In early 2000, when the Meadow Garden was in its initial planning stage, the concept guiding the planning was for a “seasonally attractive, wheelchair- friendly location, readily accessible from the Health Center that can be enjoyed by all residents and guests.” That concept guides us today as well as 15 years ago. A garden is never done. Over the years numerous improvements have been made—a Japanese garden, a pergola, new plantings, fish and more. Improvements planned this spring include another pergola for additional covered seating plus an herb garden. And in the years ahead other changes will be made as funding becomes available.
The marvelous photographs by John Haynes and Joe Mengel, recently hung in the Club Center hallway, capture the seasonal beauty of the garden as it exists today. They remind all of us of the power of gardens to provide a soothing respite to our daily lives. A resident asked—what motivates the gardeners? The following story says it all:
A Garden Story
On a Sunday afternoon in late June, I was watering some plants in the Meadow Garden. A woman, probably in her 50’s, came down the walk from The Pines and into the garden, pushing an older woman in a wheelchair. She slowly pushed the woman around the circle walk, reading nearly every plant nameplate. As she read off the names, she would describe the plant—the leaves, the blooms, the color of their petals, the bees present and perhaps butterfly’s. The older woman obviously recognized some of the plant names and would comment about them. When the two women reached me, I said, “You certainly are interested in the plants—you read every tag.” The younger woman replied: “My mother is blind. She can’t see the garden or the flowers. She enjoys me describing the garden to her.” Wow, I thought, here is a blind woman enjoying the garden through her daughter’s eyes.
And that is why we garden.