Rose Lee cares for the garden at Riverview Homestead Housing.

The Rose Garden is Rose Lee’s pride and joy

 “I always had a garden,” says Rose Lee, who carefully tends and nurtures the garden at Riverview Homestead Cooperative — something she’s done since moving there in 2011. 

Her parents were gardeners. “They instilled in me the love of gardening,” Rose said during a recent interview. Her husband, Bucky Lee, helped her lay out her first garden at their home along Range Road. “It was heart shaped,” she said.     

Her sister and brother-in-law, Walter and Fern Meine, owned and operated a local greenhouse, and Rose helped them during the planting and growing season. That all helped build her interest and skills in gardening.

 “All these plants are a gift from God. We plant them but He makes them grow,” Rose said.  “The beauty of the outdoors is part of His creation for us to enjoy.”

There were no flowers — only shrubs in the southeast corner of Cottonwood Street and County Road 5 at the cooperative housing development. “It needed some color,” Rose said.   The first year she planted a few annuals for color. “It turned out pretty well,” she said, so she sought permission to continue the second year.  She thinks of the garden as being a memorial to all the people who came to the hill to reside in their golden years.  “As I plant, I think of   the people who live here and have lived here. It inspires me to plant more and it’s something for the people of our community to enjoy as well as the motorists who pass by on County Road 5.  I enjoy sharing the beauty of the garden.”

To the evergreen, ninebark, spirea and golden barberry  already in the garden, Rose has added perennials including lilies, dahlias and chrysanthemums.  Annuals include petunias, daisies, zinnias, marigolds and alyssum. 

There is no right or wrong when it comes to color in the garden.  Color choices are a matter of personal taste, but Rose says adding white is important because it lightens and brightens the garden.   White has a cool and calming effect and makes the other colors stand out. 

And, while the garden is appropriately named, and although roses are Rose’s favorite flowers, there are no roses in Rose’s garden because they are difficult to winter over on the top of the hill when northwest winter winds blow.

Her reward for her effort is exercise and the joy of sharing it with others.