Senior Housing residents show off their green thumbs

Written by on September 1, 2017 in Scattered sites, Uncategorized - Comments Off

By Brenda Kay Neth

SHA resident

Carol Kinney, 80, has risked her life for gardening.

Kinney is an Olmsted Manor resident who has survived blood cancer. She said that after undergoing a stem cell transplant she was told that being exposed to dirt could be life-threatening.

“I was basically in denial,” she said. Despite the risks, she continued gardening, raising her favorite colorful flowers including geraniums, roses and petunias.

Now, 15 years later, she’s doing just fine.

“I love being around people. I don’t like being by myself. People think I am in charge of the garden, but I don’t feel that way. I am out there enjoying myself, knowing that others will be enjoying it as well” Kinney said.

She is one of several residents at Olmsted Manor and Ravenna School Apartments that find joy in working together, as well as by themselves in the garden.

“Colorful perennials are my goal, anything that strikes my eye or looks pretty,” she said.

Her favorite times in the garden are spring and summer.

Residents of Olmsted Manor, located near Green Lake, do much of their own gardening and say it brings them joy and a sense of community spirit. Shasta daisies greet guests and residents.

Residents of Olmsted Manor, located near Green Lake, do much of their own gardening and say it brings them joy and a sense of community spirit. Shasta daisies greet guests and residents.

Kinney says she has placed fliers throughout the building in hopes of attracting more resident participation. One generous individual gave her $200 to use in the garden any way she pleased. She said the resident prefers anonymity, simply enjoying the flowers while visiting with his brother. Kinney said she spent $300 of her own money during her first year of gardening alone.

Margie Arnold, 72, also works with Kinney in the garden, and said she has spent $500 of her own money to help bring the garden to life. Arnold said she works primarily with the front beds, and is an avid lover of wildflowers.

Arnold and others at Olmsted Manor are planning to create a wildflower spot with help from the Seattle Housing Authority gardener and by utilizing the foxglove, wallflower and violas she has stored in her refrigerator.

Arnold said the gardener recently bought the much-needed soil, which will be finely spread after the first of November when leaves have all fallen. This way, the seeds can be spread and may even start to grow in December. Arnold hopes about six more bags of soil can be donated to give the perennials better coverage.

“I’m a big splash gardener. I like lots of color,” she said. Arnold has been gardening for sixty years and worked with her dad in their 60-foot greenhouse in Fife, Washington. Her favorite part of gardening when she was growing up was to eat fresh peas off the vine, but said Olmsted Manor soil isn’t suitable for growing edibles.IMG_0032

Maia Rose, Molly Walton, Celeste Osborne, Paola Del Sol and Margie Moore, residents of Ravenna School Apartments, were involved in a community gardening society where work parties, meetings and fund-raising dinners were held. Del Sol, who has been gardening at Ravenna School Apartments for four years, said she moved to the apartment building specifically looking for gardening opportunities.

Rose, who has helped facilitate meetings along with Celeste Osborne, said their society’s motto was to remember gardening as a fun hobby that would also bring joy to other residents. Rose said that while there is no longer a gardening society, she hopes in the future they will encourage others to get involved in their community.

For Rose, gardening is a creative hobby that gets her in the fresh air and in touch with the healing power of nature.

“I may not be able to go hiking in the woods, but I have contact with nature this way,” she added.



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