People passing by can’t help but stop and admire her arrangement of red and white begonias, yellow marigolds, purple wandering Jew and other plants so vivid they resemble a floral bed of rainbows.
The retired widow took the initiative to plant a few flowers along the sides of both post offices and discovered the community began to bloom.
“I started out with just a few (flowers) then it seems like it just got bigger and bigger,” said Hester. “The customers just love them. I’ve had doctors and nurses pass by here going to Athens to work. They told me they really enjoy them.
“My doctor told me it really makes her morning when she passes through and sees them. I really don’t do anything. I just put them in the dirt, keep them watered and God does the rest. That’s the truth.”
The soft-spoken senior said she didn’t start gardening until three or four years ago, sometime after her husband died. After she retired from working in Cleveland, Hester said she went to work part time for the Charleston and Benton Post Office as a contract cleaner, a job she loves as much as gardening.
“I like to garden and I like to clean. Not many people in this day and time get to do a job they enjoy,” she said. “I get all kinds of compliments from people. It just amazes me that people enjoy flowers as well as they do. I do it for free because it makes people happy.”
Gloria McKinney, postmaster in Charleston, said the more people enjoyed Hester’s flowers, the more of them she put out.
“Brenda’s flowers have been an enjoyment for both the employees and the customers,” said McKinney. “Some of the neighbors have stated that people come by on the weekend just to see her flowers.
“There’s hardly a day that goes by that someone doesn’t come in and ask me who takes care of them. She plans all winter what she is going to plant and as soon as it gets warm, she’s planting. She goes above and beyond when cleaning both inside and outside the building. We appreciate her very much.”
Hester is reluctant to say she has a green thumb. Instead she directs attention to a higher source for the flower’s great majesty.
“I believe God enjoys people bragging on His flowers. He’s the one who does it. He makes them grow. He’s the only One who can give life. I just do my part and God does His. It seems the more people brag on them the prettier and bigger He makes them, so I don’t know. It’s really an enjoyment.”
When people stop or slow down just to look at the colorful array of flowers, Hester said it gives the glory to God, which pleases her. Local residents are also appreciative of her volunteer spirit to help beautify the Bradley and Polk county area.
“Over at Benton this lady came over last week and her 91-year-old mother had knitted me an afghan (scarf),” said Hester. “It was beautiful. It was yellow and gold. She said, ‘Honey, I had to bring my mother over here to see your flowers.
“She said ‘You take this and you give it to that lady who does the flowers.’ Things like that make my day. I’ve had people ask me if I would come do landscaping for them but I stay so busy. I don’t really have the time.”
Hester said she can only imagine what the planet will look like when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven and the environment is no longer plagued by corruption.
“Can you imagine what the plants will look like at that time? We think these are beautiful? It’s nothing compared to what God is going to do,” she said.