Sylvia Bohn fell in love with hostas right away.
“You don’t have to do anything but stick them in the dirt,” she says in the delightful Texas drawl she hasn’t lost after years of living in the Midwest.
She didn’t know they existed growing up and now she has a yard full of them.
The word “yard,” though, just doesn’t seem to fit Sylvia and Gary Bohn’s sanctuary in Tomlinson Woods.
Their gardens wind around the house, which has grown along with the grounds in the 20 years they’ve lived there.
Sylvia says it’s a constant work in progress. This spring, they renovated the area along the driveway with Todd Petersen of TMP Landscaping and Remodeling doing the work.
The beds on the east side of the property include Japanese lilacs. Sylvia adores the fragrance of the blooms.
“This is what heaven is going to smell like,” she says.
Once you make the turn to the back of the house, the gardens are surprising in size. There are large hostas everywhere and some of her favorite bleeding hearts. But also a tiny raised vegetable garden in the center — one of two — where she can slip outside and pick radishes, peas or Swiss chard.
It sits next to a water feature with one of several statues of children that dot the property.
When asked about them, Sylvia responds, “Everything has a story.” And then she proceeds to tell it.
Gary worked for years for Peter Kiewit Sons’ Co., but he wasn’t a golfer. So instead of meeting up with the guys on the links on road trips, he would go exploring. One time he called from Florida to tell Sylvia about some wonderful bronze statues he had discovered. Soon a huge crate arrived at the house with not one but five.
“Gary does everything big,” Sylvia says.
Rebecca Timmerman of Sunnyside Garden Care maintains the grounds. She comes weekly, sometimes with a pickup loaded with new plants.
That’s why the gardens seem to change by the day as the different species take their turn in the limelight.
“It’s always a surprise,” Sylvia says.
She watches the seasons and plantings change from the English conservatory at the rear of the house. It used to be a patio but now, with its heated tiles and air conditioning, it’s her favorite room.
Turn off the interior lights and she can see the raccoons, opossums and rabbits traipse through the lighted gardens at night. She spoils them sometimes with stale cookies.
“Anywhere I sit, I can see outside,” she says. “That’s what I really enjoy.”
A red arbor on the side of the house leads to a much larger vegetable plot, a sunken garden and another story. Gary had wanted to paint their clock tower red but Sylvia said no. She compromised with the red of the arbor.
She chose the color for the aqua blue panels that accent the perimeter of the garden, providing privacy from the walking path that rings the development. Evergreens provide a natural screen.
Sylvia says they’ve stayed too long and she has grown too attached to both the house and the gardens. Both are too big, she says, for the two of them and their three cats. But she has no intention of giving up either yet. It’s not in her blood.
“I’m a country girl from Texas,” she says.
Photos: Tomlinson Woods garden is 20-year work in progress
Rebecca Timmerman of Sunnyside Garden Care maintains Sylvia and Gary Bohn's grounds weekly, sometimes with a pickup loaded with new plants. That’s why the gardens seem to change by the day as the different species take their turn in the limelight.