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Gainesville woman turns garden into personal sanctuary
Mary Bogle's backyard has flowers, fruits and veggies as well as a koi pond, paths and street signs
Mary Bogle picks a few cherry tomatoes from a plant in her garden.

Every morning around 7 o’clock, Mary Bogle makes her way down to her garden.

She tends to her plants, and depending on the season, she can be found picking ripe fruits and vegetables or weeding flower beds.

The expansive garden takes up all of Bogle’s backyard at her Gainesville home. With winding paths marked by street signs made by her husband, Bogle often drives a golf cart through the yard for the ease of it.

“It’s like seeing God’s beauty out here and it just does something for me,” Bogle said of her garden. “I can wake up and be tired, but the minute I get out here it does something for my soul.”

Gardening has always been a part of her life, Bogle said. She said she would help her parents, who are Chinese, with their gardens growing up. However, it wasn’t until Bogle had her own backyard garden that she began to love the past time.

She started gardening when her husband, Dave, was working long hours and she was looking for something to occupy her time. Then when she was laid off from her job as an executive assistant for a CEO, she took to working her garden full time.

“When I lost my job it was my therapy. I always loved being a gardener,” she said. “The more I played out here, the more I enjoyed it.”

Bogle said she plays in the dirt every extra minute she gets. Her mornings usually start about 7 a.m. in the garden where she works for a few hours before going inside to cool off. The benefits of her outdoor excursions were losing weight and being in better overall shape.

Bogle and her husband, who have been married for 27 years, moved into their home 18 months ago. Since the relocation, Mary has turned the backyard garden into the sanctuary it is now.

She transplanted some of her plants from her previous home of 16 years. It’s only two doors down from their current house. The couple built a ranch-style home so everything would be on one floor in preparation for old age.

“I learned a lot when I was at the other house with perennials,” Bogle said. “A lot of it I brought from there, because it multiplies and so I would bring them over here.”

A pond with koi fish is part of her new backyard garden. Many koi fish made the move from the previous home to a pond at the new one, however many more remain at the old house.

“I had a beautiful (garden) over there and my friends would say ‘Why would you give that up ?’ and I would say it’s just like being creative, this is a clean slate and let’s see what kind of beauty I can create over here,” Bogle said.

The Bogles designed their home with their passions in mind. The basement features a shop for Dave and a garden center for Mary.

“I think it’s great,” Dave said of Mary’s gardening. “I’ve been very supportive of this hobby, this full-time hobby.”

Dave helps Mary dig holes in the garden and otherwise planned the layout. He also made street signs for each of the paths.

But he gives her the credit for the thriving garden, and the neighborhood knows it. His nickname for Mary, “Mary Busy Fingers,” is on a sign in the front of the garden.

“I think it was a joint revelation, we thought it would be cute,” Dave said of the street signs.

The names of the streets are related to what plant is growing in that area or places the Bogles have traveled — or would like to travel to.

It was even Dave’s idea to purchase a golf cart to make cleaning up the yard easier for Mary. He surprised her with it as a Christmas gift.

She also uses the golf cart to transport her produce from the garden to the house. Then Mary cans many of the fruits and vegetables to give preserves and sauces in gift baskets.

Mary said she and Dave have always eaten healthy and get a lot of their fresh produce from the garden.

“I’ve always liked how fresh vegetables taste versus store bought,” Mary said.

The garden has been a source of pride for the Bogles. Mary said it has been a learning experience over the years and it isn’t over. Recently she’s been learning a lot about herbs.

“Year after year there’s something new,” Mary said, adding she and her gardening buddies share perennials after they multiply.

And Mary does not limit her gardening skills to her own home. She volunteers by planting gardens at the entrance of her subdivision and at the community boat dock. She even sometimes helps clean up people’s yards.