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7/9/2014 8:29:00 AM
Senior turns barren ground into verdant garden
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas
Saralaben Bhakta, an 83-year-old Prescott Valley resident who hails from India, weeds a small plot of land her son set aside for a garden adjacent to America’s Best Value Inn in Prescott Valley.
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas
Saralaben Bhakta, an 83-year-old Prescott Valley resident who hails from India, weeds a small plot of land her son set aside for a garden adjacent to America’s Best Value Inn in Prescott Valley.
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas
Saralaben Bhakta and her daughter-in-law, Shila Bhakta, stand inside the garden area – a plot of land Bhakta’s son, Bob, set aside next to the couple’s America’s Best Value Inn in Prescott Valley.
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas
Saralaben Bhakta and her daughter-in-law, Shila Bhakta, stand inside the garden area – a plot of land Bhakta’s son, Bob, set aside next to the couple’s America’s Best Value Inn in Prescott Valley.

Briana Lonas
Reporter


Ephemeral monsoon clouds covered a Prescott Valley sky last week while Saralaben Bhakta tended her garden full of Indian beans and eggplants interspersed with squash, peppers and cilantro.

Anyone driving by America's Best Value Inn and the adjacent business park may have noticed the unusual garden plot that seems out of place.

Even more striking is the 83-year-old white-haired woman who bends over the young plants, gently picking weeds and checking up on things.

Bhakta's magical garden grows in spite of its location next to the parking lot.

Daughter-in-law Shila explained that her elder was quite the gardener back home in India. Shila and her husband, Bob, own and manage the Inn that sits on the east entrance to Prescott Valley.

The small strip of property sports some pretty bad soil and plenty of weeds.

Family members pulled together, working a section of the soil. Now, the vegetable oasis grows rapidly.

Bhakta's son, Bob, set aside some of the dirt so she "would have something to do," according to Shila.

"My son put in the irrigation system," she said, noting that it's easier now for Bhakta to water her plants.

Shila explained that in Bhakta's world back home in India, gardens took over backyard spaces.

While the elder has been living in America for about 20 years, she still enjoys growing and giving from her garden's bounty - a time-honored tradition that can be viewed by passers-by just off the highway.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Article comment by: justa gal in PV

Oh thank you. What a wonderful story. For the son and daughter in law to do this. For this woman to have such a green thumb here. I certainly hope I am as able as she when I turn 83. Amazing
A well lived and enjoyed life. To be admired....




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