Bertha's Country Lane Brightens Up the Museum District - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Bertha's Country Lane Brightens Up the Museum District

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92-year-old Bertha Burke makes her alley full of flowers a beautiful sight for city residents. 92-year-old Bertha Burke makes her alley full of flowers a beautiful sight for city residents.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - If you've ever walked around the Museum District in the summer, you may have noticed a particular alley full of flowers.

That alley is Bertha's Country Lane and it's named after Bertha Burke, the woman who lives there.

"I have petunias and impatiens and wisterias and camellias," she says. "Whatever grows in the sun, I put in the sun. Whatever grows in the shade, I put in the shade."

The 92-year-old has been living in her home off North Belmont Ave. for more than 70 years.

The idea for the alley was born after she and her husband had extra gravel from a house project.

"We put the gravel where the cartwheels go and I dug it up in the middle and sowed grass."

That was in 1954. Ever since, Bertha - who grew up on a farm - dedicated herself to the alley.

"My husband used to say, 'you love playing in the dirt more than anyone else I ever saw.' And I said, 'well, I've been doing it all my life.'"

Even after her husband's death two years ago, and a recent foot injury, Bertha kept going. City Councilman Jon Baliles noticed.

"He said, 'Bertha, every time I see you, you're working on this alley. I'm going to name this alley after you.' I said, 'I don't like the word alley. This is my country lane.'"

So last March, City Council voted to name the alley and Bertha's Country Lane was born.

Every spring, she welcomes strangers, shares her story and shows them her flowers.

Bertha says she's getting ready to plant new seeds and fix up the mess winter brought.

"I'm gonna fertilize it and put some compost dirt on it and make it...go it again"

And once those plants bloom, she knows she'll get plenty of visitors.

"It's a steady stream of people going through here every day walking their dogs," she says. "Everybody loves this lane."

Especially Bertha.

"Well, I am proud of my alley," she says.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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