PERRYSVILLE, Ind. — Tending to a 2-acre property with an orchard, greenhouse, gardens and more seems like a lot of work.
But Jerry Trosper and Audrey Rowe wouldn’t have it any other way.
Is it worth it?
“Oh, yeah!” Rowe exclaimed. “It’s a hobby. It’s called relaxing.”
Trosper said, “It’s not work if you like doing it.”
Besides, they said, they eat fresh food from the garden nearly every day. And they even have surplus food and flowers, which they donate to CRIS Healthy-Aging.
The couple’s property will be one of eight sites on the Master Gardeners’ Garden Walk from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 9.
All of the sites are in Danville, except this one on Indiana Route 63, one mile south of the Interstate-74 exit. The address is Perrysville, but they actually live closer to Covington. Signs will direct people to the rural home.
The couple moved into the home about six years ago. Trosper, who’s retired, was an electrician by trade, and Rowe is a nurse at Union Hospital in Terre Haute.
Trosper said he’s has been doing vegetable gardening since he was a child, and became a Master Gardener a couple of years ago. Rowe is a Master Gardener intern, and also a good cook.
She will be giving away samples of caramel corn, made from the popcorn they grow. They also grow sweet corn.
While enjoying the variety of plants and flowers, visitors can get new ideas.
Jenney Hanrahan, horticulture program coordinator with the University of Illinois Extension, said that’s the beauty of the Garden Walks.
“You get ideas for your yard and see different ways of doing things,” she said.
“If attendees get one new idea from each of the eight gardens, they have a large number of fresh ideas to try in their own gardens.”
For example, the Trosper-Rowe home has some unique features: heart-shaped memorials honoring late family members; a window with a flower box cut into a privacy fence; a homemade greenhouse; and stones that Trosper turned into a bench.
There are plenty of spots where the couple can relax with their two dogs: Darwin, 6, a Plott Hound/Lab mix, and Maya, about 6, a mixed terrier.
One spot is the Goddess Garden, a circle divided into four sections by brickwork that Trosper got at a nursery auction; he then came up with the design. A statue of a goddess stands in the middle, surrounded by irises, dahlias, impatiens, wedding gown hydrangea, gladioli, clematis on a trellis and more.
Visitors will find that everything is labeled so they can tell the lime tree from the lemon tree, for example.
The couple starts seeds in their basement in February, and brings them out to the 10-by-12-foot greenhouse, which Trosper built about three years ago. When it gets too cold, he can lower the ceiling and turn on a heater.
They grow many of the standard vegetables, but like to try something new every year. This year, they planted five kinds of exotic melons.
In the past, they’ve tried peanuts and Jerusalem artichoke.
Also in the backyard is an area with heart-shaped gardens to honor Trosper’s mother and two infant grandchildren. Nearby is a pond with tadpoles and frogs.
Beyond their backyard is an orchard with a variety of fruit trees, including apple, peach, plum, pears, nectarine, paw paw, persimmon, gooseberries and more.
There’s a section where they will grow flowers to take to CRIS.
Trosper said he does have to spray the trees, but the gardens are mostly organic.
The property also has a pollinator pocket to attract butterflies and nine grapevines. They have 26 raised beds. Among the produce are potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, strawberries, raspberries, peas, turnip greens and spinach. A bald cypress, Japanese maple and other trees are scattered about.
However, the couple’s favorite is a flowering crab apple tree in the front yard. When it’s in bloom, Rowe said, “You can stand under it and hear the humming of bees.”
The couple has a detailed map of their property, showing when seeds were planted and which items were planted each year so they can be rotated.
They’ve also started a topiary, which will be pruned into the shape of their dog, Darwin. Just the feet are started, and the rest may take five to six years to fill out.
While visitors will be amazed at all that the couple has done, they’re still planning more additions and changes, such as extending their home and adding a conservatory.