Cecil Yaeger reflects on her horticulture work in Boonville.

It all started with a walk. Soon, Cecil Yaeger would realize that she was in for quite a job making sure the Boonville Park System plants were well maintained.

When Yaeger sees something that needs to be done, she will go ahead and do the task herself. This has been her nature and her way of life, but when she saw weeds growing in city flower beds she took it upon herself to give them more attention.

“I thought I could get arrested,” Yaeger said when she started to maintain them as she was walking.

Instead of handcuffs she received water pails, garden tools and other items to make the task a little easier. In addition, her new role began in 2005 not long after Boonville Parks Director Gary Nauman began his role overseeing Boonville’s many parks.

Yaeger’s role expanded from weed pulling to planting. And for several years she would even bring her own flowers to plant and propagate, especially her irises. In fact, much of the iris planted around Boonville’s parks is of her doing. From planting at Harley Park’s Lookout Point to planting at her favorite parks such as Bell’s View and Rolling Hills Park, Yaeger’s work did not go unnoticed. Many area residents commented on the detail of the gardens and how well they were maintained. Even the Boonville Daily News showcased her good work – calling her ‘the weed killer.’ This one job was most likely her most time consuming aspect of the position. Yaeger commented that she was sure the parks department workers got tired of picking up her bags of debris and weeds, but it had to be done so that the plants were in pristine condition.

One important role for Yaeger was making sure the flowers were trimmed and pruned. Doing so, would encourage more blooms.

Not only did the city benefit from her plant expertise, but the Cooper County Memorial Hospital did as well. She planted many flowers and plants around the hospital in addition to her many volunteer hours she devoted to helping CCMH with its patients.  

Yaeger enjoyed her time helping make Boonville beautiful, a job she continues in her own gardens, which are in pristine condition.

While battling the ailments that come with being in her golden years, Yaeger is no less determined as she was a decade ago.

Yaeger ended with some advice.

“It could be a weed patch, just trim it and it will look good,” Yaeger said.