Neighborhood garden planted in grief sprouts love, beauty, learning

Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 10:21 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A garden grown from grief now brings joy to residents and children in Belhaven.

A Jackson writer transformed a parking lot into a place of beauty, which shares the love of earth and nature with the community.

“It is like finding an oasis in the desert,” said Jesse Yancy.

The Belhaven resident created the oasis in 2008 after the devastating loss of his sister sent him spiraling.

“Cindy had always wanted a garden, but she never lived in a place where she could have one. so I started a garden,” said Yancy. “I know I had to get up and do something. So what I did was I picked up a shovel”.

The 63-year-old started at the corner of Peachtree Street and Poplar Boulevard, planting various flowers, plants, and vegetables on a space donated by Nejam Properties. The garden has grown to cover nearly the third of a football field.

“When people walk by, they can enjoy what they see over here,” said Adrianna Wang.

Neighbors, like 11-year-old twins Adrianna and Brianna Wang, were drawn to the garden.

“My mom told me about it, and I just came here one day, and I was impressed with what I saw, and I just really wanted to be here all the time,” said Adrianna Wang.

They’re here every Sunday, planting and tending their favorites tomatoes and cucumbers.

“When I see how much the garden has grown, it makes me feel proud of all the hard work we’ve done because it starts from one tiny little seedling,” said Brianna Wang.

The garden is now a fixture in the neighborhood. Residents bring plants and even started a collection of about 30 gnomes. The green space is a gift to those passing by and for the future.

“It’s important for kids to know where their food comes from, and I think it’s important for them to know how to grow it,” added Yancy. “This is a great place for biology. You know insects, lizards, no snakes. I want to assure you”.

Yancy is gearing up for Bright Lights Belhaven Nights on August 14, when 8,000 lights will be strung in the garden. He wants you to stop by and visit.

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