Scattered seating areas means there’s always a place to sit in the shade

seating area with southwestern feel
This area tends to be hot and dry, but it gets some shade in the afternoon. It’s just one of the many seating areas on the property of Sharon and Bob Rowitsch in Springville. The chairs and potted herbs help to disguise the storage area beneath the back deck, turning what might have been an unused space into a appealing spot. This area has a southwestern feel and even includes short cactus planted along the wall. The cactus made it through the winter and should get a beautiful yellow flower later in the season. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

 

by Connie Oswald Stofko

No matter how hot it gets, you can always find a shady spot to sit in the yard of Sharon and Bob Rowitsch of Springville. They have made a point to create seating areas throughout their half-acre landscape.

You can see their gardens during the Scene Garden Walk, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 8 in Springville.

Pick up maps at Fiddler’s Green Park, Franklin and S. Buffalo St., Springville.

The walk is organized by the SCENe (Springville Concord Elder Network) Garden Club. This is the second year they are holding the walk. The event is sponsored by Waterman’s Greenhouse.

There will be 18 garden walks this year as part of Gardens Buffalo Niagara (formerly the National Garden Festival). They include nearly 1,000 gardens!

The garden walk season will be kicked off this weekend with the Lewiston GardenFest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18. Pick up maps at the hospitality booths at 411 and 625 Center St., Lewiston.

Springville home with gardens
Sharon and Bob Rowitsch are only the third owners of their house, which was built in 1882. They bought it 17 years ago because it retained so many of the original features. The second floor didn’t even have electricity— there were gas lights. The porch stretches all the way across the front of the house and includes a pair of rocking chairs. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

 

I appreciated that the Rowitsches opened up their gardens so many weeks before their garden walk. In addition to it being so early in the season, many plants that would be blooming now, such as roses, are late because of the cold, wet spring weather. Yet their gardens were lovely and there was so much to learn from the couple.

Sharon uses dianthus in her garden beds because “Deer don’t eat dianthus— at least they don’t in my yard.” Then she added: “But they’ll eat anything if they’re hungry enough.”

The deer have done a lot of damage over the years. You see can rows of mature arborvitaes in the Rowitsches’ backyard, punctuated by what looks like a small sapling here and there. Those “saplings” are actually the same age as the other shrubs, but those are the ones that, for whatever reason, the deer choose to munch on the most.

Those tiny arborvitaes might stand a chance this year because Sharon and Bob found the spot where the deer like to enter the yard. The couple recently strung six lines of clear fishing line there. The deer don’t like bumping into that fishing line.

“It seems like it’s working,” Bob said.

They also offered a tip for dealing with groundhogs. They used to live in Cuba, New York, and groundhogs that had dug a hole near their vegetable garden were becoming a nuisance. The couple (who had six children in ten years) took a dirty diaper and placed it in the groundhog hole. That worked to keep the groundhogs away from the garden. The Rowitsches figure it the animals don’t want to be near humans, and scent kept them away. (They said a dirty diaper, not just a wet diaper, seemed to do the trick.)

Get more ideas and tips from the photos below.

greenhouse and vegetable garden and arbor in Springville, New York
An arbor with LED lights covers one of the many seating area on the grounds. Grape vines and wisteria grow up the arbor, but the wisteria, like so many plants, is blooming later than usual this season after our cool, wet spring. In the background is the greenhouse that the couple built from a kit and finished last week. They had a tent-like hoop house that blew down, and Sharon Rowitsch likes to start many of her plants from cuttings. Between the arbor and greenhouse is a vegetable garden. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
garden beds in Springville, New York
Gardens line the perimeter of the property and an island bed juts out from the patio. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
patio in Springville New York
This is a view of the patio as seen from the back deck. The couple installed the gardens, patio and deck and even the driveway over the 17 years they lived in the home. Notice that they built up the patio rather than keeping it flush with the area around it. The garden slopes down from the patio. An arbor covers the steps. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
gnome house made from tree stump
Children like the gnome house created from a tree stump. Bits of slate are adhered to the plywood roof using silicone caulking. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
columbine and dianthus
These spring blooms include dianthus, in front, and purple columbine in back. The deer don’t bother the dianthus, said Sharon Rowitsch. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

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