Thinking of the perennial garden at his home in Millersport, Ohio, Bruce Jones summed up the scene in one sentence.

“The whole place is a great variety of beauty,” Jones, 71, said.

But he’s quick to give his wife, Carolyn Sue, all the credit for the colorful array of hydrangeas, coneflowers, river birches, viburnums and hostas.

“She has an eye I can’t match,” Jones said. “So, if she says, ‘Bring the wheelbarrow,’ that’s what I do.”

The couple’s garden received the Best of Show award at the Dispatch Backyard Garden Awards, held at the Central Ohio Fall Home Show this month. The prize was a $500 gift card to the Auckland Nurseries Prize Giver.

Caroline Sue, 68, said people encouraged her to take part in the competition, but she never felt the park was good enough until now.

“We’ve been working at (the park) for probably ten years,” she said. “It’s all organic. It’s not like we have a plan.”

Carolyn Sue, a recently retired nurse, has been able to devote more time to projects around the house, which she and Bruce have taken on since they met.

“We are both widowers, and we met on 11/11/11,” she said. “Since then, we’ve done nothing but try to spruce up our house. Without him, this would never have been the case.”

Her husband couldn’t resist making a cute joke.

“I have a tractor. That’s the only reason she married me.”

The couple was one of about 340 entries in the Dispatch Backyard Garden Awards. Several winners in other categories also received Oakland Nursery gift cards. See who won below.

more: HGTV star Joe Mazza talks about the new show and the strangest on-the-job incidents before visiting Columbus

Best home landscaping

first place: “At the Edge of the Woods” by Sharon Kelly, Marysville

Second place: “Serene Pond” by Amy Meaders, Delaware

Best botanical garden

first place: “Tanya’s Plant Pot” by Tonia dos Santos, Worthington

Second place: “The Nervous Gardener” by Courtney McGinty, Galloway

Best container garden

first place: “Love’s Break” by Jessica Love, Reynoldsburg

Second place: “Trash, My Treasure” by Carol Smith, Pickerington

Best community garden

first place: Stems For Seniors/LifeCare Alliance Flower Garden, on behalf of Todd Davis, Powell

Second place: Wagnalls Memorial Library, on behalf of Pamela Jarvis, Litopolis

Best local botanical garden

first place: “The Original Paradise” by Brenda Rushen, Grove City

Second place: Daniel Marcus, Columbus

Best perennial garden

first place: “Pollinator Paradise” by Van Thomas Staros Malinowski, New Albany

Second place: “Morning in Our Garden” by Mary Ann and Ed Kitchen, Columbus

People’s choice

first place: Joyful Garden St Andrew’s Christian Church, courtesy of Catherine Hoagland, Dublin

Second place: The Chickenshire, by Philip Shimer, Columbus


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