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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Life in bloom: 89-year-old still relishes growing beautiful flowers

  • For many 89-year-olds, activity is no longer a part of their life. Not so Mae Chambers.
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  • For many 89-year-olds, activity is no longer a part of their life. Not so Mae Chambers.
    The Hannibal woman still enjoys a number of pastimes which challenge both her mind and body.
    “I’m in good health, so I’m fortunate that way. I’m able to do what I’ve got to do,” said Chambers.
    “She’s very sharp for her age. She’s an inspiration to all of us,” said Chambers’ friend Linda Purvis.
    One of Chambers’ favorite hobbies is tending to a flower garden in front of her Sunset Drive home. It’s arguably one of the most colorful in the community right now.
    “I’ve had a lot of compliments on it and that’s made it worthwhile,” said Chambers, whose garden’s rainbow of color is made up of flowers such as non-stop begonias, vincas, coleus, geraniums, marigolds and dusty millers.
    “I think it’s beautiful. This is something that survived the drought and all those other things. It’s impressive,” said Purvis. “She takes a lot of pride in having it.”
    Chambers notes with satisfaction that her flowers were cited by the Hannibal Garden Club in August 2004.
    “It’s even prettier now than when the photo was taken,” said Purvis of the picture showing her friend’s garden that appeared in the Courier-Post almost nine years ago.
    The garden has only gotten better since 2004, according to Chambers.
    “The most colorful it’s been I would say is in the last eight years,” she said.
    As for 2013, Chambers believes her garden is near its peak.
    “I’m afraid with the heat maybe it won’t last the summer. Right now it’s really pretty,” she said.
     
    New challenge
     
    Chambers became serious about growing a flower garden after moving into her home in 1996.
    “All they had in it were five bushes. We started planting flowers and every year we do it,” she said.
    The planting of annuals each spring has become a family tradition.
    “The last few years my son, Trent, has been buying my flowers as a Mother’s Day gift. The last two years he’s been helping me plant them,” said Chambers, adding that her son, Mark, purchased rose bushes for her on Mother’s Day.
    While Chambers might have a little help planting her flowers, she is responsible for their upkeep.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I water usually every morning, except like today because it rained this morning,” she said Tuesday.
    “She gets out there and works in it. She maintains it,” said Purvis. “She has the expertise to keep them all going well, she really does.”
    Chambers acknowledges that her garden likely helps keep her active.
    “That might have something to do with it,” she said.
    Consequently, Chambers doesn’t foresee a time when she’ll give up her flowers.
    “I have to keep going to take care of them,” she said. “As long as I’m in this house, I’m going to be doing it.”
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