Planting seeds of hope

The courtyard at the Mary Immaculate Care Centre in Mundare is transformed. New additions include concrete walkways, a gazebo, benches, self-watering gardening boxes and flower planters.

“It’s just like heaven when you are out here,” says resident Diane Ferleyko. She takes a break outside between recreation activities to check on her bulbs that she has planted for the local grads. She says that tulips are a local "tradition" and that she really enjoys the planting season.

Resident Diane Ferleyko gets active in the courtyard.

“The revamp project started years back,” says Anthony Brannen, Site Administrator. “A group of thoughtful and caring people got together after a note that read, 'Pretty up the outside' was left on a suggestion board. But we have done much more than that,” he adds, noting that it’s always a priority to help residents feel at home.

The improvements seem to be a catalyst for community engagement and are helping to bring more joy into the hearts of the 30 patients who live in the long-term care centre. The kindergarten class from Mundare Elementary joined the residents this summer to learn about gardening.

“I was here with the kids. I just love the kids. They came twice: once to plant seedlings and the second time to put them into the garden and to have a party,” says Mary Homeniuk, a 102-year-old resident. “I have always liked to stay active and I have always loved working with people.” 

The additions have helped to expand the amount of living space for the residents and recreation area for families and staff. Mary says she enjoys it when her daughters have picnics with her in the courtyard.

Mary Homeniuk enjoys bird watching and gardening outside.

Bounty from the garden is being used in the nutrition program. In the last two years, the resident gardens have produced tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, beets, onions and garlic.  

“I just love the carrots; they taste so sweet. But it’s more than eating the food. This garden—it means a lot to me. It means a lot to see everyone come out and enjoy it,” says resident Helen Delawski.

Helen Delawski enjoys showing her garden to other residents and their families.

The project was made possible thanks to generous gifts from the Mary Immaculate Hospital Foundation, the Mary Immaculate Ladies Auxiliary and residents' families. 


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