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Outdoor paradise

Posted August 06, 2014 in Community Featured, Perry
Paula Secress’ garden is a form of stress relief for her. Photo by Juli Probasco-Sowers.

Paula Secress’ garden is a form of stress relief for her. Photo by Juli Probasco-Sowers.

A passion for plants and flowers has turned Paula Secress’ yard into a colorful floral palate, complete with an outdoor fireplace, gazebo and a garden workstation adding to the ambiance.

“I’ve lived here since 1974,” she says of her cottage-like house in Perry. “It was my husband’s grandmother’s house.”

Her husband, Bill, who died two years ago of cancer, was her major helper with anything that wasn’t growing. He built the gazebo and the workstation. They put up the outdoor fireplace together and a small greenhouse, as well as an arbor.

“He would ask me what I needed, and he would make it happen for me,” she says. “You really get used to having someone around who can do everything like that, and when they aren’t anymore, you have to find someone else to do it.”

Although Paula doesn’t build structures, she still weeds, plants, deadheads flowers, waters and changes things up occasionally in the garden.

Visitors walk through an archway that opens into the yard. Plants from a variety of colorful hydrangeas to phlox and many other flowers surround her house. Flowers also line the garage, circle the gazebo and pop up other places across the two-lot property.

Secress does much of her flower tending after work during the week and on Sunday morning. It is not unusual to find her garage door open, a wheelbarrow in the yard and Secress, wearing a sun visor, tank top and shorts, weeding the flowers.

“I guess I get my love of flower gardens from my mother,” she says. Her inspiration also came from traveling to other states and seeing beautiful flower gardens.

“I remember going to California and being inspired by the gardens there,” she says.

Her various flowerbeds don’t stay exactly the same from year to year.

“They are in constant change,” she says. “You plant what you like and what works. Sometimes some plants work and others don’t. You also have to think about where you want to put the plants.”.

Secress sees flower gardening a little differently than many people.

“To me, gardening is another form of art,” she says. “For me, it is also a stress reliever.”

Contact Darren Tromblay at 953-4822 ext. 304 or to be featured in a future “Where We Live” column of Perry Living.

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