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Resident garden built on donations and love
For the longest time, the residents of Pinewood Manor have wanted a garden.
But for those with low-income or disabilities, finding funding, gardening supplies and the manpower to piece it together was difficult.
After two years, the residents finally got their wish after Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent and other community members got involved. Lent provided one of the five raised garden beds for the location and contacts for donations. The garden opened on May 3.
“It’s nice to see something they’ve desired to have going from a dream to a reality,” said Laura Inman-Cowell, Pinewood Manor’s service coordinator. “It was really a blessing that we got so much attention and help with it.”
With the recent warm weather, the residents—all low-income or disabled— have been able to fully enjoy their garden stuffed with lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, lemon cucumber and other vegetables and fruits.
Some just come out to sit in the sunshine. Others come out because of the memories it brings. One resident—who others had never seen out and about— finally came out of her apartment to socialize.
Aside from soaking up sunshine and having a nice place to sit outside, the residents also wanted to grow healthy food.
“I’m thrilled because I don’t like the prices at the market,” said Candy Currey, a five-year resident. “There’s nothing like fresh vegetables. You don’t get fresher than that.”
The five raised garden beds are filled with various produce, surrounded by blueberry bushes and apple trees. A fountain, yard ornaments and Boy Scout-built benches dot the grassy area surrounding the garden.
Because of its beauty and the calmness of the garden, some residents have found the location to be a spot for serenity.
“I love it,” said Doug Wood, another resident. “It’s just getting us outdoors. It brings back memories of my garden.
When he can’t sleep, Wood travels outside on his motorized scooter to sit in the moonlight and listen to the rustle of the wind through the garden. It’s peaceful and the scent of the flowers is relaxing, Wood said.
“It’s gonna start changing people,” he said of the newly renovated grounds.
Other projects have also sprouted from the birth of the garden. If there’s leftover produce, the residents hope to possibly sell it as surplus in local farmer’s markets. A gazebo and other projects around the area is now in the works.
Garden manager Sindi Smith said the garden will also provide food for community dinners like the one they hosted on Flag Day.
Although not all 38 residents are involved with gardening, they’ll get a taste of it one way or another, she said.
“It’s a community; it’s the camaraderie,” she said. “It’s awesome. It’s a community link like nobody’s done before.”