Gardening and Finding Serenity
Our fourth in a series of articles about gardening in Cameron takes us to the home of Chari Brockmeyer. Chari lives south of Cameron in a farmhouse called Cedar Hill, but many know it as “the old Ocker place,” the former home of Homer Ocker, who started Ocker Insurance there.
Chari calls her garden “The Serenity Garden,” and for good reason. There are beautiful colors everywhere, animals happily wandering at will, and the sound of the trickling water from her two ponds and waterfall. The garden is enormous, 20 years in the making. She started in 1999 with a concrete patio by the back door and bare dirt, as the cedar trees there stopped any other plants from growing. She envisioned a water garden, so she cut down four of the cedar trees and put in the first pond. This was followed by a second pond and waterfall, and a flagstone patio installed over nine weekends in 2005 from rock reclaimed from a demolition site in Kansas City. She had an overall idea, and says she is “always adding-it’s like decorating.”
She uses many unexpected objects in different ways. She loves rocks, especially heart-shaped rocks, plus shells, gazing balls, bottles, tree stumps, bowling balls, gnomes, more shells, lights, furniture, and grist stones from a long-gone neighboring gristmill. Plants are in pots of every size and shape, both annuals and perennials. She overwinters many of her perennials in the house, and collects seed from annuals for the next year. She visits every greenhouse in the area, but is especially fond of Cameron Greenhouse.
Chari got started in gardening by following the paths of her mother and grandmother, Judy Person and Pauline Scammahorn, both Master Gardeners. She thinks of the garden as a kind of therapy, and will spend many hours in it as it “does not seem like work.” Her goals for the future are to keep adding to the garden, and her advice to other gardeners is to “Dream it,” and “Growing things is very nurturing and healing.”