The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update


July 28, 2012

Gardening a creative outlet for local nurse

ANDERSON, Ind. — Nancy Fields wanted to speed along the winter months but instead found a creative outlet. While working part time in 1996, Fields began taking courses to become a Master Gardener.

Twenty-one years later, her pastime has grown into her passion.

“She explains it to me like she is planting a picture,” said Glenn Fields, her husband. “She has different things planted so that they bloom at different times.”

“This is our 20th blooming spring in this yard,” said Nancy, a Community Health Network nurse practitioner. “It has seen a lot of variation and a lot of evolution. To get an established garden takes a while. I feel fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity and was able to work part time when I was getting it started.”

Before the couple moved to this home near Edgewood in 1991, they had not been planted in one location long enough to build a garden. Between working and raising twin boys, time was also a factor.

“I like nature and have spent a lot of time outdoors since I was a kid,” said Nancy. “My mother was raised on a farm so I would go there as a kid and spend time with my grandmother and her vegetable and flower gardens.”

Heat’s impact

Although Nancy enjoys vegetable gardens, she does not have the proper sunlight to encourage their growth. Instead she sticks with flowers and hastas.

“When we lost one of our trees, it changed the shade garden,” said Glenn, who works in administration at Saint Johns Hospital. “It shrunk to about half its size.”

Being able to roll with the punches of the weather, the loss of shade and the addition of trees is part of Master Gardener status. This year’s strange climate has accelerated the usual growth pattern. Not only did all the flowers bloom early, but the gardens are now behaving as they usually do in late August.

“The heat has been burning up everything, whether you water it or not,” she noted.   

Her favorite: whatever blooms

Keeping a journal in her early years helped Nancy track her progress and determine the best locations to plant certain flowers.

“I liked to be able to look back and say, ‘This time last year, this was blooming or that was blooming,’” she added. “I enjoyed that but I don’t have enough time to journal anymore.”

Two granddaughters, ages 3 and 5, are edging out some of that writing time. Trying to pass along to them what her grandmother taught her, she has two little pairs of garden gloves all ready for their visits.

“The baby didn’t care for the worms,” she said with a laugh. “She called them snakes. But they are my little junior gardeners.”

Like trying to choose a favorite child, Nancy was unable to choose a favorite flower.

“Whatever is blooming is my favorite,” she said.    

Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an e-mail to

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