Garden description: After listening to a virtual presentation last year on the need for more pollinator gardens, I decided to no longer think about it, but to just do it! I realized the large front lawn I had was blank and boring and I never have had a love affair with cutting grass. My family and I live in a typical suburban neighborhood where professionally maintained lawns were a must! But I’ve always been a bit of a rule breaker and I knew that my neighbors will probably talk about me behind my back while I worked, creating my new gardens, but I was okay with that because I knew their minds would change. Early Spring, my husband helped as I started the process of sod removal in preparation of the wonderful variety of plants I planned to put into the grass’ place. I worked tirelessly for months choosing my plants and keeping in mind that I want to fill my gardens with native plants of all shapes, sizes and colors. I have a few non-natives in the mix, but I avoided any non-native Invasives. The plan for where the gardens would go was easy, but I made up the rest as I went along. Added in the mix are also berries, such as Blueberry bushes and strawberries. I also filled in the center garden with Watermelon plants and they are gorgeous and producing many wonderful fruit. I want to share everything I planted with the wildlife, I realize that I am merely a head gardener for their home and they allow me to enjoy it; I’d say that’s a beautiful arrangement! I have more plans for upcoming fall plantings. I hope to add another evergreen for winter habits for the critters. The small pond we put in is tranquility at its finest. Every day I step out my front door, I feel like I am somewhere new and exotic and I can’t wait to see what the future brings. Yes, it’s a lot of hard work but I am proud of every callus, cut, mosquito bite, and even the pain of my arthritic fingers. I wouldn’t change it for the world. And my neighbors…everyone slows their cars, stops to look around and can’t wait to ask questions and to tell me how lovely my gardens are. I knew they’d come around!

Who are the gardeners? Myself, Nicole, I am an enthusiast. I have no training, but I will attend any online or in person presentation I can. I have gardened for most of my life, learning more as I do. My mother had a lovely garden and she helped to instill the love of playing in the dirt with me. My husband, Bill helped with a few of the heavy jobs, and I am very thankful, mainly because of his support and understanding of what I was creating. I have three wonderful daughters that would lend a hand, here and there. They will grow their own gardens one day and then pass that love and education on to their children. That is the hope…to continue this work for a better future and a stronger presence of pollinator gardens!

Why do you garden? To clear my head, it’s my time to be mindful and to just be one with the nature around me. There is so much peace and calmness when you are in the garden alone. I like to create things also. I am happy making things that are beautiful. In the case of gardening I can’t take the credit of creating my plants, but I place them and care for them so they can thrive. It’s pretty magical to see the things you touch grow! Then you sit back and watch the show of the pollinators and all the wildlife that has enjoyment from something that I helped bring to life.

How has gardening impacted you during this time? Gardening has saved me from the fear and anxiety that I battle with daily. During the pandemic, anxiety worsened and I knew that I had to get outside and be among the flora and the fauna. I am in a much better place and I hope to share my experiences with therapeutic gardening with others.

What do you have in your garden? I have so many plants, I’ll list many of them here: Almond tree, magnolia grandiflora, beautybush, bayberry, echinacea, red hot pokers, 2 blueberries, fig bush, watermelon, Request edit access Juniper bush, ruby falls redbud, roses, butterfly weed, milkweed, flox, st. john’s wart, pacasandra, ferns, strawberry, 2 limelight hydrangea, 2 skypencils, barren strawberry, hosta, ornamental maidenhair and zebra grasses, hellebores, astilbe, buglewort, juniper ground cover, calla lilies, mountain laurel, various thyme ground covers, viburnum ‘winterthur’, chokeberry, decadence, old fashioned lilac, lavender, and much more!

Do you have any problems with disease or pests? If so, how are you dealing with this problem? I’ve been dealing with a good deal of Spotted Lantern Flies. I am in the garden multiple times a day killing them by hand. I have purchased items to trap and kill them which I will install this weekend. I have seen a decline in numbers lately.




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