Couple shows patriotism with red, white and blue flowers

July 04, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - A Chambersburg area couple say they're patriotic, but not flag wavers.

So instead of waving a flag, Galen and Sandra Powers are planting one.

They've set aside a section of their lawn on the west side of their 2341 Falling Spring Road home, cordoned off by a hedge of holly, to plant gardens in its four corners - in red, white and blue flowers.

The Powers have been gardening for years.

A walk around their home shows that gardens and plantings abound.

A spring on the property is the source of Falling Spring, the stream that runs about three miles west to connect with Conococheague Creek near Chambersburg,

Galen Powers, 67, retired two years ago as an attorney in Washington, D.C.

Sandra is semi-retired. "I do some consulting," she said.

Galen said he receives about 30 seed catalogs every January. That's when he and Sandra start planning for spring.


They bought the property - about five acres, a run-down house, two other houses and a barn - in 1978.

The couple looked up and down the Shenandoah and Cumberland valleys - from Syria, Va., to Franklin County, Pa. - before settling on the Falling Spring Road property, he said.

"It had everything Galen said he wanted," Sandra said. "It was at the foot of a mountain about 700 feet above sea level so it wouldn't be humid, it was within a two-hour drive from Washington, it had a barn and a pond."

The Powers also bought about 100 acres and an old stone farmhouse across Falling Spring Road. They sold some of the land as large building lots.

They didn't start serious renovations and additions to their house until 1986. The first section was built in the 1790s. It needed a new foundation. Removing the bricks showed that the original house was of log construction, which the Powers had restored.

A landscape designer was hired in 1996 to map out stone retaining walls, all grading, steps leading up a hill to the barn and the general layout of the gardens.

"They did the heavy moving and digging. We do the gardening," Galen said.

At first, the Powers used the house as a weekend retreat. Now, they live there most of the time.

"We eased into it," Galen said.

As for their patriotic garden, Sandra said they wanted a theme and came up with the idea of red, white and blue.

"I think this is a time in our country when we need some patriotic displays," Galen said.

The scanned their catalogs for colors that would work.

For the red, they chose Crocosmia, petunias, Celosia, Agastache, Canna lilies and Giallardia, among others.

White comes from daisies, phlox, Cerastium, Hydrangea, dragon flowers and Cosmos, plus a few others.

They found the blue in geraniums, Veronica, Bachelor's Buttons, flax, gentian, Hirpicium and Teucrium orientalis.

Sandra can't spell or pronounce all of their names either. That's why she sticks name tags in the dirt next to the plants.

This is the first year for the Powers' red-white-and-blue garden, so it's not expected to show much color this summer, Sandra said. She predicts that it will bloom in grand old glory by July 4, 2005.

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