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Retirement living doesn't stop this green thumb


Mavis Daves, 85, loves creating colorful, flowering oases at Trinity Retirement Community in Columbus.

Mavis Daves, 85, loves creating colorful, flowering oases at Trinity Retirement Community in Columbus. Photo by: Kelly Tippett/Dispatch Staff  Buy this photo.


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Daves planted this abundant spring bed of flowers around the base of a tree near her apartment.



Jan Swoope



When Mavis Daves left her home in Greenwood to move across the hall from her sister at Trinity Place Retirement Community in Columbus almost two years ago, one of the hardest separations was leaving behind her lovingly-maintained and glorious gardens. But hers is one green thumb that wouldn''t give up. Daves gently lobbied for a bit of ground, any ground, so she could brighten the corner where she lives. The results are a source of beauty for Trinity residents and visitors alike. 


Before moving to Greenwood, Daves had lived in Columbus about 18 years, when her late husband, W.M. ''Bud'' Daves, was pastor of East End Baptist Church.  


"After he retired, we got a home in Greenwood, and I had a yard filled with flowers," the 85-year-old said. "I''d just keep on making beds; I had about 16." 


Her yard, in fact, won "Yard of the Month" honors several times in Greenwood. It became common to see people driving by to view the profuse flower beds in lavish bloom. 






Moving into a retirement setting can be an emotional, as well as physical, adjustment for anyone. For Daves, the flowers were so much a part of her life, she asked Trinity''s director for permission to bring some with her. 


"I couldn''t move without my flowers," she said with a smile. In the end, she was able to bring about 40 irises and about 40 day lilies to Columbus, planting some first in a small 4-by-4-foot square. 


Since then, she has added other colorful flowering features near Trinity''s Hall A, creating a spring showcase of pansies, tulips and iris. Her sons-in-law have helped with digging, but Daves herself enjoys the planting and tending. 


Trinity''s director of marketing, Joni Seitz, said, "We just enjoy having Mavis and her sister, Star, here on campus. Her talents have blessed everyone who gets to enjoy the things she does with flowers. She even makes arrangements for different events, as well." 


Daves comes by her love of the good earth naturally. 


"My mother loved flowers ... when my sister and I would come home from school growing up, we''d set out flowers with her; I just inherited her love for them." 


A true gardener''s work is never done. The advent of summer has the active octogenarian planning beds of begonias, salvia and geraniums. 


"It''s actually therapy; I feel so happy and close to the Lord when I''m out there," she said. The other residents'' enjoyment serves as inspiration, too. 




Mother''s Day out 


Daves is spending this Mother''s Day at the Greenwood home, where a granddaughter currently lives. She is surrounded by loved ones. "The whole family''s delighted; we can still go there for our family gatherings, and I can keep my gardens there." 


In those gardens rests a small stone marker her husband once had made for her. It reads, "God''s Special Love Gift" -- because "God gave us flowers because of his special love for us," Daves explained. 


A grandson tidied up the flower beds in preparation for grandmother''s arrival this weekend, but Daves relishes pitching in as soon as she can. 


"I''ll hit the ground running," she chuckled Wednesday, anticipating her trip. "As my daughters say, we all have compulsions. Theirs is for jewelry. Mine is for gardening. We all get a lot of fun out of our compulsions."


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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