The newly expanded garden at the Village at Mackenzie Place, a Lutheran Senior Services Affordable Housing community located in St. Louis, Missouri, not only provides residents with a tranquil space to enjoy the changing seasons, this garden also gives residents a selection of fresh vegetables and herbs throughout the summer. The list of what is planted in the raised bed gardens sounds like a trip to a farmers’ market!
“We grow lots of lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, sage, rosemary, mint, basil,” said Dee Marty, a Village at Mackenzie Place resident and gardener. “The other residents just love it. Nothing ever goes to waste. Something home grown and picked fresh is so much better.”
This is Marty’s third spring overseeing the garden area and she wanted to make it bigger and better. She was able to make that happen thanks to a grant from Gateway Greening, a St. Louis based nonprofit that supports sustainable urban gardens. The grant was to encourage community gardens and the garden at the Village is exactly that with other residents pitching in to help Marty and the entire community benefitting from the garden. Marty worked with Village at Mackenzie Place staff members to complete and submit the grant application. With the grant money, the community added three new raised beds and a water tank. When the materials to build the beds and the dirt to fill them showed up, volunteers came to erect the raised beds gardens.
“I like having the gardens because it gets people out and doing something,” added Marty. “Gardening is a productive process that makes you feel good. Then when you get the food, it’s a double bonus!”
In the area dedicated garden, there’s also a bench where residents can sit and enjoy the growing produce. Last year, Marty planted flowers among the vegetables and added a bird bath and feeder. She plans to plant even more flowers this year.
“Having the garden is therapeutic for me,” said Marty. “And others say the same thing: That it’s tranquil there.”