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Great gardening

Seasonal summary from Fox Run’s garden club

Created date

August 20th, 2014

Many people move to Run because they no longer want to spend their leisure time dealing with household maintenance tasks like cleaning gutters, mowing the lawn, and shoveling snow. But just because you choose to leave behind the burdens of keeping up a large house doesn’t mean you want to give up the more pleasant perks like tending to a garden. 

At Fox Run, an Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich., green-thumbed residents continue to garden. 

Fox Run’s lush and expansive grounds include 38 garden spaces where residents grow fresh vegetables, fragrant herbs, and colorful flowers all summer long. 

John Barbay, who moved to Fox Run from Birmingham, Mich., in 2004, co-chairs the garden club with his neighbor Peg Quigley. 

“I have been gardening since I was 12 years old,” John says. “I have a lot of experience.”

Summer veggies make a welcome gift

This season, John grew green beans, eggplant, green peppers, and lots of juicy red tomatoes. John says his wife Margaret sometimes uses the just-picked vegetables from their garden to whip up a fresh summer meal. 

However, he says, most evenings they enjoy one of the other perks of living at a retirement community like Fox Run: dinner with friends at one of the three on-site restaurants or the Jockey Pub. So while the Barbays have a large kitchen in their Jackson-style apartment home, they don’t cook all that often. 

John doesn’t let his crops go to waste; he gives baskets of fresh vegetables to staff members at Fox Run. “They look forward to it every year,” he says.

Gardening and learning together

Fox Run’s gardeners all purchase their own seeds, soil, fertilizer, and other supplies. They share a communal tool shed where they store shovels, rakes, and other gardening tools that residents have donated for all of the gardeners to use. 

John says gardeners work on their own gardens whenever they choose. They often exchange growing tips, help each other out, or just chat while they work.

All of the members of the garden club get together twice a year for semiannual meetings. John says they typically enjoy a pizza lunch or desserts and lemonade at the meetings, and they host speakers who provide useful information about gardening. Past speakers include Fox Run Grounds Supervisor Brian Taylor and experts from Michigan State University’s 15-acre organic farm located in Holt, Mich.