For more than 10 years now, the residents of Sélection Retraite Laval have been pursuing their passion for gardening. Most of them are experts, others more novices, but all enjoy horticulture and the taste of growing and savoring vegetables throughout the summer and fall months. Let's learn more about these talented gardeners!


What is the motivation behind the gardening activity?

Residents who already had a vegetable garden before moving into the residence wanted to continue this activity. For others, it is a retirement dream, and they now have the opportunity to fulfill it. In any case, all of them now share this passion for gardening, which allows them to express their creativity in a practical, playful, and gourmet way. In addition, growing one's own vegetables is an economic advantage. In addition to the pleasure of working the land, it is much less expensive!


How are the gardens organized?

The garden at Sélection Retraite Laval divide into two spaces. The backyard has 8 plots of land of 3x5 feet each, while 10 spots are laid out along the 4th-floor terrace. It is common for a resident to choose 2 garden spaces.

At the dawn of the new season, resident gardeners go to the garden center to buy the vegetable and herb plants of their choice, and some seize this opportunity to ask questions to the store employees.

This year, tomatoes, beans, radishes, cucumbers, lettuce, and carrots are growing proudly. Having garden spots on the 4th floor is a real advantage that keeps the salads and carrots away from greedy rabbits or rodents!

Mutual aid being a key value among gardeners, everyone is always satisfied with their plot of land, regardless of its location.


Creative gardens

While there are no specific rules regarding the aesthetics of the gardens, residents are happy to be creative! In the summer of 2021, some made wooden signs with the number of each plot in the shape of birds or little houses they painted themselves. Beautiful and helpful decorations to decorate the gardens!

 


How about organic gardens?

Most residents have chosen the organic option for their garden, even if it requires a little more maintenance. They are very involved in the environment and health. Going from a conventional to an organic garden takes one to two years. Understandably, gardeners who have chosen to go organic are keen to return to their plot of land from one year to the next.


Staying in shape with gardening

Anyone who has ever cared for a garden knows how physical it is. You have to prepare the soil at the beginning of the season, handle the shovel and the rake, and bend over to sow, plant and harvest. Not to mention pulling weeds! But beyond the benefits to the body, mobility, and autonomy, gardening promotes the mental well-being of all residents involved in the activity.


Lectures by an expert in horticulture

Every year for Earth Day, on April 22, a conference is organized. This year, Mr. Jacques Lafrenière, author, journalist, and lecturer shared his knowledge with the residents of Sélection Retraite Laval. This professor of horticulture, botany, and ecology, a retired neighbor of the residence, teaches all those interested in the gardening activity. No need to say, this conference was a great success and attracted many people.


Already planning for the 2023 season

Ms. Émilie Nadeau, the animator, plans to program several conferences on different themes 2 to 3 months before the summer season to involve more residents in the gardens. Mr. Lafrenière's conference encouraged new people to take care of a gardening spot, which proves this activity's popularity.


From the garden to our resident's plate

This year, the Bistro Chef has chosen two plots of land, one of which is used for the residence's kitchen. Although the menus are common to all the residences, she is incorporating the fruits of her harvest into the dishes. New recipes with the flavors of the garden's ingredients may be added to the menu. In any case, the residents are open to the idea.


Celebrating the gardeners

At the end of the summer, the Director's cocktail party is an opportunity for each gardener to bring his or her food, especially tomatoes - the eternal stars of the garden - and herbs to the head server, who prepares small snacks. Then comes the time for celebration and pride. As the bites are served, the name of the gardener who grew the tomatoes and how long they had the garden is mentioned. The highlight of the cocktail party is when the gardener speaks, sharing his passion with everyone!

On this note of joy and pride, it is time to clean up the gardens. While the residents take care of it, the gardeners employed by Sélection Retraite Laval finish the work. 

Winter is on the horizon, but everyone is already looking forward to the next spring!

For more than 10 years, gardening has been a flagship activity for the residents of Sélection Retraite Laval! From the early spring, gardens are the talk of the town. Throughout the summer season people communicate, help, and advise each other. They happily talk about the gardens, the vegetable and herb harvests.

The gardens bring good humor, joy, pride, and autonomy.

And you, are you thinking of getting your hands in the ground soon and savoring the pleasure of biting into your sun-ripened tomatoes?

 

Thanks to Ms. Émilie Nadeau, animator, for her precious collaboration.

 

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