Germantown couple’s legacy will live on forever in protected urban garden

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Germantown couple’s legacy will grow forever, thanks to an agreement that will always protect their urban garden.

When Ernest and Berdelle Campbell left their Belle Meade home and moved to Germantown, they knew an urban garden would be a part of their retired life.

Now, more than 30 years later, that garden is still thriving and thanks to the Land Trust for Tennessee, its future is forever.

(Photo: WKRN)

“This was my husband’s garden, Ernest Campbell,” Berdelle Campbell said. “He said when he was retiring; I’m going downtown and going to grow everything I can grow.”

With his wife’s help, Ernest, a retired Vanderbilt University sociology professor, planted hundreds of flowers and trees on a lot the couple purchased next door to their home.

“He would say, ‘Wish there was something I could do so that I would know while I’m still here than when I’m not gardening this place they can’t put a building on it,” Berdelle recalled.

Thanks to the Land Trust for Tennessee, Ernest’s wish was granted and the space will stay green forever.

(Photo: WKRN)

“There will never, ever into forever, be a building on this property,” Berdelle told News 2.

Berdelle admits she has seen her share of unwanted construction in Germanton and her protests to stop a proposed emissions testing site even got her and her neighbor protesters arrested.

“Directly across the street. The full block,” she said. “I knew the man and I said, I know you’re doing what you have to do, but I have to do what I have to do and so they took us to jail.”

Berdelle recently celebrated her 90th birthday with family and friends. She still keeps a neighborly eye on new construction and worries that Germantown may be getting too much.

However, she says she has the satisfaction knowing no matter what sprouts in Germantown, her husband’s garden will always be an oasis in the middle.

Under the Land Trust agreement, Berdelle can continue to own and use the property, pass it on to family members, or even sell it, but the restrictions on its use will remain in place.

Click here for more of Anne Holt’s Tennessee stories.