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Monday, May 2, 2016

Creating a unique backyard paradise

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tom Jefferson has created his own little bit of paradise in his Shadowlawn Avenue backyard.
Everyone wishes they could live in paradise, especially during the harsh Indiana winters. Driving down Shadowlawn Avenue one is sure to notice the exotic plants covering the sides and backyard of Tom Jefferson's house.

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.

Having close to 50 koi fish, Tom Jefferson enjoys the simple pleasures in life like feeding the fish out of his hands.
"My grandmother used to grow tons of rose bushes," explained Jefferson, and "my stepmother had a koi pond of her own."

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.

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Very pretty. We have three fish in my koi pond and they survive the winter every year.

-- Posted by mlooper on Wed, Sep 14, 2011, at 9:37 AM

Hey Tom,

Your pond is Beautiful, I know you can't get to Florida too much, but you sure have put it in your back yard, I can tell your Daughter My Granddaughter is very proud of you and so are we, way to go...If you get bored come to Florida and do one for us...lol...Love you ..Doris Pruitt

-- Posted by mustangsally24 on Wed, Sep 14, 2011, at 4:03 PM

A nice article. Thanks BG!

-- Posted by localman on Wed, Sep 14, 2011, at 6:34 PM

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