Man makes a difference with colors

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - You could say Ken Johnson is a 'mad scientist' when it comes to prettying up the city of Prattville. "It's a passion," said Johnson.

Johnson is Prattville's full-time horticulturalist and today we found Johnson in the city's $20,000 greenhouse, leafing through the plants and shrubs that will eventually make themselves at home at some point throughout this town of 35,000.

"We have over a hundred varieties of plants in the greenhouse," said Johnson.

Ken Johnson is Prattville's second horticulturalist, taking over a little more than a year ago and already his work is starting to take root.

The front of the Doster Center looks different, so does the nearby Gillespie Senior Center and soon the median on Cobbs Ford Road will begin to go from green to peach yellow.

A passion, a calling, a desire to add color to a sometimes drab and dreary world.

"I equate it to either walking in a room without plants or a room with plants and greenery," said Johnson.

Mayor Byard says without a doubt Ken Johnson has made a difference.

"It's a quality of life issue and corporations look at that when they come in and think about bringing their business here," said Byard.

Ken Johnson's latest project is a gap between two buildings in downtown Prattville. Instead of staring at a hole, citizens will now see a few trees Johnson has planted, something of a rest area in the making. Benches are on the way.

Johnson is serious about his work but he also likes to have fun. Johnson turned a late 1950s era Prattville fire truck into a moving showcase of plants which also includes a water fountain.

"We won an award with that project," said Johnson.

The next big project on Ken Johnson's radar is Pratt Park. There is an ambitious plan to add even more trees and soften some areas of the park with plants and landscaping.

Ken Johnson, the ultimate green thumber, thinking of new ideas to make his town blossom.

Ken Johnson has the background. 10 years with Callaway Gardens in Georgia and he designed Wynlakes in east Montgomery. Overall a career that has spanned more than 40 years.

Email Bryan Henry at if you know of someone who is making a difference in their community.

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