Belinda Rideout, Bronze Master Gardener

Belinda was having the ‘empty nest’ syndrome after her daughter graduated high school and moved away for college, so she decided to pursue her interest in the SWIMGA Master Gardener program.  Belinda graduated in the Master Gardener class of 2010 and began her volunteer hours right away.

She has a winding stairway to her north side home.  On one side of the steps she has lirope; geraniums and mums providing color and uniformity as you climb the steps.  On the right side of the steps is a garden that she has had to apply some ingenuity to keep her vivacious Airedale, Obie (after Roy Orbison because she cried all the time), from trampling the plants.  She put a small fence on the edge, but she hopped right over that, so she put an identical fence a foot away from the first.  This stopped her from jumping in the flower bed because it confused her – which is a good thing.  In that bed she has Angel Wing Begonia; pink Azaleas; Shasta Daisies; and Daylilies.  A flower bed between the house and garage is filled with Daylilies, double pink Azaleas and a PJM purple Rhododendron variety that blooms twice a year.  She has some pink, red, yellow and orange Azaleas along with an Oakleaf Hydrangea and a Nikko Hydrangea which circle around the entire house.

In the backyard is a bed that she and a friend put together to fill the void of a large beautiful oak tree that had to be taken down.   A pre-formed stone wall was built.  The hardest part was the first layer as you have to dig out the sod, cover the strip in sand and level it.   They also amended the soil as they filled it preparing for planting.  In this bed, she combines both perennials and vegetables.  The wine bottle tree in the middle of the bed was a gift from her husband, Rob.  A couple of peach Cannas along with Hibiscus, tomatoes, cucumber, squash; okra; green peppers and a vining spinach are growing well.  Hibiscus, Lilac bushes and a Limelight Hydrangea are in the back corner.  The flower bed surrounding the back porch has several varieties of Daylilies, Irises, Peonies, and two tree Peonies that bloom in pink and one in a deep red.

Belinda volunteers in the Display Garden Summer Bulb Garden; the Shade Garden, Amazonia Botanical Garden and has worked with the UofE Rose Garden in the past.  You will know her as she provides the refreshments at each meeting.  Click on each picture to enlarge.

 Interview by Belinda Dillback, SWIMGA Webmaster