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Alvin Kendall’s garden features fountain, bridge, anti-Y2K cannon

June 8, 2012

Alvin Kendall maintains the sides and front of his Main Street house in Big Run as well, but the real highlights are in the backyard with stone walkways, a bridge, figurines and a homemade cannon. (Photo by Tom Chapin/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

BIG RUN — Alvin Kendall doesn’t spend the fall and winter planning what will go into his garden during the spring and summer.

“I start early when the weather fits,” he said at his home along Main Street in Big Run. “I have no schedules.”

Kendall’s schedule-less work plan has paid off, as it has been cited as the Punxsutawney Garden Club’s “Garden of the Month” for May, and the first of 2012.

Born, raised and still living in Big Run, Kendall has lived in his house since 1964, where the backyard was previously a vegetable garden, “but I don’t play with vegetables,” he said.

After a year in the house, Kendall removed the vegetable garden to plant a lawn, but started his own backyard garden — consisting of a circulating fountain he built himself; figurines; stone walkways; and a small bridge spanning a creek that contains not water, but clear and blues crystals — only 15 years ago.

“It’s just developed over time,” Kendall said. “Once this is done, it’s no job.”

“This is easier,” working with flowers instead of vegetables, he added.

The fountain was one of the first features in his yard, and “everything just took off from there,” Kendall said.

“When the weather allows me, I start,” he said. He doesn’t plan many flowers, but the ones he does have are perennials, so they are ready to go when the weather is suitable.

He said he had no prediction for what the rest of the summer would hold.
“Whatever happens, happens,” Kendall said. “We had a great winter.”

Kendall — who established Kendall’s Kreations, two doors down from his house, in 1964 before selling the business to his son, Kirby, in 1996 — collected the large and small stones for his garden from sites all over, including from the former Big Run bridge replacement project. Some of the stones, he said, have been on the property and in the woods for years.

It’s all a one-man show, he said, as his wife, Dorothy, passed away five years ago.

One strange feature of Kendall’s garden is a cannon which he built himself in 1999 as the rest of the world was waiting to see if the year 2000 bug — or Y2K — would shake the world at the stroke of midnight Dec. 31, 1999.

“It was a joke, in response to everyone worried about the computers,” he said. “I was ready.”

The idea for the bridge just came to him, so he completed it two years ago.

“I just like to come up with ideas and carry them out,” Kendall said.

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