A swallowtail butterfly rests on the cup plant’s yellow flower. One other flutters close by, then one other and one other. The foursome’s orange and black markings shimmer within the daylight.
Beneath the tall cup plant’s deep inexperienced leaves develop golden yarrow, white cone flowers, and decorative grasses. Close by are clusters of purple hyssop and lavender joe pye weed.
Thom Mrazik planted his meadow garden with perennials and wildflowers to draw pollinating birds and bugs.
A garden separates the meadow from the extra formal garden beds behind the house in Worcester that Thom shares along with his spouse, Mary Jane. The beds are shiny with pink zinnias and bee balm, white and pink phlox, and extra grasses in hues from blue inexperienced to beige.
Thom and Mary Jane began courting in highschool in Trenton and married in 1977. After elevating 4 sons in Drexel Hill, they bought the two-story home with the stone façade and entrance porch in a brand new growth in 2015. It encompasses a bed room and tub on the primary flooring so the couple can age in place.
Mary Jane, a retired college nurse and severe cook dinner, received to design her dream kitchen within the new dwelling. There are cabinets within the chestnut-stained cupboards for her cookbooks, and an outsized island offers an ample workspace. Her assortment of 60 teapots is artfully displayed within the eating room and research.
When the Mraziks purchased the property, Thom created his dream garden within the yard, which adjoins a woodland protect.
Thom turned severe about horticulture after retiring in 2013 from a profession in medical and regulatory affairs with Johnson & Johnson in Fort Washington.
He enrolled in Penn State extension programs to develop into a grasp gardener and accomplished the three-year Barnes Arboretum Horticulture program. He additionally turned a disciple of Piet Oudolf, a Dutch garden designer, whose naturalistic public gardens such because the Excessive Line in New York have develop into famend.
Whereas impressed by Oudolf’s concepts about construction and scale, Thom’s garden is family-friendly.
The three oldest of Mraziks’ 4 grandchildren performed Wiffle ball on the garden in entrance of the meadow once they visited from Seattle final yr.
In September 2020, Thom and Mary Jane hosted a marriage reception within the yard for his or her son Kevin and his bride, Samantha. A tent was erected on the garden for 40 visitors, and a bar was arrange within the patio.
Mary Jane assembled bridesmaids’ bouquets from florist’s flowers and plant supplies from the garden. On the bridal bathe, visitors made preparations from flowers and plant materials she lower from the garden.
Mary Jane, who leaves cultivation of the garden to Thom, advantages from its bounty. Apart from arranging fresh-cut blooms, she dries small flowers and leaves to craft greeting playing cards for family and friends. She places up jars of plum tomatoes and cooks with peppers, lettuce, chard, kale, spinach string beans, garlic and herbs that Thom grows.
Whereas he has been profitable with deer-resistant crops within the meadow and flower beds, Thom needed to shield the vegetable patch from rabbits with wire mesh.
There are some critters within the garden that won’t munch on crops. The Mraziks’ sons gave them metallic cutouts of two sheep and a lamb for the garden. A copper hummingbird received’t compete for nectar with actual birds.
Some garden sculptures are spiritual. Crimson celosia and orange day lilies body a stunning stone Madonna.
Below a cluster of bee balm, a statue of St. Fiacre depicts the seventh-century Irish priest pushing a shovel with one hand and holding a bucket of blossoms with the opposite. Legend has it that Fiacre, the patron saint of gardeners, miraculously cleared a subject by uprooting bushes and tangled briers with simply the tip of his workers.
Thom’s laborious work and planning, not a miracle, created his beautiful garden, however he nonetheless considers it to be a non secular place.
Thom, who additionally cares for flower beds and prunes the crepe myrtle at his parish church, St. Helena’s in Blue Bell, believes gardens ought to be a spot to “sit, pray and observe in concord with nature.”
When Mary Jane described internet hosting a marriage reception within the garden in the midst of the pandemic, she stated, “God knew we wanted this house.”
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