TikTok features Vernell Thompson’s flower power

Vernell Thompson in her yard. | Contributed

FAIRFIELD COUNTY – Did you ever wonder what would happen if your grandma was turned loose on TikTok?

When Vernell McDaniel Thompson’s grandkids set her up with an account on the popular online video-sharing platform, they probably didn’t realize what they had wrought. It didn’t take long for Thompson to make her flowering yard a TikTok Star.

“I began putting my flowers on there, and. …WOW! They started getting lots of likes,” she says. “Everybody liked them!”

“I found that on TikTok grandmas can show their flowers off. We don’t have to show ourselves off like some people do on there. We can just show our flowers and yards off, and bring happiness to lots of people.”

Thompson says she started planting flowers in her yard 17 years ago after surviving breast cancer – a fight that inspired her to seek more enjoyment in life.

“I started getting outside more so I could get more sun and do something that I love,” she says. And with that, she started planting flowers and hasn’t stopped.

Now, the beauty of her yard and its bounty of beautiful flowers draws a lot of attention online and off. She says her colorful plantings are a hit in her Greenbrier community.

“I tell anybody I talk to – especially cancer patients who are going through treatment – about my cancer journey, and I tell them to find something that they love to do and do it.”

“I’m so happy that some people tell me they’re inspired by my flowers,” she said. “When people drive by at times when the yard is in full bloom, I notice they sometimes stop along the road and take pictures, or park their car and spend a while just looking at the yard.

“I say, ‘Hey,’ and they say, ‘Hey.’ They say, ‘We’re just looking,’ and I say, ‘Enjoy!’”

Thompson says the blooming season in her yard begins in March, when she fertilizes everything and the azaleas start to bloom. The roses start blooming in April, and the hydrangeas bloom in May. The elephant ears bloom in May and June, and the crepe myrtles also bloom in June.

“And you see how beautiful the blooms are,” she points out, browsing through photos of her colorful flowering plants. “They just take off.”

Thompson says she wasn’t always a gardening girl.

“I went from being an inside computer guru to being an outside plant guru,” she says with a laugh.

Before she retired, Thompson says she was an IT technician for South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G), where she worked for 31 years. She took the retirement package five years ago when the company merged with Dominion Energy.

“Now I find so much joy in my yard that sometimes I just get out there on the riding lawnmower and ride around the yard surveying my flowers,” she says.

Thompson says the beauty of her yard sometimes brings questions about the different plants from friends and strangers who admire them – and she says she’s happy to share her knowledge.

Some tips she frequently offers include:

  • Fertilize flowering plants at last once a year, ideally in March before a rain.
  • Plant them in an arrangement that will look appealing when they bloom.
  • Get good quality plants – It makes a difference.
  • Prune flowering plants and trees at the right time – and look online to find out how and when to do so.

“I’m a people person and a happy person, so I don’t mind sharing my information with other people so they can have a beautiful yard, too,” Thompson says. “Cause that’s how I am. If I shine, I’m happy to help someone else shine, too.”

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]