Aged care resident transforms communal garden at Kangaroo Point home

Posted 9th June 2023

In her 8 years living at St Vincent's Kangaroo Point, Noelle has tended to and transformed the gardens

At Kangaroo Point, resident Noelle is a horticulture connoisseur who makes sure the facility's garden stays colourful and full of life. Having lived at the home for 8 years, she has completely transformed the garden through her hard work and amazing knack for all things green. 

“When I first moved into this home, I was very shocked to see what the garden looked like. I spoke to the Facility Manager, and we agreed that I could take over the responsibility of caring for it and turn it into a space where people wanted to spend time,” Noelle said. 

Noelle making her way around the garden at Kangaroo Point
Noelle has assumed the role as head gardener at SVC Kangaroo Point and maintains it daily with some assistance from Maintenace Manager Mark Riordan, who comes to work early some days to help. Over Noelle’s 8 years at St Vincent’s, the garden has been transformed into a thriving and beautiful retreat within the home, with a huge variety of different greenery. Noelle says her passion for gardening was ignited when she was only 5 years old, and she began to take her garden seriously after she got married and came to Australia from France. 

“I remember being a little girl and being chased out of the vegetable patch by our gardener because I dug up the radishes and washed them, I thought the soil was bad for them!”

For Noelle, tending to the garden is a very spiritual process. She says her inspiration for gardening at SVC is her fellow residents, who enjoy get to enjoy the fruits of her labour. 

“I love everything about the process. From working with the soil and mulch, to watching the plants grow. The most rewarding part for me is seeing the other residents who live here relax and catch up with their families in a beautiful surrounding.” 

The most challenging part of the garden is trying to navigate the scrub turkeys, who love to dig up the soil and undo Noelle’s hard work. 

“We had some turkeys captured and rehomed a few years ago which took care of the problem for a while, but new turkeys have settled in, and they’ve started to dig up my plants again.” 

The permanent fixtures of the garden really bring a sense of peace and tranquility


Noelle has found some creative ways to keep them at bay, such as putting cuttings with thorns around the base of her beloved plants and flowers. Noelle says that her best advice to any novice gardeners is to dedicate yourself to finding as much as you can out about everything in your garden, and to make sure that you are passionate about the hobby. 

“I’m always looking up things in books or watching YouTube videos to expand my knowledge if there are things I’m not sure about. It’s important that you love what you’re doing and put your whole heart into your garden”. 

As we age, it is important to find activities that keep us active and engaged, both physically and mentally. Gardening is a rewarding past time that can have many benefits for older adults. Gardening is a great way to stay physically active in your later years. It is a low-impact activity that can be done at your own pace, and it can provide a range of physical health benefits. Gardening requires a range of movements, such as reaching, bending and stretching that can help improve our overall mobility and flexibility. Digging, planting, and weeding can all help to build and maintain muscle strength, which is especially important as we age. Sometimes the best exercise doesn’t even feel like exercise!

As well as physical benefits, gardening can also have many mental health benefits. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety and is a great way to unwind. Being outside in nature and focusing on a task can be calming and therapeutic. 

Gardening requires planning, problem solving, and attention to detail, which can all help to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Gardening can also be a social activity, whether it's working in a community garden or simply chatting with your neighbours about your plants. Social interaction is important for mental health and can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. The sense of purpose and accomplishment you feel when you eat something delicious you grew yourself or pick some beautiful flowers that you watched grow from seedlings is also an amazing feeling.

Whether you're a seasoned gardener or new to the hobby, there are many ways to get involved and reap the rewards of this enjoyable and rewarding pastime. If you’re interested in setting up a garden at your home, please get in touch with your Facility Manager!

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