Sitting out in the garden on a breezy summer day, Joe Bayer was taking in the courtyard and noticed that one of the rose bushes needed some attention. He got up from the chair where he was relaxing and started to tend to the plant. As he started plucking the dead petals off the plant, it reminded him of the many rose bushes he and his father managed to behind his childhood home.
A nurse came outside and noticed how much Joe had improved the then little garden. She went inside and told Lyndale’s Executive Director about the work Joe had done, and they decided to give Joe whatever tools he needed to expand the garden. That summer alone, Joe settled 250 plants.
Once Joe got into a routine, Dorothy, Pat and Aljean were quick to join in and help him sustain the many plants. The group loves working together and creating varying senses in different areas of the courtyards.
“It has developed into something more than I ever thought it would. We all have our medical problems, but we feel like this helps us get through them,” Joe said.
Their hard work has paid off. What once started as a relatively empty and brown courtyard is now a plush and colorful garden. The Gardening Club has filled both courtyards with hundreds of plants and flowers.
“We just love doing what we are doing,” Joe said.
Everyone in the Gardening Club has a purpose. Joe is the chief agriculturist in the group. Dorothy and Aljean work to plant flowers and keep the garden colorful. Pat keeps the courtyard clean and the plants trimmed.
It didn’t take long before all the residents at Lyndale Abilene got involved in the garden. The club handles the planting and maintaining of the shrubs and flowers, but the rest of the community has started to donate plants and sculptures to the courtyards.
When a new resident moves in, The Gardening Club is quick to make them feel at home. They offer to plant whatever plants and flowers they bring from home in the courtyard where that particular resident will be able to appreciate them from their room window.
All the residents appreciate the work The Gardening Club has done, and now many residents spend much more time in the courtyards. “Just a smile on their face makes it worth it,” Joe said.