A highlight of the area’s annual garden tours, this whimsical landscape is a creative homeowner’s daily escape.

Heman garden front yard

LINDA HEMAN used to host just a handful of close friends at her garden parties in tiny La Russell, Missouri. But like her garden beds, the June event grew into quite an affair, welcoming 70 people or more each year. “You can’t see most of the garden from the street,” she says, “so people are shocked when they see all this stuff.”
Bikes and an old gate in the front yard set the stage for an inviting scene near the street. “I’m all about the aesthetics,” she says. “I like to have a backdrop behind objects for the overall effect.”

Front garden bed

Linda’s stuff is a unique mixture of plantings in about a dozen beds dotted with vintage containers, whimsical signs, garden tchotchkes and bowling balls (yes, bowling balls) that she gathered over 21 years.

Flamingo and watering cans

Flamingos, watering cans, birdhouses and painted signs are familiar sights in her gardenscapes.

Annuals in buckets

So are buckets and weathered tubs Linda uses as containers for plantings like vinca, petunias, begonias, coleus and other annuals.

Containers and tree

Overturned terra cotta pots form this bed’s border, one of her many unusual edging materials. Linda often makes beds around trees to simplify mowing.

Industrial wheels and containers

Linda uses lots of different elements to provide edging in her garden beds. Here, a row of vintage license plates does the job. Industrial wheels, cogs and molds echo the circular shapes of the metal drum planters.

St Francis statue

A St. Francis statue (identified by the bird on his shoulder) shares space and guardian duties with a cheeky garden gnome. Coneflower and columbine flower among the potted annuals.

Potting bench

Linda found the sturdy potting bench made from reclaimed barn wood at a flea market. She fills it with plantings spilling out of coffee cans, basins, urns and galvanized tubs. The license plate flower is original art Linda created herself: “I used part of a chicken feeder as the center.”

Spigot and flowers

Yellow vintage spigot “flowers” play well with the purslane, a trailing annual succulent.

Bottle tree

A blue bottle tree sprouts amid a “forest” of cannas.

Potted annuals and chairs

Along the side of the porch, mounds of annuals find a seat in chairs Linda painted and fitted with containers. “I have a lot of perennials in beds, but supplement with pots of annuals,” she says. “It seems easier to keep moisture levels up for annuals when they’re in containers. The summer heat can be brutal here.”

Vintage baby bath and begonias

A vintage baby bath filled with annual begonias spills over the container against a backdrop of flowering hydrangeas. “This area of the garden is my view out the French doors off the family room and porch area. So I enjoy it all year long,” she says.

Scarecrow and washing machine

Linda’s garden is truly a family affair: The scarecrow is named Freda this year after her brother, Fred, who donated some of her attire. He also gave Linda the blue and white drum (rescued from the basement of a rental property). “It is an old wringer washing machine,” she says. “I’m thinking it may have to be a water feature next year. Wouldn’t that be neat?” The large grid wired for Linda’s passionflower vine is an old garage door donated by her brother-in-law.

Don’t miss our next post when we explore Linda’s backyard and decorated sheds. LOTS more cool junk to see!


© Caruth Studio

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