F-Stop 

Mmm-mm, good

Memphis Area master gardeners spent part of last weekend on their knees, but it wasn’t in prayer. Instead, more than 35 volunteers planted 3,600 red and white vinca plants at East Parkway and Madison, bringing back the big Memphis “M”.

The planting project was organized by the Memphis City Beautiful Commission (MCBC), after they received phone calls from concerned citizens about the once-vibrant landscaping.

“This area is usually maintained by [the city’s division of] park services,” said organization chairperson Bethany Smith. “With the mayor cutting the staff of that division, the plan for the M was to leave it empty this season.” Springing into action, the group raised $1,500 to buy the plants and recruited the Americorps Exchange Club to clean out the bed.

To a passerby, the M looks compact, but at close range, the bed is immense. According to master gardener Fern Gagnon, the giant flowerbed is 50 feet by 70 feet and requires more than two hours to water. The gardening group will weed and maintain the bed throughout the summer. MCBC has already been approached about the other Memphis M, located near the airport. The organization is looking for corporate sponsors to manage that project.

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