They say that the tree of loving
Shine on me again
They say it grows on the bank of the river of suffering
Shine on me again, and
Weave, weave, weave me the sunshine out of the falling rain
Weave me the hope of a new tomorrow, fill my cup again…
Weave Me the Sunshine, 1972
Folk artists Peter, Paul and Mary
The Garden District of Baton Rouge is so fortunate to have as a fellow resident, Ginger Ford, our very own weaver of sunshine. Since the early months of Covid-imposed restrictions, Ginger has been providing a daily dose of sunshine and smiles with her free homegrown flower bouquets, which she sets out every morning on the sidewalk in front of her home. Ginger’s kind gesture has lifted our spirits and exemplifies that touch of humanity that we all need during these trying, uncertain times.
Ginger has lived in the Garden District for sixty-six years. Her mother, herself an avid gardener, instilled a love of gardening in Ginger from an early age. Ginger says that there are many positive aspects of gardening, including it being great exercise. Ginger says that “gardening is peaceful and rewarding. It’s yoga, church and gym all rolled into one.”
While strolling along Camelia Ave., it’s hard to miss Ginger’s garden. Every square foot of ground, from the street curb to the steps of her house, is filled with a variety of plants and whimsical yard art that would make a botanical garden envious. The fragrances and kaleidoscopic colors are like a Monet painting come to life. When asked what her favorite plant is, Ginger replied that the question is impossible to answer as she loves them all. Her oldest plant is a rescued bougainvillea that she found tossed to the curb by a neighbor. It is over 60 years old! In addition to the many flowers she nurtures, Ginger also loves growing vegetables with greens, cantaloup, and okra being her favorites.
When asked what inspired her idea of the free flower give-away, Ginger stated that “gardening is a great avenue to learn, and apply repurposing and recycling.”
Ginger has seen many changes in the Garden District over the years. She feels that the renovation of so many of the old homes has been a positive thing and a huge benefit to the neighborhood. On the other hand, the deterioration and decline of the old live oak trees sadden her. Ginger says that the live oaks along Drehr and Cherokee streets were planted by Mr Alvin Drehr and his family. She said that Mr. Alvin gave his daughter, Mildred, the job of watering the planted seedlings. Mildred would haul buckets of water in her wagon each day after school and ladle water onto every seedling. Wow, what a commitment, and what an inspiring result!
When Ginger was asked if there is a local organization or a cause dear to her heart that folks could contribute to as a way of paying her kindness forward, she stated that she would like to see a marker erected thanking the Drehr family for their forward-thinking and beautification efforts in the neighborhood. Their planting of what would become these majestic oaks deserves recognition as the benefits of these established trees inure to the benefit of all.
Ginger says, ”If more people gardened, the world would be more peaceful and there would be more respect for our environment.”
So, to our weaver of sunshine, many, many thanks and blessing upon you for bringing such joy and that shot of daily happiness to your neighbors in the Garden District.