Husband, wife maintain flowers
Couple share their love of gardening with downtown Iola
By Holly Neumann
Gardening is something Iola residents Pat and Beth Hales have always loved.
“We both have an interest in gardening,” Beth said. “Pat’s mom had a huge garden when he was growing up and my mom and dad had a garden, too. My mom even had a flower shop that she ran out of her home.”
They are now sharing their talents with the Iola community.
“While Pat was working second shift at Grayhill, I would bring him his dinner and we would sit downtown to eat together,” Beth said.
“This is when we noticed that the flowers needed some attention,” Pat said. “At that time, it was mostly weeds.”
After dinner, Beth would usually go for a walk, which included pulling some of those weeds.
“There were some flowers in there, but they were so overgrown with weeds you could not even see them,” she said.
Concerned that someone may have other plans for the garden, Beth stopped at Sweet Medicine to see if it was OK to work on them. Once she was given the OK, the couple immediately went to work.
Ten years later, they are still maintaining that garden.
“This was important to me,” Beth said. “Looking nice makes our town a whole lot better.”
“This is our community,” Pat added. “We wanted it to look nice when people pass through.”
Pat and Beth said the garden gave them the opportunity to meet some of Iola’s business owners.
“It’s nice to hear thank you from them,” Beth said. “It lets us know that they appreciate what we are doing.”
The couple spends at least 1 1/2 hours twice a week watering the plants, in addition to planting, weeding and fertilizing.
“The planting itself takes about five hours and the weeding seems to take forever,” Pat said.
They also enjoy visitors to the community that really pay attention to what they have done.
“There are times when I think, oh my God, what did I get myself into,” Beth said. “The satisfaction of it looking nice and people appreciating it makes it worth it.”
“It really makes you feel good when people recognize your hard work,” Pat said. “People will even stop and ask if we will take care of their gardens for them.”
The Hales spend approximately $100 on plants, fertilizer and flowers.
“Doug from Sentry Foods gives us a percentage off on the flowers, so that helps,” Beth said.
“This year, we added mulch, so that has made the cost go up,” Pat said. “We also like to spruce things up during holidays like Halloween, and the Fourth of July.”
Although the Hales plan on taking care of the garden for as long as they are able, they also welcome help from anyone that would like to volunteer.
“If you see us down there, stop by and talk to us,” Pat said. “We would love the help from anyone.”
Anyone wishing to offset the cost of maintaining the gardens can reach out to the Hales at [email protected]
Donations of flowers, mulch and other garden supplies are always welcome.