At age 75, Christine Hollar hasn’t slowed down.
She still lives by the motto “once a gardener, always a gardener,” and whether it’s a few tomatoes and cantaloupes or hundreds of flowers, they thrive in her 5-acre yard.
“Gardening has always been a passion of mine,” she said.
Taking care of 5 acres may seem a bit much for a 75-year old, but Hollar tackles it with vigor. Her husband, Bruce, mows the lawn, but she tends to the flowers and a few fruits and vegetables herself.
“It’s work, but if you keep at it – do a little each day – they take care of themselves,” she said.
Hollar’s garden blooms almost all year round, from the 300 amaryllises that present a beautiful show early in the year to the Christmas cactuses and paper whites that flower out in December.
The amaryllis garden started out with just 20 bulbs planted in two inlaid boxes on her patio 18 years ago. The flowers are mostly red, but a few are white with pink stripes. Most of them multiplied, but she started some from seeds, Hollar said.
Azaleas in various shades of pink, purple and white spread their beauty in March and April. Following them in April and May, irises sprout forth in purples with a few hybrids that boast a yellow cup with purple leaves.
Easter lilies open the season for day lilies that bloom throughout the summer. Hundreds of the flowers bring forth splashes of color from common orange and yellow to a special hybrid with burgundy blooms and a yellow frill.
Dozens of mums in varying colors decorate the garden through the summer and fall. In the winter, camellias open their blooms in varying shades of pink and red.
But it’s not just Hollar’s grounds that flourish with flowers. Her home is filled with some 40 plants, including a Hawaiian Bird of Paradise and a few orchids that bloom several times a year.
She also boasts several bonsai trees, including a Japanese maple and a spruce tree that she and her husband have cultured since 2000.
Hollar, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, met her husband, in 1962, when he was in the U.S. Navy submarine service. She married him on May 9, 1965, and moved to the United States, leaving her entire family behind.
They lived in California while he was in the service and later in Humboldt, Iowa, while he went to graduate school at Iowa State University.
In 1978, they moved to Orangeburg, where he worked as a senior analytical chemist for Albermarle.
The Hollars have a son, Craig, who lives in New York.