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Spotlight: Community Garden at Willard Home

See the original article here: Palmerston North rest home’s community garden takes shape

Willard Home is reinforcing its community ties by creating a community garden on its back lawn.

Manager Christine Tester said Willard Home residents had a big input into the running of the Enliven facility, and the garden had been in the planning stage for more than a year.

“The idea for the garden really came from our residents. The unused space was uneven and inaccessible and we had discussions about how to make it a more useable area. The residents actively contributed to the planning. The space already had a functioning vegetable garden, and residents were already enjoying freshly dug potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries and beans. It fits with our ‘Eden’ philosophy – that plants and animals are integral to any home,” Tester said.

The landscaping for the lawn included a pergola, rotunda, paved areas, shade, seating and raised beds, along with an edible garden so residents could go out and nibble on fresh fruit and vegetables.

Volunteer co-ordinator and chaplain Amy Houben said the aim was to beautify the space with flowers, trees and productive gardens. She said the area could be used for weekly chapel services, family events and even for the odd wedding or even funeral.

Willard home in Russell St already has longstanding partnerships with Russell Street School next door and with the ABC preschool across the road. The residents already share in the care of the school’s chickens. The rest home overlooks the run, and residents look after the school’s chooks at weekends and during school holidays. “A delegation of kids from the school came over. They wanted chickens but they had concerns over their food and security,” Houben said. The arrangement works well.

“A lot of our residents volunteered [before they came here] and want to continue doing that,” Tester said. A gala day held before Christmas to raise money for the garden project saw the surrounding community overwhelm the home with contributions. “The locals were so generous. People steamed in with baking,” Willard Home administrator Monique Parkinson said.

The home is holding a garage sale on Saturday to raise further funds for the garden. They’re also on the lookout for volunteers to help with some of the physical work, including the garden’s ongoing maintenance, and other work around the home. “The more work that can be done by volunteers, the more extras we can have,” Parkinson said.

The garden construction should be completed by the end of March with further planting planned after that.

 

Take a look at Willard Home’s listing here on Eldernet.

About Eve Williams

Eve Williams
Eve Williams is the Production and Social Media Administrator for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.

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