Through The Garden Gate of Kay Boring – Mount Dora, Florida
“Gardening is much more enjoyable if you allow yourself to relax and be flexible with how it turns out, giving yourself and your garden the room for some wonderful surprises along the way.” Kay Boring
Featured Gardener: Kay Boring
Location: Mount Dora, Florida
Years Gardening: 70
How much time do you spend gardening?
It depends on whether or not you’re talking about tending to flowering plants, or pulling weeds. Of course I prefer spending time among the flowers, but the weeding is usually the primary chore I take care of. In the summertime, I’m weeding daily, and the plants are fairly self-sufficient, except for watering every other day and fertilizing once a month. During the rest of the year, I’m outside a couple of times a week, cleaning up and making sure all of my plants are getting what they need.
Describe your garden(s) or gardening activities:
When I was a little girl during WWII, we had a very large “Victory Garden” that supplied us with quite a few of our vegetables. We also had a field of wildflowers growing behind our home, and I used to like to pick the flowers to bring to my mother as a surprise. I think my love for flowers and flowering plants began during these early years.
Over the years I’ve grown (or attempted to grow) just about anything you can think of. At various times and in various places, I’ve grown flowers, fruit, vegetables, herbs, and a few plants that we never were able to identify. These days, I’m planting flowers and bushes that are more apt to be able to take care of themselves, which is quite possible in our tropical climate. During the last few years, I’ve planted azaleas, daisies, mandevilla, lilies, and a gorgeous Brugmansia or “Angel’s Trumpet.” I’ve also planted numerous ferns, roses, and even a pair of pineapple plants that have produced fruit!
What about your garden(s) or gardening activities has given you the most pride?
Because my mother’s name was “Rose,” and she loved roses, I have always been really happy with any rose bushes I grew that produced beautiful flowers. Bringing cut flowers indoors that I’ve grown and arranging them to beautify our home gives me a sense of pride and happiness.
What about your garden(s) or gardening activities has been the biggest challenge, and how did you overcome it?
Several years ago, we purchased a summer house on a lake in New York state. I envisioned a beautiful flower garden in the front yard, and couldn’t wait to get planting. Despite the fact that gardening locals warned me about planting before Memorial Day, I dug in early, and planted a fantastic picturesque garden that we looked forward to enjoying all summer long. However, that was not to be, as a lingering frost wiped out my efforts, and I was forced to replant the entire garden. As with most things, the second attempt never grew to equal the beauty of the first. Since then, I’ve learned my lesson by always listening to the gardening locals!
What advice would you give to a novice gardener who is just starting out?
I could say that the right tools, plants, and experience are what a new gardener needs to be successful, but I think what’s fun about gardening is to allow yourself to make mistakes, learn as you go, and improve with each new season. Gardening is much more enjoyable if you allow yourself to relax and be flexible with how it turns out, giving yourself and your garden the room for some wonderful surprises along the way.
What are your two favorite “can’t live without” gardening tools or products?
Over the years, I’ve replaced my first set of “gardening tools” (spoon, scissors, knife) with a nice set of tools in a handy carrying case that I keep with me by my side in the yard. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to love my “Garden Hopper,” which is a rolling garden seat with storage. I also can’t live with my kneeling pad!
What’s your next project?
We’ve got a shady, sandy area under a tree that has proven to be a challenge. Thus far, I’ve not been able to find a flowering plant that will thrive there. I’m determined to make this corner of our yard beautiful, however. Any suggestions?
How does your garden and/or gardening enrich your life?
Any time that I drive into our driveway and see our colorful blooms, or walk into the house and see the cut flowers that I’ve grown, it makes me happy! When I see something bloom from a seed or plant start, and it develops into a beautiful complete flower, it reminds me that its life is as miraculous as ours.