Gemeinschaft Home’s garden sees major improvements this spring.
The 2020 Vision for the Future fundraising campaign established a therapy garden at Gemeinschaft Home, which was constructed during the fall of 2021, offering a peaceful space for program residents to enjoy nature in their own backyard.
Lined with paved and natural paths, benches, and variety of plant life, the Gemeinschaft serenity garden includes a view of the Alleghany mountains and surrounding farmland.
In May, thanks to the efforts of Kim and David Cassford of Shenandoah, the garden received some updates, including eight new hazelnut seedlings (donated by Burgundy Orchards, LLC), and a range of plants, shrubs, and grasses suited for different seasons and sunlight requirements.
Among them are irises, peonies, ferns, cone flowers, and hollyhocks.
Cassford was inspired to enhance the garden after she visited Gemeinschaft Home’s property on Mt. Clinton Pike for the first time in April.
She affirms that serenity gardens provide “a safe place that passes no judgement, a passive engagement activity that supports wellbeing and mental health, an automatic stress reducer, a place to quiet the mind, and enjoy the beauty of nature and its habitat.”
Kim Cassford worked on the garden at Gemeinschaft Home on three separate days, accompanied on various visits by her husband David, and her long-time friend, Alan Harpine.
At 94 years of age, Harpine is very involved in the community, managing a private vegetable garden, where he donates all the food to local individuals.
Cassford was assisted by Gemeinschaft residents and staff member Russell Smith, to decide where to plant each new item. Her neighbor, Quinton Garber, also donated birdhouses constructed from upcycled materials, to draw more birdlife to the garden.
Most of all, Cassford stresses the importance of “the dialogue and the conversation that came from being in the garden and the positive experience it gave the residents to have fun, enjoy, and just be.”
Cassford intends to keep working on the garden this summer, a remarkable contribution of both labor and materials that makes the experience of living and recovering at Gemeinschaft Home better for program participants.
Note: Kim Cassford is the Director of Resource Development at the Shenandoah Community Foundation and Co-Founder of Cassford Management LLC.