Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: A Downtown Garden - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: A Downtown Garden

(WMC-TV) - Her rose bushes have yet to bloom in Court Square, but designer Tobacco Brown has been busy planting.

"I have an idea for these small fragrant gardens throughout the downtown area," she said.

The Center City Commission recently hired Brown to plant herbs like sage, rosemary and lavender in the large pots and flower beds that surround Court Square. She's adding varieties of roses known as Double Knock Outs, along with tee-hybrids and rose shrubs.

The $7,500 dollar project was paid by the Center City Commission, which derives its income from fees paid by downtown commercial entities. No tax dollars were spent on the rose and herb gardens.

"All of these roses are highly fragrant, highly perfumed," Brown said. "They range from spice flavors to fruit flavors, apple flavors and woody flavors."

Brown, a native Memphian, won a scholarship to the School of Visual Arts in New York, and worked as a designer for years in Europe. She believes gardens produce beauty and fragrance that encourage people to be more polite.

"They see all the lovely roses, and all the beautiful fragrances will circulate in the air come in May and June," she said. "I think it makes a whole behavior change. I think we'll see a whole lot more romance in Memphis. A lot of romance and a lot of laughter."

But what about the impolite who might be tempted to pick blossoms in the public space?

"There's a police camera here on surveillance 24 hours a day and it has a 360 degree viewpoint of the park, so if there are vandals, I'm sure they'll be apprehended."

If you'd like to learn more about the artist and designer Tobacco Brown, click here.

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