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The Dart: Natchez woman enjoys gardening outdoors

NATCHEZ — In a calm and quiet Downtown neighborhood amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a Natchez woman found a new way to entertain herself.

When The Dart landed near Barbara Mire’s house on South Rankin Street Wednesday evening, Mire was at work with a small steak knife digging up tiny seedlings that had sprouted in the cracks of the sidewalk outside her home.

The seedlings weren’t weeds that would ordinarily spring up between the cracks. Over time, Mire said she had recognized the familiar leaves of the periwinkle she had planted the year before, which had taken over the flowerbeds on her front lawn.

“I planted them last year and they were very productive. … They took over and started growing everywhere,” Mire said. “It took a while for me to recognize what the seedling was. It’s kind of fun and something constructive that you try to do with your time at home. I’m challenging myself to see if I can actually save these little vincas’ lives.”

Mire said she needed something sharp that could work its way between the thin cracks and was able to use the sharp tool to work the roots out of the ground and pot them into flower pots.

To Mire’s delight, three of the first five plants she’d rescued from the sidewalk lived and were blooming, and she proceeded to dig up others out of the cracks once they had matured enough, she said.

“Periwinkles are a very strong and hearty plant,” she said.

Mire said she retired from teaching and moved to Natchez in 2005 and enjoys using her free time to be productive in her garden.

“My form of entertainment is outside, dealing with the little plants here and there,” she said. “I’ve always gardened flowers and I like to put some color in the yard for curb appeal.”