Boyle County woman's garden is carpet of color


Knee surgery several weeks ago has not slowed down Jeannine Gover - not much, anyway. Although she has a couple of helpers now, she still maintains beautiful gardens of flowers at her home on Perryville Road.

"This is all family grown - there are no professional people in it," says Gover as she tours through the gardens in her golf cart.

Her main flower garden is a rainbow-colored tapestry of purples, yellows, pinks, peaches and reds. She has irises in every color imaginable, including an unusual burgundy tone and a deep purple that is almost black.

"I put that in among the pink for the contrast," Gover says of the burgundy blossom.

Her peonies are light and dark pinks, luscious and heavy on a mid-spring afternoon. There are about 68 of this variety dotting the landscape of Gover's yard. Dianthus adds a shorter level to the main garden, and clematises in a variety of colors climb mailboxes and fences. Baskets of geraniums hang from windows, and a few shade-loving hostas dot the landscape. There is a pink Chinese peony, a Kim lilac, columbines, wisteria, Russian sage, holly and phlox.


There are several rose bushes, including a blood-red Altissimo with huge thorns.

Another is blooming in a peach color, which Gover, 73, says will change to a more yellow color soon. At one time, Gover says, she had 109 roses. For those that remain, she does whatever is recommended to maintain them.

"You never want too much nitrogen (in the soil)," Gover explains. "And don't use a lot of fertilizer."

Aged cow manure is an excellent fertilizer

She rates aged cow manure as an excellent fertilizer. About two cups at the bottom of a hole dug to plant a rose is a good amount. "But don't put a $10 rose in a $3 hole," Gover warns.

Put the rose in the hole "so the roots can spread out."

"And don't buy grafted roses," she says. "They won't live in this climate. Plant them in big, deep holes and put a little bit of manure around the top. ... Don't let water get on them. After a rain, spray them with a good insecticide."

Roses are notorious for attracting beetles, Gover says. She recommends spraying the beetles late in the afternoon, when they're "lazy and ready to sleep."

"But not too late because you want them to dry before the dew sets."

Whatever is best for an individual flower variety, according to books, magazines and experts, that's how to take care of it, Gover adds.

Amid the blooms are a goat wagon with rabbits, a water pump, a wishing well, a sun dial and even an outhouse in one corner.

"My husband (Eddie) bought that from a friend," Gover notes of the outhouse. "I store my flower pots in it."

Her husband built the fencing, decorative touches

Her husband also built all the fencing and decorative touches for her gardens, she adds, including the rock walks meandering through the blooms. He also built much of her furniture, Gover notes.

There are irrigation hoses running through the gardens, which Gover doesn't use until the fall.

"Basically, you keep the weeds out and mulch," she notes.

She doesn't mulch, though, until the blossoms are spent.

Gover, a longtime nurse at Kentucky School for the Deaf, has lived here since the mid-1950s. She began gardening in earnest in 1980.

"It's grown more in the last five years," she notes.

She doesn't sell her blooms but shares with friends if she has too many. "I give to people I know who like to garden," Gover says.

Many of her lilies will bloom into the autumn. But spring and summer are the seasons she likes best for gardening.

She says she is "one to move anything and everything when the notion strikes me." "That's my hobby," she says of her gardening. "That and antiques."

Gardening has been her hobby since she was a little girl. "I was 6 years old and had a little garden," Gover remembers. "The cows would eat it up, and I would cry."

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