August 24, 2003
The flowers in the annual cutting garden are tall, blooming and ready to be cut to decorate the dining room tables, but the day is too hot for the Secret Gardeners at Barn Hill to be out in the sun. The seniors gather in the air-conditioned dining room, where they prefer to remain.
Tony Monteiro, recreation volunteer, and a DIG IT! volunteer (MJ) go out to bring in the blooms as the resident gardeners watch from the dining room. The courtyard with the gardens is just outside the dining room windows.
But first, preparations are done. Sonia and Tony gather vases of all sizes, the smaller the better. They fill them with water for the flowers we'll cut. They lay down newspaper on the tabletops for a work surface.
Outside, MJ cuts the flowers and Tony puts them in two large vases of water so they don't wilt before we get them inside.
The residents sit around three tables in their wheelchairs and a recreation aid helps the people at each one. Vases of zinnias, Blue Horizions ageratum, dahlias, snapdragons, marigolds, and a few rudbeckia from the perennial garden are placed on each table.
Scissors are handed out and some of the gardeners know just how long to cut each stem, others need help but want to do it anyway. The nursing home residents select flowers, trim the stem and remove bottom leaves.
Tiffany Pollio helps Lucy Lang fill a vase. Although it's blistering outside, Lucy says "We need the sun for the flowers, the potatoes, the string beans and everything that grows."
Because of the heat, the Secret Gardeners met every other week during August.
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