Listening to the story of Margaret Hayes’ life is like delving into a beautiful novel about a young woman from the English countryside who falls in love with a handsome American GI during World War II. Watching their love of life culminate in the beautiful gardens they created in their Waterville home and community. And it’s the love of gardens and floral arrangement that still keeps Margaret busy today in her home at Browning Masonic Community.
Margaret and her late husband, George, met and were married in the English village where she lived and worked. At war’s end the couple lived in George’s hometown of Maumee, Ohio until settling in the early 1950’s in their hillside home along the river in Waterville. It was there the couple raised their two sons and created elaborate gardens that not only became the focus of an article in The Toledo Blade, but also won two awards from a Women’s Garden Club and a Community Beautification Award from the Lucas County Commissioners.
Their love of gardening wasn’t just kept at home; the couple soon began to plant and care for the Garden’s in Pray Park, considered by many to be Waterville’s “gateway.” During the State of Ohio’s Bicentennial year, they even did the park’s flower beds in red, white and blue.
Along the way Margaret developed a talent in floral arrangement which she continues to work at. Occasionally a local grocery store donates flowers to Browning, Margaret enjoys arranging these, and silk flowers when she has them, into bouquets for friends and staff.
And gardening? Margaret still helps as a consultant with Browning’s gardens and memorial trees, now in the countryside of Northwest Ohio.