KENNEWICK -- Creating a garden oasis out of a 16-by-16 patio outside her condo's back door didn't take a miracle, "just a lot of creativity," said Lee Petkevicius of Kennewick.
Most would have simply plopped a couple of plants in pots on either side of their door or perhaps added a bench and a table for comfort. But not Petkevicius.
True, she did opt for pots, but lots of them. She added a splashing fountain in one corner and this year sent clematis vines up the walls. Frog statues peep from between pots while wind chimes and a spinner dangle from the garage and house eaves.
When Petkevicius and her husband, Frank, downsized from their house in Kennewick to their present condo she said, "I found I missed the dirt. I missed my plants."
Then she remembered a trip she and Frank made to Carmel, Calif.
"They had pots and pots all along the walkways there," she said. "So I told Frank, that's it. I'll just have a Carmel garden."
She admits gardening in such a small area is challenging.
"You have to be creative and use every inch," Petkevicius said.
But gardening in pots does have advantages: Weeding, for example. They're few and far between.
Changing the look of the garden is easy too. Just rearrange the pots.
Watering she says takes a while, especially when the summer heat beats down.
"But I find it soothing to come out in the morning and visit my plants," she said.
Petkevicius prefers pots that are 8 to 10 inches in diameter and larger because they don't dry out as fast as smaller containers.
"Plus you can put more color in them," she said.
Petkevicius uses a rainbow mix of annuals and perennials including grasses.
"I look for different textures and like to mix colors," she said. "You just have to keep in mind whether the container will be in shade or sun and get plants that have the same needs."
To give the plants a good start, Petkevicius adds an organic soil conditioner to the potting soil and fertilizes them regularly.
Her determination to garden is proof as Petkevicius said, "with a little creativity you can make any area much nicer."
Even a slab of concrete can be a garden.
* Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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