Almost paradise: Tropicals transform BG garden

Cue the ukuleles, turn the pig on the pit and wrap some fragrant leis around the neck. It’s time to visit
Karen and Scott Seeliger’s tropical garden in Bowling Green.
“I love tropicals,” said Karen Seeliger, during last summer around the spectacular Sequoia Heights
property on the west side of town.
“I love to watch the plants grow. I love to plant flowers and bring them in the house, and eat the
vegetables and drink the fruit.”
Banana, Bougainvillea and Bird of Paradise bloom. There are five palm trees. Hardy Hibiscus also grows in
pots, with orange and pink flowers.
Gerber daisies in hot pink and red pop with color. Firecrackers shoot more color toward the sky and are a
perfect shape for hummingbirds to pop their beaks into.
“I’m trying to go more toward perennials,” she said, hoping that’s less work, but Seeliger added that she
loves the color that annuals provide.
“I am not a master gardener. I just plant the flowers that I like and I like to attract butterflies and
hummingbirds.”
One of the unusual plantings is a Moon Flower – it only opens at night. Rub your hands on the Popcorn
plant and smell … fresh, buttery kernels.
“I love Zinnias. These are State Fair Zinnias, about 4 feet tall.”
All that beauty takes a lot of brawn.
“All these pots come in the house,” Seeliger said, her hand sweeping across at least 20.
They line the dining room.
Seeliger also purchases all of her plants – even the most unusual – locally.
Scott’s in charge of trimming the 52 boxwoods lining the patios and sidewalks.
The lemon and lime pots also come inside from the cold. If the work seems too much, the Seeligers just
think about the margaritas that taste so good in the summer heat.
Outside, the fountain has to be shut off, drained and cleaned once a week.
The couple retired from their careers, hers in banking and his in athletics, a few years ago. Karen now
sells real estate and Scott is coach of the junior varsity high school golf team.
The lawn is littered with little treasures and trinkets to take in at every turn.
There are Bowling Green High School Bobcat and Bowling Green State University Falcon decorative rocks.

The wine garden on the side of the house doesn’t grown bubbly, but it is a heady treat. There are
thousands of corks, representing drinks with friends, a family celebration or a romantic evening over
the years. Some of the corks are carefully placed to edge the space. The rest are thrown in as the
bottles are finished.
A hammock swings lazily in the side nook of the yard, near a hot tub and screened-in sun porch.
A vegetable garden grows in the very back of the property, producing peppers, potatoes, tomatoes,
asparagus, rhubarb, squash and cucumbers.
The large outdoor seating area features a towering fireplace. A straw umbrella lends some more Hawaiian
flavor.
A fire pit in the center table provides extra warmth and extends the outdoors season just a bit longer.

“It’s possible in April, and I would say into October,” Seeliger said about sitting outside.
It all surrounds the towering highlight: literally a mountain water feature that rocks and rolls water
down and is dotted with plantings. It’s lit in the evening, bathing the water and yard in a soft light.

There are bird sculptures and feeders around and in the fountain. There are always special treats for
each species: peanuts for blue jays, sunflower seeds for cardinals and grapes for orioles. There are six
feeders around the yard, plus another 10 just for hummingbirds.
“We’re into birds, so we have fun with that.”
They’re joined with unusual plantings that Seeliger searches out.
There’s goldfish plants – whose orange blooms are shaped like fish.
Last year, a group from Wolf Berries and Blooms asked for a tour of the Seeliger gardens.
“They described this as being whimsical, and I like that. It’s just fun,” Seeliger said.
The entire yard is enclosed by towering evergreens, that make the yard private. She uses needles from the
pines to mulch.
“It’s just so quiet and peaceful. It’s just like paradise.”