By all accounts, Betty Crowther is a plant enthusiast. Her Evans backyard has been transformed from dull and bland to bold and beautiful in a mere three years.
Upon entrance into her yard, which is paved with a pathway from deck to waterfall to swing, it's evident that a lot of work has gone into the home's garden.
"Back from devastation" is the term Crowther uses to describe the gardens now. Three years ago, the family had a number of diseased trees removed, which left the grass torn to shreds and the previously serene yard near destruction. A lone magnolia tree, planted in 1990, was left standing among the mess.
"I cried for days about it," said Crowther, who then dried her tears and got to work. What has transformed during the past three years is an oasis of sorts for the Crowther family, who has a view of the gardens from their kitchen.
"I arranged the garden so I don't see everything at once," said Crowther.
A waterfall and lush plants surround the back deck, with fragrant ginger and tea olive plants arranged near the door.
"I love fragrant flowers and love to put them where we'll be coming in and out," said Crowther.
Crowther's myriad plants have come from numerous places. For instance, Crowther first discovered the Mickey Mouse ears at the Botanical Gardens in Atlanta, where she now volunteers on a regular basis. She later bought her own plant while on vacation on St. Simons Island. Crowther's black flamingo plant was given to her as a cutting from a friend. The tea olive shrub came from Green Thumb West Nursery, and her fragrant ginger plant came from a plant swap.
"Some of my plants I buy from mail order," she said. "I'm a regular at the local nurseries. People should frequent them more often. They are an invaluable source of knowledge."
People might say Crowther's love of plants -- from her Easter egg plant to the coral bark maple -- is a little obsessive. But Crowther said it's a passion for which she is not going to apologize.
"Some people go to the outlet mall. For me, I like to go to the nursery," said Crowther, a master gardener who completed the program in 1990.
"Some people buy clothes, shoes and makeup. I buy plants."
Crowther admits that she spends a fair amount of time in her garden, but not nearly as much as she did before her 2-year-old grandson was born.
"Before my grandson came into my life, I used to say my garden was labor-intensive, but I don't mind it," she said, adding that a wheelbarrow given to her by her son and daughter and a pair of loppers given to her by her husband are among her favorite gifts.
"I get pleasure from the growing," she said. "I get the biggest kick out of putting this little seed in the ground and watching it poke through the soil and turn green and bloom."
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