For Mountain Shadows Residents, Love Grows Here

Mountain Shadows Residents, Love Grows Here

by Sheryl Wilde

“A garden is the grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” Gertrude Jekyll

As a fragile seedling begins to emerge from the soil, so too have traces of new life begun to surface at Mountain Shadows this spring.

“The garden competition was our first real event since the pandemic that included everyone,” says Brittin Parker, QIDP/A, Ash and Cedar houses. Brittin also leads the Mountain Shadows Morale Committee. “We decided to hold a garden competition to get everyone outside and involved with an activity.

“It was great. Creating the gardens got the residents and staff outside together – something we haven’t been able to do since the pandemic started.”

The benefits of horticultural therapy, especially gardening, are well known. Tending to plants gives one the chance to feel the texture of soil. Watering works the muscles of the arms. The activities of gardening benefit the mind and the body. Studies show caring for plants reduces stress levels and benefits human physiological, emotional and spiritual needs. Being in nature helps people feel tranquil and at peace. 

“It was very competitive,” says Brittin. Sixteen of our nineteen houses participated. Each house was given a planter to decorate and flower seeds to plant. 

“Everyone did such a great job, we had to choose three winners – Cedar, Apple and Lemon houses!

Love Grows Here – at Cedar House

“The Cedar house girls developed the idea of spreading love, so we decided on the theme of ‘Love Grows Here’. It turned out really cool. We put the watering schedule on the house calendar so the residents knew when they were responsible for watering the plants.

“There were no green thumbs among the residents or staff, so everyone hoped we wouldn’t kill the plants – but it all went great!”​

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feel not just in the body, but the soul.” Alfred Austin

Butterflies Fly Free – at Apple House

“The garden contest was a great opportunity for the residents to do something fun together,” agrees Lydia Conde, QIDP, Apple, Maple and Plum houses.

“The project was really very special. Everyone loved it! It gave everyone a chance to interact and develop social skills. Apple house residents Becky and Maricela were very excited about decorating the planter. They love butterflies, and Maria, the artist in the house, helped to design and paint it. It’s so beautiful! Everyone did an awesome job.”

Lydia has been with Mountain Shadows since last October. “It’s really fun around here! I’ve been a member of the Morale Committee for two months. It’s been a great experience. We try to challenge the residents to make life great! We try to keep things alive and fun. The residents really make it worth coming to work every day.”

“The earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Charlie Brown Garden – at Lemon House

Though Charlie Brown is often characterized as the “Lovable Loser” the residents and staff of Mountain Shadows Lemon house don’t see it that way. Thanks to their depiction of Snoopy and his cohort Woodstock on their garden planter, which inspires light-hearted smiles and laughter, they are among the three winners in the Mountain Shadows Garden Competition.

Says Madeline Haywood, QIDP, Lemon, Orange and Tangelo houses, “The garden contest was really a fun thing to do. The staff went above and beyond to ensure all the residents got involved. We are so lucky to have such a tight knit group of staff. And the residents really enjoyed it. They were very proud of the planter and flowers!”

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Audrey Hepburn

At Mountain Shadows, we believe in tomorrow, and we continue to plant the seeds of hope for an ever-better future for all of our residents.