When Janice Hetrick sees a statue that reminds her of one of her kids, she buys it for her gardens.
Janice has six children, but the statues outnumber the kids 36 to 1. Her collection includes more than 220 statues, which are displayed in a number of gardens and around a couple ponds at her home on Schwartz Rd. in a rural part of Lancaster.
She and her husband, Jeff, have just finished putting the ornaments out for the season. Every October, the statues get wrapped up and taken inside for the winter, where they take up about six shelves in the basement.
As Janice takes me on a tour of her gardens, she points out items that hold special meaning for her. Stepping stones surround a small pond near her back deck, each with the name of one of her children: Lindsay, 29; Aaron, 27; Joshua, 25; Jordan, 23; Sydney, 16, and Spencer, 15.
A gnome dressed like a sailor, seen in the photo at right, is for her nephew, who is in the Navy. There are many statues of frogs and turtles around this pond because son Spencer likes them.
About halfway back in her roomy backyard, the area where an above-ground pool had been situated was turned into a large pond last year. It slopes in from the sides and is about three feet deep in the middle.
Jeff just installed a wrought iron fence around the pond, and was working on setting up a waterfall when I visited. (With all the rain we’ve had lately, I was worried that I’d never get a clear day to shoot pictures. The Hetricks generously allowed me to visit four days earlier than we had planned!)
Janice keeps her plants in floating containers so they don’t take over the pond. The plants in the containers include water iris, calla lilies, fern, cattail and arrowhead. On the bank of the pond, other pots hold canna lilies.
The pond is also a home to gold fish, polliwogs, frogs and a turtle. The Hetricks use a bubbler in winter to keep it from freezing solid. A “barley ball,” which is simply a plastic ball stuffed with barley, floats around to filter algae from the pond.
You’ll notice in the photo above that the floating containers hold statues as well as plants. There’s a practical reason for that– it’s to keep away the herons. Janice has also installed replicas of a crow, snake and an owl around the pond to help intimidate the intruders.
The Hetricks spotted a heron eating out of the smaller pond, closer to the house last year, but the birds haven’t bothered the larger pond yet. (The Hettricks have dogs, too, which are sometimes outside.)
Rabbits and deer eat eat neighbors’ gardens, but they don’t bother Janice’s plants. In addition to the intimidating statuary, Janice places chunks of Irish Spring soap in her gardens and sprinkles cayenne pepper on her plants. To test whether deer have been around, she places sticks near tempting plants. If the sticks are broken, she knows deer have stepped on them. So far, so good!
While Janice has many statues, she hasn’t spent a lot of money. She will wait until they go on sale to buy them, and many friends and relatives have given her items. At left, a statue of a dog rests near a ceramic hand, which was created by Spencer.
In the picture at right, you can see how Janice has grouped statues around the trees as well as in the gardens. The willow tree to the left of the house was started from a pussy willow that came from the nursing home where her grandfather stayed. Janice hasn’t purchased any plants for her gardens; all were given to her by friends.
To express her gratitude for the many gifts to her gardens, Janice created a permanent thank-you note. In the photo of the owl above right, you can see a green bowling ball nestled among the small boulders that line the back pond. On the bowling ball she has adhered the letters, “B CUZ OF U.”
You can see Janice’s gardens and ponds during the Lancaster Garden Walk, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17.
After this story was published on May 24, Janice sent me this photo of her completed waterfall, where the spray comes from the mouth of a water creature. I just had to share it!