Tom Hickey calls the small cottage gardens that surround his east side home his Garden of Eden.

“When we walk out into our garden, all the shrubs and trees make it feel like we are enclosed in an area far away from the city. When it’s in full bloom, it looks like everything is woven together. It looks like an impressionist painting. It’s our little Garden of Eden,” he said.

He also calls the gardens in his 40-by-120-foot lot “organized chaos.”

“There is a lot of stuff packed in this little yard,” he said of the gardens he has tended for about 35 years.

No matter how he describes it, it’s his favorite place to be.

But it didn’t happen overnight, and his interests went in different directions before settling in.