Flowers are Natchez man’s favorite pastime

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 23, 2001

With flowers, plants and a goldfish pond, Walter Mackel of Natchez, has turned his yard into a &uot;neighborhood mini-park.&uot;

&uot;This is my pastime – playing with the flowers,&uot; he said.

The resident of the Lamar Street and E. First Street community says when he is not working at International Paper’s Natchez mill his yard takes all his time.

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&uot;It gives me something to do – keeps me out of trouble,&uot; he said.

He began his first yard project seven years ago, digging a hole in his yard for a pond after outlining a shape on the ground with a garden hose.

&uot;Some people say it’s a peanut. Some people say it’s a kidney,&uot; Mackel said about the pond’s shape.

An employee at a local nursery then told him he needed to grow plants in the pond and make sure the pond received eight hours of sunlight daily. He also stopped treating the water.

&uot;Those three things actually balanced the water out so it takes care of itself,&uot; Mackel said.

Much of what Mackel says he knows about flowers he learned through books, from talking to other people and experimenting with different locations for plants.

Mackel said he never sits still to enjoy his flowers because he always is working on new ways to improve his yard.

&uot;I’m always moving from one spot to another,&uot; he said.

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map and finds a story where it lands.