In the years Patti and Noel Grove have lived in their St. Joseph home, their garden has evolved through hard work, sharing and the help of others.
“Our plants, landscaping and hardscaping are the work of many hands,” Patti Grove said. “When we started this project 19 years ago, we had a few bushes and four trees.
“Family and friends have assisted in building our home, our shed, porch, patio, etc. — and my appreciation for 35 years of general contracting at various locations to my husband.”
At times, family and friends have helped out by bringing interesting rocks for the landscape. The most recent addition was from the peak of Roan Mountain in Tennessee, brought to St. Joseph by the Groves’ daughter.
Grove favors sturdy wildflowers that don’t usually have to be watered.
“Generally, all plants are hardy to ‘live’ in our yard,” she said. “This year has been different; the seasons and plants seem to be six to eight weeks ahead of the normal schedule.
“We collect water with a few rain barrels, but they are now dry. This year, we have focused on our trees, veggie garden and now the flowers.”
She said she attempts to have four seasons’ worth of gardening.
“This year, we are attempting edamame, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and acorn squash,” Grove said. “Most annuals and vegetables are started from seed in the shed. All tropical plants, annual pots and tender perennials winter in there, where it is heated.”
The yard is constantly evolving, and she hopes to have a pond and a gazebo one day.
“Our home is happiest when shared with family and friends spilling from the porch into the yard,” she said.
Her advice for beginning gardeners:
“We are fortunate to have good, fertile, black Illinois soil. If it does not grow, try another — and look out for invasive species!”