This month, we take a look at some delightful downsized gardening. The Garden Club of DeLand has named Lynn Ventura’s garden at 1731 W. Minnesota Ave. in DeLand as the December Garden of the Month.

Ventura’s garden, which is 5 years old, has become her labor of love.

“I didn’t know how to fill my time after retiring,” she said. “I could only read so many hours of the day. I love working, so I started by widening beds in the front of my home and along the driveway. Then I just kept going.”

Step by step, plant by plant, her garden grew, and so did her peace of mind.

Ventura’s garden was recommended for Garden of the Month by Sue Jarvis, a good garden friend who has gifted many seedlings and cuttings to get this garden growing.

Walking in front of the home, we see a row of Little Ruby plants, a bushy plant that transplants and grows easily.

“I bought this yellowtop from the Volusia County Cooperative Extension Garden Show,” Ventura said. “I love finding plants wherever I can to add to my gardens. Look, the red cloak blooms resemble slices of watermelon!”

“I never gardened before moving here. I did have a greenhouse with orchids before, but orchids are quite self-sufficient and a different type of gardening.”

The light-green leaves of a sunshine ligustrum and recently planted muhly grass flaunting its fall purple-pink flowers grace the front bed. There was nothing here before but sparse grass.

“I do my own mowing, but less and less as my gardens grow. This is sweet almond. Sometimes when I pull into my driveway and all I can smell is the fragrance from this plant,” said Ventura.

We passed a ponytail palm, copperleaf, Japanese or bush clovers, red Turk’s cap, and rabbit’s foot fern, to name a few.

Like many gardeners, Ventura’s back garden is her oasis. Delightful yard art catches the eye, as well as panels made from recycled wooden-fence pickets painted during a garden paint party.

“It’s kitschy,” she shared. “I love garden art. I don’t know what I would have done without this garden when I retired and especially during the pandemic.”

Ventura carts in square pavers and rock to create her own winding paths that lead the eye and foot to smaller sectioned-off garden patches. Green baskets blend in along the path, ready for weeds. No pesticides are used in this butterfly sanctuary!

— Floyd is a member of the Garden Club of DeLand, which is affiliated with National Garden Clubs Inc.


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