Landscaping grows into charitable Grow for Good

When Craig Granger was looking for a home to buy, his thoughts turned more to the location and the home itself than to landscaping options. But he wanted something to work on.

He found the perfect bungalow on a large double lot in a neighborhood between Fassnight Park and Downtown.

While the house was built in 1921, Craig is only the second owner. He bought the house in 2007 from Mrs. Anna Byars’ family. Mrs. Byars, as Craig and her partner Jessy Cockrum still call her, lived in this house from the day she was born until it was time for her to enter an assisted living facility.

Jesse bought this bungalow in 2007 on a double lot.  The house was only owned by one other family.

The house needed some cosmetic repairs and insulation when Craig moved in, but otherwise it was in good condition.

This gave him plenty of time to focus his attention on the large garden and all the potential that it contained.

He used some latent gardening skills that he had inherited from the family. His father always had a garden and his grandmother had a special passion for cacti and other succulents.

Craig and Jessy “mixed up their flowers,” as Jessy puts it. They relocated Mrs. Byars’ clematis and other perennials and added so much more along the way.

Over the years, Craig and Jessy have created sunny gardens in which they have potted succulents and other plants. About five years ago they created a lush, shady garden in the front garden under the canopy of a massive pine tree. A jumble of hostas and other deep shade-loving plants thrive there.

“We try to make sure something is blooming all the time,” says Craig.

A number of exotic plants can also be found in the gardens, such as a majestic date palm from Madagascar. The two travel great lengths – and distances – to find new plants. One such search recently led them to New Orleans, where they secured a number of exotic species, including a whale-fin sansevieria and orchid, herringbone, and fern cacti.

One of the most recent projects was the installation of this stone and mulch path that leads from the front yard to the rear.

With so many plants, of course, there are many ways to grow more plants with cuttings and plant splits. So Jessy and Craig decided to use all of these extras for nonprofits in the area. They formed the nonprofit Grow for Good to raise funds for charities like CASA and Springfield Black Tie.

They scour flea markets for interesting vessels that can be used as pots. Vintage teapots, porcelain serving bowls, and giant tea cups are all fair game. If Craig can drill a hole in it, he can throw a plant in it.

Craig and Jessy sell the pot creations – mostly succulent arrangements – at pop-up events around the area and online at www.growforgood417.com. Recently, Grow for Good had booths at Pickwick Place Street Fair, Artistree Pottery and SOAP Refill Station.

Efforts have proven successful, but space has become an issue. A two bedroom bungalow can only store a limited number of plants over the winter.

The idea for a greenhouse came to Craig “last year when I was stuck at home and my office overlooked my large carport,” he says.

Craig and Jessy have turned a carport that was a bit of a thorn in their side into this cozy greenhouse.  Here they create their Grow for Good arrangements.

The two turned the space into a bright, cheerful greenhouse with plenty of storage space for their growing non-profit organization.

When asked if they’re done adding gardens or other large projects, Craig says, “Oh no. That’s it.”

Jessy says: “Do you think? We could extend the sun lounger. “

Craig said he wanted something to work on.

To learn more about Grow for Good, visit www.growforgood417.com or follow growforgood417 on Instagram and Facebook.

To suggest a home or garden – that of a friend, family member, your own, or a client – email Jan Peterson at jan.peterson@att.net. In our endeavor to showcase the widest possible variety of homes, we will occasionally introduce homes to the market. In order for listed apartments to be considered, they must be furnished and the owner must agree to a discussion. Addresses of apartments are only published if the apartment is listed in the MLS or is requested as part of an apartment viewing. All recommended protocols from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are followed during the interview and photography process.

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