Thirty years ago I married a professional beekeeper, who put honey in 55-gallon barrels instead of bears, and moved from Whigham, Georgia, to Cozad, Nebraska. From our telephone courtship I knew that my husband was very proud of his bluegrass lawn, which I discovered lost in a sea of alfalfa on my one trip north before we were married. River rocks was his foundation planting of choice, and for a couple of years I thought that might be the best choice in such cold; however, one day I was inspired to step off the back deck and push my shovel into the bluegrass. Eventually my husband was encouraging me to stop killing it all! Even so, he got rid of the sprinkler heads and supported me in every way. After our kids were grown I became a Master Gardener and enjoyed learning and volunteering so much I have kept at it for twenty years. Now my garden covers several of our Bee Blessed Acres.
My biggest failure was an attempted memory garden for our daughter under our Scotch pine windbreak. The hungry deer and the dry shade totally defeated me. I have lost many smaller battles as well, but I just love digging and planting, so in time I developed the sunny perennial garden I had always dreamed of with my husband’s bluegrass for contrast inside the split-rail fence. Less maintenance and less water characterize the prairie-like plantings farther from our house. Shade dominates part of our mature garden, as some have accused me of trying to re-create Georgia woodlands.
Now we are selling and moving to Oklahoma. I hope to begin a new garden there as I learn about a new gardening zone and a new time of life at age 71.
Rose campion (Lychnis coronaria, Zones 4–8).
Bright white Asiatic lilies (Lilium hybrid, Asiatic group, Zones 4–8).
Huge white flower heads of smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens, Zones 3–9).
Another Asiatic lily, this one showing off its orange flowers on tall, elegant stems.
A sea of the nodding white flower heads of gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides, Zones 3–8).
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–8), surely much appreciated by the bees!
What a spectacular garden! Certainly an upgrade from a plain bluegrass lawn.
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