A Plant for All Seasons

Last year, Preston McKee Coreopsistook a problem and made it an opportunity. When a pest began killing some of the shrubbery outside of the funeral home, Preston decided it was time for a new vision of the outside of Morris-Baker Funeral Home.

“We had just completed a renovation to the inside of our building to make our space more healing and supportive,” said Preston, owner of Morris-Baker. “I wanted that feeling to start before people entered the building.”

He wanted more color and interest in the plants that surrounded the building and to make the landscaping something that might pull people away, even for just a few moments, from the difficulties and stress they were experiencing.

But who to do the job? “I wanted someone who knew landscape design and had horticultural knowledge,” Preston said, “but also someone who knew me and could understand knowing what I wanted without my knowing what I wanted.”

He found the exact right person: Leah Gardner, an environmental landscape designer but also a friend with whom he had grown up in Johnson City.

Installation happened this spring, and now, purple coneflower, wild columbine, and oak leaf hydrangea are among the many plants and shrubs growing around the building.

Something is always blooming.

WRITTEN BY: Shuly Cawood