By: Javon Huynh, Print Reporter
On a sunny Saturday in Waycross, GA, Nga Thi Ly spends the afternoon working on her lawn. She is an avid gardener.
Nga Thi Ly emerges from the garden shed with supplies as she works in the front and back yard.
On any given weekend, Nga Thi Ly can be seen pushing her trusted wheelbarrow in the front lawn. Though her family can afford lawn service, she still insists on doing it herself.
Nga Thi Ly prunes an azalea bush in the front yard. The bushes were first planted when she and her family moved into the home almost 25 years ago.
Nga Thi Ly cuts a couple sprigs of mint which will be used for her Vietnamese cooking. Incorporating ingredients from her garden helps give Ly a taste of home.
Nga Thi Ly’s colorful wardrobe includes t-shirts from her family when they are away and traveling.
Nga Thi Ly takes a break from gardening on the front porch. Ly also painted the bench.
Nga Thi Ly shows a walk through her homegrown garden. In the background are her numerous plants from Vietnam.
Nga Thi Ly’s garden is an eclectic mix of vegetables that are native to Vietnam including these elephant ear plants. Her gardening started out of necessity when she was forced to grow vegetables that weren’t available in local stores. Gardening has become a way of preserving her Vietnamese culture.
Nga Thi Ly examines her persimmon tree which has been planted almost two decades ago. She likes to eat the fruit raw.
An unripe persimmon still has a long way until it matures from green to orange. Ly fondly recalls how her nephew would call persimmons “mini” pumpkins because of its similar shape.
Gardening is more than just a relaxing activity for some like Ly who says the garden reminds her of her native homeland of Vietnam where fruits like her persimmon tree are abundant.
Nga Thi Ly inspects an unripened orange which will mature later in spring. Her favorite time of year is when the orange blossoms are in full bloom.
Bitter melon vines hang from the side of the garage wall. Native to Vietnam, these vegetables are usually eaten during Lunar new year.
A surprising addition to her garden is homegrown grapes that she has been growing for over a decade. She also has to protect the grapes constantly from Birds that fly in and take a few.
Nga Thi Ly looks at her limes tree. Once ripened, the lines will be used to give her Vietnamese dishes a bright citrus-y flavor.
A close up of Nga Thi Ly’s lime trees. She says it will be a bountiful harvest.
Nga Thi Ly examines her dragon fruit plant which looks to the untrained eye like a cactus plant. The plant often bears one or two fruits a year.
Nga Thi Ly sweeps pine needles in her backyard garden. Instead of growing her plants in the ground, she prefers planters so she can easily move them around.
After a hard day of work Nga Thi Ly washes her hands in her outdoor sink. Her husband Vang built the sink, as well as the majority of the equipment and supplies for their garden.