Wayne and Linda Friesen sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor in creating a flower garden they can enjoy with family and friends. Wayne, who retired from Cooperative Grain & Supply in Hillsboro, uses some of what he learned in crop production, he said, to help his plants and trees keep a healthy pH balance. Linda does day-to-day pruning, including “dead heading,” which in flower terminology means the removal of faded flowers before they develop seed.
Wayne and Linda Friesen of Hillsboro moved to their home on South Washington almost 30 years ago. Today the house and landscape look nothing like they did.
“The biggest selling point for us was the backyard, which is the size of 21⁄2 city lots,” Wayne said.
They removed big trees that lined the alley and six Locust trees that split the lots, Linda said.
One of the reasons the Locust trees had to go was because of the mess during pollination.
“It would take three pickup loads to haul the pods away,” Wayne said.
After removing some of the trees from the middle of the backyard, the couple began shopping for flowers and gardening supplies.
“We don’t go online for items, we shop locally,” Wayne said. “Most of our flowers came from Sharon Boese at the Garden Center.”
Linda said they primarily plant perennials and wild flowers, but do have Cana bulbs, which need to be dug up in the fall and replanted in the spring.
One of their favorite trees is the Chocolate Mimosa and they both love their variety of flowers.
“We like sharing our yard with others,” Linda said.
When visitors walk into their backyard, it’s almost as if they entered Mother Nature’s own garden. The only thing missing is the sound of a waterfall.
Among those enjoying the beauty of the yard are area photographers, friends and relatives.
“Our daughter Carissa’s wedding reception was held here,” Linda said.
Offering some tips about flowers, Wayne, who retired as manager of fertilizer and agriculture chemical crop production at Cooperative Grain & Supply, said he believes most gardeners over-fertilize.
On a much smaller scale, Wayne said, he uses some of his expertise to evaluate his soil at home.
“I will take soil samples and send them to Garden City,” he said. “I am wanting them to check the levels of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium to see if we are lacking in fertilizers.”
The Friesens’ love of flowers doesn’t stop at home either.
For many years, they have quietly been donating their time to make sure the flower boxes in Memorial Park are filled with color for all visitors.
Martin Rhodes also has a love of flowers, Linda said, and he did the work at the park before the Friesens stepped in.
The Garden Center donates many varieties of flowers for Wayne and Linda to use at the park.
“We enjoy not only doing the work at the park, but being out there with our family,” Linda said.
Adding to the bursts of color from their own flowers, Wayne said he is also proud of his vegetable garden.
“I even have a white pumpkin,” he said.
Another vegetable he is proud to talk about is his Candy Corn, which is a variety of corn, not the orange and black treats usually available in the fall.
“I have had my best luck with Candy Corn,” Wayne said. “It’s incredible.”
Another favorite for Wayne is his Purple Martins, which usually make their home in the spring and leave again in mid-August. Perched high above the ground, is a birdhouse particularly made for them.
“They also like mosquitoes,” Wayne said, “so we haven’t had problems (with them).”
The backyard has a privacy fence and attached to the boards around the lot are square ceiling tins from the Schaeffler Building at the corner of Main and Grand.
Other highlights include a small limestone wall across one part of the yard with stone and wood benches accenting other areas.
Leading into the garden, the couple constructed a wooden arbor.
Wayne said it takes about two hours to mow the backyard because of the obstacles; they both spend between four to five hours a week tending to the flowers and vegetables.
But once the work is done, Linda and Wayne sit back and enjoy what they have created.
Friesens have three children: Justin, 29, of Salina; Carissa, 31, of Hillsboro; and Becky, 34, of Marion.