When one motors around the quiet little community of Canton during the summer months, a person is treated to many homes with neat lawns, blooming apple trees, lilac, hydrangeas and honeysuckle bushes, handsome vegetable gardens and colorful flower gardens.
One “must see” garden adorns the front yard of Joleen and Rick Erickson’s home at 304 West Canton Ave. The 600-square foot flower garden is a kaleidoscope of annuals and perennials in all shapes and sizes.
“My main flower garden is approximately 35 feet by 15 feet,” Joleen stated. “It is filled with hostas, perennial asters, astilbie, coneflowers, different varieties of lilies, bee balm, black eyed Susan’s, blanket flowers, peonies, farming, salvia, phlox, to name a few.”
The Ericksons moved to their current location about 30 years ago. There wasn’t much for flower gardens at their new home when they moved in, but it didn’t take Joleen and Rick long to start moving in various flowers and plants from their rural home to their new digs in Canton. Three decades later, some of those original plants are still adorning their yard.
“I’d have to attribute my love of flowers and gardening to my Grandma Mabe, who lived up the road from us,” Joleen noted, “I spent a lot of time at Grandma’s. We would plant a garden each spring and Grandma and I could not wait for the radishes and onions to get big enough so we could make a sandwich. To this day, I have continued this tradition. I hardly ever remember Grandma Mabe without a trowel in her hand. If not for digging, it was an implement to stick in the ground to help her get in an upright position.”
Joleen said it seems as though her various gardens get larger every year. “When I cut in a new edge in the spring, they seem to miraculously get a little bigger!”
The Ericksons have over 100 day lilies in various gardens around the yard. Joleen’s brother Bob started Oak Hill Day Lilies located north of Harmony a number of years ago. As Brother Bob’s business blossomed, Joleen’s passion for lilies took off.
“When the day lilies are blooming, you will find me circling the yard many times a day taking in their gorgeous spender and removing spent blossoms,” Joleen said.
She added that it is nothing for her to spend many hours each day in her gardens. “I love being outside. The weeding, separating and dead-heading is therapy for me. I love to fill in the bare spots with zinnias, marigolds, geraniums and any annuals that catch my eye.”
Divide and conquer is her motto. “I have divided and distributed loads of perennials to friends and neighbors…hoping they will enjoy them for years to come”
One of Joleen’s favorite perennial is the hydrangea. She and Rick have put several varieties around the front deck of their stately two-story white frame house.
“They are breath taking when blooming, but have grown so large that sitting on our front deck is like sitting in a jungle…we can’t even see the street!”
Joleen and Rick also enjoy vegetable gardens. Copious amounts of salsa and tomato juice are canned each year at the Ericksons.
Besides the massive gardens in their front yard, the Ericksons also have a shade garden and three more flower gardens in their back yard.
“My wish is for everyone to get a little bit of pleasure out of God’s wonders. Flowers are truly that. They make my heart sing,” Joleen concluded.