Mary Ippel Shares Her Love of Gardening, Her Religion and Overcoming Well being Points — Muncie Journal

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From Mary Ippel—

MUNCIE, Ind.-My name is Mary Ippel. I am almost 69 years old. I am Bruce Ippel’s wife. I am the mother of ten wonderful children, seven children-in-law and grandmother of 15 grandchildren and several other children whom I love as my own. I love the Lord, and as a Purdue Master Gardener in Delaware County, I love gardening.

Six years ago I suddenly got very sick while visiting my daughter and her family in Williamsburg VA. I was hospitalized at the end of May and did not find out about anything until August 1st. I had acute pancreatitis and a lot of complications that came with it. My heart stopped twice, I had a fever of 107-109 degrees for weeks and because my blood pressure was bottoming out, I was given 3 antihypertensive drugs at the same time, which kept the blood flowing to my heart and brain, but left my feet and hands and everything else without enough blood.

I was in the hospital for 3 months and in rehab for another month. I have been supported in prayer all along and I am still supported in this way by many friends, family and many people I do not know.

When I returned to Indiana in late September, I was greeted by over 100 people who lined my driveway to welcome me back home. However, I was now double amputated below the knee and 7 of my fingers were at least partially amputated.

Many people have shown me so much love! I have many examples of this, but this one comes to mind. I had just laid out a huge garden when we left for Virginia. My husband tried running his doctor’s office and driving back and forth to my hospital (a ten hour drive). He had never worked in the garden in the past and certainly had no time to do it. The children who lived nearby were all working on their jobs doing their best to maintain our large but now vacant house and mow the lawn, which was very time consuming.

My master gardener friends came to my house several times this summer and weeded weeds, picked berries, beans, tomatoes and even froze the products from my garden and filled my freezer with them! Like I said, I have so many friends who love me.

Fast forward through the next rehabilitation year and now it’s summer again. Fortunately, I am now very mobile with my prosthetic legs, but harvesting beans, raspberries and rototilling is no longer easy for me, although I still have rototill! My son-in-law Dan worked for Cardno, a company specializing in the restoration of native plants. I was interested in replacing my garden with native plants. Dan helped me choose seed and starter plugs. Several of my children helped me plant hundreds of these plugs. Most of my garden now consists of native prairie areas.

I have traditional flower areas, but the native plants are so lucky they move in quickly. I’ve planted dozens of trees and most of them thrive.

I still work in my garden every day when the weather permits and take care of our big house. There is a lot of mowing, so four years ago I killed a majority of my Kentucky bluegrass lawn and planted a grass mix with no mowing. It should actually be called the infrequently mowing variety as you will have to mow it a few times each season.

A lot of people ask me why this had to happen to me. I admit that this question kept coming to my mind as I went through the surgeries I went through that summer and several others the following year. I have an answer … The answer is that I don’t know why it had to happen, but I know that God’s plans for me are always good. I am convinced of that!

When people ask me how I’m doing, I have the opportunity to tell them about God’s goodness over the past 6 years.

He took care of every detail of my life and let me rest in his care for the rest of my life.

For more information on how to become a Purdue Extension Master Gardener, click here.