Senior Living: A Love of Gardening

Irene Maring

GERRY – Irene Maring, Gerry, has been cultivating her love of gardening for a lifetime. Transitioning into her new home at Heritage Village Retirement Campus, Ms. Maring has found comfort in what she loves to do, gardening. Within weeks of her move, this past spring, Ms. Maring was already volunteering her time and knowledge to help with the upkeep of the landscaped and garden areas at the Retirement Campus.

When volunteering Ms. Maring can be found assisting Judy Church, Heritage Village Retirement Campus maintenance employee around some of the favorite outdoor areas on campus. The landscaped perennial plants and flowers surrounding the Gazebo located in the main circle of the campus is the perfect location many seniors choose to sit and enjoy a warm afternoon’s scenery. Another area known as the Bergquist Garden, behind the Bergquist Memorial Assisted Living building, is home to an accessible walkway for seniors landscaped by beautiful perennials and contains raised vegetable garden beds.

Ms. Maring grew up in the Gerry area, her childhood memories of gardening are that of her parent’s perennial and vegetable gardens. She can remember their large vegetable gardens of tomatoes, peas, peppers, corn and other vegetables, whose harvest was meant for the family to eat or can to supply them vegetables throughout the year.

As an adult Ms. Maring kept a small vegetable garden on the property she shared with her late sister, Lu Ann, but she was most known for her large perennial gardens. Ms. Maring had been told by a neighbor, “no one can drive by without seeing Irene digging in the dirt and Lu Ann on her John Deere, lawn mower.” She furthered her love of gardening by taking classes to be a Master Gardener almost 30 years ago through the Cornell University Corporative Extension.

Ms. Maring decided to make the move to Heritage Village Retirement Campus shortly after the death of her sister Lu Ann in December of 2011. Moving to an apartment on the Retirement Campus relieved her of the burdens and expenses of keeping up a large house on her own. Transportation for shopping, groceries and doctor appointments are an added benefit. Ms. Maring has peace of mind and the free time to partake in campus activities, visiting with her neighbors and doing the things she enjoys like gardening.

It is easy to say fellow Retirement Campus seniors are all benefiting from Ms. Maring’s green thumb and love of gardening. Heritage Village Retirement Campus Administrator, Becky LeBaron, commented, “We are blessed to have Irene helping with our garden areas. These areas are favorite retreats for many of our seniors who live on the Retirement Campus. We encourage all our retired seniors to pursue their interests like Irene has, to promote continued purposeful living. Retirement should be about enjoying the things that you love to do!”

Heritage Ministries is a non-profit, human service organization serving the Chautauqua County region with over 800 employees. Independent and assisted living residences for seniors are located at Heritage Village Retirement Campus in Gerry, New York and opening soon, these same type of services will be available at The Woodlands, A Heritage Senior Living Community in West Ellicott, New York. Rehabilitation and skilled nursing services are provided at Heritage Village (Gerry, NY), Heritage Park (Jamestown, NY), and Heritage Green (Greenhurst, NY) Rehab & Skilled Nursing. For more information, please call 716.487.6800 or visit


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