R.D. Boykin has green thumb

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 26, 2003

R.D. Boykin could easily be voted the most popular resident at Magnolia Wood Lodge.

Without him, the lodge would not be the same place.

Boykin isn't one to sit idle. He likes to be up and doing things and he wants those things to be something worthwhile. And, they are. Any resident at Magnolia Wood Lodge will agree.

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"When I was growing up, we had pretty flowers in our yard and I've just always liked to watch things grow," he said. "Some people like to do other things, but I like to get outside and get my hands in the ground."

Boykin is one of the fortunate ones who happened to be born with a green thumb. And, from the looks of his garden, he just might have two green thumbs.

"I don't know if I have green thumbs or not," Boykin said, looking at his hand, as if to make sure. "I've got a few callouses and a sore back."

He laughingly admitted that working a garden is backbreaking work.

"But if you enjoy something, it's not work; it's pleasure," he said. "I enjoy being outside and working with plants."

And the Manor is better for it.

Out back, almost hidden from view, is Boykin's vegetable garden.

"Oh, I've got a little bit of a lot of things," he said. "I don't have a very big space but it's enough for a family garden."

The family he supplies with good fresh vegetables from the garden is the Magnolia Wood Lodge family.

The turnip greens they all enjoy come from his garden. And, the tomatoes are the best around.

"Seeing other people enjoying what I've grown is a real pleasure to me," Boykin said. "I try to keep the garden up - with a hoe - so that we'll have something coming along all summer. The rain's been good and that's helped. It's also helped the weeds."

The value of Boykin's green thumb can be seen all around the Manor.

"This fern was just about gone, but I worked with it and it's coming back to life," he said. "If you take the time to care for plants, they'll usually come back for you. But, if you've neglected them for a long time, it's hard to get them to come around."

Boykin said the greatest enemy of any plant is "too much." Too much water, too much sun, too much fertilizer.

"Plants need different things," he said. "What one plant might need, might kill another one. You have to know what plants' need and then make sure they get it."

A boxed flower bed in front of the Manor was given up as useless.

"They said nobody could grow anything in it," Boykin said. "Everything that had been planted in it died. I decided I'd see what I could do with it."

Now, everyone can see what Boykin did with it.

The bed is filled with roses and lantana, making a beautiful display of color.

"You just have to know what will grow in a place," he said. "Some plants might not live in this bed, but these plants will. And, they can't live by themselves. You have to look after them."

Boykin said he gets pleasure from working with plants. He likes the outdoors and he likes to see thing grow and flourish. But, most of all, he enjoys seeing the pleasure others get from his labors of love.

"You should use what God gives you," he said.

The residents a Magnolia Wood Lodge said God gave Boykin a green thumb and they give him thumbs-up on a job well done.