Growing her own Eden

Story and Photo by Celia Roe

Lou Ellen Treadway, a Little Rock native, graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a degree in English. Then, 20 years later, she decided to pursue a second degree in anthropology, which she earned at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, in 1984. In 2007 she became a Pulaski County Master Gardener … impressive accomplishments!

Lou Ellen says she has always been interested in gardening. “My mother encouraged me to help plant, weed, and water the flower garden in our backyard. During summers, my family and I enjoyed the cut flowers I brought into our home and shared with our neighbors. My two grandmothers had large flower gardens, and I remember the happy times of picking and arranging flowers with them. I have an early memory of gardening when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I had watched my daddy build a big rock wall in our backyard and so I carried a heavy sack of concrete, rocks, and marigold and zinnia seeds to a pretty spot near a creek in woods behind our house. I built a sturdy concrete and rock wall, filled it with soil and planted the seeds. I was looking forward to beautiful flowers! However, with the first big rain, my lovely garden washed down the hill and was destroyed.”

Lou Ellen insists that over the years, her gardening experiences have improved!

Lou Ellen insists that over the years, her gardening experiences have improved! She and her husband, Ted, have lived in their home in the Heights area for 49 years. In their stunning and intimate enclosed garden, the centerpiece is a koi pond with a splashing waterfall surrounded by various shade plants. Here, the Treadways enjoy entertaining family and friends and spending quiet time. 

The koi pond was built 25 years ago, and the koi are as old as the pond. Plant selections were made with the help of Hocott’s Garden Center and include some of Lou Ellen’s favorites: Fatsia, Aucuba, Hosta, gold dust aucuba (A. japonica ‘Variegata’), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), Hydrangea, Encore azaleas (Rhododendron spp., cvs.), yew (Taxus spp.), Camellia sasanqua, ‘Dwarf Burford’ holly (Ilex cornuta ‘Dwarf Burford’, aka ‘Burfordii Nana’), and southern magnolia (M. grandiflora). In the summer, red New Guinea impatiens (I. hawkeri) and Dragon Wing Red begonias (B.‘Bepared’) add a burst of color to the palette. There are four metal buckets on a rolling stand for Ted’s tomatoes in the summer and multicolored pansies (Viola x wittrockiana cvs.) in winter. The antique concrete planters, fish and frogs, along with beautiful lawn furniture, add to the charm of this special garden.

Lou Ellen continues to work with the Pulaski County Master Gardeners, where her project is the Scholar’s Garden at the Clinton Library. She also serves on the master gardeners’ social committee and has enjoyed the friends she has made in both groups.

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