FEA wiardorothy25p Dorothy Kott, 80, uses her colorful floral choices to bring life to the home she and her son, Gary, share in Toledo. Kott lost her husband to a heart attack and another of her sons in a car accident on Christmas Eve of 2010. When she moved across town recently, she decided her new home would be colorful. The Begonias she has planted in front of her home have attracted the attention of neighbors and passersby alike. THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
Name: Dorothy Kott, homemaker, living in West Toledo.
Garden specs: Very large front and back yards.
When did you start gardening? It seems like I've enjoyed it forever. When the four kids were young, I shared a vegetable garden with a neighbor and froze a lot of vegetables. After they were grown, I did more flower gardening.
What do you grow? We moved from a small house in the central city in November to this large house and yard. We started with a blank slate in the spring. We had three huge cottonwood trees removed. The plan was to put many flats of impatiens around the whole front of the house, but the first flat we planted didn't do well, so we went with red, white, and pink begonias which got bushy and tall. Behind them we planted coleus, calla lilies, orange and white petunias, purple and pink wave petunias. Mums, some I brought from the old house, are blooming. I also planted a perennial banana tree with reddish leaves.
In the backyard there are small gardens along the fence line, but I've run into roots everywhere. I put in asters, SunPatiens, coleus, mums, and marigolds. All of these will be easy to cut back when they die out.
Favorite plant: I love hyacinths: they mean spring and the time when everything comes alive. And the fragrance is great. My mom loved them, too. I try new plants and like the ones that are easy to grow and take care of. I love roses but I don't have luck with them. They need to be babied and I don't like to baby things.
Give us a tip: When I pinch back mums in late spring and early summer, I plant the cuttings in the ground with some Miracle-Gro and they often root and become a new plant. And don't get discouraged when things don't work out. Try again. Start with packages of seeds and see how that works.
Hours spent gardening: About 10 a week. It depends on the weather and the flowers. I plant flowers close together so weeding is easier.
Annual expense: About $500 this year to get things started. I buy a lot on the QVC channel.
Challenges: Getting older (I'm 80), and hoping to be able to plant again next year. I still get up and down well.
I'm proud of my family especially my son Gary who helps me every day and does a great job with the lawn. The garden is a dedication to my husband, Dick, who died Jan. 14, 2010 and my son, Wayne, who was killed in a car accident Christmas Eve, 2010. They give me inspiration to keep on going. We live in this house now because of my son's death, but I'd give all this up to have him here. I thank all my family, friends, and neighbors who have been so kind and tell us how much they like the yard. It makes it all worthwhile. Thank you all!
What I get out of gardening: Relaxation and enjoyment. When you're putting that flower in the hole, you don't have time to worry. It's great therapy for stress.