Jane is a former president of Loving Garland Green and a current board member. Because of the generous donations of Jane and her husband, Bob, the Garland Community Garden has been able to continue as Jane and Bob have been footing the major part of the bill for our water for the past five years. Jane’s mother was an avid gardener as well as many other things.  This story is about her and a tribute to her memory.

Laura Link Allison was born on July 18, 1930, in Shreveport, LA to the late Horace Richmond Allison, Sr. and Laura Lesby Elona Link Allison. She graduated from Carthage High School as Valedictorian of the Class of 1947. [That must be where Jane got her smarts as she grew up to be a microbiologist.]  Laura attended Texas Women’s University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree and later worked towards a post-graduate degree. She also studied for a summer at the Merrill Palmer Institute for Child and Family Development in Detroit, MI. Laura earned a Master’s Degree in Education at Stephen F. Austin State University. She enjoyed a long teaching career at Milford, Carthage, and Beckville school districts as well as Stephen F. Austin State University before retirement. Laura married Henry Grady Shivers, Jr. on Aug. 24, 1951, at the First Methodist Church in Carthage.

Laura was very skilled and thoroughly enjoyed many types of sewing, embroidery, garments, smocking, tatting, and heirloom sewing. She was an excellent cook and truly enjoyed perusing cookbooks. Laura was very generous with her family and her community. She was dearly loved and is fondly remembered by all. Like many mothers, Laura made a difference in the lives of many--from the children she taught to the adults in her community.

Laura, like many of her generation, knew the importance of saving seeds, and save them she did. Jane recently came across a baggie of seeds that her mother had carefully labeled “German Butter Bean (Vining, Pole) Heirlooms (Maybe Alabama Black-eyed Butter beans -1997.

Yes, the seeds were 26 years old. Jane gave them to me and I decided to plant them.  I planted five of the seeds and one of them germinated.  I gave that one to Jane. There were twenty seeds left so I decided to plant them (two to a small pot).  So far eight of these seeds have germinated.


I created a plot for them at the Garland Community Garden yesterday in memory of Jane’s mother, and all gardening mothers as well as all seed savers of the world.

Seed savers are important people and Heirloom, open pollinated seeds are the only kinds of seeds worth saving. In the final analysis, if gardeners only chose hybrid and GMO seeds, our food source (seeds) will totally be in control of a few people.  Some say that we are headed in that direction.  I’m sorry to say, but the evidence does seem to be pointing that way.  Since 1903 we have lost 93 percent of heirloom varieties such as these seeds that Laura saved.

The world needs more gardeners, more heirloom plants and more people like Laura to save the seeds and continue to plant them year after year. 

Thank you, Laura.  You did your part and more.

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