It’s just fun. That’s the main reason Babs Greff has opted to surround two sides of her home with colorful bowling balls instead of the traditional forage.
“They’re fun and they are deer resistant and it makes for great conversation,” said Greff, who lives near Canyon Lake.
When Greff and her husband moved in to the house two decades ago, they planted flowers on the property but soon found they were up against the local wildlife and Mother Nature.
“On the south side of the house, it was so hot nothing would grow,” she said. “And on the east, the deer would eat everything. It was so frustrating.”
A rummage sale enthusiast, Greff found pretty, cheap bowling balls and started collecting. In place of the flowers, she tucked the balls along the side of the house. It created a colorful, shiny montage that could be seen from a distance.
That was 15 years ago, and her collection now includes almost 80 bowling balls, a “bowling ball garden” as Greff calls it.
“It’s kind of gotten out of control,” she said, laughing.
Because she’s a bargain hunter, Greff never spends more than $2-$3 on a bowling ball. Friends and family have taken to the task to help her find more.
Babbs, a former teacher in the Rapid City School District, graduated from Stevens High School and her husband from Central. Both schools are represented in her collection as well as sentimental picks from grandchildren and former school students.
“I have a Minnie Mouse one from one of my great-granddaughters,” she said. “And I’ll probably just keep adding.”
The upkeep is minimal, she added. If they get cracked or faded, they get tossed. But for the most part, they don’t move.
“Every spring I spray and wash them,” she said. “There’s no weeding and I don’t have to water them.”
The garden has been a bit of an attraction in the neighborhood, Greff said, and kids come over to the house to visit and look around.
“It’s just fun,” Greff said.
“I’m starting a gnome garden,” she said, laughing again.
She’s already started collecting.
“I figured that when I retired I’d start doing funny things like that,” she said.