Making Dreams Come True
Lilac Hill is the dream and vision of my father, Don Maxon, who had a passion and love for gardening and landscaping. As a young man he fell in love with arboretums and botanical gardens, so when this run-down, over-grown 80-acre farm plot came on the market he quickly bought it up with the dream of establishing his own private arboretum. He saw through all the rusted-out farm equipment laying around, the unkempt trees and undergrowth that shrouded every view, and realized there was beauty to be had with some effort.
The property features a Sears catalog home, barn, and two sheds built in 1937 by the Dietrich family who had been in Louisville for many years. They ran the place as your typical farm, but fortunately they didn’t cut down all the nice oak, walnut, and cottonwood trees, some of which are now nearly 200 years old. Once my father bought the place in 1983, he and my mother, Beverly, began remodeling the house. They restored the original Craftsman style woodwork and trim and added some of their own touches to make it a home. Our family moved to the property in 1986 and then the real work began.
After many years of clear-cutting, the planting began. At one point my father boasted of having nearly 400 different day lilies and irises. He also realized the beauty of lilacs and began planting as many as he could get his hands on. Today we have an estimated 500-600 lilacs on the property, representing nearly all known varieties, which makes it one of the largest collections in the world according to the International Lilac Society (yes, that is a real thing!). There are hundreds of blue spruce’, hostas, hydrangea, crabapples, redbuds, and all kinds of other trees and shrubs that I don’t even know their names. He planted them all with a design, plan, and purpose that is really remarkable once you see it. My mother loved what he was building and spent her days maintaining all the flower beds and designing a few of her own.
Our Beloved Parents
Sadly in 2001, Beverly, my mother, suffered a brain aneurysm while they were traveling in the Denver airport along with multiple strokes. She spent 6 weeks in a coma in the hospital there with Don at her side. After she emerged from the coma she was left with massive brain damage and physical impairment which would require constant care for the rest of her life. She spent the next two years in rehabilitation facilities before my father finally brought her home. He cared for her at Lilac Hill while still working and continuing to develop the property.
Late in 2014, Don was diagnosed with stage 4 malignant melanoma. All those years of working outside without a hat or sunscreen caught up to him. Various treatments were pursued, but none were effective against the aggressive disease. He passed away on September 12th, 2015, my mothers’ birthday. Though she couldn’t speak, she spent that day with him in the hospital, holding his hand. His last words that day were of his love for her, his concern for her care, and his desire to see one more spring at the farm.
A New Beginning
Lilac Hill is a special place. A place of peace and beauty that is hard to find in this part of the country. When the sun settles into the horizon, the light is just… different. It sparkles off the leaves of the cottonwoods and walnuts which pierce the landscape with shadow. It’s a place of peace and reflection, quiet and sparkling color.
We are working to open up Lilac Hill to the public for events such as weddings, corporate outings, reunions, yard parties, and any other social events that can appreciate and enjoy this wonderful place. Thank you for listening to our story and we look forward to hearing from you soon.