"I climb up and down a ladder many times to plant those each spring," Connie said. Ed installed a watering system in the boxes, hooked to a nearby hose bib, that makes upkeep simpler. The boxes overflow with pink petunias this season.
The backyard is a gem, terraced with a brick patio and surrounded by more lush plantings. Vegetables mix with the perennials and shrubs such as forsythia, hydrangea and spirea. Garden planner Lynne Schwartz-Barker helped carve out the garden spaces for the Hillenbrands, and TerraSalis' Bill Mills has been instrumental in giving advice and help through the years.
"Bill drives by and checks on the shrubs," Connie said, fondly. "He's always making sure we're happy."
When Connie brought home a few herbs that had graced reception tables at a niece's wedding, she asked Ed to add a little herb garden to the side of the kitchen door. Now, chives, oregano, bee balm and sage fill the area, and the air, with greenery and a lovely scent. The stone path to the kitchen door has wooly thyme planted between the pavers.
"That started as one little pot," Connie said. "I just thinned it from one place and planted it in another." There's a blue ceramic pot bursting with of plumbago on the nearby porch, one of the few plants that the Hillenbrands bring indoors during the cold weather.
It's evident that Connie, retired from Verizon, devotes hours to the garden. She takes time off from weeding and seeding to work, during the regular session and the monthly interims of the Legislature, for state Sen. Mike Oliverio from Morgantown.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.