The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

May 3, 2014

MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Anita Abbott

A unique garden

By Samantha Pidde Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Anita Abbott says with a little determination and planning, anyone can have a beautiful garden.

“You don’t have to have a big area. You don’t have to have a nice area. You just have to have an imagination on where to put everything,” Anita said. “I get a lot of compliments on my yard.

The Clinton resident’s garden showcases a variety of plants, from ornamental serpentine weeping cherry trees to lucifer flowers to a contorted filbert plant to smoke trees. She loves these rarer plants. She and her late husband, Neal, traveled to several states looking for some of the more unique plant variations.

Throughout the years, Anita has added more items in her garden, including a brick patio area, gazebos and water fountains. Brick-lined and fenced-in areas of her garden have shifted as she has added more and more flowers.

“I’ve got an abundance of flowers,” Anita said.

Most people meeting Anita may see a trace of dirt on her hands. Between her job and her free time, this avid gardener spends a lot of her time with her hands in the soil.

Anita works in the garden center at Home Depot, educating people about different plants. She enjoys helping people understand plants better and sharing interesting trivia about flowers. For instance, she said most people are unaware that there are 400 different kinds of lilacs.

This love of teaching has carried over to the Clinton County Master Gardeners. Through the group, she answers questions and educates people on how to plant certain flowers and the importance of reading the information on a plant’s label. She said many people do not follow the instructions on where, when and how to plant a certain flower.

This year, she is is coordinating the Master Gardener’s annual garden walk, which is set for June 22. Tickets are $5 each.

Besides being a master gardener, Anita also volunteers with Trees Forever and at the Bickelhaupt Arboretum. She also works on the grounds of her church — Church of the Open Door.

Although she never sets out to expand her garden, Anita said it seems to grow and grow. However, now she spends most of her time maintaining the garden and keeping it tidy. For her, gardening is a great hobby.

“I always got something to do each day,” Anita said.

Samantha Pidde can be contacted at samanthapidde@clintonherald.com.