A Garden for All Seasons
Each shift in the weather brings changes to their garden.
By Isabel Paulman Bush, St. Joseph, Missouri
While driving along a picturesque country road, Joe and Ann Studer came across a tiny cabin surrounded by beautiful acreage. Further investigations led them to a one-room cabin with 17 acres of pasture and trees. Instantly, they fell in love with it and soon bought it. For the last 32 years, they have been busy making the St. Joseph, Missouri yard the thriving garden it is today.
While the tiny cabin was fine for a little while, it didn't take long before Joe and Ann wanted a new cottage home. Building took longer than expected, but with its completion came the exciting part—they could start focusing on their landscape. Over the years, their hard work has paid off. The result is a garden that has interest all year long.
In the earliest days of spring, the Studers' garden is bursting with color from their many tulip, crocus, daffodil and other early-blooming bulbs. Other perennials, like iris, peonies, poppies and bleeding hearts, follow close behind.
Their remarkable perennial beds provide color throughout. Their yard is filled with astilbe, butterfly bush, clematis, lilies, hosta, bee balm, phlox, black-eyed Susan, hens-and-chicks, yucca, hollyhocks and purple coneflowers.
If that weren't enough for the eyes, the Studers plant a multitude of annuals each year. When they're coupled with the perennials, it creates an exquisite profusion of color and texture.
Since the weather can be unpredictable, many of their annuals and perennials are fairly low maintenance and drought resistant. However, water is needed in summer for their window boxes, hanging baskets and pots, so Joe uses his own system to collect rainwater from the gutters and downspouts. It's a 55-gallon barrel he found in his father's wine cellar!
Because their yard is sizeable, the Studers never deadhead. Rather, the seeds are gathered and dispersed in new areas. Many times, this also means an excess of plants to share with other garden enthusiasts.
One of the highlights of the Studers' garden is a large pond with streams and waterfalls. Numerous succulents, water plants and a bog surround it, adding to their yard's season-long color frenzy.
Their garden is always a flurry of activity. Birdhouses and custom-made bird feeders attract a wide variety of birds. Cardinals, wrens, bluebirds, barn swallows, finches, woodpeckers, tufted titmice, robins, blue jays, orioles and flycatchers visit, feast and nest. The flower garden is also host to many types of butterflies.
Down at the pond are four wooden houses where ducks hatch their eggs. Chinese geese, blue Swedish ducks and mallards roam the grounds and swim in the pond stocked with bass, bluegill and crappie. And, in the adjoining fenced pastures, horses, baby mules, a pony, peacocks and chickens can been seen parading around or peering over the fence.
This outstanding setting is gladly shared with family and friends. But Joe and Ann find time to relish their own hours of peace and well-being given to them by their all-seasons flower wonderland.