Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016
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Weed It & Reap: Betty Fairson

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Over the years Betty Farison, who started gardening at age 6, has collected enough plants to have continuous blooms from April to October.


Name: Betty Farison, retired from bookkeeping, greenhouse and fl ower-shop work, living in the Old West End.

Garden Specs: My entire front lawn, 30 feet by 50 feet, has been replaced with bulbs, perennials, a weeping birch, and a pink dogwood. The backyard, 30 feet by 60 feet, is an informal English garden where everything seems to get along together.

When did you start gardening? In 1927, I was 6 years old and worked alongside my other, who was a botanist and teacher as well as a gardener. She loved wildflowers and at the beginning of the spring we were off into the woods. I was raised on a farm south of Napoleon during the Great Depression. We had no money, but the family always had a garden and raised tomatoes, strawberries, melons, pickling cukes, weet corn, beans, alfalfa, and popcorn. We had cows, pigs, chickens, and work horses and

didn't need to rely too much on the rationing stamps.

What do you grow? Tree peonies (they're woody), clematis, perennials, Knock Out roses, spring bulbs accented with annuals to add color. I've got more than 100 hostas

in small pots, and azaleas and ferns in containers around the patio.

What do you get out of it? Recreation and relaxation along with an outlet for my creativity.

Hours spent gardening: 10 to 12 hours a week during the spring; 20 to 30 hours a week during the summer months.

Annual expense: $300 to $400. I'm proud of my collection of tree peonies; they're an oriental plant. And over the years I've collected a wide variety of plants so I have a continuous progression of blooms from April to October. I have quite a few primroses, one of the fi rst things to fl ower as soon as the snow goes. And I pot up perennials

and sell them at the Old West End festival.



Challenges: I'm fortunate in that I always bend from the waist so I don't have to get up and down. But I have a pinched nerve that makes it diffi cult to walk and I have to sit down and rest.

Most used tool: A hand trowel which I use for planting, potting, and transplanting.

Word to the wise: If something dies, that's a good place to plant something else.

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