LEBANON — Lebanon’s top gardeners agree that the key to a grand green space is fearlessness.
“You can’t be afraid to make mistakes,” said Margaret Uchtman, whose sprawling yard includes hundreds of hosta plants and more than 20 trees she planted herself.
“If you plant something and it doesn’t work, you can always move it,” agreed Betsy Flowers, who despite having limited space and urban encroachment created a green hideaway in her backyard using shade trees and shade loving plants.
Uchtman’s and Flowers’ gardens are two of the five featured this Saturday and Sunday on the 22nd annual Lebanon Garden Tour. Visitors who wish to take the tour can purchase a map and tickets for $10 a person at the Lebanon Train Station, 198 S. Broadway.
Uchtman said she spent four months digging out ivy and honeysuckle bushes in order to first craft the garden of her dreams.
Uchtman said she spends five to six hours a day on her garden, even if its raining.
“I love the beauty of it all and knowing I had a hand in making something beautiful,” she said.
Lois Wiethe feels a similarly rebellious nature in planning a garden that includes a towering butterfly bush that really does attract butterflies and a pumpkin patch near her garage.
“It’s really good exercise,” Wiethe said. “But I also love the chance to sit back and say “ahh” and enjoy the fruits of my labors.”
Janice Willis’ garden includes lilies planted for her brother, a wide expanse of hydrangea and an area devoted strictly to sun-loving plants.
“We used trees to create a natural buffer to the road and foot traffic,” she said. “Now we can sit here and not be seen. It’s really wonderful.”
David and Carol Donovan adopted a more contemporary look for their garden, constructing large wooden planters in their back yard.
“We left them high so it’s be easier on our backs,” Carol Donovan joked.
“It’s always a work in progress,” David Donovan said. “We’ve put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears but had a lot of fun doing it.”
Like the other gardeners, the Donovans aren’t afraid to try off-the-wall ideas.
“You can’t be afraid to change things up,” Carol said. “It’s like a haircut. Not matter what you’ll do, it will grow back.”
The secret most gardeners share is to find out what flowers each gardener likes and work from there.
“Plant what you love,” Flowers said. “Plant what makes you feel happy and don’t worry about any rules.”
The tour is used to fund upkeep of the Lebanon Train Station and other beautification projects the Lebanon Council of Garden Clubs undertakes every year.
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