Garden of Beauty – Aug. 6

Courtesy photo

Gary and Ruth Neely, 75 Fox Willow Drive, Pinedale, love all the smells, colors and shapes that are a delightful part of gardening. The Sage and Snow Garden Club honored them with this week’s Garden of Beauty Award and were rewarded with an unforgettable tour of their beautiful gardens and landscaping. Located on the banks of Pine Creek, the Neelys have highlighted the natural beauty of the water with trees, shrubs and flowers, including many native species. Gary comes from a long and well-known family of gardeners. His mother, Lucy Neely (Neely’s Nursery), sold trees and flowers to many Sublette County gardeners. His grandmother, Ethel David, meticulously recorded the results of her large vegetable gardens on Beaver Creek, north of Merna, for her descendants. This bold and rich gardening heritage encouraged Gary and Ruth to grow things that can thrive in Sublette County but are not often seen in the landscape. They have Swedish aspens that produce fewer runners than native aspen trees. Their ginella maples, a beautiful shrub with tiny maple leaves that turn scarlet in the fall, thrive in several areas of their yard. They have two beautiful larch trees with long soft furry needles that turn yellow in the fall and drop from the tree in winter. Crabapple trees produce apples for jelly. The lilacs and chokecherries scent their yard all spring. A jack pine and crabapple tree from Mother Lucy’s gardens grace a corner of their yard. Potentillas, bright with yellow flowers, define the perimeters of their flower gardens. The large native wildflower garden provides color all summer with showy penstemon, daisies, coneflowers, flax, wallflowers and many other species. Flower gardens close to the house provide food for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds with delphiniums, hollyhocks, poppies, catmint, painted daisy, peonies, marigolds, petunias and dianthus in full bloom now. A special reward for Gary and Ruth’s gardening efforts was the discovery of a Cassin’s finch nest in one of the large hanging flower baskets this summer. In honor of Grandma David, Gary has a large vegetable garden where he grows potatoes, carrots, beets, zucchini, bush beans, spinach, lettuce and raspberries. Gardening is hard work but the beauty and pleasure that results from the work is the motivation for the Neelys to tend their beautiful gardens. 

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