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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Kyle Vuille photo

Heritage flowers bring joy to many

By Kyle Vuille

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

The garden in front of The Heritage on Merrill Avenue is more spectacular than it has been in many years.

Tending to flower beds filled with a wide arrangement of zinnias, marigolds, roses and even moon flowers, Glen Feist, the groundskeeper of the Heritage, has his hands full but he’s happy to have such a picturesque place to do his work.

“This year is definitely in the top five,” Feist said.

Feist said the success of this year’s garden can be attributed to the warm weather this summer coupled with the lack of storms.

He said in previous wetter years, even though rain was good for the flowers, it was the hail storms that hurt the plants.

The flowers are maintained with a spray sprinkler set on a timer which has also interfered with the success of the gardens in previous years.

“Every time we have a bad storm, it has to shut down,” Feist said. “It’s run pretty consistently this year without interruptions.”

Feist has been the groundskeeper at The Heritage for almost 20 years.

Even before The Heritage was opened in 1998, Feist mowed the quick green sod patch that spanned the length of where the building now stands.

In between the years of the Rock Log Lodge and The Heritage, Feist and another groundskeeper mowed the vast patch of sod which they called, “The South Forty.”

Nowadays, a simple sprinkler system and Feist’s hands do most of the work that keep the garden thriving the way it is.

The garden is adored by many of the residents, some even taking it upon themselves to pick out dead flowers and weeds.

A resident of the Heritage, Dolly Carr, who is in her early 80s, said, “I love them, I even pick out the dead ones.”

The Glendive Garden Club also comes around once in awhile to help Feist out with the weeding.

One resident, Gladys Krogstad, who has been at the Heritage the past two years said, “I had my flowers at my house and I couldn’t leave them so I brought them with me.”

Another resident, Bev Kelly who described herself as an avid gardener said her daughter comes every Mother’s day and gardens alongside her.

Kelly currently tends to the tomatoes around the back of the Heritage as well just to help Feist out.

“It’s a lot of work for Glen,” she noted.

Every spring, the Glendive Medical Center gives Feist a budget for the flowers that ranges from $500 to a $1,000. Donations of plants and money are also used to beautify the gardens.

“I get more bang for my buck with the zinnias than the petunias,” Feist said. “And I use the marigolds to keep the deer away.”

All of the flowers are purchased locally, Feist noted.

“I try to keep the perennials towards the wall and the annuals out front,” he said.

The garden is now filled with 15 to 20 different flowers that run the length of the building in the front while terraces in the back are filled to the edges with even more flowers.

A memorial rose garden is also situated in the back of the Heritage where families of loved ones may plant roses for those who have passed.

A long-time resident at the Heritage, Mary Harstad, donated the first roses to the memorial garden years ago.


Reach Kyle Vuille at

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