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Donna's wildflowers will be left to self-seed. When asked who does the gardening, Murray

pipes up before Donna. “She has the ideas, I do as I am told – I think she calls that a partnership,” he laughs. There is a comfort here that goes beyond the garden. It comes from the love and respect Donna and Murray have for each other and the joy of finding the perfect place to grow in. The rocks that the Hjermenrude’s have used in

their gardens actually came from the yard itself; all were dug up when the home was being built. The couple does everything the good old-fash- ioned way, by hand. Donna smoothed the ground by dragging a post with wire rolled around it and weighted down by blocks. And Murray mows their 3.25 acres with a push mower. The couple is definitely not afraid of hard work. Wanting to have the yard done quickly, they

sodded everything but “Grammy’s mountain”, a spot the grandchildren love to play on and roll down. Donna is also experimenting with raised beds and teaching her grandchildren about gardening. With a newly cut trail running behind their home and a private fire pit in a clearing they’ve made in the woods, this home and prop- erty offer both beauty and intrigue for both the couple and their visiting family. Donna has always wanted a wildflower garden

and has happily started one on the east side of the property. She has planted an assortment of flowers including daisies and black-eyed Susans which she will let grow wild and sow themselves in the area she has designated for them. “If they spread in through the trees, so be it,” Donna says. Although Murray may not be pleased if they spread into the grass as her violas and pansies growing on the southern side have done. Perhaps one of

the most surprising gardens,

and one Donna is most proud of, is the succu- lent garden, growing on the edge of “Grammy’s mountain”. It is hard to believe that it was only planted last year. “I just stuck stuff here and there, and it has really taken off. It’s surprising.” Well, not so surprising Donna relents as she says the raised hill is actually a disguise for their septic field. Out here the joy is in just sitting outside with a

cup of coffee and enjoying the view. As they are in a forested area they have many guests wander- ing through the yard. They’ve seen a baby bear and two adult bears, have heard coyotes, and are visited regularly by a whippoorwill and a cheeky chipmunk. Surprisingly they have not seen any field rabbits or many deer.

A great place to enjoy a morning coffee and enjoy the spacious backyard.

A ladder Donna bought from her brother.

Various interesting items are used for planters.

There may be a secret to this succulent garden's success. Beautiful Gardens 2015 • 25

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