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First signs of spring

Gardeners find a ‘slice of heaven’ at Eagle’s Trace

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April 11th, 2016
August and Mary Look enjoy their patio garden at Eagle’s Trace.

August and Mary Look enjoy their patio garden at Eagle’s Trace.

When August and Mary Look moved to Eagle’s Trace from Rockport, Tex., in 2009, they left behind a large vegetable garden filled with tomatoes, bell peppers, and okra.

“We’ve always loved to garden,” says Mary, a retired real estate agent. “It’s peaceful and relaxing to work outside.”

Outdoor space was a key factor when the couple chose their ground-floor, Harrison-style apartment with a patio at Eagle’s Trace in West Houston.

“We needed easy access to the outdoors for our dachshund Liesel,” says Mary. “But we also wanted a little area around the patio to grow plants and flowers.”

In good company

Mary joined the garden club at the West Houston Erickson Living community and chaired it for two years. In addition to her patio garden, Mary also reserved one of the 27 gardens available for resident use at the south end of campus.

“Each garden is eight by ten feet,” says Mary. “It’s a good amount of space to grow vegetables or flowers.”

For August and Mary, one unexpected benefit of moving to Eagle’s Trace was finding themselves in the company of other gardening and outdoor enthusiasts.

“Our apartment is on the corner, so it’s become something of a gathering place,” says Mary. “Other residents have given me potted plants to add to our patio garden. It just shows how we’re all a community. This is our little slice of heaven.” 

Family history of gardening

Marie Poage, another avid gardener, moved to Eagle’s Trace in 2012 from the Rice University area.

“I chose Eagle’s Trace for its indoor swimming pool and beautiful gardens,” says Marie, whose gardening pedigree dates back to her maternal grandfather.

“My grandfather was raised in Covington, England, and came to America to work in the gardens of the Berkeley Plantation, the ancestral home of Presidents William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison,” says Marie. “Then he went to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture under David Fairchild.”

Fairchild managed the Office of Seed and Plant Introduction, which brought nonnative plants to the United States, including cherry trees from Japan and Meyer lemons from China.

“My grandfather planted these exotic plants and crops along the east coast and in the south,” says Marie. “He eventually established his own rice farm in Texas.”

From seeds to blooms

Marie says growing flowers from seeds is her preferred method of gardening. 

“It’s not as practical as growing vegetables, but flowers are just lovely,” says Marie. “My family used to joke that I’d have acres of flowers and nothing to eat.”

These days, Marie collects seeds from flowering plants around Eagle’s Trace—cosmos and gaillardia are her favorites—and nurtures them as they take root. 

“Gardening brings me joy and comfort,” she says. “There’s nothing more beautiful than flowers in bloom.”

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