Kent Pavelka makes the call: He loves his shade gardens

The sense of satisfaction Nebraska radio play-by-play announcer Kent Pavelka enjoys after a basketball game doesn’t end in March.

It just switches to a new venue — his gardens.

“When I get done planting something, I get the same feeling as when I’m driving back from Lincoln,’’ Pavelka said. “When you get done, there is just this feeling of 'job well done' inside.’’

Pavelka, 70, said he’s a perfectionist about calling Husker games, which he began doing in 1974. He casts the same critical eye on his flower beds, although it’s much harder to win the war against weeds and weather conditions.

“I want it to look good,’’ he said.

Pavelka has lived in his home near 96th Street and West Dodge Road for nearly 30 years. But in the past, his outdoor tasks focused more on hedge trimming and planting annuals.

A few years ago, he decided to put in a shade garden instead of grass under some trees in his front yard. He was hooked.

Now, he’s planting perennials and spending hours each week on his yard. He finds it therapeutic.

“I really enjoy watching it grow and keeping it alive,’’ he said.

Last year, he branched out, removing a ratty hedge across the front of his property and landscaping the area himself. He even got crafty, decorating some old bowling balls and creating some reflective "gazing balls" to add some glitz.

In the back, a former pool was turned into a pond. Keeping the goldfish alive is another project.

Pavelka, who also works in advertising, said people in a public career sometimes get pigeonholed into what people think they are all about. But now they can add gardener to his profile.

Although he never will be satisfied — that’s just not his personality — he’s pleased with the way his yard is shaping up.

“It looks nice. It’s not pristine by any measure,’’ he said. “By and large, it’s presentable. I think it’s OK.’’

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