Garden Girls keeping businesses beautiful

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 9, 2016

GREEN THUMB: Karen Braun and Stacey Harrison tend the landscape local banks, and many other businesses,  keeping them presentable.  Photo by Jeremy Pittari

GREEN THUMB: Karen Braun and Stacey Harrison tend the landscape local banks, and many other businesses, keeping them presentable.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

While some people head to a job they may or may not like, others find joy in working outside while interacting with nature.

For Telena Bethell, Karen Braun and Stacey Harrison working outside with plants in various locations in and around Picayune is how they spend their workday. All three women make up the local business Garden Girls. 

They can be seen tending to the landscaping of various businesses, including Bank Plus, Sonic, McDonald Funeral Home, Dungan Engineering and Edward Jones offices. In all, they tend to the beautification of 13 local businesses and 23 private residences, Bethell said. 

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Braun and Harrison are both Master Gardeners, while Braun has been working with plants so long she might as well be, Bethell said.  

The business started out in the early 2000s, with one account. But Bethell said after Braun gave her that first account, it’s continued to grow from there and now Braun and Bethell work together. In fact, Bethell said she doesn’t have time for any additional business, but every so often someone asks her to tend to their landscape and she just can’t turn them down, such as elderly widows.

“I haven’t been able to say no to them yet,” Bethell said.

A positive aspect of the job involves the ability to take time off when a family emergency comes up. 

“It’s a good job if you’re raising kids,” Harrison said. 

They can also set their own hours. When the weather is too cold, they wait until the sun comes out to start the day, or get an early start when they know the temperature will rise during the summer.

There are some strange things the women have seen in their day to day routine, including finding a crack pipe made out of a bullet casing. Bethell said one of the women smashed it upon realizing what it was and threw it in the trash. Later that day they saw the owner come back around looking for it, appearing quite upset it was now lost. 

Outside of the occasional marijuana seedling growing in gas station parking lots and syringes found where they aren’t supposed to be, Bethell and her coworkers also see a number of neat sights, such as lizards hatching out of their shells, ladybugs laying eggs, and cicada nymphs maturing into adults. And don’t forget about the various sunrises and sunsets.

Most of their work involves making Picayune’s businesses look their best, and Bethell and her team pride themselves on the recognition. The result of their landscaping skills has been featured a number of times as the business landscape of the week. Bethell is very proud of the recognition and keeps a scrapbook of the newspaper articles. 

The only downside to the work is sometimes they are mistaken for the homeless as they take breaks next to a business. But it’s all in a day’s work while making a living in the outdoors.