By Otterbein Granville resident Kathie H.
“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in — what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” - Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
The 94 acres plus six more contiguous to the main Otterbein Granville campus, but across a ravine, are not only a Level 1 accredited Arboretum but also a lush landscape of colorful and fragrant flowers and gardens.
Residents and Staff Work Together to Beautify the Grounds
The groundskeeping staff is diligent, and Otterbein Granville looks beautiful every season. Residents take pride in their own gardens, and some contribute expertise and energy to the larger projects of clearing invasive plants and caring for common areas.
A group of residents works together with the staff to improve hiking paths and make decisions on adding trees and shrubs or creating meadow areas for wildflowers. Beauty begets beauty.
Flowers and Plants Add Life to the Campus
This is my first spring season as an Otterbein resident, arriving last July. The wide variety of daffodils first amazed us, as daffodils always do, with the earliest color.
Trees leaf out and blossom next, followed by the full and fragrant iris beds tucked alongside carports as well as a glorious profusion in front of apartment 113 on the main road, Kendal Drive.
Then bold peonies explode into balls of luxurious perfumed petals. Poppies — red, pink, and orange — and other early perennials create a botanical garden along the pleasant paths and sidewalks. The residents whose plantings attract the oohs and aahs of passersby are always happy to pause for a conversation about what is growing and what is coming next.
Under a prominent blue flag that identifies her apartment, Becky D.’s perennial plot is a delight. A profusion of pink poppies dances in the breeze alongside the apricot iris and enormous white peonies with yellow centers. Plants are labeled, and tiny surprises come into view as the eye flits from one amazing bloom to the next, collecting beauty like pollen.
Talented Gardeners Grow Vegetables, Flowers, and Friendships
Gardening is a moveable feast. When vegetables are a part of the plan, recipes follow, or discussions of the heat level of the spiciest chili pepper. Ask resident Peter G., whose experience as an innkeeper gave him opportunities to hone his culinary skills. His garden is ready for specialty tomatoes, cucumbers, and more.
Nestled around the three-season room of resident Karen T., newly planted annuals and faithful perennials excite with an eye-popping mix of colors. A peaceful nook invites a pause to take in the fragrance, the creative placement of plants, and frequent bird visitors.
And even within the walls of the main building, an enclosed courtyard welcomes residents to pause and enjoy the abundant Hosta varieties, shrubs, small trees, iris, and peonies that deer and squirrels cannot disturb.
Benches offer shady resting spots for reflection or conversation with a community friend or visitor. Open to the sky, the bluebirds and other avian delights share the space.
Speaker Series Features The “Way of the Flower” Program
As part of the Otterbein Speaker Series, I offered a program about Ikebana (Japanese Flower Arranging) as a way to slow down, restore, and refresh. The “Way of the Flower” begins with breathing deeply and slowly.
We become centered and grounded, creating an alpha state that opens a flow of creativity and awareness of communication with nature. Scientists tell us it also reduces blood pressure, alleviates depression, brings feelings of calm and happiness, and opens the way to clear cognitive thinking, recall, insight, and intuition.
I shared some history of the classic art that began in China in the 400s, was adapted in Japan, and is now a worldwide practice with many schools and styles. Giving flowers new life in a beautiful arrangement also brings new life to the observer, who slows down, appreciates, and finds inner calm.
We are renewed by learning to be present in nature and listening with a deep awareness of our symbiotic relationships with the natural world. Even a single flower in a mug on your windowsill can remind us to take a deep breath and reconnect with our best selves.
Explore the Otterbein Granville Community
Otterbein Granville is a resident-driven life plan community where residents create and facilitate their own activity programming and special events. Over 30 resident-run committees promote an inclusive culture where differences are celebrated, and individual interests and personalities are valued.
Learn more about our campus, featuring a comprehensive health program with independent and assisted living, skilled nursing, memory support, and long-term nursing care.