Name: Julie Peace, retired Sylvania elementary school teacher living in West Toledo.
Garden specs:A small front yard and along both sides of our twinplex. There's intense gardening behind the house and around the deck. The back yard is about the size of a football field and slopes rather steeply down to Half Creek. We have flower beds all the way down to the creek along the property lines.
When did you start gardening? I helped my mom, she did all the yard work after my father passed away when I was in third grade. In earnest, when we moved here 16 years ago.
What do you grow? Anything to bring in birds and butterflies. In the spring, the creek floods about 40 feet of the back yard with a few feet of water for about a week. Plants that withstand submersion include coneflowers (including the red Tomato Soup coneflower), hostas, black-eyed susans, bishop's weed, evening primrose, ornamental grass, clematis, Virginia creeper, sedum, rose of sharon, dogwood, trumpet vine, mint, ferns, and daylilies. After the water recedes, I plant annuals for color. (You can tell I taught first grade, I like color). Up the hill are herbs, hydrangeas, lilacs, double hollyhocks, and lots of pots. We also have a dry creek bed area full of stones, three water features, and memory gardens with mementoes of the people who have touched our lives and passed on.
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Favorite plant: Oriental lily because of its beautiful smell.
Give us a tip: Start small, do a little each year. We've done an area or two each year. Also, consider succulents for pots; I tuck about four different ones in each pot. Hostas are beautiful in pots and will winter over in them. And going on garden tours is a great way to get ideas.
Hours spent gardening: About 10 to 15 hours a week, more in spring and fall.
Annual expense: $100 to $150 for annuals and new perennials.
Challenges: Putting away all the collections in the fall takes about a week.
I'm proud of: I made a memory garden this spring in honor of my mom. I also love all my collections which include inuksuks we've built (stone pilings used by people in the Arctic regions of Canada, Alaska, and Greenland), St. Francis of Assisi statues, a dozen each of birdhouses and birdbaths (with solar water-wigglers), solar-lit dragonflies, angels, peace items, wind chimes, turtles, frogs, Carruth sculptures, wrought-iron gates, and many other artifacts, including found objects such as a child's battery-operated Jeep. When we moved here it was pretty much a blank slate, and my husband, Ken Peace, has been there to help make my dreams come true.
What I get out of gardening: I've just retired after 35 years of teaching and have more time to sit and enjoy its peace, nature, and the connection to all that was created by God. I love to meditate and watch the birds and creatures that visit. We've got hummingbirds, woodpeckers (downy, hairy, red-headed, and red-breasted), blue birds, indigo buntings, yellow finches, and more). Also, Ken and I enjoy doing projects together. He's my can-do man; he makes my ideas happen. And he has some really good ideas, too.