Ruth Kuyatt moved into her home on Ginger Avenue 20 years ago to get away from the bustle of traffic on State Avenue.
At the time, Ginger Avenue on the Heights had only a couple homes and was surrounded by vistas of range land and rims.
"Then they extended the street, they put in a high school and a grade school. I guess they all followed us out here," Kuyatt says.
Since then, Kuyatt has surrounded herself with a different kind of beauty - flowers of many colors and shapes. Her front yard is brimming with the 700 tulips she planted last fall, and soon her purple allium will be in bloom.
Kuyatt has turned her entire front yard over to flowers and low shrubs and planted more flowers in the back along with a small vegetable garden and raspberry bushes. Neighbors all stop to admire her yard.
"They keep telling me it looks nice," Kuyatt says. "I give them a vase of flowers every now and then."
Kuyatt, who is a widow, said the neighbors along Ginger Avenue return the favor and help her throughout the year by shoveling her walks and mowing her lawn.
"I have the best neighbors in Billings," she says.
Kuyatt likes to say she's 18 years old with 60 years of experience. "I heard somebody say that once on television, and I kind of liked it," Kuyatt says.
She says she's retired four times and thinks the "last one is going to hold." Her favorite job was working as a secretary for 10 years for the Billings Fire Department.
Kuyatt says she doesn't have a favorite flower, but prefers the color purple.
Over the years, she's defended her flower garden from neighborhood predators - deer that eat the blossoms. Kuyatt says she's tried using blood meal and bone meal to keep deer out of her gardens, but they keep coming back so this year she's added mothballs to her beds.
"Last year they even got my roses," Kuyatt says.
"They were going to bloom for the third time for the first time ever, and, right before they opened, they came along and picked off the buds."
Kuyatt uses grass clippings and vegetable and fruit scraps for composting in the wire composter she built herself. Nothing is wasted. She mixes banana peels into the soil around her rose bushes.
She also helps take care of the flower beds at Church of the Nazarene, 25 Hilltop Road, as her way of thanking God for "the beautiful flowers that he provides."
Jaci Webb may be reached at 657-1359 or at email@example.com.