By Joanna Reagan
On a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon, about 20 members and their guests were treated to the splendor of three private flower gardens at the homes of Pepperell Garden Club members.
The safari began at the home of Lorraine Prost of Cheyenne Road. Guests were greeted at her side door by a Lenten rose. It is one of the first blooming flowers of the year and usually blooms in April around Easter time. When the Lenten rose begins to bloom, the color is green and pink. Eventually, the rose will be all green and will continue to blossom well into the summer before it is cut back.
Lorraine's purple leaf coral bell perennial complements the Lenten rose. A stump of a pine tree that was cut on an angle shows the age of the tree, which was 70 years old at the time of the cutting.
"The brown house looks like it landed in a large garden," is how Lorraine describes her property. Gardens abound the house on all sides. Lorraine began working on her beautiful flower beds, bushes, and shrubs 35 years ago when she and her husband, Greg, moved into the house.
Lorraine, who owns her own gardening business, splits her time working on her flower beds and the flower beds of her customers. She tries to introduce into her gardens plant material that will be colorful throughout the year even when the plants are not in bloom. She incorporates interesting textures and different leaf colors to make the gardens colorful from April to
After enjoying Lorraine's gardens, members enjoyed a picnic lunch under the shade of the impressive trees.
At the second stop, members were treated to a very different oasis. Jean Doherty's creativity flourishes in her gardens. Her yard has numerous sun-loving day lilies and shade hosta. Not only is Jean an avid gardener, she is a decorative painter. One can sit and gaze at the many whimsical objects she has created. Her beautifully hand-painted bird houses adorn the yard. They are occupied by blue birds, robins, goldfinches and other birds that make their home there.
Jean has always had flowers in her yard during the 30 years that she has lived on Bacon Street. What started as a small project has turned into a labor of love. Jean and her husband, Mike, designed and built four water ponds with gold fish that are spread throughout the yard.
In the front of her home, stands a whiskey barrel water feature. It is often enjoyed by neighbors who may pass by. Jean enjoys sitting outside in the evening and relaxing to the sound of the ponds after a long day at Modern Images Unisex Salon on Nashua Road, which she owns and operates. Where does she find all the time!
"A labor of love" is how Diane Kazanjian described her gardens at the third and final stop on the garden safari. She has spent 26 years introducing color to the two-acre property she owns with her husband, Rich.
Diane has added many beautiful trees specimens and plants. She takes great pride in unusual flowers such tree peonies as well as peonies. Lenten rose, May apples, and Virginia bluebells also grace her yard.
Trees such as Japanese maple, beech and magnolias greet visitors with fragrance. Dogwood bloom pink and white flowers in June. Japanese lilac tree and fringe tree have fragrant white flowers; stewartia with white blooming flowers each July add to the beauty and color of the yard through the growing season. Another very unusual tree in the vast collection is an umbrella pine that has long, soft needles.
Rich constructed a pergola for the climbing hydrangeas. The purple grapes are used to make jelly and the hops are used to make beer. A variegated kiwi vine adds color to the pergola.
Her two sons over the years have incorporated rock walls and granite areas on the property but Rich has been the main digger with his equipment installing the trees and shrubs.
The property has been in Diane's family since 1957. It truly has been a family labor of love. She enjoys sharing the beauty with family and friends. Diane brags that she has the only STOP sign in Pepperell with a full perennial garden around it at the corner of East and Jersey streets. Stop by and check it out.
The next safari will take place in mid-September at the Tower Hill Botanical Garden in Boylston. Details will be announced at the Sept. 12 meeting of the Pepperell Garden Club.
The Pepperell Garden Club dates back to 1968 and is still going strong. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month from September through June at the Pepperell Senior Center, with a business meeting and a program with knowledgeable guest speakers.
If you love gardening and working in your yard, you may want to consider joining the Pepperell Garden Club or attending a meeting or two. Membership is open to men, women, and junior gardeners of all towns.
September's program will be a plant swap. Bring an indoor or outdoor plant and swap it for another. Most members knew little about gardening when they joined but have acquired a wealth of knowledge. There are many friendly members of all ages. Yummy refreshments are always served. Annual dues are $15 or come as a guest and pay a small guest fee.
Pepperell Garden Club is a member of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, Inc. For information, contact Pepperell Garden Club President Lisa Moran at 433-3672 or go to http://webpages.charter.net/pgc.