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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Where We Live: Blooms bring happiness to longtime homeowners

Down a long gravel road off Centerville Road is a 35-acre slice of country heaven that you would never realize is there.

Tom and Vicky Hitchens purchased the land in 1985, when Vicky came across an ad in the Virginia Gazette. They had two young children at the time and knew they eventually wanted a more private residence with plenty of acreage.

Tom, who owned a small construction company, contacted a realtor friend and looked at the property. He brought along his small backhoe to test the ground and make sure it wasn’t that shrink/swell soil that makes it difficult to build upon. It passed the test, and the Hitchenses purchased the property.

Always practical, the Hitchenses waited until the land was paid for — four years later in 1989 — to build their home.

Fast forward to 2018, and the Hitchenses have been married for 43 years and have spent the last 29 living in their spacious, two-story farmhouse that backs up to Gordon’s Creek. Surrounded by nature, their property is so private and foliated, that it’s hard to believe it’s located just six minutes from a Target.

“We just love it here,” said Vicky.

“We like it out here and can’t imagine being anywhere else,” added Tom.

As lovely and well-built as their home is, what gets most people talking is the beautiful flower beds surrounding the home.

While Tim worked — at both his construction company and the Anheuser-Busch brewery — Vicky’s job was to raise the kids and maintain the household.

“She does everything,” said Tim. “She’s a domestic engineer.”

While working from home, Vicky discovered she had a love for gardening, particularly working with perennials, which are flowers that come back every year.

“I don’t know how I got into it, to be honest,” said Vicky. “I’m just happy out there — I love the pops of color.”

To say she has a ‘green thumb’ is an understatement.

Vicky has transformed the landscape surrounding their forever home into something straight from a botanical garden. Spending anywhere from three to four hours a day and sometimes more, Vicky waters, feeds, deadheads, clips, pots and divides. She likes to keep the beds neat. Even two knee replacements didn’t affect her gardening prowess.

She loves working with perennials, particularly those that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. There is always something fluttering by, pollinating a flower or eating from a feeder. Everywhere you look, there is something blooming. There are clematis, butterfly bushes, phlox, dahlias, beauty berry bushes, rhododendrons and more than 40 knock-out rose bushes, among others.

“Every pot I can find has a flower in it,” she laughed.

While she loves the lantana, roses and purple coneflowers the best, she has a special place in her heart for a crepe myrtle she and Tom planted when they first moved in.

“It’s been so neat to watch stuff grow here for the past 29 years,” she said.

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