Family Roots

A glorious garden collaboration in Montgomery, Alabama.

By Denise Gee

Photography by Robert M. Peacock


Fresh-grown greens are irrisistable!It's been 8 years since the garden was created, and Bari, now a master gardener, sees it as a stellar decision. "You have no idea how good these fresh greens are," she says. "The figs and tomatoes barely make it inside." Joe and Joel, an attorney himself in Birmingham, reap the benefits of her efforts and share in the fun of cooking the produce, supplemented with what Bari gets each week from the local farmers' market.

Tending the land and harvesting its bounty also has taught her a lesson: "I like things in order and always have," she says. "My careers have trained me to be that way. But gardening has helped me to relax. It's a living thing that you just can't control. I'm now more accepting that some things just happen."

Use your garden as a source of relaxation and joy

Jason echoes his mother's positive sentiment. "I love that this has been something we could share," he says. "It really brought us closer together. It's a thread that leads us to still talk almost every day." Except for one thing. Since she's become more comfortable with the garden and the ebb and flow of planting seasons, "she now has Auburn University and the Montgomery County co-op on speed dial," he says with a sly smile. "Not me."