Barb Uphoff has been dubbed our resident gardener.
As a child, she recalls her grandfather telling her and her siblings not to touch anything in the garden. The only thing you can do in the garden is hunt for potato bugs, he told them, and if you find them, you can pick them off. Barb’s grandfather lived with her while she was growing up and took care of all the gardening from planting and watering to picking vegetables. Barb credits her mother and grandfather for giving her a green thumb.
Barb went on to marry a farmer — her husband, Bill. As a farmer’s wife, you quickly learn how to garden, so that you can freeze and can the food you’ve planted. Barb shared a funny story about a time when she and her children ran out green bean seeds to plant. She sent her children to the store to get more. When they returned, they proudly showed her the can of green beans they’d purchased. Looking back and laughing, Barb jokingly says she could have been clearer on what type of green beans she needed.
As Barb and Bill’s children got older, some have taken a liking to planting gardens. One of Barb’s daughters has a huge garden full of flowers as well as a community garden in Naperville. Another daughter who lives in Rockford has many of the pots Barb planted flowers in years ago. Her kids inherited the green thumb from Barb and their grandparents.
When Bill passed away a few years ago, she wasn’t sure if she would ever garden again. But something told her that Bill would have wanted her to continue doing what she loved. So, she started doing what she’d always done. Gardening is something that makes her feel closer to God. It’s almost like she’s creating life.
Bill loved moss roses, so every year, she plants them as a reminder of her love for her late husband.
This year, Barb planted a small herb garden in the raised garden bed by our back patio. She thought it would be a great activity to grow herbs that she could then plant and take care of to make potpourri with other residents this fall. Her plant list included lavender, lemon balm, peppermint, spearmint, lemon verbena and bee balm. Barb also planted flat and curly leave parsley, two types of basil and dill for the kitchen to use when making meals. Barb loves the smell of lemon verbena. She says the fragrance lasts longer than any other herb.
We love to see Barb continuing to enjoy one of her favorite hobbies at our community. You can see a sense of pride come over her when she is working in her garden. She even says one of her greatest gardening achievements happened right here at Heritage Woods of DeKalb when she and another resident, Martha, planted an avocado seed last year. That seed is now growing into an avocado tree.