Clean and beautiful

Danette Dooley
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A St. John's woman brings colour and life to her neighbourhood

Since moving into her east-end home in St. John's 16 years ago, Kathy Rowe has been slowly turning her front lawn into a smorgasbord of colour by planting flowers and turning the big pine tree in the centre of her lawn into a haven for hungry birds.

The walkway leading to Rowe's front door is peppered with four varieties of oriental lilies in colours ranging from bright orange to pale pink.

A rose bush is the centrepoint of Kathy Rowe's front yard. Telegram photos

Since moving into her east-end home in St. John's 16 years ago, Kathy Rowe has been slowly turning her front lawn into a smorgasbord of colour by planting flowers and turning the big pine tree in the centre of her lawn into a haven for hungry birds.

The walkway leading to Rowe's front door is peppered with four varieties of oriental lilies in colours ranging from bright orange to pale pink.

"Right now there are about 170 blooms to open in lilies," Rowe says during a recent tour of her property.

The lilies multiply every year, Rowe says, making it a guessing game as to what colours will peep through when the flowers bloom.

"I have lots of orange tiger lilies here and violas, daisies and columbine which are finally going to seed. I throw the (columbine) seed around the garden," she says picking seeds from the flower and tossing them into the air.

Perennial preference

While she prefers to plant perennials such as her blanket flower, Rowe also has her share of annuals including white and purple pansies and orange and brown marigolds.

"I try not to use too many annuals because I think they're a waste of money when you can get into perennials and the mystery of what will come up when they bloom," she says.

Rowe's lawn begins to come alive in spring when her crocus poke through, along with about 200 tulips and 100 daffodils.

"They come up around May and when they die, up comes all this," she says, walking among the flowers.

A bed of white, purple and pink lupins are nestled in a bed closer to Rowe's front door, next to a healthy crop of Chinese lanterns.

Planted directly in front of the house are iris and viola flowers as well as lilies and several varieties of daisies.

A couple of metres away are brown-eyed susans, campanula glomerata and oriental lilies.

There are also red hot pokers, geraniums, painted daisies and numerous other varieties of flowers that Rowe has become familiar with over the years.

A rose bush near the centre of the lawn is as eye-catching as it is beautiful.

"I love animals and I love flowers," Rowe says standing next to the tree that's decorated with several wind chimes and a birdhouse.

Rowe has taken the time to attach imitation birds to the tree and on a bird house.

"The birds come and feed here and they actually stand on these birds," she says.

Conversation starter

Rowe's flower beds are a magnet for passersby and a great conversation piece.

"I could be on my knees putting something in the ground and someone will come over and ask about a particular flower. It's a great way to meet your neighbours and other people walking by."

In her backyard, Rowe grows yellow and red strawberries, rhubarb, plums, potatoes, tomatoes, yellow and red peppers, and gooseberries.

"Hopefully, I'll be able to offer my friends some apples a little later down the road but right now this guy is having a little trouble so I pay particular attention to him," she says of an apple tree she's planted in the middle of her garden.

Rowe works for CHMR 93.5 FM, Memorial University's campus and community radio station.

Working in her garden is not only relaxing, she says, but also makes her feel she's doing her part in keeping her property well groomed.

"My dogs and my plants get me out of the house," she says.

Rowe's passion for planting has led to a Facebook group she's started called How Does Your Garden Grow. The site has more than 120 members from all over the world, she says.

"I get people to take pictures of their garden. Talk about their flowers. We got people from as far away as Croatia. There are also vegetable people on it, too," she says.

Setting an example

Karen Hickman is executive director of St. John's Clean and Beautiful.

Hickman commends Rowe on her efforts to enhance her lawn and garden.

Doing so, Hickman says, benefits not only the homeowner but also the community and city.

St. John's Clean and Beautiful is working with Canada Post to encourage people to plant a tree or a few flowers in the downtown area, she says.

"If a letter carrier is passing by and sees that someone has taken an effort to beautify their property, they'll put a little note in their box saying how beautiful it looks," Hickman says.

While the city does its part in making local areas beautiful by planting trees, shrubs and flowers, Hickman says she'd like to see more home and business owners doing the same.

"It doesn't take a lot to do this but it adds so much to any area."

Anyone who'd like to know more about beautifying their properties can call 570-0350, visit www.cleanandbeautiful.nf.ca or e-mail sjcab@cleanandbeautiful.nf.ca.

danette@nl.rogers.com

Organizations: Canada Post

Geographic location: St. John's, Croatia

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