A mural garden sprouted up in a Broad Ripple neighborhood

The 317 Project tells stories of life in all of Indianapolis’ vibrant neighborhoods – 317 words at a time.

Deborah Jacobs planted seeds to start a mural garden.

Inspired by massive murals in San Francisco or Chicago, Jacobs set to spread color and fun. Over nearly three years, it’s grown.

Blooms and greenery popped up almost overnight along a white, gravel road in Broad Ripple. Nearly every house plays host to a mural.

Just up telephone poles on the ends of the road, there are signs to introduce those on foot to the block: Flower Alley.

For Chad Fallis and Adolphus Fifer, it was all about deep, red roses for enamored lovers which now blossom on their garage.

With less interest in bouquets, a cornfield with long, green stalks shot up on Jim Korn’s garage – a tribute to Indiana’s summer scene. 

People gather along flower alley for a "Spring Revival" festival on Sunday, April 10, 2022. Flower alley is located in Broad Ripple between Carrollton and Guilford Avenues, just north of 61st Street, where houses and garages are adorned with positive phrases and floral murals by artist Jules Muck, better known as Muckrock.

Jacobs chose poppies, a traditionally disrespected weed that dies quickly once cut, as an homage to freedom. 

And the garden tucked between their homes is an effort of neighbors who wanted to revel in positivity, Jacobs said. It started with four homes and spread to dozens in and around the neighborhood.

Be love. Be grateful. Be free. The words are inscribed next to the murals painted by a mix of local Indy artists and graffiti artist Jules Muck. 

All-around and in between, tangerine oranges, vivid fuchsias and lemon yellows bring to life morning glories, peonies, sunflowers, tulips and bumblebees the size of footballs graced on a fence, plank by plank. There’s almost a buzz. 

People gather along flower alley for a "Spring Revival" festival on Sunday, April 10, 2022. Flower alley is located in Broad Ripple between Carrollton and Guilford Avenues, just north of 61st Street, where houses and garages are adorned with positive phrases and floral murals by artist Jules Muck, better known as Muckrock.

There was a time when Jacobs came home from work and didn’t exchange many words with neighbors.

“Everybody just went on with their day,” Jacobs said. 

But her poppies bring whispers, giggles and amazement from outside her door. Sounds she rarely heard before they went up. That’s enough for her.

As the garden grows, maybe so will its admirers who wander down the alley. That’s the passion behind it. 

“I can’t even explain,” Jacobs said. “It brings so much joy.”

Contact IndyStar’s general assignment reporter Rachel Fradette at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @Rachel_Fradette.