Flowers provide beauty and blessings

Published 3:07 pm Monday, September 13, 2010

Abbie Mae Connell works in her flowers.

On the corner of Waller Street in Montevallo, there’s a modest little house in the middle of a yard covered with flowers.

Inside the house is a lady with a spirit as beautiful as her flowers.

Abbie Mae Connell is an avid gardener, regularly working in her yard, deheading the plants, pruning or weeding.

She said it gives her a sense of peace.

“There is just the dirt, the flowers, and me,” she said. “Sometimes I spend all day in the yard. I talk to the flowers, and I pray for them to grow and to be a blessing to others.”

There’s evidence that her methods are successful. The zinnias, marigolds, morning glories, periwinkles, dusty miller, celosia and wild flowers blanket her front yard.

Connell explained that although the blossoms are fading a little now, this has been the best year of the 15 years she has been growing flowers.

“I look at the plants — all shapes, sizes, colors, heights — and it makes me think about people. The flowers blend together peacefully, just as we would like people to do,” she said. “And when folks pass by, you never know how they are feeling. I just hope, if they are feeling down, that the flowers will lift their spirits a little.”

Connell grew up in Montevallo and has worked doing housework since she was 19 or 20. It was no real surprise that she is one of the ministers in her church, Mt. Sinai, in Almont.

Connell has three children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Love and pride light her face when she talks about them, but she did admit that when her daughter and grandson recently moved in with her, she made them understand that the yard and flowers were off-limits and her private territory; she needs no help there.

Not only has Connell cultivated flowers, she has cultivated lots of friends. Michele Hill explained that Connell has worked with her for 25 years and that it would take all day to tell the good things she knows about this lady.

“If I had a problem,” she said, “only a quarter in my purse, and I needed someone, I would call Abbie. She is the resource I turn to when I need spiritual or personal advice. She’s a wise and wonderful friend.”

Catherine Legg can be reached by email at