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Village Gardeners beautifying St. Joseph one flower bed at a time

By Amanda Brennan,


ST. JOSEPH, Ill., (WCIA) — You may be spending your summer exploring different downtown areas across Central Illinois. A group in St. Joseph knows many people stop through their town and wanted to make sure it was prepped and pretty for everyone.

The Village Gardeners are doing just that with flowers. They’re spreading their passion and making it their mission to beautify Our Town St. Joseph.

“About a dozen of us got together, went to the Village Fathers, told them what we would like to do. A beautification of the village,” Shirley Evans, one of the gardeners in the group, said.

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They cover the downtown area and many parks in town. Evans calls it a labor of love. It’s a love that many members of the group have always had.

“Even when I was in high school, I took care of our yard at home,” Nancy Davis, another member, said.

It’s a love that Evans said has been growing ever since a trip to France inspired her 25 years ago.

“There would be flowers hanging from the window sills, from the light posts, every place. I thought why can’t we do this back home?” she said.

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So, Evans rolled up her sleeves and got to work with the people around her.

“If you go look at the gardens at the corner you’ll see that it’s a significant area so it takes a lot of care and it takes a lot of volunteers,” Nancy Crawford, a master gardener with the group, said. “I think planting days are our favorite. We all get together, we laugh a lot, we tell stories about different plants and what happened last year.”

Crawford joined just five years ago but has formed connections that’ll last her a lifetime.

“Everybody’s friendly, everybody loves to garden and it’s a way for us to get together and have a good time,” Crawford said.

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But, she said none of this would be possible without the support from Our Town St. Joseph too.

“They provide money, they provide waste services for us when we weed and things like that, they will come and take our containers and things like that,” she explained.

And now, the group is ready to keep making a difference in the place they call home.

“I just hope everybody enjoys them. They are colorful and we enjoy doing it,” Davis said.

You can see the flowers throughout the summer in the village, plus when WCIA is live in St. Joe on Friday, June 9. Join us during our 4, 5, and 6 p.m. shows for a night celebrating what makes St. Joseph so great.

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