American horticulturist and botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey said, “A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”
Mabel Payne has loved gardening since she was a child. Her mother would always say, “If there aren’t flowers in the house, it isn’t a home.”
Born in Crossville, Tennessee, on April 24, 1927, Mabel grew up on a farm with her parents and three older brothers, where they raised sheep for wool. Mabel’s family also owned a general country store while she was growing up.
She attended Pleasantville Academy, a one-room schoolhouse and boarding school, and was a member of the school’s folk dance team. As a teenager, Mabel worked at a local candy store and a greenhouse.
Mabel’s secret to a successful garden is to love it and take care of it. Gardens need attention and patience to be successful, and Mabel is intentional with her garden at The Abbewood retirement community in Elyria, Ohio, where she resides.
“I’m happy to be able to [garden] all my life and continue to do so at The Abbewood,” said Mabel. “I like having my own space to plant whatever I want. I have two cucumber plants that I have growing up a trellis and a Swiss chard that I keep cutting to let people try in their salads. I also have petunias, marigolds and a variety of other flowers.”
Mabel likes being the facility’s horticulturist. Ever since she worked at the greenhouse as a teenager, Mabel has enjoyed learning about different plants and flowers and continues to perfect her gardening techniques.