Cherie Kopas plans her garden when nothing’s growing

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Growing up with parents who loved to garden has inspired Cherie Kopas to create her own gardens at her home.
Winning the Punxsy Garden Club’s Garden of the Month award is something Kopas is very proud of, since her mother and father have always loved the hobby as well.

“My parents had a plant shop in Indiana,” she said. “So I was always there helping them water and take care of the plants.”

When Kopas got old enough to move into her own place, she was shocked to see that her soon-to-be home was completely bare on the outside.

“There was just nothing around the house or backyard,” she said. “It needed a lot of landscaping.”

Years later, the Kopas property has more than 65 different plants surrounding the entire house. The front yard was planted to display a formal setting, with burgundy flowers such as cannalilies, castor bean plants, red leaf begonias and morning glory vines, to name a few.

The backyard, however, has a different feel, a cottage theme with benches, sitting areas and bird houses that Kopas’ father built.

The family’s mail carrier nominated Kopas’ garden for the award.

“He told me one day he did that and said I had the best garden out of all the people he delivered to,” Kopas said. “That was all I needed to hear.”

Her reaction was even better when she found out she had actually won.

“I was so excited,” she said. “I love gardening and was so honored to get this award. The Garden Club was laughing at me because I was so excited.”

Kopas’ styles do not come without months of planning. When the snow falls, and the weather is too cold to work outdoors, Kopas finds herself reading the latest gardening magazines.

“During the winter, I sit with graph paper and actually draw out the entire house,” she said. “This way, I can draw where I am going to place flower beds and other flowers for the upcoming summer.”

Kopas said she enjoys reading about blooming times, what colors go together best and what flowers grow the best and where.

“I try to have flowers bloomed for most of the spring, summer and fall,” she said.

With this persistent planning, one might think the garden stays the same year to year or must be just perfect.

That’s just the opposite. Kopas’ daughter, Eastyn, has provided much of the inspiration for color in the past years, and it changes all the time.

“I plant the flowers that are her favorite color that year,” Kopas said. “And if I decide I like a certain style, I keep it.”

When it’s time to plant, Kopas receives help from her husband, Matt, as they enjoy planning their days off together to work in the garden.

“He’s a big help every year,” she said. “We both enjoy planting.”

With more than 65 different flowers planted yearly, it’s hard to pick a favorite, Kopas said, deciding that she can’t pick between the hydrangea and the blue delphiniums surrounding her home.

Now that the calendar is halfway through August, Kopas said she plans to prepare her colored pencils and graph paper to begin next year’s new designs after Christmas.