Today we’re visiting the garden of Luana Carpenter in Massillon, Ohio.
My parents were wonderful gardeners so I guess I was lucky to get the gardening bug from them. After my husband and I moved into our home, I began with starts from my parents’ garden and put in my first bed. The yard was bare and neglected but had some lovely trees. My biggest regret was bringing lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis, Zones 3–8) from my old house even though it is my birth flower. We have a love/hate relationship.
I wanted to garden for wildlife, so I put in plants the birds and bees needed for food, shelter, and water and for raising their young.
Included were evergreens, shrubs that produce berries, perennials, and a small garden pond. I became certified by the National Wildlife Federation.
I had some failures in my part-shade, part-sun garden with finding areas that didn’t drain well and that needed to have dirt brought in to raise up beds. My first lesson in how important good drainage is in a garden had to do with the perennials my parents had given me from their sunny garden, which didn’t fair well in my garden.
I wanted to make the garden a private retreat, so I asked my husband to build screens along the east and west sides of the property. This has also allowed me to plant climbers, which I love.
While my husband has never been a gardener, thankfully he has agreed to build arbors, compost bins, and a swing house. There was a time when my husband thought me a little off as I would come home with plants with no place to put them and so would dig up more lawn to make room.
Over the more than 20 years that I’ve been gardening this yard, plants have come and gone. While I began with mostly pinks, purples, and whites, I slowly added more color, although I still prefer more restful colors. I love beds full of plants, and if I would have to categorize my garden, I would say it’s cottage style.
White Siberian iris (Iris siberica, Zones 3–9) blooms by the pond.
My garden will never be finished, and like most gardeners during the winter months, I’m excited for spring to come so I can get my hands dirty again.
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