Thomas Jefferson Gardens open, not yet dedicated

The Bell Tower Festival included a “soft” opening of the Thomas Jefferson Gardens Saturday afternoon. Although there was no formal program, Gardens board members greeted visitors with an informational brochure, packets of seeds, and an invitation to support the project financially. Jean Walker, who has been hired as gardener, was also present.

From left, Thomas Jefferson aka Tom Polking, Thomas Jefferson, and Wallace Teagarden
From left, Thomas Jefferson aka Tom Polking, Thomas Jefferson, and Wallace Teagarden

Wallace Teagarden of Ames, who gave the initial $50,000 to start the project, was on hand and was among the dozens of people who took advantage of the obvious opportunity for photos with Thomas Jefferson. The life-sized bronze statue of a seated Jefferson was created by John Hair. It was unveiled during the 2012 Bell Tower Festival and has been inside the Lincoln Building since then.

Also there Saturday was attorney Tom Polking, who, since being part of the project, has acquired period wear and portrays Thomas Jefferson.

Another feature of the Gardens is a replica of a wooden mould-board plow designed by Jefferson and recreated by artisan Robby Pedersen. Several gardens, including a farmer’s garden, a prairie garden, an herb garden, a vegetable garden and a flower garden are in various stages of development.

The visitor center, a collaborative project of the Greene County Chamber and Development, Jefferson Matters: Main Street and the Thomas Jefferson Gardens, is expected to be completed this summer. Watch for details of a formal opening and dedication of the Gardens at that time.

Persons who would like to support the Thomas Jefferson Gardens of Greene County can send a tax deductible contribution to PO Box 15, Jefferson, IA  50129. For more pictures of the Gardens in progress, visit its Facebook page by clicking here: TJGardens Facebook

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