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A garden grows at Devonshire

Where herbs and friendships thrive

Created date

February 23rd, 2015
two women residents in the garden


When at PGA National residents Carol Teichman and Polly Sherk proposed the idea of creating an herb garden on the lush grounds near the community’s clubhouse, the idea gained immediate acceptance at Erickson Living’s retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens.

Carol drew the garden plan, and Devonshire’s grounds crew tends the plants. Carol and Polly harvest the produce. The garden features favorites like basil, chives, dill, mint, oregano, and rosemary, plus tomatoes, nasturtiums, and a mango, dwarf banana, and two citrus trees.

Carol, who served for seven years as president of Palm Beach Gardens’ garden club, first planted the idea when she told a neighbor that she missed the garden she’d had at her home in Marlwood Estates. 

Devonshire’s culinary expertise also played a role in promoting the idea. Polly, who chairs the community’s culinary committee, wanted to provide the chefs with a steady supply of fresh-picked herbs. And the chefs were thrilled about the potential bounty.

Giving back

Polly considers the garden a way of giving back to the community. A member of the Resident Counsel, she moved from North Palm Beach when Devonshire opened 16 years ago. “I love it as much as the day I moved in,” she says.

Carol’s excitement stems from the opportunity to follow her bliss.

“This means I can dig in the dirt again,” she says. “That’s important to me.” 

Carol grew up in Jamaica. She has no children, and her sister resides in Toronto. Living alone didn’t concern her until late 2013 when she fractured her kneecap. 

She rethought her situation and moved to Devonshire last March. 

“I can live my own life here,” she says. “It’s close to Marlwood, and my friends are here. I’m also very active in croquet, and the club is one of Devonshire’s amenities.”

Eight weeks after she moved, an accident underscored the wisdom of her decision. As Carol walked her two dogs, they turned and raced behind her, causing her to fall and break her hip. 

Following hip surgery, she spent three weeks at Chatsworth, Devonshire’s rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood. Throughout that time, and although she barely knew her neighbors, they showered her with cards and visits.

“I felt I’d found a family,” she says. While she has many friends at Marlwood Estates, “it’s not the same. Here, they’re on the spot.”

Carol is now as active as ever. She plays bridge and canasta, is on Polly’s culinary committee, and has turned her balcony into a painting and crafting studio. 

And at get-togethers with non-Devonshire friends, she says she “plants seeds” about the advantages of its luxurious lifestyle and family-like camaraderie.