Friends In the Garden – A Three-Part Series

By Marie Jones.
One of the wonderful things about gardening is meeting friends who share your love of the same hobby. I am blessed to have several friends that enjoy gardening, and I'd like to introduce three of them to you over the next few weeks.

Today I'll start with Annie, who's had a love for gardening since she was a young girl. Her early interest came by way of her dad, who planted lilacs and grew tomatoes at every house they lived at.
Carrying on that early zeal, Annie grows over 30 varieties of tomatoes each year. The plants are started from seed on her kitchen counter in late winter and later transferred to the greenhouse in April. Finally, as is the case each year, they are planted outside on Mother's Day. For 20 years, she hosted a yearly garden sale that included tomatoes and plants started from seed, items out of her own garden, and plants she bought as special features.
From working on-site with landscaping to having her own landscaping design business, Annie has had plenty of experience with plants. After taking classes in horticulture and design, her own yard became a laboratory. Over the years, it has been completely transformed, with only four original trees remaining while everything else is new. After years of hand watering and using sprinklers and soaker hoses, she and her husband put in a water system. Recently she has been taking the yard through a selective reduction to make it less work intensive and easier to care for.
Some highlights of plants included in this luscious landscape include over 25 varieties of hydrangea bushes. One bush brought from her last home is called "Annabelle" and is over 43 years old. An impressive row of lilacs now compiles a hedge along the driveway. From late winter throughout the fall, there are many varieties of bulbs, perennials, and trees popping up and blooming, including a delicious smelling jasmine, a trumpet vine, and 12 types of rose bushes. Throughout the yard are potted plants tucked in and around flowerbeds and onto the back deck and the house's front entrance.
There are many handmade pieces of art in Annie's garden. Some of the items she has created include mosaic stepping stones made from broken pottery, hypertufa pots, and giant leaf castings. There is also a chicken coop that her husband built. After a season of chickens and eggs, they scrubbed it down and converted it into a playhouse for the grandchildren.
Some pathways lead to secret gardens with seating areas, gnomes, and other delights that grandchildren and guests alike have enjoyed over the years.

From a wedding and receptions to hosting her garden group, this fabulous environment has been the backdrop to many gatherings for family and friends. It continues to be a remarkable venue reflecting ingenious creativity and hospitality.
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