Here is the recipe for a beautiful garden: take one 1800s historic home in Tooele and rebuild it from the inside out. Restore the carriage house and another outbuilding. then add beautiful gardens all the way around. Add some raised beds for vegetable gardening, and for good measure, throw in a custom-made chicken coop with exotic occupants.
That is the creation that Jennilyn and mark Hitesman have spent more than a decade in patient, painstaking design, construction, reconstruction and finally adding favorite plants to blend the home and the gardens.
I asked Jennilyn how she got interested in gardening and what held her fascination now. She thoughtfully answered that she had always liked plants and even when she lived in an apartment she grew plants. She then explains how their landscape design recipe evolved
“as a behavioral consultant working with disabled people, the gardens provide a way to relieve distress and relax.”
She explains Mark’s interest in another way. “He is a commercial plumber and wants to see things done right. mark likes things to look nice. he is very particular about the buildings and about the lawns and I am the one who ended up doing the flower beds.
“We’re both self-taught. we were also both the oldest in our family so we learned to do lots of things. our first project was to add the fence to give us some privacy and a frame for the house. our next project was the rock wall in the garden and the edging in the front.”
She explained how she chose the plant materials for the front garden. “the front garden was mine. I picked all of my favorite plants that were for sun. I put in poppies and lavender.
“a couple of years ago I started filling in with zinnias and I just love them. they bloom almost all summer. they are blooming now and will go all the way until fall. I plant the mixtures so I get many different colors.”
She has also added many different shrubs including potentilla, butterfly bush, roses, a contorted filbert and a beautiful Japanese maple. Added to that are many sedums, peonies and other perennials to round out the beautiful design. She also is waiting for her desert lilies to bloom in all their glory in the next week or so.
The recipe continued as they moved around the house and established more gardens. although they are blessed with good soil, they had many other challenges.
“we had to remove some of the trees. the tree of heaven had sprouted up all over the backyard and one of them was even lifting the foundation of the carriage house. some of the trees are probably as old as the house but problems had to be removed.