By Sandra Laguerta
On June 29, pitchers of homemade lemonade and mint tea, accompanied with platters of freshly baked cookies, made the rounds of our inner courtyard as Residents showcased the fruits of their new garden club, “Pots and Plots.” Everyone in the home was invited to attend the garden party, and many Sisters, staff, and non-gardening Residents were in attendance.
This year, under the leadership of Sister Josephine and the help of John Connolly, our driver, Residents were invited to start a gardening club, and in no time, 17 of our Residents expressed interest and signed up to participate. With such enthusiasm, the Sisters and Residents got to work.
First, they began small fundraisers to help cover the costs of plants and gardening supplies. The Sisters and Residents baked pies, cookies, and other delectable goods and sold them at the front of the Home.
In March and April, Residents were asked to select either a pot for small gardening needs or a plot for more adventurous projects. Our maintenance department helped build garden beds in our courtyard and an area by the Sisters’ garden. John and Sr. Josephine brought the Residents to a nursery in South St. Louis, where the Residents were able to select the plants they wanted to grow.
For most of our Residents, gardening has been a pastime they have enjoyed since their youth. Sue Cafazza, Resident, always loved growing flowers, and so did Resident Esther Allen. For Sue, she chooses flowers based on their colors, and especially loves pastels. With a few garden beds bright with color, Sue also designed a relaxing sitting area arrayed with brick stands and flowers at various heights.
John Sobocinski agrees with Sue on her choice of plants, “You can always buy vegetables at the grocery store,” he joked. Gardening has always been a hobby for John, and he’s happy to be able to continue gardening at Saint Louis Residence. Since his arrival, he’s planted gerbera daisies, lilies, tulips, sunflowers, and even a few small trees.
Augie Arbuzow, on the other hand, has always grown vegetables back home in New York and New Jersey. “I always thought it was cheaper for me to grow my own vegetables,” he said. “From one potato, I would have ten potatoes easily.” Although he’s still getting used to growing in Missouri clay and climate, Augie’s tomatoes and potatoes are doing well. His advice? “Put a little honey on the tomato plant to attract bees to the garden and help pollinate the plants.”
As a Resident who had always been involved in gardening projects around the home before a formal club began, Sue has enjoyed seeing the gardening club expand, and hopes that it continues to flourish, “I’m just looking forward to see it keep going.”