This summer, the gardening activity regained momentum at the Sélection Manoir Notre-Dame residence in Roberval, located on the Lac St-Jean shore. Out of the 125 residents, many are already passionate gardeners, while others are learning by following the overall excitement. Let’s discover their gardens together!
How Is the Gardening Activity Organized?
At Sélection Manoir Notre-Dame, the summer of 2022 will be remembered as the rebirth of the gardens. The concept of individual garden areas was left behind as a new successful approach was brought to life: community gardens with facilitated accessibility. In fact, the parcels of land which had not been used in many years would have needed a ton of plowing work for them to be usable to plant vegetables or herbs.
Mrs. Harvey, the new residence animator, revived the idea of a garden. First, several residents gladly participated in the sowing process. At the dawn of June, already 25 to 30 tomato plants were ready for transplant!
The transplants were done at two-week intervals. Several people volunteered each time! We only needed to put up a sign that said, “Transplanting tomorrow!” for volunteer gardener residents to rally for the cause.
At Manoir Notre-Dame, we appreciate spontaneity!
The Motivation Behind the Gardening Activity
The driving force was to allow residents to be part of a unifying activity which they can discuss together. What a success! People who barely knew each other before have now formed new friendships thanks to their common interest in gardening.
Very Accessible Gardening Areas
Several 4 feet long by 1 to 2 feet wide elevated boxes hold the seedling. They certainly are very practical: no need to bend over while picking! Tomatoes were also planted in some twenty big round pots that were spread over the two terraces, which embellishes them even more. Some pots are also laid out along the residence’s fence which is abundantly exposed to sunlight. Furthermore, the community aspect of the activity is emphasized. Anybody can come pick vegetables and fresh herbs, including the cooks and employees. Do you feel like eating a tomato sandwich? Just pick a tomato and add a few basil leaves while you’re there!
Which Vegetables Are Planted?
The success of the sowing led to a lot of thriving tomato plants. It is the star of the garden at Sélection Manoir Notre-Dame! There are also bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, basil, and parsley. By the way, the garden is considered organic since no chemical fertilizers were used!
Gardening: an Opportunity to Socialize
The gardening areas are gathering hubs that spark conversations. All bring their willingness to help, their own little tricks, or precious advice for the more novice gardeners! Solidarity and collaboration make for great success! Gardening comes with its load of psychological benefits. To be outside in natural lighting and breathing fresh air is an excellent mood booster. The pride that comes with a fruitful garden is also significant. Some beautiful pictures of the garden were taken, which you might see on TVTour soon. The residents bring their visitors on the terraces. That is proof of the activity’s success. The perfect example of that is the terrace at the back of the large activity room. Anyone who steps foot in there goes to see the tomatoes! Only a few steps separate Bingo and tomato!
A Great Collaboration with an Intermediate Resource
Neighbouring Sélection Manoir Notre-Dame is a resource called “Le reflet du lac”, a residence that houses some twenty people with cognitive disorders, who also take part in the gardening activity. Elevated boxes were installed for them, in which they planted radishes, herbs, salad, and 3 or 4 tomato plants. This fun activity is also helpful in practicing their motor skills and dexterity.
The gardening activity without a doubt brings the residents a lot of joy. Although some of them are not seasoned gardeners, others could be called experts! The activity reminds them of their garden at their old homes. They can keep enjoying the hobby that used to bring them satisfaction and fuel their well-being.
Is the activity going to keep going next year? Absolutely!
Are we talking about tomato sauce and cans? Not for now. However, we heard that a cookbook could come out soon…
Thanks to Mrs. Lise Harvey, animator, for her precious collaboration!