Judy Heberer – Gold Master Gardener

Judy has lived in her Mt. Vernon home since 2003.  She graduated the SWIMGA MG course in 1998 and later retired from a nursing career in 2010. Although a listing of all of her volunteer hours would be extensive, just a few projects for her community have included:  working the gardens of the Posey County Court House; Trinity United Church of Christ; Coliseum and the Mt. Vernon Post Office.    Judy worked in the Sensory Garden area of the Master Gardener’s Display Gardens until 2008.  The drive to the east side became more difficult as she was fighting breast cancer.   Additionally, she helped with the planting of wildflowers along Hwy 62 and the MG project for the Mt.Vernon Riverfront.   Thankfully, September 2013 she celebrated five (5) years cancer free!

 Judy works extensively with the Mt. Vernon Garden Club.    She and several others have been instrumental in obtaining grants for the beautification of her town.   Mt. Vernon has benefited from her work in planting 21 trees along several of their streets.  In 2010 she helped plant 100 azaleas around Mt. Vernon, obtained from generous donors from the community.  The FFA helped plant them at the Courthouse, Post Office; Coliseum; and City Hall.  The next 200 azaleas were obtained through a grant and were planted at the not-for-profit buildings and public buildings, the remainder were planted at the Riverfront.   The group Judy works with has developed azalea fitness trails around the Historic District in Mt. Vernon.   In the Fall of 2012, they planted over 500 daffodil bulbs at the Riverfront.   She intends to make Mt. Vernon a gardener’s paradise!

Judy’s love of gardening has been handed down to her from her family, parents, grandparents and cousins.   They all were farmers, so gardening came naturally.     She has some wonderful antiques that she and her husband have contained in a large garage.  The wagon and other items were quite a treat to see.

All of her gardens were a delight, and her use of antiques in decorating areas of her yard and home was very interesting.  The wheelbarrow is an antique, obtained from her father’s cousin.  She has a Memorial Garden bed that contains her father’s boots and hat, a family chair; and mothers and cousins heirloom plants including hostas, ferns, coral bells, azalea and bleeding heart. 

A corner White Garden was filled with white daffodils, columbine; Becky Daisies; hostas; ferns; coral bells; azaleas; Solomon’s Seal; hydrangeas and columbine ~ naturally, all in white or white variegated plants.  The bench and chairs belonged to her mother.

A Shade Garden with a path that leads down to a huge Mulberry tree contains several types of hostas; hydrangea; fern; azaleas; Lenten roses; daffodils; columbine and various wild flowers adorn the area.  Beside the tree is an old pump from her cousin and a wheelbarrow that belonged to her mother-in-law.

The Sycamore tree in her front yard completely amazed me.  The original highway was where her house sits now.  The highway crews tried to burn the Sycamore tree that was next to the road at that time.  They failed, but it left a gaping hole in the tree.  You can step inside and see the burn marks way up into the center of the tree.  A fence post actually is embedded in the side.  The roots of that Sycamore must go way down into the ground as it is huge and it is a wonder how it continued to live.  Judy and her husband honor that tree with a metal American flag that was created for her by Gottman Metalworks in Mt. Vernon.  During the Christmas season, they have a lighted Nativity set displayed inside the opening.  Truly, her Sycamore is a one-of-a-kind treasure.

Her use of antiques in her gardens is very interesting and brings memories of her family right to the spaces you love to view.   Even the chandelier over her patio table belonged to her Godmother.   The love of family and her roots are evident throughout her gardens and her home.

Double-click on a picture to enlarge.

 Interview by Belinda Dillback, SWIMGA