Rosemary Bannister was on a business trip from London when she came across Romare Bearden Park. She stopped to take a photo of the flowers as she was passing through.
“I was really surprised to see amongst the high rises and construction … this beautiful park,” she said. “It is a little oasis.”
Flowers take time to grow, and the team of horticulturalists at Bearden Park have been working hard since the park opened in 2013 to create an environment favorable to healthy flowers and trees.
The park honors Romare Bearden, who was an internationally acclaimed collagist and talented baseball pitcher. The park is across from BB&T BallPark, along Church Street, between Third and Fourth streets.
Bearden Park has become an inspiration for others. A quick search on Instagram brings up hundreds of tagged photos of people and pets enjoying the park with its scenic views of the city.
The park has a full-time horticulture specialist, Kris DeBerry. He said a key reason the plants are improving is because of the pH levels within the soil.
Before Bearden Park was developed, the property was a parking lot. The cars there contributed to soil contamination. Over time, adding sulfur to the soil has lowered the pH to levels more conducive to healthy plant growth.
DeBerry has tried flowers in different areas of the park. Some have done well. Others, like Gardenias in open spaces, haven’t because of the wind.
While a majority of the plants are aesthetic, the park now features a community garden with vegetables and herbs.
“We give the vegetables to people in the park,” county Park and Recreation Director James Garges said.
The park has become the backdrop for many photos for weddings, proms and other events and has become a meeting place within the community.
“That is what good urban green spaces should be,” Garges said.
Tyler Fleming: 704-358-5355, @tyler_fleming96