The Kolowski Garden
Chimney Ridge - 4815 South 158th Circle
Follow “Grandpa’s Walk” through the Flowers
Senator Rick Kolowski and his wife, Bonnie, began their garden in the fall of 1984 when they built their home. It was the second house in the subdivision. The farmland had been recently cleared. New streets and fields of weeds filled the area now known as Chimney Ridge.
In order to facilitate a workable, livable space in their sloping yard, truckloads of dirt had to be removed. They brought in rich, black soil from a farm and began to transform the barren land into backyard gardens. The Kolowskis created a space for a vegetable garden first. They then began to define flowerbeds around the perimeter of the yard with trees, shrubs and rock.
The Kolowskis began to plant perennials. They started with yellow daylilies that were transplanted from Bonnie’s grandmother’s home in Illinois. They added many hostas, peonies, oriental lilies and Stella D’Oro lilies. Other perennials were added over the years: astilbe, bleeding hearts, columbine, clematis, shasta daisies, coral bells transplanted from Colorado and a black walnut tree that also came from Illinois.
Two unique features of the backyard include a 16-foot gazebo built in 2005 and a brick path through the flowers which was named “Grandpa’s Walk.” By using bricks with a dash or a dot on them, Rick and Bonnie spelled out the names of their grandchildren in Morse code.
The Leonardo Garden
Fountain Hills - 624 South 158th Street
An Ongoing Labor of Love
We moved into our home approximately 13 years ago that had little or no landscaping or
gardening. We dug out a hill on the backside of our house and replaced it with a retaining
wall and patio that we covered with a full-length 30-foot deck. In the middle of the front
yard, a kidney shaped raised berm, bordered by bricks, was developed using the excavated
dirt. We then planted several trees, plants and shrubs, including a Silver Maple tree, a
Japanese Maple shrub with Day Lilies, Euonymous and Hostas mixed in. Along the front side
of the house we added a Korean Lilac tree, more Hostas, Hydrangea and Sage perennials along
with Lilacs and small shrubs.
The entire length of the backyard was landscaped, including raised berms on the south and
north portions of the yard. After losing a couple of Pine trees, we added other varieties of
small trees, including Arborvitaes, shrubs and plants to complement the existing trees still
Our last project consisted of pouring a new curved, stamped concrete patio off the deck. We
also constructed a circular gas fire pit in the middle that is surrounded by a small, sitting wall
comprised of vertical and horizontal landscape bricks. Between two pillars, we added a
lighted meta arbor archway that leads out into the backyard. We also have dozens of potted
annual plans scattered all throughout the front, side and back yard to add a colorful blend.
The Johnson Garden
Bent Creek - 1230 North 163rd Circle
Plants with a Story, Family Treasures and Gardening with Backyard Neighbors
Steve and Rose Johnson moved into their home in 2000. The large corner lot had three dying pines and a sprinkling of spirea, hosta, and daylilies. Landscaping was challenging due to poorly draining clay soil. They created large raised berms to promote better drainage for plants. Doing the work themselves has been both challenging and rewarding.
The Johnsons have transformed their backyard with a variety of perennials and shrubs, with continual seasonal interest and native plants as their focus. They love plants with a story. They have many plants from family and friends, including old-fashioned scented yellow daylilies, dainty spring anemones, heirloom pink phlox, sweet woodruff, sun drops and “South Dakota” rhubarb.
They enjoy nostalgic items, and their collection reaches back generations, including old milk cans, a soap kettle, wash tubs, metal buckets and a childhood stool. There also is a birdhouse Rose’s father made with boards from a century-old family barn.
Their perennial collection includes: allium, astilbe, balloon flower, bee balm, black-eyed Susan, bleeding heart, brunnera, butterfly bush, catmint, clematis, coneflower, coral bells, coreopsis, daylilies, dianthus, false indigo, foamy bells, goatsbeard, hosta, iris, joe-pye weed, lamb’s ears, lilies, liatris, mums, geranium, pincushion flowers, peonies, penstemon, rosebushes, salvia, sedum, shasta daisy, Siberian iris, spiderwort, Russian sage, turtlehead and veronica. The beds also include a variety of spring bulbs and annuals to provide a rainbow of colors, spring to fall.
The Johnsons enjoy gardening with their backyard neighbors. They enjoy the water feature in the McCreas’ backyard and appreciate the many birds that visit their yard from the Rotschafers’ collection of birdhouses and feeders. It is fun to be fenceless, allowing neighbors to have a multitude of flower beds that flow from one to the other. Feel free to wander through all the backyards.
The Langan Garden
Eagle Point - 3514 North 124th Avenue
Come Explore Nana’s Happy Place and Hundreds of Daylilies
It’s hard for Mark and Annette Langan to imagine that 23 years ago their newly constructed home with bare flower beds would be featured in the 2019 Munroe-Meyer Guild Garden Walk. Throughout the years, the loss of beloved trees and shrubs allowed them to expand and add more native-friendly plants.
Becoming a master gardener inspired and educated Annette to improve her established flower beds. Now, they are considered a certified Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Garden through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. Daylilies have become her passion, and more than 250 varieties can be found scattered everywhere. Annette’s late sister-in-law, Judi, introduced her to the love of daylilies, and now a memorial garden in her honor is an addition with a rock border, birdbath, tulips, mums, “Double Delight” tea rose, “Dark Towers” penstemon and “Summer Storm” hibiscus. Judi would be thrilled her garden also features “Judith” and “Judy Judy” daylilies.
As the seasons change, so do the colors - in spring with royal raindrop and prairie fire crabapple trees, lilacs, forsythia, irises, “Rosy Lights” azaleas, alliums and a wisteria vine.
Summer bursts with colors of daylilies, garden phlox, coneflowers, shrub and tea roses, hollyhocks, beebalm, hydrangeas and more. Autumn Blaze maple and white birch trees start the fall color transformation along with many mums, asters and burning bushes.
You also will find many eclectic garden artworks that are whimsical and unique mixed in the flower beds. A flagstone water bubbler was added late last year, along with a vintage red hand pump that adds a tranquil sound of water next to the covered back patio.