Evans resident Bob Andrews is no stranger to gardening.
"I grew up on a farm," Andrews said. "My family grew cabbage, beets, squash, lettuce and tomatoes."
Today, the 84-year-old still works in a gardening environment, but on a smaller scale - miniature, you might even say.
The resident of Brandon Wilde volunteers as the coordinator of the facility's mini garden. Andrews is responsible for assigning gardening spaces and keeping track of what is planted where.
"We have 40 plats, and the residents plant a variety of flowers and vegetables," Andrews said.
Tomatoes, green beans, and a variety of roses is the mainstay of what's planted.
Fellow resident Liz Schleicher enjoys tending to flowers nestled among the many beds of tomatoes.
"I don't plant anything fancy," Schleicher said. "Just things like the sweet pea, something that people really appreciate."
The flowers don't go unnoticed.
"Liz always has flowers that she gives to other people," said Susie Saul. "She gives them to people who aren't feeling well or to brighten up someone's desk. Liz is the best gardener around here."
Giving is something that Schleicher says is so wonderful about having a garden on the property.
"Even though many of the residents are no longer here, there's evidence of their presence in the flowers that they grew," she said. "It's very meaningful."
The residents are also proud of their rose garden, which gives many prom-goers and future brides an ideal backdrop for a picture.
"We've had so many people take pictures in the rose garden," Schleicher said. "It's just a beautiful place."
Roses are a favorite of Saul's, and she grows them in the mini garden and in the front of her cottage.
"Tea roses are my absolute favorite, because I just love the way they smell," she said. "I worked for 28 years, and now I get to enjoy gardening everyday."
Of all the things to do in a garden, Saul said, her favorite is to "put in new plants and see what happens."
Saul admits to being a bit of a nonconformist when it comes to gardening.
"I know it's well documented that peonies don't do well in the South, because they have to have a dormant period," she said.
Saul decided to try her hand at them anyway. Her reason: "I'm an optimist."
"Now, I'll just have to wait and see if they survive the heat. This is all a part of gardening," she said.
Andrews is awed by it all.
"It's amazing to me that you can plant a tiny, hard bean into the ground, and with water and sun, look at what happens," he said. "It's a mystery to me."
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