Retiring early after 27 years of working at Kroger, a legally blind, Jefferson needed something to focus his attention on. His love for the outdoors and the tropics helped motivate him to begin creating his own version of paradise, a koi pond, full of beautiful colorful fish as well as bright exotic plants.
Jefferson's love of gardening and the outdoors started at an early age. He credits both his stepmother as well as his grandmother for sparking his interest in ponds as well as gardening.
Originally, he started out with a very small pond outside of his bedroom window. An avid outdoorsman, the sound of flowing water is something that has always appealed to him.
"I love the sound of the water," explained Jefferson. "It's very peaceful."
Over the past few years Jefferson has managed to expand and create yet another pond that is almost 7,500 gallons and takes up nearly the entire backyard. This pond is home to more than 50 koi fish as well as several exotic plants.
"I can't run to paradise, so I created my own," Jefferson said.
The pond took a little over four months to build and was all dug by hand. With a little help from his friends, family, and most supportive German Shepherd, Jefferson created something for everyone in the neighborhood to admire.
"It's an ongoing process," Jefferson said. "I'm just basically out of yard. If I had a bigger yard I'd be trying to build more."
Along with the fish, he has hundreds of plants from palm trees, banana trees, to water lilies and lotuses.
Jefferson is constantly looking for ways to bring new colors and plants into his yard. His passion shines through as he names off each and every one of the plants that are around his home.
"I can grow anything from seeds or roots," said Jefferson. "Every year I try to pick something new to get into."
Jefferson is constantly adding and changing the surroundings of his pond. With the winter coming he takes precautions to keep his plants alive. Each winter several of the plants are housed inside of Jefferson's home or covered with protective mulch and plastic. It's a very tedious process making sure they are all kept alive. Then, when the warm weather returns he will replant each one.
In the future, Jefferson hopes to be able to sell some his plants for those who are interested. But, for now he's just happy keeping himself busy with his own little bit of paradise.