January 22nd, 2021

Flowering yucca plant part of Bill’s impressive garden

By Jensen, Randy on July 22, 2020.

Local horticulturalist Bill Overes shows off his Adam’s needle yucca, blooming for the first time since he planted it three years ago. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Ian Martens

Lethbridge Herald


Bill Overes emerges from the back of his yard to greet a visitor, walking past the well-cared-for garden, flowerbeds and climbing trellises. But this day the specimen he is most proud of is a metre-high Adam’s needle yucca, blooming for the first time since he planted it three years ago.

The desert plant is native to the southeast United States and features a cluster of pointy sharp leaves. This year it has sprouted a stalk that now hangs with dozens of white bell-shaped flowers.

“I watch that, how it grows. It is fantastic, all those big leaves with the points on it,” says the 95-year-old retired millwright mechanic.

“It is a plant of interest, that’s what it is.”

Overes has cultivated the yard of his northside home for six decades, producing award-winning grapes, gladioli and his wife’s African violets. Vegetables grow in a weedless garden, flowers bloom in warm soil, and apples ripen from a tree grafted by fellow horticulturalist Mike Stefancsik.

A past president of the Lethbridge Horticultural Society, Bill, along with his wife, has been active in helping to green up the city with plantings in places like the hospital and city hall, as well as highlighting the gardens and yards in the community as part of the society’s summer garden tours.

“Over the years, slowly on I started to cut back because you don’t have the ambition anymore,” says Overes, “The Mrs. is 85 and I’m 95 and still we have accomplished the garden and even all the flowers around in here.”

So after reflecting on the events of life, the changes to his neighbourhood and city, and with the many seasons he has seen, Bill notes this summer as one of the special ones with his unique yucca plant.

“How come it happened to me, that that happens that it blooms for me, at my age?”

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