85-year-old Eddie Buddemeyer enjoys his days out in the garden at Parkway Place. “I tell everyone that the two best things in life are finding true love and home grown tomatoes,” said Buddemeyer. “Gardening keeps me active, and I think the fresh air and sunshine help my health. I like sharing all of the tomatoes with my friends and family.” He planted his first tomato at age 25 and never expected gardening to be such a large part of his life.
With 60 years of gardening experience, he is now the head gardener who runs the Parkway Place resident garden. Buddemeyer is definitely onto something, especially since recent studies show that gardening can improve symptoms of depression and reduce stress.
Buddemeyer recently spoke with residents about gardening at an April 5 planting party. The residents had the chance to plant a flower in a small pot to take home. This party was part of a six week health initiative called "Walk the Line." During this initiative residents have been working on improving their balance, strength and endurance.
Buddemeyer is currently growing 11 tomato plants that will yield at minimum 50 tomatoes. He is out in the garden almost every day watering, putting down fertilizer or checking the plants. When the tomatoes are ripe, he and his wife use what they can and give the rest to staff and residents at Parkway Place.
“We have such a beautiful garden with raised planters to make it easier for the residents,” said Jimmy Johnson, executive director of Parkway Place. “It is a pleasure to see how gardening enhances their lives. Plus, this is a great way for residents to continue participating in the activities they have enjoyed doing throughout their lives.”
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