Mildred McReynolds Atchison is the recipient of the 23rd Spirit of Union Award.

Mildred McReynolds Atchison is the recipient of the 2017 Spirit of Union Award.

Mildred has lived in the beautifully maintained red-brick ranch at 306 Carol Lane since 1974.

“Union is a quiet and peaceful town. My neighbors have been here almost as long as I have. I raised my two sons here,” she said. “This is truly home.”

Over the years, she’s added onto the home and continually improved the yard with new plantings.

When she first moved in, the inside of the house was configured differently. In adding a room addition, she took out some walls and opened up the layout. The home boasts three bedrooms, two dining areas, a living room and a family room, and two fireplaces.

“It’s now a very open floor plan,” she said.

As beautiful as the inside of the home is, it’s the outside of the property that caught the attention of the City of Union’s Park Board.

Mildred’s love of gardening shows in her beautifully landscaped yard. Now retired, she spends the equivalent of several days a week dedicated to planning, planting and pruning her outdoor space.

“I love gardening. It’s my hobby, my pastime, a labor of love,” she said.

The first thing one notices when approaching the home is the expanse of green lawn with sculpted borders that include varying kinds of hostas and shrubs. Ornamental trees and bushes also adorn the front yard. Baskets with flowers hang from the front porch. Several sculptures and Malibu lights add interest and dimension. A planted border hugs the driveway all the way up to the garage.

The backyard is fenced, creating a private oasis. Mildred added a deck-like patio area to the back of the house, extending the living space outdoors. There, large umbrellas shade wicker furniture and a wrought-iron dining set. Three large maple trees also shade the backyard. Weaving along the fence line are more hostas as well as asters, Coral Bells, Black-Eyed Susans, hibiscus plants and a variety of shrubs. Spilling from pots and baskets are impatiens (her favorite flower) in hues of white, red and pink. In the spring, lots of lilies make an appearance. Clematis climbs along the fence. Oak-leaf geraniums – a recent find – are in a pot on the patio. Outdoor light strands add a festive touch to the patio area at night.

“I’m really pleased to receive the Spirit of Union Award,” Mildred said.

The Park Board established the Spirit of Union Award in 1997 to encourage exterior enhancements of residential and business properties. More information about the City’s Spirit of Union Award can be found on the City’s website at