Winning garden is therapeutic
Ernst Lamothe Jr. Staff writer
(September 10, 2007)
Once, twice, three times Zora Marshall tried hip
And three times the surgical prosthetic didn't take and doctors needed
to remove it. She remains without a hip. While her family worried about
her health, she began to pass the days in her garden.
She planted a few roses here and a couple of hibiscuses there, and
before long her back yard was filled with multi-colored eye candy for
"My doctor said it's been my therapy," she says. "I lost my hip, but I
wasn't going to lose my garden, too.
"My husband, John, and I work together once a week in the garden and it
just makes me feel better. I couldn't do anything without him."
The Marshalls can also feel good that their therapeutic hobby was
honored by the Gates Conservation Advisory Board as the best garden in
town. John Marshall said he was late applying for the contest last year
by a few days.
That wasn't going to happen again.
"We're just happy that someone else liked our garden as much as we do,"
he said. "So many people are blessed with good gardens."
When the couple moved into their home on Cresthill Drive in 1975, it
only had a few 2-foot tall trees and a large patch of dry grass. They
started planting flowers in their front yard.
Then John created a cobblestone walkway leading from the house and
splitting the garden in two. They created a bird sanctuary with a
feeder, a bath and bushes for playtime.
When Easter rolls around each year, the Marshalls usually start getting
to work on the garden.
The couple prunes and plants once a week, but they said they put in long
hours at the start.
"It just kept getting bigger and bigger each year," he said. "We never
intended to do anything this large, but we just enjoy it so much."
Zora Marshall is in charge of coordinating the garden's look, while John
helps with the heavy lifting of yard decorations and deep planting.
Their daughter, Melinda Pisaro, was married in the garden 16 years ago;
their granddaughter, Kara Moore, followed last fall.
"They were just perfect garden weddings, and I couldn't have asked for
anything better," said Pisaro.
There are times when John Marshall thinks his wife overdoes it in spite
of her health, but he supports her every step of the way.
"My wife is really tough and she can make it through a lot of pain," he
said. "I'm amazed at what she is able to do every year."
Zora Marshall wakes up every morning and the first thing she does is
walk into her living room, which has a large picture window where she
can see her entire garden at one glance.
"It gives me peace and I just thank God for it," she said. "I know as
long as I can wake up and see my garden ... everything will be OK that
"I'm already thinking about what I'm going to do for next year."
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