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Paynesville Press - July 26, 2006

Rice Lake couple loves tending gardens

By Michael Jacobson

When they moved to Rice Lake, Karen and Roger Reede had to learn to garden anew. Having lived in Marshall for three decades, gardening in the heavy soils without trees, they had to learn new plants and methods to pursue their passion since childhood in the shady, light soils around their Rice Lake home.

Karen and Roger Reede They learned a love of gardening in North Dakota, from where they both hail. "Almost everyone had a garden," explained Roger. "Half their yard was a garden."

Karen and Roger Reede have learned to garden anew after moving to Rice Lake permanently in 2002 after living, and gardening, for 30 years in Marshall. Whereas Marshall has heavy soils and lots of sun (no trees), their Cyrilla Beach Point lot has sandy soils and lots of shade, challenging them to grow new plants and flowers.

"Roger's dad was a very good gardner," added Karen.

Roger taught geology at Southwest State University in Marshall for 30 years, and Karen worked as an occupational therapist before retiring, and their garden consumed their small city lot. "You kind of get carried away with it," said Karen. "You get addicted to wanting another plant."

"If you have that passion," she continued, "there just wasn't enough space. Now we have plenty of space."

They have owned a cabin on Cyrilla Beach Point since 1991 and have lived in the area full-time since 2002. They also spent the 1993-94 school year in northern Japan, where gardening is revered.

When they moved to Rice Lake, though, they discovered that their knowledge of gardening was limited to methods that work on the plains of Marshall. "Totally different experience," said Karen.

"We bought plants we'd never heard of," she added.

That's when they joined the Paynesville Area Garden Club, the sponsor of the upcoming flower show on Saturday at the Paynesville Area Center, to learn alternative methods of gardening, along with advice from local nurseries and experimentation.

Flowers "We both like to garden," said Karen. "We both like to go out in the morning and work outside."

The Reedes have planted many wildflowers - including these cone flowers - at their Rice Lake home.

They originally thought just one side of their new home would make a nice spot for a garden, but now their house is surrounded. They have a dry shade garden on the east side, a rock garden (needed for structure when the house was built) and another shade garden that blends into the ferns of the shoreline on the south side, a cottage garden on the west side, and a vegetable garden (with tomatoes, beans, and zucchini) and a flower garden on the north side. "Some of it just came out of the fact that we had to landscape on a slope," said Karen.

Their largest garden on the north side of their house, like many in the area, has sequential flowers: tulips in spring, then lillies, and now day lillies.

They even have a rain garden under a gutter spout and drilled holes in eaves to water their foundation plants.

Their rural lot offers more room for gardens than their small city lot did.

They wanted a minimum of grass at their home (if they have to go to physical therapy, they'd rather it be from gardening than mowing).

Their son collects wildflower seeds, so they integrated wildflowers into their gardens. Karen enjoys painting watercolors, so she wanted wildflowers as subjects of her paintings.

They also learned about shoreline vegetation from the Rice Lake Association, to which they belong.

Roger likes "seeing what's there, watching it grow, and coming out each day and seeing something new." Karen likes being outside in the mornings and having subjects for painting watercolors.

Mornings, she added, are not only the coolest time to work in the gardens, but they offer the songs of the birds and the cries of the loons.

Weeding, on the other hand, is one of their least favorite gardening activities.

On Saturday, they will enter specimens in the flower show, which will be held at the Paynesville Area Center after 50 years at Grace United Methodist Church. The show, sponsored by the Paynesville Area Garden Club, is open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m.

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