said Frances.
When the restoration of the original home was completed, the Macys built a second house next door where the entire family can stay when they come to visit.
Between the front gardens that surround the houses and the vegetable beds by the barn, there is a creekside gully planted with redbud and dogwood trees.
The fruit trees and vegetable garden are Phil’s projects. He grows root vegetables such as potatoes and onions as well as green beans and tomatoes. But, there is also dill to feed butterfly caterpillars. At the front corner of the vegetable bed, planted with herbs, is the wash tub that belonged to Frances’ mother.
The Macys have opened their gardens for events over the years. One year the fundraiser, “A Walk in Three Country Gardens”, raised money for the Frontier Museum in Crescent. They also open the garden to groups of painters who come to spend the day doing portraits of the flowers and the dozens of blue birds that live on the property.