How does Nolanville’s garden grow? Just ask Marie and Butch Reis.
Marie Reis, 50, lived with chronic and constant pain after rupturing L4 and L5 in her lower back in 1999. She also had both her knees replaced, but gardening helped her get her life back.
“I needed a reason to get out of the house and to get walking again,” she said. “Some days all I could do was sit in the dirt and fuss with my garden at home.”
Deciding to take it a step further, Marie Reis opted to spread her green thumb all over Nolanville by placing plants along Main Street. Now, people are starting to take notice.
Central Bell County Fire and Rescue Chief Jason Worsdale sees the Reises watering and tending to the plants several times a week.
“People like them make Nolanville the great place to live that it is because they genuinely care about their community,” he said.
Nolanville Police Officer Christina Cortez said seeing the flowers makes her smile.
“She doesn’t have to do this but I really appreciate what she’s doing to improve the city,” Cortez said.
Marie Reis said she used gardening as a way to rehabilitate herself, and her husband was quick to fetch the watering can and tend to the flowers she sprinkled around town.
“I finally got my wife back,” Butch Reis, 55, said about his wife’s recent surgery. “Now that the pain has subsided she is her happy-go-lucky self again.”
Marie Reis underwent a 6½-hour surgery in April to fuse the lumbar section of her back, repair two tears in her stomach and to fuse vertebrates C3 and C7 in her neck.
“I may have two titanium rods and 11 titanium screws in my body now, but that surgery sure made me whole again,” she said. “The only things that kept me going were my husband and gardening.
“He never gave up on me and helped me to recover and gardening helped me to relax.”
For Marie, planting the gardens around town helped her regain hope.
“The doctors said I was beyond their realm of care and I was crippled with pain,” she said. “(Audrey Hepburn) said ‘to plant a garden is to have hope for the future’ ... my hope has been restored and I have big hopes for Nolanville.”
Planting flowers around the city is her way of restoring life in Nolanville after a cloud was cast during a former mayor’s recent trial and conviction for aggravated sexual assault.
“I just wanted to make the city look better because there was no greenery around,” she said. “They just brighten up the city so much and you can’t help but smile when you see pretty things growing.”
Now Marie hopes to spread her love of flowers with others in the community by garnering support for a community garden.
“We have so many green spaces here that could use some help,” she said. “The school age kids here could really benefit by learning how to grow things.”