Missoula Gardens = Personality, Plants & Space

By BILL CARAS

For the most part, the best gardens in Missoula and Western Montana were not created overnight, but have evolved over time.  These gardens often reflect the owner’s personality and the plants and spaces within them have their own stories: “This guy was broken off at ground level in that June snow a few years ago and look at him now all handsome and covered with flowers.”

Often, I see other garden elements such as artifacts, sculptures on wildlife, enhancements adding to these unique, sometimes highly personal gardens.  I see gardeners proud of the spaces they’ve created and the successes they’ve achieved.  I see perfect gardens built by perfect people.

Naw…just kidding on that one.  However, too often I see outdoor spaces, full of potential and crying for attention.  I see back yards saying “add some beds, some plants, maybe a bench, and I’d entice you to stay, happily spending your time growing withme.”

I see front yards begging for the chance to complement the home’s architecture while providing a sense of distance and selective privacy.  I see views from inside homes that could be so greatly enhanced with minimal effort or expense.

I see new homeowners unsure of what they want and individuals who have had homes before very certain of what they don’t want.  Either way, it’s my quest to communicate the various opportunities attainable and how a little knowledge and commitment leads to success and satisfaction, rather than defeat and frustration, because a plant died or weeds took over.

I see so many plant choices for Missoula gardeners compared to what was available when I started at this a mere thirty-five years ago. There are plants to fill any space, condition and/or demand.  We really can match the inviting, spectacular or livable outdoor spaces that make us sigh when we see them in person orphotographs.

I see nothing but possibilities. I see gardens of all sorts with garden owners continually satisfying their creative needs.  I see the marriage of nature and nurture.  I see Missoulians at peace with their peonies.  I see world unrest coming to an end in a gardening craze that began here in Missoula, Montana.  Yeah! I’m not kidding on that one.

Like hearing the perspective of Master Gardener, Bill Caras?  Chances are you’ll like these other “Grow It” blogs:  The Snow is Gone,  Where is….? You may also enjoy reading about Green Living in Missoula. Back to Grow It home page.

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Bill Caras is a lifelong Missoulian whose family has been here over a century.  The family business, Caras Nursery and Landscape, has operated from the same location on S. 3rd W. since 1896. Bill is a plant nut and draws from many years observation of all things related to gardening in western Montana. Still, he says, he learns something new everyday.