Enjoying the handiwork

In front of the greenhouse the Isaacs’ built, Nancy reads a magazine that produces a lot of ideas, “Handyman.”


After purchasing a home on South Lafayette, it was “a two-year work in progress” readying it for the move for Clint and Nancy Isaac.

Now two more years later, the extensive, glorious garden surrounding the house is ever-evolving.

The couple also bought the lot next door, providing plenty of garden space.

When remodeling their home, they put in new windows. They decided to use the old windows in the greenhouse Clint was building on the 15 x 15 foundation left by the patio next door.

“He had to move the 42 windows we saved three times,” Nancy said of her husband’s labor. Nancy organized the layout and Clint assembled the framework and windows for the greenhouse.

The building allows for early starts for vegetables and companion plants that are now growing in several adjoining wooden containers, also built by Clint.

“I did not want to bend over,” Nancy said of the raised beds. “It’s more accessible for me and less accessible for rabbits and pests.”

They’re growing tomatoes, kale, Brussel sprouts, lettuce, peppers and more.

“It’s been a learning experience, but the tomatoes look great,” she said.

Clint likes to stuff and grill the homegrown jalapeno peppers.

When living on Main Street several years ago, neighbors got her interested in gardening.

“Getting older, you find the time and it becomes more appealing,” Nancy said. “It’s visually relaxing.”

Fueling the fire for her fondness for flora was sitting in on a Kansas State Extension Master Gardener class. Nancy is planning on taking a Zoom class provided by the Extension on pest control.

“They are such a great resource,” she said of K-State Extension.

Nancy attended the Master Gardener sessions in September of 2018, something she had always wanted to do, and loved it.

And it shows, all around her yard.

A wide variety of plantings and hanging baskets surround the home, on the porch, in a quaint patio, next to walkways, adjoining fences, near a water feature, in attractive metal and wood containers (some made by Clint), and just about anywhere she could add color.

Nancy says she has purchased flowers in Chanute, Fredonia, LaHarpe and Topeka.

And some are from friends, including phlox, elephant ear, spider wort, and lilac bush.

“Friends dig it up and ask, ‘Do you want it?’ I always take it. Honestly, I haven’t turned down anything yet. I just tell them, ‘Set it on the curb and I’ll come and get it.’”

She said it is “cool to think about that’s from so-and so.”

This summer she has been pleased with the newly-planted Knockout roses and different varieties of hosta, some of which came from her mother-in-law.

“I like to take cuttings and share the pretty flowers,” she said of her colorful roses.

A golfer, runner, hiker, bike rider and kayaker, she loves to be outdoors.

“I don’t mind dead-heading, weeding and watering,” she said, and strategic placing of the hose limits the watering job to about 20 minutes.

And as for the outside space.

“It just keeps evolving,” Nancy said. “Clint is so handy and he enjoys it.”


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