Franklin couple dug a yard and brought plants to a new home, twice


In the garden with Clarice and Dennis Vichich

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When Clarice and Dennis Vichich moved into their Franklin Home about 25 years ago, they didn’t just move their furniture.

Because Clarice loves everything green and grows, they dug up most of the plants from their old home in Greenfield, transported them to their new home, and planted them there. They also transported all the stone from Lannon and the field stone from this garden.

Because their new 1 acre property was all grass, she used a lawn mower to dig up the sod in the spaces where she wanted to put her plants, then brought the sod back to their old home to plant it in the spaces where his plants once grew.

“Basically my husband and I did it all. But then we were much younger. We had an old pickup truck and we loaded all these plants and stones. It was a lot of work, but for me it was something I had to do, ”she said.

This move may seem like a lot of work to some, but she said it went well; probably because they had already done it once.

“About 40 years ago, we built our first house where my grandfather’s farm was in Greenfield. But then too much business development happened in the area, so after a few years we got the house back and moved it. to many in Greenfield.

In this move, they also took their plants, along with the Lannon Stone they had collected and the Fieldstone that was once the foundation of his grandfather’s barn.

After a few years, they realized that the land they had moved their house to was too small for the gardens that Clarice wanted to have, so they started looking for a new home.

They found the perfect space in their current home, which sits on hilly land in a wooded area not far from the Boerner Botanical Gardens.

As well as the grounds, they also loved the cottage style home, which features four bedrooms, 2 ½ baths and a garage.

Clarice, who like her husband is retired, said that after this move it didn’t take long for all the plants she was carrying with her to become established. And of course, she added more plants over time.

“When you take plants of full size, they will establish in a matter of months. Then people wouldn’t have known that these gardens weren’t here forever.

“Then every year I added something new; a bush or a plant, and my husband used some of the field stone to build a shed. And then, of course, we built a walkway to the hangar with the Lannon stone, and then we laid out gardens around the hangar, ”she said.

Today its informal style shade gardens have Lannon stone walkways and stairs, raised field stone flower beds, massive boulders that accentuate the flower beds, arborvitae of various shapes and sizes. , there is a curved gravel driveway, a long driveway, a large wooded area, a patio at the back of the house and lots of water and wildlife features.

“I like to walk in the gardens. I have a lot of fountains; I like the water in the garden. And I have a lot of animals that come to the garden. I plant things for the birds; things like dogwoods and mulberries. In fact, the birds themselves plant the blackberries.

“We also have a lot of deer. A few years ago we put black iron fences around the back half of the yard because it is difficult to garden with deer. Now they can eat whatever they want but they let me too.

“I have also created different gardens around the house. They are like different rooms. This house is on a corner, and you cannot tell where the property begins and ends. The way I have positioned the front gardens helps tie the house to the land. It improves its appearance.

The work she did on the property was so mind-blowing that it drew the staff of Better Homes and Gardens.

“It happened through the Master Gardener program. (the UW Extension Master Gardener Program) The folks from the magazine came here in the spring of 2012 and took pictures which were printed in February 2013.

“When they first came out, they looked at the gardens and saw all the bluebells near the shed. There were a lot of them, so they loved it. There were also bleeding hearts moving up and down the nearby Lannon stone steps. They took pictures of the flowers and the shed.

“They published a few pages, it was a great distribution. It was my moment of glory, ”she said, but added that the project took two days and while it was interesting it took a lot of work to get the yard perfect for this project.

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Plants and souvenirs

She said her gardens kept memories for her as well and gardening made her happy every day.

“I have my grandmother’s peonies; I have moved them so many times. And I have other people’s plants growing in my gardens. When I look at these plants, I remember these people.

“I like to live in a nice setting. When you garden, you create images. Every time I look out of one of my windows I see a pretty sight, ”she said.

While she loves her gardens and enjoys spending time in them, she said she is changing them up yet again.

“As I get older, I put in more grass and pull up plants to make gardening easier.

“We had a waterfall with two ponds that Dennis built, and last year we filled this area because it was getting too much work.

“I recently got rid of trucks loaded with pachysandra and hostas – my entire driveway is full of them. When I split them, I have hundreds left. Now instead of transplanting them, I throw them in front of the house for people to pick up or put them on Facebook Marketplace.

“But I’m always doing something new. At the moment, I am putting arborvitae at the front of the property. … I have also started a new shade garden across the aisle. It never stays the same, it always changes.

“Gardening is a lot of work. You have to love it because you have to do it when it needs to be done, ”she said.

She recently spoke about her gardens and how much she appreciates them.

Question: Have you ever considered leaving your gardens untouched rather than taking your plants with you?

Reply: No. The real estate agents we worked with also said that the number of factories would not be a plus. It was more than most people wanted to take care of.

Q: What was your second garden like?

A: It was a quarter of an acre of solid gardens with two paths of grass.

Q: Were you happy that this property didn’t have a garden when you bought it?

A: Yes. When you create your gardens, you know them much better. And when it’s something you’ve created, you want to take care of it. It’s not the same when you inherit it. I was glad there was nothing here because I wanted to do my own thing.

Q: What time of year was it when you transplanted all of your plants here?

A: It was summer. I must have watered a lot.

Q: Were there any trees on your property when you moved in?

A: Yes. There were some big old oak trees, but we are losing some. There are also a lot of black walnut trees. We have planted a few eastern redbuds. We have also added some ginkgo trees.

Q: How do you design your garden beds?

A: I look at the grass and make a shape, whether it’s a big teardrop or a circle, and then everything else is from the garden.

Q: Do you have any training in horticulture?

A: I was in the Master Gardener program years ago. Then I read plant encyclopedias.

Q: What role does your husband play in the garden?

A: It borders all the beds. He also takes care of the trees. At first he didn’t like gardening too much, but now he loves it because he sees how it is constantly changing.

Q: Are other family members interested in gardening?

A: We have four children, ten grandchildren and five great grandchildren. The great-grandchildren are the most interested. They all know the names of the different flowers and know how to garden. When we got the pond they all loved it.

Q: What are your favorite plants?

A: Hostas, astilbe, peonies, hellebores, daylilies, daffodils, clematis, and I love grasses. Also forsythias, lilacs and hydrangeas. They are quite simple plants, but they make a beautiful garden because there are different textures. I love the different shades of green. Lately I’ve added a lot of chartreuse plants.

Q: What are the gardening challenges here?

A: Black walnut trees. We have about 10. Because they have juglone in their root system, some plants will not survive around them. But you learn. There are a lot of plants that will do well around them, and sometimes certain things will survive when they shouldn’t. I respect black walnut and I don’t put plants near them that I know won’t survive. Because of the woods, it also becomes invasive. I constantly try to keep things at bay. I still have trouble with garlic mustard. It is a problem.

Q: Do your gardens match the style of your home?

A: Yes. The man who designed the buildings in Boerner designed the house. He has the same feeling. The house looks like a stone cottage from the 1800s, but it was built in 1939.

Q: Is there anyone who influenced you in gardening?

A: My father and my mother. Dad was interested. My whole family has always had vegetable gardens.

Q: How do you make your gardens look so beautiful?

A: Lots of watering. My husband does this. This season we have watered a lot. And I constantly weed. I use a lot of Preen; otherwise I couldn’t keep up with the weeds.

Q: Have these gardens changed a lot over the years?

A: They are always changing. In any garden you go through stages. First you want the natives, then you want something else and you get rid of the natives. You learn what you want to tolerate. I have fewer natives now because we don’t get much sun.

Q: What native plants do you still have?

A: I have Joe Pye weed in a circle around a tree, and the Joe Pye is surrounded by hostas. In this circle, they behave quite well. Butterflies love Joe Pye weed.

Q: Any ongoing projects?

A: I am planting new arborvitae for more privacy as they set up a cycle path near my property. I also need to delete a bunch of hostas and figure out what to do with those.

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