July 13, 2006
Tift Co. -- Many people have vegetable and flower gardens, but one man added something to his garden that you rarely, if ever, see.
The addition is quite refreshing and where a feeling of serenity begins as soon as you pull into his driveway. A gentle, peaceful breeze blows almost constantly through a little bit of heaven on earth that Lonnie Boyd takes care of.
"Oh, it takes a lot of work," says Lonnie, an avid gardener with a strong sense of responsibility. "That's what we are here for to take care of what we've been granted."
He cares for hundreds of plants, along with his wife. Lonnie starts watering at one end and his wife waters from the opposite end. "It takes us about an hour to water all of it," says Lonnie, referring to the many ferns that grow in containers. "There is always something to do to clean them up," says Lonnie as he breaks and pulls a dead stem from one of the containers.
He built an immaculate respite from a busy world, where nature's beauty gently grabs a visitor to stop and see the flowers and the angels, most of them life size. "They weigh 525 pounds each," says Lonnie who uses a backhoe to left the heavy angels as he places them exactly where he wants them.
Lonnie puts a lot of thought into where to put each one. "At anytime we can see any of them from any point in the yard," says Lonnie, who has a mix of large and small angels.
The sighting of one angel leads to another one and to another one. "Right about 20. I've never really counted them." It seems like more than 20, but regardless of the number, he strives for balance. "It is in pairs. If we do one side of the yard, we try to balance the other side with something," says Lonnie.
He started developing his garden get-away in 1979, with a desire to create a peaceful place. He finds a peaceful place needs a lot of attention. "I'd say we have probably 20 hours a week in maintenance time," says Lonnie.
Of those 20 hours a week that he devotes to making his little piece of heaven on earth looks the best it can, three hours of that goes to picking up pine cones and sticks.
The time doesn't matter to him. The angel collection illustrates his deep faith. "They represent what we believe in," says Lonnie as he sits on a white bench on a hot summer day, but it doesn't feel hot. The shade of the pine trees and the breeze the garden make a comfortable place to visit with beautiful flowers everywhere and the angels. "He (God) sent his angels as protectors."
And, as sure as the wind blows, Lonnie will have at least one Guardian angel watching him every step of the way. The Boyd's don't mind visitors who want to come to their peaceful backyard to experience a little bit of heaven on earth.