A variety of flowering plants can be found in the garden at the home of Mary Jean Waters and her husband in South Balkan.

Waters is a community volunteer and retired English instructor whose love of gardening began at a young age.

“I always loved gardening, even when I was young,” she said.

Here is what gardening means to Waters, along with some gardening tips:

Tell me about your garden.

I have a multipurpose garden with a fountain, four raised beds and numerous hanging baskets and statutes.

What is gardening to you?

My garden is my meditation spot. Early in the morning, I go to collect my thoughts and enjoy nature at its finest.

What types of plants do you grow?

In the raised beds, I grow the veggies and in the pots, flowers.

What will be blooming in your garden this spring?

I don’t do much in the spring. But God re-seeds violas every year in the rocks in the circle floor of my garden, and it’s always amazing to me that they can grow out of sand and rock.

What are your favorites and why?

I love Peonies. I have some giant Hostas. I love my Clematis in full bloom. I also love my pole beans that grow to 8 feet.

How much time do you spend in your garden each week?

Unfortunately not enough time. I have had both knees and both hips replaced, so the raised beds get the lion’s share of my time.

What inspired you the most toward gardening?

I love the sense of accomplishment I get from watching things grow.

What is your challenge as a gardener?

Weeds — thank goodness for my husband, Ed, who can still get down on his hands and knees.

What grows in your dream garden?

I would love a lush, green jungle with exotic plants, flowering in bright colors — but that isn’t Minnesota reality.

Unique tips or advice for anyone considering gardening?

Patience. The surprises in gardening are amazing. One never knows what will do well one year and not the next.

~ Compiled by Marie Tolonen, Chisholm Tribune Press

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