Gary Kerofsky has been a vegetable gardener for many years, and still is.
But his overall landscape of trees, shrubs and flowers has taken a big boost in the 12 years since his daughter graduated from Iowa State University, Ames, with a degree in landscape architecture, and began helping out.
Clare Kerofsky Lindahl brought along her husband, Kyle, a biology and forestry major who previously worked for Heritage Design, Moline, and now works for Wright Tree Service, Des Moines.
Working together, the two generations have transformed Kerofsky's Moline yard. You can see the results of their efforts on Saturday, June 24, when the yard will be one of five open for tours as part of the annual Silvis Garden Club garden walk.
Evidence of the Lindahls' collective good eye begins at the front, where the foundation is planted with an alternating pattern of boxwood shrubs and variegated hostas. The foundation previously was planted with junipers, but they had become overgrown, Clare Lindahl said in a phone interview.
The boxwoods stay compact, yet provide year-round interest because they stay green in winter, she said.
On the side of the house, under a large locust tree Kerofsky planted years ago and where grass struggled, the Lindahls installed a whole new bed, one plant at a time. Edged in brick, it contains hydrangea and butterfly bushes, hostas and astilbes.
In problem areas, Lindahl encourages gardeners to try just a few plants at a time. See how they do, then put in a few more, she said. That way you can see what works and what doesn't and you don't commit to an entire planting that might fail.
The sunny backyard is more Kerosky's domain, with plots of vegetables, including tomatoes, two kinds of beans, cucumbers, acorn squash and broccoli.
Every vegetable plot is fenced to keep out rabbits, and Kerofsky has two raised beds. Rounding out his produce are a robust patch of raspberries and two blueberry bushes that he has covered with cloth net so birds don't get his berries before he does.
Next to the raspberries is another large planting, dominated by a river birch tree that, with its exfoliating bark, provides winter interest. Under the tree are yarrow, peonies, a bright yellow privet, spirea and lilac bushes, coneflowers and a big — and growing — mound of mums.
This is an area that, despite Lindahl's advice of planting one variety at a time, was installed in one fell swoop. Lindahl and her husband wanted to surprise Kerkofsky one day when he was gone, and they certainly succeeded.
Also toward the back of the yard is a storage shed with a paver patio laid out in a herringbone pattern, with a "soldier" pattern border. Kyle Lindahl did that, too.
In all the plantings, the Lindahls tried to use a variety of materials for year-round interest and that are native and support pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
Kerofsky and his wife, Mary, a mental health nurse at Vera French Mental Health Center, Davenport, are happy with the shared efforts and look forward to showing them to visitors during the garden walk.
Daughter Lindahl currently is executive director of Conservation Districts of Iowa, the office that oversees all the soil and water conservation districts in the state. She previously worked for River Action Inc. and Partners of Scott County Watersheds/Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District in Davenport.
Kerofsky is a Vietnam infantry veteran and retired U.S. postal worker who hopes that his yard-tending helps to buoy the neighborhood that has some challenges.
"You just do what you're doing and try not to let it affect you," Kerofsky said of occasional problems with litter and rental properties that aren't always kept up.