A magnificent garden grows up on W. 7th North Street in Morristown under the watchful eye of a master gardener.
It’s a treasure, filled with pathways that beckon visitors to come further, filled with flowering plants that have history and meaning and filled with the love of the Earth and growing things that Barbara Garrett inherited generations ago and has nurtured just like she has her garden.
“You go out in the garden and forget your pain,” she said. “You bend down and pull a weed. You feel the Earth. You feel God’s spirit.”
When Bob Garrett married Barbara – they had known each other as school children in Alabama and reunited after decades travelled along separate paths – he brought her back to Morristown. They decided to build a home, Barbara was hoping for something on the lake.
But a conversation with Lea Wayne Perkins changed everything. Perkins had a lot up on 7th North Street that she thought had potential.
Barbara walked it. Then walked it again.
It was full of trash, trees and had never been built upon.
But Barbara saw the potential. The lake was out. The makings of Heaven on 7th were underway.
There was never any question that Barbara would have a garden. An official lifelong master gardener who inherited a passion from her mother’s mother.
“We’ve got to have a garden,” she said. “My family has always had a garden.”
The garden quickly became a jewel of Morristown, a prominent feature on garden and home tours and a welcoming place for meetings of the many clubs and boards upon which Barbara served.
In fact, it was just before one of those meetings that the late Liz Steisslinger coined the phrase that became the garden’s name.
Over the years the garden has changed and morphed as gardens do. The constant over the years has been Barbara’s loving care and never-waning passion for things that grow.
In January of 2021 Barbara was struck with a rough case of COVID. As one does in such times, her thoughts turned to legacy, what she wanted to be remembered for and how her garden could live on even after she’s gone.
She wanted to document just how special the garden known as Heaven on 7th is.
“I wanted to share my lifetime of gardening,” she said. “To put it in a place people can share it with you so it’s timeless. Gardens are timeless. The only thing that happens is sometimes when the gardener dies, the garden dies, too.”
And so Barbara came up with the idea of a picture book, a year in the life of her garden.
She partnered with Ash Lodge Photography, who visited the garden over the course of four seasons, capturing its timeless beauty.
“Ash took pictures over a whole year,” Barbara said. “Ash brought a wonderful camera and has wonderful eye and did a great job.”
Barbara partnered with Tribune Managing Editor John Gullion to collect anecdotes and stories and weave them – along with magnificent pictures – into a 108-page book.
“I’m so proud of it, proud of the people who have accepted it and looked at it and worked on it,” she said. “What we’ve got now is a dream come true for me.
“I’d never really thought about what I was meant to do until this book.”
The book “From Heaven on 7th, With Love,” is available for $20 at the Citizen Tribune front office and the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce. Signed copies are available upon request.
The book is perfect for any place that has a waiting room, perfect for leafing through while you wait for a doctor or lawyer or banker.
It’s easy to pick up, soak in some beauty and put it back down.
A portion of the proceeds will go to the Serenity House in Morristown, a cause which has been close to Barbara’s heart for many years.
“This place is a Godsend,” Barbara said of the hospice facility. “It’s important to me. These people are dedicated to the care of the people who are about to go over the river to the other side.”