Flower gardens can turn an ordinary area into a colorful showcase or create a border that pops.
Just knowing how to do that is the challenge.
That's why appreciation in what others do, like master gardeners, is fully realized when trying to do just a simple task such as transplanting lilies. After digging around in the dirt recently, I also dug up an old column on landscaping.
Several years ago, I wrote about how the lilies had come from my mother-in-law's garden in Indiana. Her flower garden was carefully planned out and cared for. A son owns the house now and doesn't particularly want flowers or their required maintenance. So, it was either see them thrown out, or pack them in a bucket and bring them to Michigan.
I'm a sentimental sap when it comes to keeping a plant that meant something to someone I once knew well. It means just as much as bringing home a necklace I can remember her wearing at my wedding. I know … that's why my basement is still filled with “stuff” that I can't seem to get rid of.
Back to the art of flower gardening … It really is amazing how our area master gardeners achieve so much beauty around our community. Projects like ones done at the Hillsdale County Fairgrounds and around town by some master gardeners really spruce up the landscape.
Then there are the ladies who've worked at Mrs. Stock's Park, planting, weeding and caring for the beautiful landscape bordering the park and filling it with splendor. I'm sure it's original gardener, Willhemina Stock, would be proud to see their efforts today. I miss seeing Sally Fallon working alongside other gardeners as she's now keeping Heaven's gardens, along with my mother-in-law.
For me, just digging six holes in a somewhat haphazard flower spot was a triumph with those six plants from Indiana. Between the humidity, mosquitoes and a faulty sprayer on the end of my water hose, I remember looking like I had just fought a war. The effect was recently similar when a friend gave me some marigold seeds to plant - my flower of choice in this neck of the woods.
My cousin's flower garden in Missouri, though, is something to admire. She's into container gardening and plans her corner landscape garden carefully, having the right idea of arranging the planters closely together. The overall look gives her varying plants of bright colors and heights in a perfect collage of artistry.
She claims it's not that hard to do – that it just requires a keen eye for arranging the plants in a semi-circle that gives symmetry and design.
Since containers are portable, they can be placed in well-used living areas during their prime and then removed or replaced after they’ve become spent. Container gardens truly add an instant landscaped look.
I did try it one year as a smaller version of hers. Only the next morning, part of the containers were overturned, some were pulled out with dirt spilled around the area, while the rest were snipped off down to their roots. Like I said, marigolds - the only ones deer won't bother - are my flower of choice.
My cousin doesn't have a deer crossing in her yard like some of us do here, so it works for her.
As for the lilies, there was no guarantee that those six plants transported from Indiana would survive, but to this day, the want-to-be sentimental gardener still emerges in me despite the fact.
I finished off that previous column by writing if those heirloom plants from my mother-in-law didn't make it in their new home among the occasional weed, wandering iris and unknown wildflower, I could still smile at the effort and remember a woman who had a talent for making landscapes pop with color. It's just too bad that I can't remember where I planted them.
Though they probably aren't around anymore, I can relish how they made me feel and that I enjoyed their beauty while here for a short time.
Nancy Hastings is a Daily News staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @nhastingsHDN