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Creating a peaceful prayer garden

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Patty Bonicatto, of Pequot Lakes, has a flower garden to rival the pictures in magazines. Surrounding her house are bursts of color texture from a variety of plants.

For Patty, creating her garden meant creating a place to pray.

“This is sort of my prayer garden,” she said. “I needed a place to sit and relax and pray.”

Patty began gardening in 1993, but didn’t really take to it until she moved to the area in 1999 and began a transformation of her yard.

“I didn’t have any sun, it was all shade,” Patty said.

She and her husband, Damian, proceeded to remove around 30 trees from their property.

“Then I kind of went to town,” Patty said.

Since then, her garden has been an ever-changing space.

“Nothing ever stays the same,” Patty said, adding that her husband jokes that when a wheelbarrow goes by, plants jump in.

“I just love designing; the creative end of it,” Patty said.

Flower gardens run the length of her driveway, line the outside of the grassy yard, surround the Bonicattos’ sun room and sauna, and break up the back yard. Fountains and statues peek out from the plants, and chipmunks dart to small feeders and back out of sight.

Before moving to the area, Patty spent her winters in her Sauk Rapids home, paging through books and learning plant arrangement and design.

Today her garden is in its late summer bloom. Hydrangeas, black-eyed Susans and roses are blooming; mums are on the way and some summer blooms are finishing up.

The hydrangeas are some of Patty’s favorite flowers, and she said she has nearly every variety.

She said the work continues as she tweaks the placement of flowers and how she likes them to be arranged.

When fall comes around, as it is now, she finds it to be a relief after gardening for six to seven months. It’s a time for her to get refreshed and gather new ideas, she said. In the winter, she likes to cut trails through the woods in her property.

While she loves to garden flowers, Patty claims she’s not much of a vegetable gardener.

“I do flowers. If anything happens, we’ll be eating flowers,” she said.

Patty also helps friends and neighbors with their gardens, including her priest’s garden.

“It’s fun for me,” she said. “It’s good therapy when you dig in the dirt. All your troubles just kind of melt away.”

It’s a space that she enjoys, and she believes that others enjoy it, too.

“I see the beauty of it, it gives me so much peace looking at them,” she said. “I think a lot of people find a lot of peace when they’re here.”

The spiritual aspect of the garden is also important to Patty.

“I want to give Him some glory and honor for His creation,” she said.