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Ann’s Choice blooms with beauty, creativity

Created date

June 19th, 2012

Each spring at Ann s Choice, the astonishing display of blossoms on hundreds of flowering trees can take a person s breath away. The Erickson Living community in Bucks County, Pa., showcases pink-flowering cherries, crabapples, and redbuds that vie for attention with magnolias and white-flowering pears. Crocus and tulips enhance the show, adding special sparks of color and hints of almond perfume.

Award-winning landscape

This year s color began in January, says resident George Hopely. When unseasonably warm weather coaxed daffodils into early bloom, cheerful clumps of yellow erupted all across the campus. George, a former biology teacher and avid gardener, now considers himself a serious amateur photographer. He and his wife Helen have lived at Ann s Choice for seven years. We re so happy with the landscaping, George says. The grounds department is meticulous about its care. They re hardworking and know what they re doing. Although spring s flowers have faded from memory and trees now wear summery green, the campus glows with the bright colors of perennials and 1,400 annuals. Just as important, nearly 1,300 cubic yards of mulch suffocate the weeds. No wonder Ann s Choice consistently wins landscaping awards. Last year it received a Bucks Beautiful second place award for container gardens and a third place for business gardens.

Color through the seasons

Each year, massed plantings of annuals create banks of show-stopping color that enliven the landscape until mid-fall. Mounds of chrysanthemums add autumn hues and peppery scents that extend the blooming season even longer. When the mums turn brown and the trees shed their leaves, dabs of color still dot the campus as wild cherry, crabapple, and dogwood trees offer red berries to foraging birds. In all seasons, when George has time, he strolls the grounds and snaps photos of whatever catches his eye, including plants in residents 120 individual garden beds. He struck gold there last summer in the form of a yellow and red calla lily. It was most unusual, he says. It looked like it was lit from inside.

Flowering photos

He tweaks his photos and creates video slideshows in the second bedroom of the Hopely s Jackson-style corner apartment home. It s their shared office and George s computer darkroom. They moved to Ann s Choice from a ' -acre property in Warminster that George had filled with trees, flowers, and a vegetable garden. I liked things other people didn t know about, so I had unusual trees and shrubs, he says. He had a weeping redbud, at least ten various Japanese cut-maple trees, and an azalea that resembled a gardenia. Trees still intrigue him. He s photographed Ann s Choice s signature Chinese chestnut trees, the 2-inch-diameter blooms of its Kwanzan cherry trees, and most often the delicate pinkish-red floral clusters on its redbuds. George and Helen enjoy the campus landscape for another important reason. We get all this beauty without any of the work, he says. We don t have to water, or prune, or clean up. It s all done for us. They wouldn t live anywhere else.