Her mother has been gone for more than 20 years, but Bonnie Sekulski maintains a loving connection to her through plants that grow and bloom in her garden.
There’s bright yellow forsythia, a bridal veil bush with delicate white flowers, Japanese iris, early blooming helleborus and other plants, all carefully transferred from her mother’s garden to Bonnie’s yard in Mohnton.
“My mom passed away in 1999, but I love having these plants that she took care of to remind me of her and to keep us connected,” Bonnie said during a recent (socially distanced) visit to her garden.
When Bonnie and her family moved to their home in 1996, the back yard was uninspiring – and very muddy.
“It was pretty much just mud,” Bonnie recalled. “I dug it out with a pick axe. It took me from April until October to finish.”
Over more than two decades Bonnie has created lovely spaces, incorporating plants she finds in the woods with those she buys or inherits from others.
“I love to walk in the woods near my house and see what I find,” she said. “I recently found some wild phlox and wild geranium. And, I brought some May apples back from the woods and planted them on the hill.”
In addition to several areas of flowers, Bonnie maintains a vegetable garden – fenced in to keep out the deer.
“It’s been a constant battle with deer,” she said. “I pulled out the hosta because the deer and rabbits eat them all. I tried to keep my hydrangea alive, but the deer eat them to the ground.”
Already growing in the fenced-in patch are snow peas, snap peas and herbs, with tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and other vegetables to follow. Bonnie will also plant additional herbs in pots to keep close to the house.
“I like to have them right outside more door,” she said.
During this period of stay-at-home and relative isolation, Bonnie is spending more time than ever in her garden, where she finds solace and hope.
In addition to all the spring tasks a gardener must do every year, she is planning what she will add to the garden later this spring and summer. And, as she does each year, she is enjoying the plants that her mother once tended and cared for.
“I just come out here and see God’s glory,” she said. “It gives me hope that we’ll be past all of this soon.”