A handful of gardeners have created a beautiful retreat at their home.
Birds chirped and swooped past a gazebo with a fern-covered roof. Sitting underneath, a small group was busy planting coleus, marigolds and other plants into pots.
The “secret” garden is behind the Signature HealthCare of Ormond, a nursing and rehabilitation home off Clyde Morris, and the gardeners are the residents. Despite its close proximity to Clyde Morris and Granada boulevards, there is no sound of traffic, only the sounds of nature.
“This is our little oasis,” Josh Brough, one of the physical therapists at Signature HealthCare, said.
Mary Ann Greco, Kathie Wages and Mike McClelland donned gardening gloves and began to transform the plants, pots and soil, on the table, into displays that will be added to their “garden shop” table in the lobby of the facility.
“The money made from the plant sales goes to buying more for the gardening program,” Brough said.
The pots are placed on a tiered wooden stand made from various sizes of wooden rollers, the type used in construction and often tossed out when empty.
Wages is credited with being the “one with a green thumb," as she gathers her favorite plants, coleus, for potting. Before moving into Signature Healthcare she grew vegetables. She is also the president of the residents’ council.
The garden is a fairly new addition to the home and is a welcome addition to those who enjoy time in the garden.
“The residents stretch and stand when they are here, and that’s extra physical therapy,” Peeters said.
Brough encourages Greco to stand up to fill her garden pot with dirt.
As she scoops the dirt with a plastic cup from the bag to the pot, Brough whispers, “May I tell her (the reporter) how old you are?”
A smile spreads and she nods.
“She’s 100 years old,” Brough said.
“I will be 101 on Oct. 13,” Greco said proudly.
McClelland pats the soil around his potted plants with Peeters, another occupational therapist. He is quick with a joke and doesn’t miss a thing. He too has been president of the resident council.
Those not fond of working in the dirt often contribute to the garden by making bird houses, painting rocks and pots, or making other lawn decorations for the garden.
“The reason we started the garden was to increase the quality of life,” Brough said. “The residents come out here whenever they want.”
The staff obviously enjoys working in the gardening program and they hope to be able to attract individuals interested in volunteering with them.
“We would love to have volunteers, maybe from a garden club,” Peeters said. “Volunteers could come for an hour or two every week.”
Residents keep pretty busy, whether it’s adding some pieces to the community jigsaw puzzle or doing crafts. Wages’ pastimes include making stuffed elephants, sewing curtains and writing poetry.
“We don’t want anyone just sitting in their room,” Peeters added.