When Ginger and Howard Kalm moved to West Fargo 34 years ago, she was not happy with the backyard of their new home Ginger has always been a gardener, with inspiration from her mother. She studied the landscape and removed one large shrub after another until she was able to create her idea of a garden. Now the Kalm garden is filled front and back with a wide assortment of plants. The uniqueness comes from Gingers utilization of yard art.
The shady front yard catches your eye right away with several vignettes of plants and antique items. There is a bench, a wheelbarrow, old galvanized metal pans and many plants. A vine-covered arbor frames some of the front windows. Ginger has created a fence separating one bed from the entry to the front porch using large hayrack wheels. As you enter the front porch, you are welcomed by a friendly bear carved by neighbor Jay Ray who is a chain saw artist.
The centerpiece of the backyard is a large pond with a wooden bridge crossing it. Many goldfish and a few ten-pound Koi are colorful residents of the pond. Ginger and Howard dug the pond by hand which is at least three feet deep and holds about 1200 gallons of water. They actually wanted to make it bigger, but ran out of steam when they hit some heavy clay soil. Large rocks surround the pond along with shrubs, perennials and annuals. On one side of the pond, an old rowboat with oars, anchor and a life buoy nestles into the rocks.
The back yard is completely fenced providing a nice backdrop for the plants in the adjacent gardens. These borders are filled with an assortment of beautiful Hosta, Daylilies, Spirea, Sedum, Iris, Clematis, Lamium and much more all in luxurious condition. Concrete pavers edge the borders setting them off from the lush green lawn.
One corner features a weeping Elderberry that is quite unusual and a pretty Tiger Eye Sumac nearby. A large Spruce had to be cut down near the back corner and now the tall stump sports a second bear carved by Jay Ray. Another large Spruce in the neighbor's yard is behind the bear so he seems quite at home on his perch.
A small tricycle and an old bicycle belonging to her children decorate a third corner. A rusty wheelbarrow, an old pump with an enamel coffee pot and a sipper cup hanging from it , cream cans, a mop bucket, a tractor seat, and an old grain shovel all find spots within the garden. Some are filled with flowers and others just add charm. decorative birdcages, birdhouses and feeders hang randomly and the birds have been nesting in the houses. Ginger has a knack of integrating this garden art into the plant material so that it all seems to fit in naturally.
Since the Kalms are retired, they are able to devote as much time as they wish to their garden sanctuary. Although springtime requires a lot of work, summer gives them the opportunity to just putter and enjoy. Their garden has been on the Soroptimists garden tour twice and may be on it again next year so you all may have a chance to visit it then.