Kathy Leysath takes gardening seriously. So much so that the Martinez resident has kept a photo journal of her gardens since moving into her home in 2002.
“I photograph plants and trees at different seasons of the year, and once a year I make my husband pose in front of trees and shrubs that we have planted since we moved in,” she said in an e-mail. “Using him as a point of reference helps us keep track of how tall the trees have gotten.”
Leysath’s gardens, which are designed to attract birds, bees and butterflies, feature a variety of flowers that are suitable for cutting.
“I garden to have cut flowers to give away,” she said. “I also get great pleasure in giving away plants and shrubs and trees.”
In addition to keeping a photo journal, Leysath maintains a list of all of the plants, shrubs and trees in her yard.
“I keep a three-ring binder with an alphabetical list of my plants and information from the Internet,” she said. “I then have a quick reference of just the plants in my yard. I now date the printout as to when and where I bought it.”
To keep her gardens looking their best, Leysath puts down a layer of composted cow manure in her flower beds each January, an idea that came from a favorite book: Month by Month Gardening in Georgia by Walter Reeves and Erica Glasener.
“This little tip really changed the texture of our soil and is about all of the fertilizing I do,” she said.
Leysath’s gardens have grown in the years since she enlisted Ray Griffin to help her design them. She has found that plants and trees can come from many places.
For instance, the Arbor Day Foundation gives 10 flowering trees to individuals who join the organization, in addition to offering other things throughout the year.
Leysath also notes that friends are a great way to get new plants and to seek advice.
“Helen Simmons, a friend from church, and Jil Powell, a former neighbor, have both been instrumental in sharing plants and encouraging me,” she said.