Blog from Volunteer Renee

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One of Alan’s guiding principles is “share your abundance.”  I was delighted when he handed me a big bag of lettuce seeds after I mentioned I would be helping to establish a garden in a senior center.  The Masonic Home for Seniors is a huge assisted living complex in my hometown of Covina.  This picturesque place on 33 acres on Walnut Creek, has always been a mystery to me.  When I was growing up, it was an orphanage – and all I could do was peer over the wall and wonder what went on there.   Now the Masons have turned the site into housing for 80 seniors.  Plus, the area has an early history as a Tongvan village.   So, I was anxious to get on the property, be a part, and work the ground.  And I had just read a book about the fabulous results of community gardens at senior centers, schools, juvenile homes and prisons!

To make it easier on the seniors, six square foot gardening containers were assembled, with raised legs, so no stooping or heavy digging was required.  The surrounding ground was leveled and made ADA-compliant, with two park benches added.   I started the lettuce at home and the seedlings were the only ones planted; everything else was planted as seeds.  So it was great to have one planting to show instant results. Thanks Alan!  Pretty soon, the head of food service appeared, and ‘put in an order’ for herbs.

The seniors involved in establishing the garden are all very vital, sophisticated people.  For instance, Robert (see photo) is a retired chemical engineer who has traveled the globe.  Ruth and Thelma were so cheerful and cooperative  – obviously having learned through the years the important give-and-take between people. Betty was particularly knowledgeable about gardening – having a few seasons of her own gardens under her belt. We stacked some extra pots and seeds on her lap and Betty motored back to her apartment in her wheelchair to experiment further.

Share your abundance.


renee montgomery

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One Response to “Blog from Volunteer Renee”

  1. Michaeline Roach Says:

    Thank you for all your help. You provided the energy we needed to get our garden started. Residents and staff are already talking about expansion.

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