BY AMANDA MOSES
Every week, members of the Spring Creek Senior Partners’ (SCSP) Gardening Club don their sunhats and gardening gloves for a day of stress free activities at the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC). The group meets every Tuesday morning to weed, water, and conduct overall garden maintenance. These tasks may seem like simple feats; however, they are an excellent way for people, especially seniors, to enjoy the outdoors while also participating in physical exercise and increasing their hand-eye coordination.
Garden Educator Jacqui Roytman designed the senior gardening program to be a calm environment where attendees can work at their own pace, while also learning about nature and healthy eating. “The seniors have been observing the effects of climate change on the plants, and noticing the difference of plant growth from last summer to this year,” Roytman said. In addition, the intrepid gardeners have watched the resurgence of black swallowtail butterflies flocking to the dill plants and other pollinator flowers. The serene surroundings of the UGC permits seniors to focus on their mental well-being while also allowing them to exercise their memory and cognitive abilities.
Once the group has finished with their pruning and maintenance tasks, they then harvest fresh crops: kale, zucchini, zucchini blossoms, Callaloo, Okra, Collard Greens, Malabar Spinach, beets, snap peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, lavender, strawberries, basil, dill, parsley, spicy oregano, and lemon grass. “The seniors share recipes, especially healthy smoothies using kale and beets,” Roytman said.
Photos courtesy of Jacqui Roytman