After purchasing their future retirement house in Gering in 2010, Peg Nees and Lyle Hart knew it needed some TLC to make the space what they wanted.
Seven years later, they were able to retire from Colorado to their new residence. As part of the renovations, Nees spent time outside sketching her vision for her garden and backyard and then turned that sketch into a reality. With some help from her siblings, Nees and Hart constructed pergolas and renovated the arbor and shed. Since Nees enjoyed creating art, she designed the art pieces on the pergolas that now act as support for veins to climb and cover the pergolas.
“There’s times I just come in a sit down and look at what is blooming,” Nees said. “It’s nice to see, but then when I start looking, I think ‘Ah, there’s a weed’ and I get up and start weeding.”
Throughout their garden, Nees has incorporated pieces of old farm equipment they found abandoned on their land near Bayard. The equipment provides shelving for plants and shade for others throughout the day.
While walking through the garden, the public will see unique varieties of trees, which include Twisted Locust, Paperbark maple, twisted peach and Amur Maackia. Some of their shrubs on display are Rose of Sharon, elderberry, hydrangeas, hibiscus, and roses.
For people new to gardening or struggling to keep plants alive, Nees said water is crucial.
“Water or too much water is what they seem to do,” she said. “They either over water them or don’t water them enough. If you don’t like to water them, go for a cacti garden.”
She will water the cactus garden if the summer has been hot to ensure it doesn’t die, but the maintenance is low. The rest of the plants and flowers have drip systems ran to them, which makes Nees’ job easier.
Although gardening can seem too time consuming, Nees encourages people to try.
“Don’t be afraid to try it. If you like it try it,” she said. “What’s the worst that can happen? It’s going to die. So you lost $6 or $10. What did you spend $10 on last, dinner or a hamburger? The investment is worth it.”
As the flowers prepare to blossom as the heat continues to rise, Nees said the biggest challenge with gardening is the weather.
“I was telling my husband that we need to start making wheels for all these pots because I’ve hauled it in and out of the shed so many times it’s not even funny now,” she said.
During a recent hail storm, Nees left some of her plants under the back patio cover, but the begonias got holes in the leaves. As the plants recover, Nees is hopeful the plants will recover in time for the garden walk. Regardless, the public will see a variety of plants and gardening styles on the garden walk. Nees has visited five of the six sites.
“I like (the gardens) because they are so different,” Nees said. “All of the gardens are a little different, which is a good thing because whoever likes my garden, might not like another. You get a choice of which gardens you pull ideas from.”
While looking at other gardens, Nees learned about the plant called a fern peony.
“I’ve never seen one of those before,” she said. “It is the coolest thing.”
Nees’ and Hart’s garden is located at their residence at 1805 A St. in Gering.
Theatre West’s annual Garden Walk Twilight Tour is set for June 30 from 4 to 8 p.m. and features six area gardens in Morrill, Scottsbluff and Gering. The 27th annual fundraiser will allow participants to go on self-guided tours through creative and beautiful gardens filled with flowers, tress, shrubs and water features.
Tickets purchased in advance are $15. Tickets can be purchased at the Theatre West box office, from Theatre West board members, Gering Garden Center, ABC Nursery, Compliments, the Mixing Bowl, Peaceful Prairie and Great Gardens.
Tickets can also be purchased the day of the garden walk for $18. Children 10 years old and under are free.
The Garden Walk is sponsored by Theatre West and the event is a major fundraiser to help bring in theater productions to the area.