THA benefits from a pair of residents with green thumbs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Features Editor

If everybody cared as much about their little corner of the world as Billy Kilpatrick and Carolyn Carroll, this world would be a much better place and a much more beautiful place.

The Troy Housing Authority residents have both been blessed with green thumbs, strong backs, a willingness to work and a love of

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pretty things. That combination is making Daisy Court one of the prettiest places in town and bright blooms are all the thanks the two gardeners want. But, kudos are coming from all directions.

"What Billy and Carolyn are doing is appreciated by everyone," said Ken Vaughn, THA director. "Planting flowers on both sides of the street all the way down was their idea. We’re buying the flowers, but they are doing all the work. Every day, someone is commenting on how pretty everything looks. If everyone cared as much about where they live as these two, wouldn’t it make a difference?"

Kilpatrick and his brother spent much of last spring and summer edging the sidewalks of all 120 THA units in the Segars Street area.

"We picked up all the rocks, too, so children wouldn’t throw them and break windows," Kilpatrick said.

Anyone who cares enough about their neighborhood to pick up rocks and edge sidewalks has to be a very special person. Kilpatrick doesn’t think of himself that way. He’s just a guy who likes pretty things and there’s not anything more beautiful than a flower.

Kilpatrick and Carroll were neighbors, but they weren’t aware that they had green thumbs in common.

While he was busy planting flowers at his home, she was busy planting flowers at her’s. Each noticed the handiwork of the other and soon they were sharing "how-to" tips. Then, they were involved in a neighborhood beautification project together.

"Billy likes to plant things and help them grow and I do, too," Carroll said. "We started up at that end of the street making flower beds and we’re way down here now."

The two green thumbs

"plowed" up another garden plot Tuesday and cleared all the grass, and Vaughn had several trays of petunias and periwinkles ready for them to plant.

"We plant

flowers with different colors to make everything real pretty," Kilpatrick said. "We plant all kinds of flowers."

He pointed to a big-leaf plant that he said was a sunflower.

"Last year, I grew one this big," he said, indicating a 18-inch diameter with his hands. "Sunflowers need a lot of sun. Things that don’t need a lot of sun, can’t be in the sun."

Planning a garden plot takes a lot of know-how, planting it takes a strong back, and making it grow takes a green thumb. But, enjoying the fruits of one’s labor only takes an eye for beauty.

A car came by where Kilpatrick and Carroll were busy watering and weeding.

"That’s looks real nice," a man said, leaning out the car window.

"Everyone appreciates what Billy and Carolyn have done,"  Vaughn said. "I’ve had people call and tell me how pretty this street is, but it’s not me. They have done all of the work and as long as they want to keep planting, I’ll keep buying plants for them."

The amount of work done by the THA residents is tremendous. Almost any place that can be tilled has been planted. And, the work isn’t done. There will be watering, weeding and a weekly dose of Miracle Grow to keep the gardens growing.

"I like to do it," Kilpatrick said of the chores that go with keeping his corner of the world pretty. "It makes me happy."

And, for Carroll, a flower is a bud of happiness and it’s one that she learned to thrive on as a child.

"I’ve always loved pretty flowers," she said. "And, I’m glad I’ve got a green thumb."

Billy agreed and gave two green thumbs up as a signal that gardening is a go for him and his neighbor this summer.