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A serene garden just steps away from a busy road

Antiques and colorful flowers add charm and grab the attention of passerby.

Linda Kalemkiewicz spends hours sitting in her garden in Battle Creek, Mich.

John Grap/The Enquirer/AP

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Wearing a pink, wide-brimmed hat while shading herself beneath a metal gazebo, Linda Kalemkiewicz sits in her front yard on a wicker couch, surrounded by a self-created jungle of singing birds, babbling water, and colorful plants.

"I don't even stay indoors," she says. "If you look at my house, it's a disaster place because I'm always out here."

Her house is only a few dozen yards from Battle Creek's Country Club Boulevard, but it's hardly noticeable from the road. The five trees that tower above the house and the plants that grow around them are the true attention-grabbers.

Ms. Kalemkiewicz has transformed her entire yard into a garden featuring every imaginable floral shape, size, and color.

The flowers cover three-fourths of her front lawn and are only abetted by the gazebo, a homemade fountain, and a rounded portion of lawn that serves as a path.

Rows of crowded yellow blooms, bushels of purple eye-catchers, and tall orange stalks of star-shaped petals draw the eye across the yard.

Stone paths weave throughout the jungle of sights and aromas that Kalemkiewicz considers her true home.

"Being with nature, I think, lets your stress out," she says.

The rim of her straw hat rustles in the breeze as she ambles through the shrubs. She stops at a trickling rock fountain that contains oversized goldfish. Kalemkiewicz spends almost as much time in the garden as the fish do.

"Usually I'm here ... until when the sun goes down," she says.

Kalemkiewicz's backyard is even more colorful than the front. It features three gazebos, three flower-covered archways and several fountains, both manufactured and homemade.

The jungle of tall and short flowers is a playpen for birds, wildlife, and her six cats.

"When my kids were little, they used to just crawl around and eat dirt," she says.


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