Turn down Martha Peterson's street in Silvis, and it's quickly evident which yard is hers.

In a row of green front lawns, hers stands out because it's an explosion of color — pink-blooming rose bushes, orange and peach colored lilies, hostas and tall, archy ferns and all manner of whimsical objects — wood cutouts of children riding swings, statues of rabbits and birdhouses.

So much abundance. Grass grows here and there, but mostly there are flowers that seem to tumble over each other in front of her house and in the adjoining lot that is hers, too.

You can see Peterson's yard for yourself from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 23, when it will be one of nine area gardens open for tours sponsored by the Silvis Garden Club.

Peterson's plantings began as soon as she and her husband and three children moved into the home 38 years, and they kicked into high gear when Peterson, now widowed, retired eight years ago.

She's added plants and "cutesy" things that she finds at garage and estate sales. A recent purchase is a teapot brightly painted by decorative artist Mary Engelbreit that she expects to make into a planter.

A friend, Terry, enjoys adding objects he has crafted out of wood or metal, everything from whimsical decorations to practical items such as the waist-high raised beds that allow Peterson to do vegetable gardening without having to get on the ground.

"I don't want to get on the ground anymore," she said.

A focal point of the side yard is a statue of a willowy, long-haired woman holding two lilies. Behind her is a grape arbor bearing white and purple grapes and wisteria.

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"I like it because I have a swing in there," Peterson said of the sheltering arbor. "I like to sit in there because it's shady."

She acknowledges that keeping up with the yard is a lot of work.

"If you don't keep up with it, it's just a weed patch. That's a given. You've got to be out here about every other day.

"Whoever buys this will probably take it all out and put in a swimming pool because it's got the extra lot."

A weed-foiling trick she adopted recently is to put down newspaper and then cover it with grass clippings. The grass dries to an attractive tan and there are no weeds. "It saves me," she said.

A relatively recent addition to the yard is a patterned, concrete edging installed by a Scott County company. "It's kind of spendy," she said, "but it keeps the mulch back (from migrating into the lawn) and it's easier for me to go along (with the lawn mower.)"

There's much to see here. In addition to the plants, Peterson has a deck (brightened with many containers filled with geraniums, her favorite annual), two concrete patios, also with containers, a garden shed and many objects — a miniature windmill, a fire pit, a Red Jacket water pump (from a former west Davenport company), various rocks, wind chimes, Isabel Bloom statues, a small bridge and a metal wood-burning stove.


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