Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, June 19, 2000

Gardener brings the colors of summer to Waverly landscape

By Andrea Vargo

Perhaps Mary Klingelhoets should be known as the "flower lady" of Waverly.

Klingelhoets has been planting the flower bed on the corner by the Waverly city offices and fire station since the early 1980s.

At first, the bed was just a border of petunias, planted by several volunteers.

Gradually, it was just Klingelhoets and Darlene Henry, who stuck with the project through the years.

Now, for some time, it has just been Klingelhoets.

When the city put in the area and the sign, it really didn't know what to do with the spot, she said.

Petunias and bachelor buttons were the first mix, but the bachelor buttons looked dead and scraggly when they finished blooming, so Klingelhoets doesn't use them anymore.

The majority of the plants come from Flower Farm in Montrose, because it gives the city a very good discount on the 13 flats of flowers used every year, she said.

"It's amazing how many flowers go into that area," Klingelhoets said.

There are some perennials in the bed, added a few at a time. Klingelhoets started with a few tulips and when most of them made it through the winter (difficult in a raised bed), she added a few more.

Most perennials don't look good when they are not blooming, she explained.

"Weather permitting, we should have some beautiful mums this fall," Klingelhoets noted.

"Of course, petunias always look good, and there are so many varieties. Many of the new ones are bushier, less spreading," she said.

Trying new plants is always a challenge, and some of them fizzle, she said.

Her own flower beds are a mix of perennials and annuals, with something blooming all the time.

Klingelhoets always liked to garden, but started getting some serious experience when she went to work for Garden Design, owned by Francis Heins of Montrose in 1975.

In seven years, Klingelhoets learned a lot about plants.

"The more I learned, the more I understood that I didn't know anything," she said.

She said was privileged to be part of a team that went into the Wayzata-Orono-Long Lake area to plant and maintain gardens for some very impressive estates, she said.

"The beautiful big estates were something to see. Many of them no longer exist. They were (torn down for housing developments).

"It was amazing. The engineering and design was fantastic in some of those gardens," she said.

It was hard work, but Klingelhoets loves to be outside.

As she works in the bed by the city offices, complete strangers stop and talk about plants, she said.

People really notice that it improves the eye appeal of the city, Klingelhoets noted.

Asked if she has any tips for a green, but older gardener, she said, "One tip for the gardener of any age; use an old belt-style life preserver as a kneeling pad. It is longer and softer than purchased pads, and comes complete with a strap to pull it along the rows."

Why does Klingelhoets continue to make the garden of Waverly a place of beauty every year?

"I just love to plant," she said.

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