100-year-old woman learns gardening; enjoys first harvest

·3 min read
100-year-old Grace Hession is delighted to see the produce from her garden box at Sherbrooke Community Centre.   (Michelle Deptuck - image credit)
100-year-old Grace Hession is delighted to see the produce from her garden box at Sherbrooke Community Centre. (Michelle Deptuck - image credit)

With her mouth wide open in shock and delight, Grace Hession looked at the results of her very first gardening experience.

It was a "great" moment for the 100-year-old Saskatoon woman when her friend Elizabeth Oertel and Sherbrooke Community Centre recreation coordinator Michelle Deptuck popped in to show Hession the fruits of her labour — some harvested radishes and carrots.

"This is my first business with gardening," said Hession.

The senior lives at Sherbrooke Community Centre, a long term care home in Saskatoon.

Michelle Deptuck
Michelle Deptuck

Through her desire to learn, Hession decided to give gardening a try and take care of her own garden box this year.

"I enjoyed it very much," said Hession.

"I really, truly did."

Fellow resident Oertel also played an important role in encouraging Hession to start gardening.

She has been "kind of like a pal to me," said Hession.

"She showed me the ropes of this place, and that was very, very kind of her.… She is a wonderful friend."

Michelle Deptuck
Michelle Deptuck

Hession didn't have a lot of opportunities to get into gardening as a child, she said.

Her father was very strict and didn't want the children "fooling around in the yard" in Saskatoon, said the 100-year-old.

Successful gardening despite drought

Not only Hession has been happy about her newly discovered gardening talent, but also staff and other residents at the facility, according to Eric Anderson, communications leader at Sherbrooke Community Centre.

"At the age of 100 she discovers that she's a really good gardener," said Anderson.

"It's pretty exciting to see."

Despite a year of drought and heat, the residents' flowers and vegetables have been growing successfully, according to Anderson.

"Everyone has been really diligent about watering and tending to everything," he said. "Everything is looking pretty darn good."

Michelle Deptuck
Michelle Deptuck

With temperatures cooling down, elders at the facility are out and about to harvest their fruits of labour, said Anderson.

Hession has already been able to enjoy some of her vegetables.

Her tomato plants have been doing well, she said, and she also has a little harvest of carrots and radishes.

An inspiration for other residents

Besides her garden box, Hession has also been involved in growing flowers at the Sherbrooke Community Centre.

A group of residents and staff members redeveloped a patch of dirt and grass into a space for wildflowers and sunflowers Anderson said.

Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson

"For our residents and staff, I think it brings a lot of pride when you see, you know, beautiful flowers and healthy vegetables," Anderson said.

Despite all the success, the 100-year-old woman also had some small setbacks during her first gardening endeavour.

"I have got a good harvest," she said.

Her sunflowers and lettuce though didn't grow. Regardless of the outcome, Hession hopes she will be around next year to do more gardening.

Anderson said Hession's experience is an inspiration for other residents.

It shows that people are never too old to learn something new, or as Hession put it: "You're never too old to cut the mustard."

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