Herb’s Heaven included bright pink flowers last year at Greenspring retirement community in Springfield.
Photo by Jessica McKay
Gardeners at Greenspring retirement community in Springfield are ready for spring. The community’s two tool sheds are organized, the garden plots are tilled with fresh dirt, and Greenspring’s 99 gardeners have their green thumbs ready for gardening season.
"We have 116 garden plots that are maintained and nurtured by garden club members," said George Tateosian, chairman of The Tillagers, the garden club at Greenspring. "You can always find people out here when the weather is nice, sharing tips and ideas on their gardens."
According to the National Gardening Association, which celebrates National Garden Month in April, research indicates that gardening has significant health benefits: "Attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, and community spirit grows."
Greenspring’s gardening spirit has grown from 10 plots in 1998 to 116 plots today.
"Gardening was my salvation. My husband died soon after we got here 10 years ago, and I don’t know what I would have done without my garden," said Helen Moot, who has two gardening plots containing a variety of flowers, and herbs. She has spruced up her garden with a whimsical dog statue, a chair and some paving stones. "Sometimes, it’s nice to just come out here and meditate," she said.
Moot said she thought she would have to give up gardening when she and her husband moved from their home in North Carolina to Greenspring. "I didn’t want to give up my piece of earth," Moot said, "but I still have it here, and I love growing veggies, like Kale and Swiss Chard, and my tulips are really doing well."
"During gardening season, you can find the majority of the 99 current gardeners at the community maintaining their gardens nearly every day," said Jessica McKay, Greenspring’s public affairs director. "They are able to easily find and use supplies like gardening tools and fertilizer in two garden houses located near the plots."
McKay said groundskeeper John St. Louis, who has been at the community since 1999, helps with maintenance by rototilling, digging, and planting when needed. Recently, he installed an automatic irrigation system for those resident gardeners who travel frequently or cannot water every day.
Tateosian said he held the gardening club’s first meeting of the season last week to prepare for the gardening season ahead. He reminded club members that there are always garden plots available for any resident who wants to continue cultivating their interest or who may want to start a new hobby.
While many of the gardens contain flowers and bushes, most also have vegetables. "Everybody grows tomatoes. In the summer, I eat tomatoes every day," Tateosian said.
"We all feed our neighbors," Moot said. "It’s a lot of fun in the summer when everyone is out here every day."
Additional information about Greenspring can be found at www.ericksonliving.com.