When Nicola Allen and her husband, Aldwin, first moved into their home on Burton Street in north Hartford, Connecticut, 15 years ago, the bleak scene daunted her. “I fell in love with the house but disliked the neighborhood. We had gun violence, loitering, noise, petty crime, littering. We would sweep the lawns of trash before mowing. We didn’t even have robins, cardinals or blue jays here. It was difficult emotionally for me to function.”
For three years, Nicola sought sanctuary by spending hours after her night shifts as a mental health counselor driving through suburban neighborhoods that had the look and feel she wanted in her community.
One day, she realized what those houses had that appealed to her: beautiful gardens that weren’t surrounded by fences. Although she “didn’t know a pansy from a marigold,” she vowed she would stop window-shopping at other people’s lawns and create her own “Garden of Eden.”
Little did she know that it would transform the entire neighborhood. Read the entire article.
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