Woman spends 30 years growing downtown Blacksburg flowers

You may not know the gardener, but you've enjoyed her work

BLACKSBURG – Flower baskets line downtown Blacksburg -- and pop up in almost every corner. Blacksburg always seems to be in full bloom, but those flowers didn't just get there on their own. A team of people with the town work to make each beautiful display and tend to them almost daily.

Jenifer Lucas of Pembroke has been part of that team for the past thirty years.

She and her team begin rounds at 3:30 a.m., carefully watering and cultivating 250 giant flower baskets, along with gardens planted throughout the town. It's one of the most beautiful drives through a downtown you'll find in Southwest Virginia.
"I love the flowers. I love growing them, I love watching them go through all their stages of life. It's just my thing," Jenifer said. One of the most notable spots is in front of the Lyric Theater. That's where you'll often find Jenifer and co-worker Deb Shug pruning and deadheaded the blooms, chopping away the dead pieces to keep each garden beautiful a little longer.

"You wouldn't have beauty if you didn't have upkeep," Deb said. She's worked there for 14 growing seasons.

And while many don't know who's behind the blooms, the public certainly takes notice.

"There's always people coming up to us saying ‘we love the flowers'," Jenifer said.

For Jenifer, it's an interest that bloomed at an early age.

"I've always loved it, my whole life…even as a child," Jenifer said while clipping."Grandma, I used to help her. She would show me how to root things and get things started. I was always into trying to get stuff to grow. I would always go up into the mountains to try to get things to grow."

Like many of her colleagues, growing is a lifetime labor of love.

"It's a learning process. It's a lifelong thing. And you never quit learning."

For Jenifer, life truly is a bed of roses that she continues to share with the town.

"I'm lucky," Jenifer said.

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