Once upon a time, in a land far away, there were magical gardens that brought joy to all those who saw them……
OH WAIT! The gardens are right here, at St. Joseph’s Home in Woodbridge, New Jersey and not far away at all!
In 2017 I saw first hand the lovely garden my Mom got to enjoy every day as a resident of St. Joe’s Assisted Living. There were roses and lilies and impatiens and so many plants we could not name them all. In the flower beds were statues, and whirly-gigs and wind chimes and STRAWBERRIES! For some reason, my Mom decided that SHE was the person to oversee the strawberries and she made a point of checking out the berry plants each day. She would pick the one or two ripe berries she found each day and share the bounty with her roommate. When there were no ripe berries to pick she would pluck a rose and put it in her hair instead. In the garden court yard there was a swing, chairs and tables and benches to sit on. There was also a lovely gazebo with wind chimes that gently “sang” in the breeze.
The Nursing Home gardens were similar. There was a bridge over a patch in the garden and the balcony overseeing the courtyard was a splendid place for viewing all the glorious vegetation. The birds could be heard chirping and the lovely statues brought laughs and smiles to those outside for the day.
It is now 5 years later and the gardens are still a place of glory and beauty. The Sisters and volunteers have made them a thousand times better than they were when I first saw them. So many flowers, bushes, statues, rock formations, wind chimes, spinners, scenery and birds and butterflies! GLORIOUS! Because of the efforts of the Sisters EVERYONE who sees these gardens will leave with joy in their hearts!
Although my Mom has been gone for almost 3 years now, I still “see” the gardens at St. Joe’s! The blogs and Facebook pages are there for a visit anytime and I really do avail myself of these opportunities. When I look at all the beauty still growing there in abundance, here is What the Gardens Mean to Me:
– The opportunity to stop what I am doing and reflect on the beauty that is all around us, but we often do not see and how I can have it anytime, as can the residents, staff and visitors to St. Joe’s.
– I hear my Mom and her giggles as she picked a rose or the berries and felt the wind blowing through her hair during my visits with her to the garden.
– I feel peace and calm and happiness in all the positive memories and feel the promise of another beautiful tomorrow.
– I remember that anyone can bring forth the beauty of love and belonging with a bit of effort, as the Sisters have done for our loved ones.
I am forever grateful for the Gardens at St. Joe’s and look forward to the memories forever.