GREEN THUMB: ‘When God gives you a gift, He expects you to share it’

Published 3:00 am Friday, June 30, 2017

Mary Louise Hobdy believes if God gives you a gift, you should use it. If not, God will take that gift away and give it to someone who will use it.   

Not only is Mary Hobdy using the gift God has given her, she is more than willing to share it.

Those who might wonder about Hobdy’s gift need only to ride by her home on Windmill Drive in Brundidge to see that God has richly blessed her with a green thumb, or perhaps two green thumbs.

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Hobdy’s front lawn, back lawn and side lawns are testimony to that. Every place a plant can put down roots, there is a blaze of color. Some of the flowers, Hobdy knows by name. Others are nameless flowers “rescued” from neighbors and friends.

“I’ve always loved flowers, back as far back as I can remember,” Hobdy said. “When I as a little girl, I would be walking along the road and see a pretty flower. I’d pull it up and take it home and stick it in the ground and it would grow.”

Even in her childhood, Hobdy realized that God had blessed her with a green thumb.

As an adult, Hobdy lived in a housing project for 16 years and grew flowers until she was told by the manager that she couldn’t have all those flowers in the project.

“But, when I was able to get a house of my own, I could have all the flowers I wanted,” she said.

But her mother would ask,  “Where’s your garden?”

“Mama would remind me that I couldn’t eat flowers,” Hobdy said, laughing. “But, flowers feed my soul.”

Hobdy doesn’t miss any opportunity to add a new flower to her garden. And, the garden centers at Walmart and Lowe’s call Hobdy’s name.

“I can’t go by; I have to stop,” Hobdy said. “I look for plants that probably nobody else will buy. I take them home and stick them in the ground and they’ll grow like weeds. Everything that I put in the ground grows.”

Not only did God bless Mary Hobdy with a green thumb, He instilled in her the know-how to care for His creations.

“I can break off the stem of a plant and stick it in the ground and it will root,” she said. “But flowers are alive and, just like our bodies, they need water. They cannot make it without water.”

Sometimes, Hobdy said the heavens provide the water plants need to grow. Sometimes not.

“When plants don’t get the rain they need, we have to water them. We all know that,” she said. “But flowers cannot flourish with tap water.”

From there, Hobdy does not hesitate to share her secrets that complement her green thumb(s).

“When God gives you a gift, He expects you to share it,” she said.

Sharing the “secrets” that keep people asking, “Mary, Mary, how does your garden grow?” is what God expects Hobdy to do with the gift He has given her.

And she willingly and lovingly does.

Her recipe for abundant and vibrant blossoms is simple. One tablespoon of Epsom salts in one gallon of water.

“Don’t worry about the chlorine in the tap water. The Epsom salts will get rid of it. The salts will keep the bugs away, too.” she said. “But, if you’re just going to put tap water on your plants, you want to get the chlorine because it’s not good for plants. So, you should fill a gallon jug with hot water and leave the cap off overnight so the chorine will get out of the water.”

Hobdy said rainwater is ideal for plants but often “we get missed.”

I keep about 100 gallon jugs of Epsom salts water all the time,” she said. “If we don’t get rain, I’ve got the water my plants need.”

Hobdy also said when she cracks eggs, she puts the eggshells in a bucket of water for a few days and the water will provide nutrients for any kind of flower.

Other Mary Louise Hobdy tips are to the always water in the morning and give plants that need sun the morning sun.

“The afternoon sun is too much because it’s hotter and it stays around longer,” she said.

Hobdy’s recipe for a beautiful flower garden is rather simple and she is proof positive that it works, even for those without a green thumb.