She makes Darlington bloom

Gardening: Ann Paine's love of growing flowers - and of sharing them - helps spread beauty and joy in her community.

October 24, 2004|By Mary Ellen Graybill | Mary Ellen Graybill,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

When Ann Paine was overseas with her military husband, she could never keep a garden. So when she returned to her childhood home at the end of an open field on Glen Cove Road in Darlington, she started digging.

Now that she has time to indulge in her favorite pastime, Paine creates a fresh bouquet every week and gives it to the Darlington post office.

Friends, neighbors and members of her church can expect to receive bouquets from her from time to time.

"When people see my flowers ... they say my gardens must be beautiful," she said. "But when you come to see my gardens, they will be nothing like what you think."

Mary Jane Brown of Havre de Grace recalls the first time she saw one of Paine's arrangements.

"The flowers were beautiful because she has the old-fashioned, airy-looking type, the Victorian style, and you feel like you are sitting looking out into a garden the way she has these arranged," Brown said.

It's an art that Paine is eager to share.

"She always gives to the needy and to the people that are sick in the community," Brown said, adding that Paine's laughter and spirit have a soothing effect.

Paine, who lived in Italy and Guam and traveled to Japan and Hong Kong when her husband, who is now deceased, was in the military, took a Japanese flower-arranging course while at one of the military bases. That became the foundation for her garden today.

She has planted 100 tulip bulbs for next spring and has plans for more re-blooming azaleas, lilies and camellias, as well as roses of all kinds and colors.

"When I pick flowers, I pick one from there, two from here and three from there and four from there. And I bring them all in and just put them together," Paine said.

Paine, who has a grown son and two grandchildren, sold Avon products for 11 years. But her focus is now on the garden from spring to fall.

"I'd rather do this than work in the house," she said. "I like to be out where the real stuff is."

With neighbor and helper Steve O'Linger doing the heavy work, Paine is planting and organizing for next year's garden.

"I observe when I am driving around and see what people have done with this perennial and that perennial," Paine said.

More lilies and more roses and maybe more daffodils, she said, are in the future.

"I love doing what I do, and I want to be continuing to do this," she said.

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