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Homegrown fare

Gardeners enjoy the fruits of their summer’s labor

Created date

August 23rd, 2018
Larry Tolin is one of several green-thumbed gardeners at Tallgrass Creek. He and his wife Diane maintain four garden spaces where they grow okra, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers.

Larry Tolin is one of several green-thumbed gardeners at Tallgrass Creek. He and his wife Diane maintain four garden spaces where they grow okra, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers.

Though fall beckons, Tallgrass Creek gardeners still enjoy some of nature’s bounty from their well-tended gardens.      

The fresh produce and beautiful flowers come from 48 garden spaces Tallgrass Creek provides residents with a green thumb. The gardens are just north of the main entrance and tucked behind a charming, slatted fence.     

Jeanne Hershey has maintained a garden since she moved to Tallgrass Creek five years ago and grows okra, strawberries, and other produce. She grew up working in her family’s Victory garden, which many families planted during World War II to increase food production.

“Growing our own food was part of our family’s effort to help out during the war,” says Jeanne. “Weeding and cultivating the garden were part of our daily chores.”

Jeanne and her late husband Roger were both master gardeners. Over the years, their gardens produced a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables. Jeanne typically canned about 150 tomatoes from their garden to enjoy throughout the year.     

“My husband was raised on a farm, and we both grew up gardening,” says Jeanne. “There’s just something about going outside and picking your own salad.”

Mouthwatering produce

Each 10- by 10-foot garden space reflects its own unique look and personality. There are cutting gardens of gorgeous blooms, vegetable gardens full of ripening produce, and gardens full of wandering vines heavy with pumpkins and squash.   

Tallgrass Creek’s grounds crew provides water and rototilling, while residents design, plant, and maintain their individual gardens.

Diane and Larry Tolin can be found many mornings working in their four side-by-side garden spaces. This summer, they have grown zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and okra.

“Our okra plants get to be about nine feet tall in the fall,” says Larry. “It’s difficult to pick, but we manage.”

Before moving to Tallgrass Creek, the Tolins lived in a townhouse for six years and missed gardening.

“We’re happy to be gardening again,” says Larry. “The produce you buy in the store can’t compare with what you grow yourself.”

Larry says he and Diane like the sense of accomplishment that comes with growing your own food.

“When you’re working at a desk, you don’t always see what is being accomplished,” says Larry, a retired research Army civilian and Army Reserve retiree. “With gardening, you get gratification from the work you put into it.”

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