Louise Perunovich, of Hibbing, is an award-winning gardner and member of the Chisholm Hibbing Garden Club.

She’s full of excitement, experience and tips for those like her that enjoy “keeping it green.”

Here are some of her thoughts:

Tell me something about your garden.

It’s a little country garden that I expanded a bit last year. I have a small potting shed painted a bright color with new siding. There are a lot of solar lights along the fence that make it real pretty at night. I’m still looking for shrubs and adding all the time. It’s a brand new garden, so I’m learning.

When and how did you start gardening?

I had one pot. It was a house plant pot and things grew from there. I also had a vegetable garden when the kids were growing up. But after they were gone, I didn’t need all that food, so then it evolved into a flower garden.

My dad came from Italy, and he used to have a garden and a half on Seventh Avenue. He planted 100 tomato plants, and we had every vegetable imaginable. We lived off it in the winter.

What is gardening to you?

It’s a peaceful feeling. It’s just really nice. I get up in the summer at 5 a.m. to go in the backyard and garden, and it gives me a good feeling.

What types of plants do you grow?

Flowers. I have some poppies, marigolds and others. But every year I get bored and change them. I give them away and try something different. I currently have nine circles I plant in and have it pretty well set-up where I don’t have to do much weeding. I also have a flowering crab tree in the front that my son bought for me on Mother’s Day when he was 16. It’s interesting.

What will be blooming in your garden this spring?

I just put in evergreen shrubs, and I have my marigolds because I really like my yellow and orange. I have a butterfly bush, and I just keep adding and subtracting. I also have a Siberian pea tree at the center of the garden that’s over 30 years old.

What grows in your dream garden?

I have my dream garden right now. I just keep putzing with it.

What was the last gardening item you purchased?

Last year I bought a bunch of grass and shrubs that were 90 percent off and made a killing with the sales.

Are you an experimental gardener?

Pretty much. I don’t really know what I’m doing, so I call master gardeners. I know to pick their brains, and then I just wing it.

Do you grow any food in your garden?

I plant one tomato bush because, like I said, I’m Italian. I like to eat them raw.

Unique tips or advice for anyone considering gardening?

You have to plant a tree like it’s already fully grown. Give it space between the structure and the tree — don’t plant them next to the house.

Every year I wash everything down with dish soap to keep the bugs away and then I do my lawn with epsom salt.

And don’t be afraid to experiment. If you don’t like something, get rid of it and put in something else.

~ Compiled by Carrie Manner, staff writer

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