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The 'Guerilla Gardener' of Newland Road

A retired psychotherapist works in Guilford's gardens, despite the intense heat.

Around noon Wednesday, as temperatures began to soar into the upper 90s, Beth Albright was outdoors planting purple irises.

But Albright—the self-proclaimed “guerilla gardener of Newland Road”—wasn’t phased by the stifling weather.

"I love the physical labor, even in the heat," Albright said.

Since retiring five years ago, Albright, 63, has made it her job to maintain the gardens in the 3500 block of Newland Road, which were once overrun by weeds. Now, the Guilford street’s gardens are adorned with plants donated by neighbors.

Despite often finding herself covered in poison ivy and sweat, the former psychotherapist said she likes that gardening keeps her busy.

"This is how I stay out of trouble," she said.

Albright spent Wednesday working in the garden of a homeowner who was trying to sell his house, but had moved away 10 months ago. Albright said despite the "guerilla" moniker, she had permission to be planting.

"He approves of what I’m doing. He bought me a bottle of wine," she said.   

Albright also suspects that her previous occupation may be part of the reason she enjoys gardening so much. She said in her private practice, it could be hard to see tangible results with patients, but she loves seeing the results of her current work—flowers.

"I love the dirt. I love playing in the dirt. I’m like a child," she said.

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