Mavis Brunsvold of Harmony stands among her colorful phlox and shared that any time she can spend with her flowers is a time when she can forget the world around her.
Mavis Brunsvold of Harmony stands among her colorful phlox and shared that any time she can spend with her flowers is a time when she can forget the world around her.
If you are heading east toward Harmony on County Road 44, and you look to your left as you near the first turn into the southwest residential part of town, you would most likely notice the colorful handiwork of Mavis and Dean Brunsvold.

"I've seen bikers ride pass our place and keep looking back at our gardens," commented Mavis, who, with her husband, Dean, have lived and gardened on that corner for the past 40 years.

According to Mavis, her enjoyment of gardening was influenced from when she was a teenager; although "getting out and picking weeds wasn't very fun," she said. Now, instead of dreading of hearing her mother yell at her to work in the garden, Mavis finds taking care of her flowers to be quite enjoyable.

"The time I get to spend with my flowers is the time when I can forget the world around me," she added.

The division of labor as it pertains to controlling the plant growth at the Brunsvold household outside is quite simple; Mavis cares for the many flower beds and Dean manages the large vegetable garden. They both have full-time jobs in keeping both the garden and flower beds clear of all unwanted weeds and it isn't easy.

"We've had the perfect weather this year for weeds," Mavis said with chagrin. Weeds aside, the majority of space in the gardens is taken up by flowers.

Mavis isn't sure how many flowering plants she has and, in fact, she has very few rules when it comes to planning where certain plants will go.

"I never took classes to become a Master Gardener because I learn about what and where to plant through trial and error," she said. Besides planting her flowers according to expected height, Mavis has just one simple rule. "I plant what I enjoy, but I do like to experiment every year," she said.

Every winter, Mavis sits down with seed catalogues and usually decides to purchase a couple new plants she has never tried in her garden before.

"I'm not much of a seed saver because I get most of my plants either through a nursery or through catalogues," she explained.

There are also some plants every year that come up on their own volition. Mavis usually takes a wait-and-see approach with these unknown plants until they flower. If they look nice to her, she keeps them. If not, they get heaped into the weed category and are removed.

With all the flowers coming up, Mavis has a very diverse garden, which makes it understandable that she doesn't recall all of the names.

"I particularly enjoy the day lilies. They do well every year, but this year, nearly everything got taller than normal," said Mavis.

The growing conditions have been a benefit to Dean's produce garden this year as well; it is chock full of cucumbers, watermelon, squash, cabbage, broccoli, onions, tomatoes and more.

Mavis is proud of her husband's garden, but she is still partial to her flowers.

Over the past few decades, one who gardens could have filled their head with many strategies for a perennially award-winning forest of a garden. Instead of complicating matters, Mavis chooses to keep things simple while not sacrificing beauty. Her flowers attract not only human eyes, but also a wide variety of butterflies and hummingbirds.

"My favorite time is when most of my flowers are in bloom," said Mavis. This is a common sentiment shared by all those who understand the simple enjoyment derived from the conscious care put into gardens.