Jackie Binette gives her 93-year-old mother, Hazel Binette, a hand while walking through Hazel’s flower garden by the railroad tracks on Hackett Road in Auburn on Friday. 

Don’t pick Hazel Binette’s flowers.

Unless you are on your way to the cemetery.

When Binette confronted someone for picking from her flower garden, she asked them to stop. The person said the flowers were for a loved one’s grave.

“Well, that’s OK, then,” the 93-year-old Binette said.

Binette’s flowers draw a lot of attention. Her large, circular garden on Hackett Road in Auburn has walking paths throughout. “There are people stopping by constantly,” said Binette’s daughter, Jackie Binette. “But that’s what the garden is there for.”

Binette started her garden one flower at a time. Jackie remembers a shovel and a box being thrown into the family truck anytime her parents, two brothers and two sisters jumped into it. 

“Mom started that garden years ago. It’s been the love of her life,” Jackie said.

“I always loved being outside, so it gave me something to do,” Hazel Binette said. “If you take care of it from the beginning, it’s not hard.”

“I remember days with her pulling weeds from morning to night,” Jackie said. 

Binette’s age is creeping up on her and she says she can no longer maintain the garden on her own. 

“I’m getting old and I can’t do what I used to do. I wish I could, but I can’t,” said Binette, a cancer survivor. 

“Staying active and being thankful for what you have” is the key to maintaining health while growing old, Binette said.

Until two years ago, Binette would mow the grass on her 8 acres. “It would take her three days, but she would do it,” her daughter said. 

Jackie asked her mother last fall what should be done about the dying flowers.

Hazel said each of the thousands of flowers had to be cut with a pair of hand scissors.

“A weed whacker did just fine,” said Jackie, who admits “no green thumbs on these hands.” 

Jackie and her sister Gail McGray spread 24 yards of mulch between the daffodils over three days to help her mom this spring.

“We did it for mom because she loves it,” Jackie said. 


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