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Clanton gardener retires Friday

The pretty flowers you see downtown, at Goose Pond and in Ollie Park lost the hands that cared for them for eight years Friday.

Clanton garden crew supervisor Terry Crim retired after waking up at 4 a.m. every day to plant, water and care for those flowers in the hot Chilton County sun.

The Calera native was summoned by former Clanton City Council member Anne Baker to help place some flowers downtown in hanging baskets for display.

After being asked to water more plants and plant a few more, Crim was eventually asked to step in full-time for the city.

When he first arrived, all he had was a bucket and a ladder to nourish the plants.

Since then, he was given more equipment, including water tanks, and manpower to get the job done.

When asked about what type of gardening background Crim had prior to accepting the job, he doesn’t dress up his answer.

“None,” he said.

Baker would continue to select flowers she wanted planted and hire other gardeners to place them as Crim and his colleagues would assist them.

Soon, he did all planting and made the beds look as full as possible. His job mostly consisted of watering and other caregiving.

He made no immediate changes to the gardening routine was already installed when he came in. He just got to work trimming and planting shrubbery and whatever else needed the attention.

He established his crew, made up by Ricky Quincy and Neal Cooedy.

Crim said he’s noticed a large difference in the look of the city’s landscaping since he took the job thanks to Baker’s insistence.

“There’s been a world of difference,” he said. “There weren’t any flowers downtown until Mrs. Baker put them there. As time progressed, it looked better and better. People often comment about the flowers and how nice they look. It’s the same with the parks, too.”

Those compliments always encouraged Crim to continue to show up early every morning and endure the merciless sweat beating down on his back and the brim of his Crimson Tide baseball cap.

“It’s been fun,” he said. “Making something out of nothing is always interesting. You feel like you’ve achieved something. I really do appreciate the city letting me work for them. I appreciate the job.”

He’s retiring because he says he’s “old enough” and just ready. He plans to relax, but he won’t leave his specialty alone for too long. He has a small vegetable garden with a few tomatoes at home, but he foresees helping friends and neighbors with their flower beds and shrubbery.

He and his wife Sara have lived in downtown Clanton for several years. He has one son, Travis.

While it’s kept him busy and warmer than he’d like sometimes, he’s taken great pleasure in it since day one.

“I’ve enjoyed the job,” he said. “It’s been a lot of hot and hard work. There was a lot of satisfaction in making something look as good as it did.”

Crim said he is not yet aware of who will replace him as garden crew supervisor.