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Published: Saturday, 7/30/2011 - Updated: 4 years ago


Whitehouse Country Manor: Raising awareness

Gloria Steger, left, Linda McCord, and Donnie Dixon pluck dead  flowers as they work in the garden at Whitehouse Country Manor. Gloria Steger, left, Linda McCord, and Donnie Dixon pluck dead flowers as they work in the garden at Whitehouse Country Manor.
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The Blade seeks gardeners for Weed It & Reap who are as varied as what they grow and who dig in gardens large, small, and with unusual content. In a sentence, tell us what is unique about you or your garden. Contact Tahree Lane at tlane@theblade.com or 419-724-6075.

Name: Linda McCord, retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant, living in Whitehouse. Gardening with Gloria Steger and Donnie Dixon.

Garden specs:  In the courtyard of the Whitehouse Country Manor are two 3-by-10 foot, raised garden boxes. They’re very handy; we don’t have to bend down, which is especially helpful because two of us are in wheelchairs. We have several large containers and two upside-down hanging tomato planters.

When did you start gardening? This is the fourth year here for these beds and it’s expanded every year. I’m trying to talk them into getting another box to grow some yellow squash. As a child I helped my grandmother at her garden in Indiana. In 1993, I moved to a farm in Lyons where we planted a half-acre with all kinds of vegetables and flowers. 

Gloria: This is the first time I’ve gardened. I love watering and weeding. I love everything about it. We’re inside all winter. I want people to see that although we all have our problems (I have multiple sclerosis), we do what we can do.

Donnie: I was raised on a farm in Lawrence County, Kentucky. We had a half-acre with potatoes, peas, green beans, everything. I liked working in it as a boy. Now, I enjoy getting out and working at it and watching it grow.

What do you grow? Petunias, impatiens, marigolds, chives, green onions, green peppers, and four varieties of tomatoes.

Hens and chicks in a decorative flower pot. Hens and chicks in a decorative flower pot.
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Favorite plant: All flowers and the heirloom tomato plant.

Give us a gardening tip: Weed, weed, weed. And every day, pull off dead flowers and leaves.

Hours spent gardening: Every morning after breakfast, at least a half hour to an hour a day. I do all the watering and  sweep up the sidewalk.

Annual expense: My husband supplies some of the gardening tools. The activities department here supplies the plants, and our maintenance department built the raised beds. 

Challenges: Some days one of us may not be feeling well, but someone will always take the time to water, weed, and care for our garden. 

I’m proud of: The pink, purple, and white petunias. And especially knowing that  when the tomatoes and peppers and onions are ripe, our chef, Gordon Wright, will use them in salads and for cooking in some of our meals!

What I’ve learned gardening: If you put work and love into your garden, you will reap the benefits.

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