Helping Hope Botanical Garden requires no green thumb

Do you enjoy gardening? Apparently a lot of you do, judging from the beautiful flower and plant displays I see across our county.
My love of gardening was squelched early in the massive vegetable patch my grandparents planted every year. They raised about four times more than our extended family could use, but the garden continued to get bigger (and more labor-intensive) every year.
Today, my gardening is done from the seat of a zero-turn lawnmower.  But my history helps me appreciate the labor and love that a beautiful garden requires, whether it’s edible or ornamental.
Labor and love continue to be poured into Hope Botanical Garden at 16 Ford Road in Leoma. Founder Jerry Clayton, longtime pastor at Lakeview Baptist Church and retired TVA biologist, bought and donated its four acres and is working with other volunteers to create a place of beauty in our community.
A Botanical Garden in Leoma? Absolutely. Advisors from the Huntsville Botanical Garden helped develop a plan that includes a classic maze garden, topiaries, water elements, displays of native and exotic plants, a Japanese garden, a children’s garden, a pink garden that honors breast cancer patients, and another honoring First Responders. Hope Botanical Garden will bring visitors to Lawrence County and improve our quality of life.
Here’s a portion of the latest blog post at
“Construction of new features in the garden have continued through the winter season. The most recent additions include a Koi pond in the water garden that flows through a stream and smaller reflecting pools located in the Japanese garden. An arch bridge across the stream connects the path from the maze garden. A wishing well and a large butterfly garden located in the children’s garden is nearing completion. Columns, planters and stone features have also been installed within the garden.”
The garden will open to the public in Spring 2022 but is already beautiful. You are welcome to view the progress and be a part of it with hands-on assistance (call Jerry at 931-244-1248 for a schedule) or a donation.
Your gift can now be used to purchase an annual garden membership that becomes effective – with discounts and other benefits - when it opens next year. Joining now will help fund construction of an essential garden element: a facility that houses a gift shop and public restrooms. You can join online or look for the Garden brochure with information for mailing.
People are already asking to book wedding ceremonies in the garden, Jerry said. It will also be a perfect place for school field trips, family outings, walks along its three-quarter mile path, and quiet time with God.
I believe “. . . one is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth” is something we instinctively know is true. Thank goodness it’s not necessary to actually work in a garden to benefit from it.