Barbara Fordham’s Story


 Care Centre resident Barbara Fordham (centre) shows off her personalized garden trowel presented at the official opening of the renovated courtyard garden held on July 21. Also pictured are Queen’s Partk Healthcare Foundation Board Members Rick Molstad and Lorraine Brett.


“It’s a 100% improvement!”

That’s how resident Barbara Fordham describes the recently renovated garden area on the second floor’s courtyard where major improvements were funded by donations from St. Mary’s Health Foundation.

A beaming Fordham, a resident of Queen’s Park Care Centre for the past three years, can’t praise the garden enough, saying the improvements have turned the complex care facility into her “home.”

“It has made such a difference in my world,” says Fordham. “Being around these beautiful flowers is so peaceful. The garden is my sanctuary.”

Fordham says that she enjoyed the opportunity to travel to Mandeville Garden Centre, choose her flowers and then artfully plant and arrange them in her own planter.

Each resident chose their flowers and, with the help of family members, arranged and planted their selection. This sense of purpose and resident involvement has helped the courtyard garden earn rave reviews says recreation therapist Revi Ross. “Accessibility is the key,” says Ross. “The planters don’t just look nice—they are functional.”

The planters are built at such a height as to make them readily accessible for residents in wheelchairs. Some of the planters are on wheels so they can be readily transported to and from residents who may lack the mobility to freely access them.

In late May, a group of Boy Scouts visited the Centre to help deliver pots and work with several residents to help with their plantings. And for some of these Scouts, Ross
points out, it was their first time planting flowers as well as working with seniors. “It was a multigenerational experience,” says Ross.

Ross lists other positives of the courtyard garden including increased sociability. “It’s become a gathering place.”

For Fordham the sunny summer of 2013 and the lovely courtyard garden have encouraged her to organize an afternoon Sunday Tea where several residents meet in the area and enjoy a cup of tea.

“We have fine china and baked goods and the staff help set and clean up,” says Fordham. “It’s a chance for us to talk and dress up.”

Fordham smiles as she takes in all the lovely colours, wall art, water fountains and an assortment of garden features and sighs, “This feels like my own place.”