A Future of Growth

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For George Brown, the ability to continue pursuing a lifelong passion matches the feeling of all he has accomplished thus far. His love for gardening has won him 445 ribbons at various shows over the years, 116 of which were first place. Therefore, it was only appropriate that he spend his future years sharing his skills at Meadowood, a continuing care community that spans over approximately 131 acres of land.

Born a Washingtonian, George lived in McLean, Va. for several years as a Marine engineer and a civilian in the Navy. Through his strong involvement in the Washington Daffodil Society, he reared and displayed beautiful flowers that won him several of his first place blue ribbons.

Eventually, he left his job and sold his house to move up to Wayne, Pa. to be with his current wife, Jean. But there was one thing he could not leave behind – George had brought 3,000 daffodil bulbs with him.

“I was still working at the time and I never knew what he was doing all day,” Jean said with a laugh. “We had an acre lot, so when spring came around, it was obvious what he’d been doing.”

Eight years ago, the couple moved into Meadowood, a community that attracted them with its available gardening areas and overall peaceful atmosphere. “We were delighted to have so much open space here,” said George. “It is more ‘open country’ than most communities.”

In fact, the community prides itself on its extensive walking paths and its two primary lavish gardens. Meadowood’s Horticulturalist, Patti Loughridge, with the assistance of the grounds-keeping crew and several environmentally-active residents, maintains the Resident Garden where picturesque rhododendrons and perennials are grown. “It is located near the health center so that residents, with assistance, can come out and enjoy these flowers,” she said.

The Victory Garden is where one can often spot George and his fellow resident gardeners. As it is divided into individual plots, those interested can grow different vegetables and plants in their designated areas. But according to Patti, more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to garden, causing limited available space.

Those not actively participating in the gardening, however, can maintain their individual patios while taking in their surroundings. “The gardens are nice places to go and forget things and just enjoy what is growing out there,” said George.

And what is growing out there happens to be baskets of produce that are shared freely with fellow residents. One crop in particular has been quite popular among George’s peers. “The tomatoes go very rapidly,” he said, “I make sure to put several baskets at different locations.”

Patti, who recently received her credentials as a Horticultural Therapy Assistant, understands all of the beneficial aspects connecting with nature can have, no matter how active people are. She often meets with a small group from the health center to create different crafts using flowers, pinecones and other natural objects.

“Residents who have spent their lives gardening are thrilled that they can have a plot,” she said. “But there’s something very therapeutic and satisfying about gardening, whether residents are actively participating or just enjoying it.”

And George is just one of these many thrilled residents at Meadowood as he has not only found a new home for his extravagant daffodils, but a place where his friendly peers and staff appreciate all that nature has to offer.

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