It is no secret that Liz Harder who lives on North Walnut Street in Peabody has a green thumb and a love for growing living things.
The art of growing plants is a talent acquired through many years of trial and error for some. Harder has been growing plants for many years, but she discovered her talent at a younger age than most.
“When I was a kid, about 12 years old or so, I grew a Philodendron that eventually wrapped itself around my entire room twice. That’s when I first thought I was on to something,” Harder said.
Most people acquire their springtime flower friends from nurseries, where they know exactly where they came from, can learn tips on how to grow them correctly, and know exactly what it is they are waiting on to bloom. However, 99 percent of Harder’s irises this year are all recycled from the burn pit. She would search through piles of things hauled off to be burned and find bulbs she could rescue.
She gave them a home and a little love, and now she is reaping the benefit of their beauty, along with many other kinds of flowers.
“When they first started to bloom, it was like Christmas because I had absolutely no idea what they were going to look like. So to see them all bloom and discover what color they were has been exciting,” Harder said.
Flowers flourishing and producing under Harder’s care include shasta daisies, purple coneflowers, liatris, bee balm, and black lace elderberry.
“I have a different favorite every year. This year, my wysteria bloomed beautiful light purple on the pergula I designed myself. I have always wanted a wysteria plant, but they always take two to three years before you ever see a bloom. So this year, the wysteria is my favorite,” she said.
This year is special to Harder through other aspects as well. After working at William’s Service for seven and a half years, she has decided to turn her gardening into a career change.
“My new husband and I are growing vegetables to be sold at farmer’s markets around Marion County,” she said. “So far we have 440 tomato plants, 330 pepper plants, 210 English cucumber plants, 110 regular Burpless cucumber plants, 220 potato plants and sweet corn. All located on five acres of land.”
“We are pretty excited to see how everything turns out for our first year,” Harder said. “We recently decided that we would call ourselves ‘Country Harvest Produce.’ We also plan on delivering for those with larger orders.”