The gardens at Chestnut Knoll Personal Care and Memory Care are flourishing once again, thanks to the hard work and dedication of residents at Chestnut Knoll and members of the Pottstown Garden Club. This season, residents have been able to get some fresh air and plant vegetables in the garden, in preparation for later use in the kitchen to be part of their daily meals.
The Pottstown Garden Club has approximately 60 members and meets monthly in order to learn new things about gardening. Chestnut Knoll has formed a special relationship with the club and the members enjoy working with the residents of Chestnut Knoll in maintaining some special gardens around the community. Residents enjoy working in the gardens, especially those who were avid gardeners before joining the Chestnut Knoll family.
“It is very touching to hear the residents reminisce about the gardens they had at their homes, their gardening experiences, and their tips for planting things while they worked,” commented Debbie Houck, member of the club. She said that she enjoys coming to Chestnut Knoll because it “makes their day, and ours!”
When the Garden Club started at Chestnut Knoll, planters were custom built in order for the residents to plant with ease. Vertical stands were built at a height so someone in a wheelchair could easily tend the first three rows, and one planter was built on high legs for someone standing up. Three trellises are in place, and four straw bales are stacked two-on-two for ease of planting.
Residents planted radish and lettuce seeds in the high table planter, herbs were planted in containers on a vertical stand, and a portion of the top of each of the straw bales was opened up and pumpkin seeds were planted in them. Gourds were planted in the ground to grow on the trellises, and heirloom yellow pear tomatoes and cucumbers were planted directly into the soil.
Vegetables aren’t the only things they’re growing, either. One garden is in the memory care neighborhood at Chestnut Knoll and this garden has a variety of flowers, as well as vegetables.
In addition to working with the residents in maintaining the areas, the garden club also provides horticultural therapy several times per year to the residents of Chestnut Knoll. Doreen Duncan is the horticulturist who organizes activities, such as Valentine’s Day creations, spring centerpieces, and a pumpkin project in the fall.
“Gardening is a hobby that is enjoyed by many of our residents throughout their lives, as farmers and for enjoyment,” said Jodie Daniels, Certified Senior Advisor and assistant executive director. “There are great therapeutic effects to working with their hands in the soil, seeing the fruits of their labors, and most of all, making great friends. Many great conversations and relationships have been formed between the residents of Chestnut Knoll and the Volunteer Members of the Pottstown Garden Club who have been very committed to keeping the love of horticulture alive.”
“We are so glad we are able to provide these activities for our residents so they can continue to pursue some of their favorite hobbies,” said Shawn Barndt, executive director. “Working with the Pottstown Garden Club is just another example of how bringing the Boyertown community into the Chestnut Knoll community creates a win-win experience for everyone involved!”
The garden area has become the residents’ favorite place to bring family when they visit. They are very proud of the gardens and are eager to share the work they do there.
For more information about the Garden Club and other unique programs Chestnut Knoll offers, please call 610-473-8066.