New club recognizes top area gardeners

Published 11:39 am Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A new gardening club seeks to create a larger community of beautiful yards, starting with the recognition of two outstanding lawns in Brookhaven’s Peco Village.

Pat Butler, Wanda Johnson, Sabrina Dixon and Jeffrey Johnson Jr. founded Our Best Gardeners Association on May 1 with the mission to get more people involved with growing a more beautiful community.

Butler plans to get others involved by showcasing their gardening skills. The garden club members chose to acknowledge the Best Gardeners by placing signs for first, second and third place and honorable mention on their lawns.

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Butler said lawns will be judged and acknowledged on a weekly basis instead of monthly “so more people would have a chance to win.”

The first place winner for the first week, June 14-20, was Sylvester Young and his lawn located at 809 Dissa St. in Peco Village.

Young, a Vietnam War veteran, has lived at his address for nearly 28 years and says his lawn is an ongoing project and a source of therapy.

“I work with mother nature. It’s real fun for me,” Young said. He described how both he and his wife grew up in the country and enjoy working outside.

Young said his love and dedication to gardening and lawn care definitely came from moments with his mother when he was a child. He said they would compete with each other when gardening and go out into the woods for leaf mold for fertilizer among other things.

“It’s not for fashion or show; I just enjoy the work I do,” Young said about his lawn. “It’s from my heart, and I just have fun”

The winner for the second week, June 21-27, is the lawn belonging to Earl and Delores Gearing at 820 Lewis Drive. The Gearings have lived at their home for 32 years. Delores is a retired principal of Brookhaven Elementary and Earl is retired from offshore work.

The Gearing’s deep green yard is influenced by their home, which is designed in Greek Revival style. Earl said they “try to put flowers and shrubs that suited the design.”

“We’ve always had a desire for colonial or Mediterranean architectural style. You see so much of it in books and movies, downtown Brookhaven at the courthouse and city churches,” Earl said. “We just fell in love with the styles.”

Earl said they spend about three hours twice a week keeping the lawn trimmed and looking its best.

“Being a part of this neighborhood, everybody has pride in this community,” Delores said. “We wanted to be a part of the community by keeping up our home’s outer appearance and making sure everything looks presentable.”

Such a task has gone from a pasttime to a business for Earl, who works as an operator for Kwik Kerb, a company that puts shape, color and contouring into landscaping.

“It doesn’t matter the size of the lawn or the location,” Butler said. “It’s just an opportunity for others to showcase their gardening skills and through them help beautify our communities.”

Judges for the garden club include Pamela Richards, owner and designer at Mid South Signs and Graphics; Karen Sullivan, Brookhaven alderwoman-at-large who shares a passion for the city’s beautification; and Brenda Ross, office manager of the Brookhaven Housing Authority.

The initiative will continue throughout the summer until August.

Butler said in the future, the club hopes to be very active throughout the community by offering a variety of educational, environmental and social and civic projects.

Anyone who wishes to become a member of the Simply Our Best Gardeners Association can call 601-754-1483.