‘It’s just fun’

Published 11:00 pm Monday, June 25, 2012


Melinda Cowart talks about working on a garden in Troy, Ala., Monday, June 25, 2012. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

Local woman finds pleasure in gardening

Written by Whitley Kilcrease

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Warm, sunny summer months are ideal for outdoor gardening in Troy.

Whether trimming overgrown hedges or pulling up pesky weeds littering the yard, there are many people who enjoy finding chores that allow them to soak up a few sunrays while checking things off never-ending to-do lists.

For Melinda Cowart, yard work has become a trade as well as a hobby.

She spends her summer days pruning, trimming and pulling in yards and gardens near Monticello Drive.

“At first, I couldn’t grow anything. Then, when I started doing yard work for people, I learned how to plant stuff and keep it green,” Cowart said. “Now, this is my job during the summer.”

On Monday, Cowart was busy pulling up invading mint plants in flowerbeds. She explained that they would probably grow back soon, but should be thinned out in case of snakes, which can be dangerous during this time of year.

“We want it to be clean so you’ll be able to at least see your feet, especially with children running around in the yard.”

Cowart said that she first began doing yard work for a resident near Heritage Ridge and later took on household responsibilities, too. Soon, she was recommended to enough neighbors and friends to supply her with a week’s worth of work to complete.

Pat Barnett, a resident of Monticello Drive, said that she had always done her own yard work until a couple of months ago. That’s when she decided that she needed someone to help out with a few chores. A friend recommended Cowart.

“She follows my instructions, but she also knows a lot about yard work and is good at it,” Barnett said. “I almost don’t want to tell everything in case someone starts trying to take her away from me.”

Cowart said she has been working in neighborhood yards for six or seven years and is currently has seven homes under her care. Her duties consist of pulling weeds, trimming shrubs and trees, raking leaves and trimmings, as well as other indoor household chores.

“She really enjoys it,” Barnett said. “That’s why she’s so pleasant to work with. She enjoys it as much as I do.”

Cowart said she takes pleasure in the work because it gives her something to do, eases the mind, and she can work at her own pace. She also said she loves to be outside to enjoy the weather and all of the colorful plants that surround her. For Cowart, gardening provides a peaceful atmosphere and good physical activity.

“You get a good work out,” Cowart said. “I try to come really early when it’s still cool out. I usually stay until around noon or 1 p.m., depending on how the temperature is and how hot it gets.”

However, the main reason Cowart spends her days outside doing yard work for others is a simple one.

“It’s just fun.”