A sensory rose garden created by nearly 50 residents is producing more than stunning blooms - it's cultivating community spirit.
Yvonne Schultz in the sensory rose garden at Bartonvale Gardens Retirement Village
Under the direction of retired florist, designer and garden centre owner Yvonne Schultz, volunteer gardeners at RetireAustralia’s Bartonvale Gardens Retirement Village have established a rose garden and a friendship garden. They have been so inspired that they have also recently set up a free flower delivery service.
A sweetly scented posy from the garden is presented to residents throughout the popular North Adelaide village on their birthday, in addition to a beautiful handmade card featuring a pressed flower.
Ms Schultz said the garden, which has grown substantially since officially opening three months ago, had helped her rediscover her creative passions.
“Retirement is meant to be about spending time following your passions and spending time with like-minded people,’’ she said.
“I’m happy, I feel loved and I have a sense of purpose. I do what brings me joy and if that brings joy to my community, that makes me enormously satisfied.”
Village Manager Robyn Bennett says Ms Schultz’s initiatives are bringing residents together to share new interests and form friendships.
“Strong ties with friends and the community provides residents with happiness, security, support and a sense of purpose,” Mrs Bennett said.
“So when I found out about Yvonne’s background in floristry and horticulture and love of nature I was thrilled and I dropped a hint about a rose garden.
“Yvonne took up the challenge with glee, bringing together a group of volunteers to establish the Bartonvale Village Garden Group.’’
The group of retirees spend many hours together nurturing seedlings and tending the beautiful gardens as well as participating in activities all things creative and natural.
“Generous donations from the village community made the gardens possible, with 48 residents contributing standard roses, feature trees, plants and gardening materials,’’ Mrs Bennett said. “It’s testimony to how one idea can inspire a community.
“In the affectionately named friendship garden and the sensory rose garden you will often find residents sitting in the arbour to gaze at the flowers or quite literally stopping and smelling the roses.”
RetireAustralia CEO Dr Brett Robinson said resident-led initiatives were not uncommon across the group’s 27 villages.
“The fact that we’ve got so many resident led initiatives in our villages is testament to who we are as an organisation,” Dr Robinson said.
“We really are one big family ourselves and I think it’s that genuine community spirit, support and connection that our residents are attracted to.”
You can find out more about retirement villages where community spirit is blooming here.