Rich and Kay Anderson moved to their current residence 20 years ago after being displaced by a road widening project. Their current house is situated on a private drive and includes a four-acre plot of flat land encompassed primarily by a stand of red pines. Hardwoods such as maples and beeches have gradually become more prevalent as the pines have declined with age and disease. Originally, the builders had cleared just a minimal area surrounding the house which Rich and Kay have vastly expanded by cutting trees and burning. Rich is on his second chainsaw and has lost count of how many new chains have been purchased over the years. While Rich doesn’t garden himself, he cheerfully supports Kay’s addiction.
Their native soil has a pH of 4.5 which is great for pines and blueberries, but not ideal for other plants. Landscaping began with about eight dump truck loads of compost so they could have a lawn and an assortment of flora. Some of Kay’s perennials, shrubs and specimen trees were transplanted from her former home.
Many more loads of compost were needed during the next year to replant the greenery Kay brought with her and, for the last twenty years, countless loads of additional compost have been periodically incorporated into the nutrient deficient soil. In 1997, she joined the Grand Valley Daylily Society and the Anderson collection now numbers over 600 varieties. Several daylily beds are devoted to particular hybridizers; a Stout Silver Medal Award garden and a Lenington All-American Award garden are also on display. In the backyard, she has constructed raised beds for her vegetable garden.
To escape the summer heat, Kay retreats to the woods where she has placed a bench in what has now evolved into her Hosta Forest. Gradually, she has added hostas and more hostas around the bench in order to have a beautiful place in which to spend her time relaxing outdoors. She cannot pinpoint the moment at which her addiction to hostas happened, it just did. She joined the local hosta society and toured the awe-inspiring gardens of other club members. She wanted a garden just like theirs! Now Kay’s own garden is spilling over with approximately 700 varieties of hostas along with countless ferns, Arisaema, hellebores, rhododendrons and other shade-loving plants.
Some of the gardens at the Anderson home have themes including a Food Garden, a Five O’clock Somewhere Garden, and a Rock and Roll Garden. This allows her to cleverly remember where a particular plant is located in the garden. Also, to help her decide which new hostas to purchase because so many cultivars look alike.
While the majority of hostas can be found along winding pathways in Kay’s Hosta Forest, there are two additional beds located behind the home. The Biblical Garden is to the right of the vegetable garden and the Species Garden is located to the left of the cascading water feature behind the pool. Directly behind the potting shed you will find the Hosta Hospital where faltering plants are placed until they regain enough vigor to be placed back into the Hosta Forest.
Don’t miss the Anderson’s “Mouse” collection of hostas which was featured in the 2009 Hosta Journal because over the last ten years, many new “Mice” have been added. And don’t overlook Kay’s two originations – a sport of ‘June’ she calls ‘Another June’, and an interesting sport of ‘August Beauty’ labeled ‘Watermark Beauty’. You will surely enjoy your visit to the Anderson garden!