It's been several months that the enthusiastic resident gardeners of Sélection Tours Angrignon have been preparing for the summer season.
We spoke with the three residents responsible for this popular summer activity: growing a vegetable garden. These horticultural specialists shared their secrets with us.
Gardening is not just a pleasant hobby. We will see that it has significant and sometimes unsuspected benefits.
The human aspect of gardening
Gardening among residents creates a lot of mutual aid and solidarity in Tour Angrignon residence. A sense of fraternity develops. If, for example, a person has some mobility issues when maintaining their garden, they are sure to find help.
It is also an opportunity for residents to meet new people. One of the ladies responsible for this activity, Ms. Diane Desautels, reports that one resident says she is "filled with happiness" when she visits the garden. Under the pretext of gardening, it is not unusual for residents to open up to others.
Everyone comes to chat with the garden resident organizers, and it often ends up in a happy chat on the swings! This activity definitely breaks the isolation.
On top of that, gardening creates bonds with the staff, who interact, are enthusiastic, and compliment the talented gardeners.
How the gardening activity works at the residence?
The residence has had plots of land available for 10 years, each with a 4x4 size, and a very nice terrace. Residents choose their garden plot in good harmony and, most of the time, keep it for the next season. Because of the wish to embellish the available spaces, the gardeners have at heart the aesthetics of the whole. For example, everyone uses the same stakes for visual harmony. But this is not the only benefit: in this way, the new gardeners feel on an equal footing with the others.
Gardeners prepare well ahead of time
In April, the future gardeners meet to discuss the instructions and the rules to respect. Some are experienced, others are beginners. Questions arise, everyone is enthusiastic and motivated, and it is easy to agree.
The people in charge of animation at the residence provide the necessary tools, such as picks and rakes, made available to the 16 resident gardeners. As for the compost, the city supplies it. In 2021, everyone agreed to the idea of composting out of environmental concern.
Which plants are cultivated?
While everyone chooses their plants according to their preferences, the garden star is undoubtedly the tomato! And there is a whole range of varieties. But there are also sweet peppers, lettuce, kale, radishes, beets, and cucumbers. The originality of the garden is the edible flowers, which decorate salads, cakes, and summer tables and provide tasty herbal teas.
This summer, the herbs are available to everyone on the terrace, and one of the ladies responsible for the garden will take the time to explain to the residents how to cut them.
One of the resident gardeners has worked at the botanical gardens. He gives valuable advice and even turns cedars into bonsai trees! He is a horticulture expert and has invented an orchid that bears his name. Mr. Yang can be proud!
What happens with the gardens at the end of the season?
After the resident gardeners harvest the last fall vegetables, they clean up their gardens. At that moment, composting makes sense because no branches, stems, dead leaves, or roots go into the garbage. Everything is recycled, and the tools go back to the shed until the following spring.
At the end of the 2021 summer, gardeners actually retrieved shrubs, and plants, including perennials that were growing in an unkempt area, then transplanted them to places more conducive to their flourishing.
But at the end of the season, there is one last thing that everyone at Tours Angrignon enjoys. Can you guess what it is?
The party! The opportunity to gather around a tasting of the harvest and maybe even plan next summer's planting.
A big thank you to Diane Desautels, Francine Duhaime, Ginette Larouche, residents in charge of the garden at Tours Angrignon, as well as to Marie-Josée Larouche, facilitator, for sharing their passion with us!