Small Towns: The fairy garden of Suamico

A couple has devoted seven years to turning their garden into an oasis of beauty
Updated: Aug. 31, 2023 at 6:30 PM CDT
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SUAMICO, Wis. (WBAY) - Over the last seven years, a Suamico couple has taken their love for gardening to a whole new level.

They’ve transformed their one-acre backyard into quite the enchanted landscape.

This week in Small Towns, we stop by for a tour.

When you step off Rob and Veronica Geurts’ deck and into their back yard, you quickly forget you’re in a wooded neighborhood in Suamico. While they don’t have a name for their garden, it certainly has a theme.

“Rustic and rust, and a life-size fairy garden as we kind of call it,” says Rob.

“Kind of like an adult fairy garden if that’s not too corny, it’s different, it’s mesmerizing, it’s enchanting, it’s relaxing, we love it,” says Veronica.

After buying their home seven years ago, Rob and Veronica’s first order of business were to hire someone to build a pond for their 12 koi. The pond and stream would become the centerpiece of their landscaping leap of faith.

“We had no training in landscaping, no botanical experience other than our own gardening ourselves, no landscaping experience, we winged it,” explains Rob.

Year by year, their garden has grown, with at times a lot of trial and error.

“And guess what, it’s a plant, so it can be easily replaced, I mean not that I want plants to perish and not survive, but if it doesn’t work you just plant something new or you put a stone in its place, that works too,” says Veronica.

Along with all the perennials and annuals flourishing in Rob and Veronica’s backyard, you’ll find all kinds of unique garden accessories.

“We tend to buy stuff and overbuy and then have to create a place to put it,” says Rob with a smile.

Rob credits Veronica for being the creative one, but he often struggles with her creative vision.

“What do we need that for? I know where it’s going, she says. We get home, ok show me. She puts it in the ground, and I say ok, I was wrong again,” says Rob with laughter.

It’s easy to see the Geurts’ are quite the collectors, and big fans of antique shops, flea markets, garage sales, and oh yes, those freebies.

“Roadside garbage finds a lot of it, we’ve got some rusty buckets that were found on the side of the curb full of other rusty tools that eventually when I retire, I’m going to start making more garden art with my welding experience,” says Rob.

Word of Rob and Veronica’s elaborate garden is spreading, and this summer, they hosted hundreds of people during four garden walks.

“Even us, we go to other gardens, and we see things that we haven’t seen and we’re like, oh we can do that in our yard, oh let’s try this or let’s try that, so there’s always something to learn, even if you think you’re the master of it you really aren’t because it changes,” explains Veronica.

What doesn’t change is the constant message this gardening couple shares.

“If you’re willing to put in the work you don’t need a big budget,” says Rob.

“To share with others that you can garden and be frugal, I mean yeah, the pond was a big investment, but the other stuff it’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” adds Veronica.

While they love sharing their garden with others, Rob and Veronica’s favorite garden guests are their grandkids.

“They get to play in the pond now, walk in the stream, walking around the fish, and it used to be that they’d come inside and want to find something on TV, now they run right through the house, push me on the tire swing, let’s go in the pond, can we feed the fish,” says Rob.

And thanks to the grandkids, the magical outbuildings in the garden are growing in number.

“We’ve got the He shed, grandma got the She shed, the kids are getting the Wee shed, and that’s with two Es,” says Rob with a chuckle.

In mid-October, the Geurts’ will, as they say, put their garden to sleep for the winter. But next spring, you can bet there will be more plants and more treasures in their backyard oasis.

“The older gardeners that I meet in their mid-60′s and 70′s, I keep hearing you’re never done, so that kind of scares me, we’ve got to find that fine line someday when we’ve reached what we want to maintain,” says Rob.

Is the fine line the property line?

“Hopefully it’s not that far,” says Rob, breaking out in laughter.


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