GASKILL TOWNSHIP â€” Even though summer is coming to a close, the home of Mike and Helen Meko on Jackson Run Road in Gaskill Township continues to be a showplace, as it has been chosen as the final 2012 Garden of the Month by the Punxsutawney Garden Club.
Helen said she is the landscaping designer, and Mike is the worker who brings her visions to life.
"We've been doing landscaping all of our lives," Mike said, adding that they have obtained many of their ideas from their extensive travels.
Helen said they have continued to maintain their gorgeous gardens but have been downsizing for the past few years â€” mostly at their children's insistence.
Five of their seven children and their families live in lovely homes that adjoin their property on what was the family farm of a generation or so ago.
"People laughingly call it 'Meko-ville' for a ride back Shenosky Lane, their intersecting road with Jackson Run Road, goes by two to three other sibling homes and those of some other relatives," said Kerri Stebbins of the Punxsutawney Garden Club.
Stebbins said the Mekos are heavily involved in the Greek Catholic Church in Punxsy, and they go there most mornings to prepare rituals, services, garments and the appropriate linens for various services.
She said she has noticed that in their world, family, church and faith are first, and the satisfaction of gardening comes next.
Stebbins said their children â€” Doug Meko, Bill Meko and Julie Brocious â€” particularly watch over and assist them now.
"But Julie insists Helen and Mike do 95 percent of the work themselves in the yard still," Stebbins said adding that their yard and garden plots are so well maintained, watered and manicured.
Helen said some of the flowers that ordain their gardens are begonias, lilies, asiatic lilies, mums, irises, tulips, daisies, roses, marigolds and carnations.
Mike said that even though the couple is downsizing, they will keep everything going as long as they can manage.
"If you love your work, then you'll love to work," Mike said.
The Mekos have been married 56 years.