Congratulations from the Sunshine Garden Club to the Jerry Narland residence at 122 S. 7th Ave. for October 2020 Garden of the Month in the category of Outside Seating in Residential Area for Public Use. 

Sunshine Garden Club: Narland vest pocket park

“The little vest-pocket park has been there for 15 years or better,” said Narland. “My late wife and I put it in not too long after we moved into the old King house back in ‘99. It has been enjoyed several times a week by myself, usually with morning or evening coffee. All of our combined family members and friends have relaxed by enjoying the view down the streets. Nearly every day I see someone stopping to rest for a few minutes, dogs walking their humans, seniors, school kids, folks of all ages.

“Plants chosen are all low maintenance and shade loving, as the corner gets little sun through the summer. I pretty much operate on the theory that once they are in the ground they are on their own.”

According to Narland, the expense to install a small park is slight, I would guess around $500 to $700 in today’s prices, and considerably less if you do most of the work yourself. 

“I have much less invested,” said Narland. “Maintenance comes down to a day or two each year, and a little picking up now and then. There really is no reason why there is not something of this sort on a corner every couple of blocks. They could be combined with the little free libraries that are so popular. 

“It wasn’t a factor when originally planned, but the benches are far enough apart to allow for conversation between visitors during these unique times. An opportunity for neighbors to still be neighbors.”

The Wilson family resides at 1217 Highway 169. This farmstead is unique for the buildings surrounded with gardens and the conifers. 

“There is no record that we’re aware of that confirms the year this farmstead was established,” say the Wilsons. “Our acreage and our neighbor’s acreage was one farmstead for many years. As one farm, we had the horse barn and the neighbors had the cattle barn.  Our neighbors have determined the cattle barn was built in 1884, so we consider that a general time frame for the establishment of our farmstead. We have lived here 22 years. 

“One of the unique features of our acreage is the outdoor brick kitchen. I can imagine the kitchen was used in the heat of the summer to cook meals and canning vegetables grown in the garden. All the outdoor cooking and canning helped to kept the house cooler. We have added a concrete patio and pergola to the kitchen area and use it for entertaining or just to sit and enjoy the outdoors.” 

Another feature is a brick smokehouse, complete with meathooks and metal shingles. 

Sunshine Garden Club: Wilson smokehouse kitchen

“I consider living in the country a joy every season. This time of year, the weather is cooling down, the trees are coming alive with color and the smell of autumn is in the air. In the spring and summer, we love our gardens and all the birds, butterflies, bees and insects that visit or live in our outdoor oasis. 

“I’m not sure we have a favorite area, of course we like sitting on the patio, but there are times we just chose a different spot to sit and look at all the activity that takes place. You never know when a deer may just wander by.”

Favorite plants include Hostas (many varieties), Joe Pye weed, and Lythrum or Loosetrife.

Sunshine Garden Club: Wilson conifer trees

Sunshine Garden Club is excited to share the residence of Deb Groth as an All Around Gardener for her garden teaching, greenhouse/nursery businesswoman, and large residential gardens visually accessible at 2451 Cumming Road. 

“Greenhouse growing and growing in the garden are entirely different endeavors,” said Groth, “so I like to try new plant introductions, photograph the results and share that on social media. There are so many new plants and improvements on the ‘tried and true’ varieties, and that excites me for the gardening public.” 

Important things for Groth include deadheading, trimming, and weeding. 

“It doesn’t take that long when done as part of a weekly routine and makes the beds look so much better. The best part of gardening is the therapy that comes from being outdoors in nature.” 

Favorite plants? “That would be like picking your favorite child, but the workhorses for me are hardy shrub roses, hydrangeas, hardy geraniums, hostas and ornamental grasses. They provide multiple seasons of color and interest, are low maintenance, winter hardy and are the backbone of my gardens.” 

Mulching is another important gardening task. 

“It’s best to wait until the soil warms up sometime after Mother’s Day. The point of mulch is to retain moisture, keep roots cool and control weeds. Mulching too early can cause the later emerging, heat loving plants to succumb to root rots and diseases.” 

Sunshine Garden Club: Groth Gardens with asters

“When planning a garden, select plants for blooming interest for spring through fall,” advises Groth. Most perennials have a two- to three-week bloom time, some can bloom up to six weeks. 

“Late summer and fall bloomers don’t look very exciting in the spring; they will have all season to grow and put on a show by fall,” said Groth.

“Perennials, roses and shrubs take time to mature to full size as they will initially develop a root system to support top growth. Rule of thumb is: The first year they sleep, second year creep and third year they leap!”