Good Things Grow at Holiday: How Our Residents Celebrate Earth Day Every Day
April gives us plenty of reasons to celebrate our connection to the Earth and its plants. Spring is officially underway, blossoms and birds begin their friendly return, and celebrations of Earth Day remind us of the need to take care of our planet. But for many Holiday residents, nurturing earthly connections doesn’t happen just one day during the year -- it’s a lifelong mission.
Few embody this more than Wanda Withers, a resident at Holiday Retirement’s The Manor at Steeplechase in Franklin, Tennessee. When her mother passed away in 1979, she left Wanda a potted lily plant. In the 40 years since, Wanda has experienced many life changes: the loss of her husband, the joy of grandchildren and the move to retirement living at Holiday among them. Through all these changes, Wanda’s commitment to caring for her mother’s lily remained constant.
“When I look at this plant, I think about my mom,” Wanda says. “She loved flowers and raised roses. Her plants bloomed all summer.”
Wanda inherited a green thumb from her mother. Some of her fondest childhood memories find her hands in the dirt of her mother’s garden. Wanda grew up in the country fields of Sevierville, Tennessee, so her mother’s garden was more than a beautiful pastime. It also was an important source of food for the family.
“If we didn’t tend to our garden, we wouldn’t have food,” Wanda says. “My mom always said, ‘Be proud and eat what you grow.’”
Wanda tends to her mother’s lily every day. She has never fertilized it and has no plans to start, but she does watch over it and waters it twice a week. Caring for plants is a hobby she has in common with Holiday residents across the country. This April, many of our communities are heading outdoors to plant tomorrow’s blooms in recognition of Earth Day.
In one example, residents at Holiday Retirement’s Diamond Ridge in Troy, New York, are excited to welcome a new gardening space in their community April 6. Prior to the big day, they will help stain four custom-built raised garden beds and get flowers ready to plant. It’s an exciting event that gives residents the opportunity to mark Earth Day while participating in a meaningful activity that will enrich their lives far beyond the holiday.
“It’s going to be a lot of work and a lot of fun,” says Cheley Demand, Resident Experience Coordinator at Diamond Ridge. “It’s a joy to see everyone enjoying their plants.”
Gardening has a way of keeping us grounded and connected to each other and the planet. For Holiday residents like Wanda and the good folks at Diamond Ridge, plants do more than just look beautiful – they bring richness and meaning to life.