Geraldine Anderson’s green thumb has transformed what was once a lackluster backyard into a forest of floral gardens, where color comes alive in tones ranging from amethyst purple to blue sapphire to ruby red.
Anderson, a resident of Wixom for 18 years and widow for nearly 25 years, spends much of her time gingerly tending to her flowers that have earned her the moniker, “The Flower Lady.”
As a result, she has earned four beautification awards from the city for her Christmas and summer gardening displays.
Raised on farms, Anderson grew up in Georgia and later moved to a 10.5-acre farm in Howell where she raised 750 trees and grew her flowers in a solarium.
“I’ve always had a beautiful yard with flowers in all kinds of colors,” she said.
As an independent and hard worker, she maintained her Howell farm while working as a chrome polisher at a General Motors (GM) plant in Livonia.
“I used to drive my pickup truck to gather apples, beans, tomatoes, corn and squash to sell at the plant,” she said. “I would take orders from my coworkers and earned a good $200 to $300 before I even started my job.”
Anderson retired from GM in 1993.
“At that point the farm became too much for me, so I moved to be close to my son in Wixom,” she said.
Anderson immediately began work on a floral design for her new Wixom home.
“The backyard sold the house for me,” she said.
Many of her floral designs are confined to pots. At 74, she can no longer plant on bended knee. There are currently 64 pots brimming with annuals and perennials strategically placed in her front and backyard.
Each of her seven gardens are nocturnal, lit in the evening by solar lights.
“It looks like a landing from my back window,” she said.
Much of of her effort is dedicated to the backyard where, for example, she converted a pair of wood construction swings into a canopy for flowers.
The backyard is awash with color from the menagerie of striking red salvia and begonias, pink and white hibiscus, Rose of Sharron, and varieties of cascading impatiens.
The west side of the house is a wall of tomatoes including grape, Beefsteak, Big Boy and Early Girls that she passes out to friends and neighbors.
Apart from the floral design, she is widely known for the Christmas and lighting displays she orchestrates herself beginning in October.
“I decorate and wrap the maple trees and bushes with running and blinking lights. It looks like a huge umbrella when I’m done. You can see my lights down Wixom Road from Maple,” she said.