"Garden fairy" spreads magic colors

Staff writer

Her main supervisor couldn’t remember her last name. To the ladies of Main Street Ministries in Hillsboro, she is known as, simply, “Terry the Garden Fairy.”

Terry Shewey said that six or seven years ago, the MSM director at the time, Lillian Bookless, asked her to help with a garden they were planning for the corner of W. D St. and Main St. Bookless knew Shewey from church, and knew she had an interest in and talent for gardening.

Shewey has been working her magic on the place ever since.

“I’d get the flowers in the spring, and plant them initially with help from the ladies of Main Street Ministries,” she said. “And I’d have help with watering them.”

After the initial planting, Shewey said, it only takes up a half hour of her time per week. It’s enough however, to make a positive impact on the MSM residents.

“We all love it,” MSM director Jennifer Newell said. “It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. None of us are great green thumbs. It gives us a better appearance to the community, and it’s a nice corner right on Main Street.”

Shewey said the ladies of MSM do most of the watering and daily upkeep, but they leave the weeding to her.

“They tell me I better handle that,” she said. “They can’t really tell the difference between what’s a flower and what’s a weed.”

Terry the Garden Fairy has had some magical help of her own in recent years. While MSM had money in its budget for a garden when she started, it has recently subsisted on the help of a stranger.

“I’d go get everything I need, and at the checkout line, they’d say we had an anonymous donation and that everything’s paid for,” Shewey said.

The mystery donor used to give money to the Hillsboro Garden Center, but since that closed, Shewey said the donor has changed venues and given money to Serenity Gardens, and the money has gone toward mulch and other gardening amenities in addition to flowers.

The garden consists mostly of perennial and annual flowers, though she wants the garden to get more perennials so she won’t have to purchase new plants every year. That isn’t to say, however, that she doesn’t enjoy the work.

“It’s kind of therapeutic for me,” she said.

She earned her moniker from the women because she never lets the plants die, but also because she chooses to do her watering late at night, after the sun has gone down.

“The cops that drive by have gotten used to seeing me out there by now,” she said.

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