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Resident Gardens at Ashby Ponds Retirement Community Thrive in Innovative Setting

August 10, 2012

(ASHBURN, VIRGINIA) - On August 9, the Ashby Ponds Garden Club held its 4th Annual Open House; this year, the sights proved to be a bit unusual.  In years past, residents cared for ten-foot by ten-foot garden plots at the community.  This year, the gardens were located in individual water troughs, eight-feet long by three-feet wide by two-feet tall.
The Ashby Ponds retirement community, which opened in 2008, is growing and due to the expansion of the campus, the resident garden plots had to be relocated this year.  Their new temporary home is located in an unused parking lot on campus, where one can find 45 large troughs containing a myriad of flowers, herbs, vegetables, and other plants.  One nice perk of the new troughs, according to Ashby Ponds Garden Club president, Joan Sullivan, is that it makes gardening cleaner.  "Since the troughs are on asphalt, it keeps our shoes from getting muddy," said Sullivan.
The residents at the community are delighted with the new arrangement.  "I hope this is the future of retirement community gardens," said gardener Dottie Kraft, who helps her husband, John, maintain their garden trough.  Kraft is not alone; Ashby Ponds Executive Director David Gallagher indicated that he's heard from several resident gardeners who want these to be the permanent gardens.
Resident Deanie McCarthy is particularly proud of her garden, which has been planted to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  Her garden consists of a variety of plants including lavender, a butterfly bush, daylilies, and most prominently, a solar-powered bird bath.  Other nearby gardens include sunflowers, marigolds, corn, and tomatoes.
Another positive feature of the garden troughs is that the Club has been able to provide gardens to more interested residents.  Sullivan indicated that the waiting list for gardens is still growing.  This is partially due to the nearly 100 residents who have recently moved into a new residential building on campus, bringing the total numbers of residents at Ashby Ponds to just over 700.
The community hopes to expand the total number of garden plots once all construction is completed, but until then, the residents are truly enjoying the innovative troughs.  "We do appreciate all that Ashby Ponds has done to ensure that we have our gardens to show off," said Sullivan.
About Ashby Ponds:  Ashby Ponds, one of 16 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia (approximately 30 miles west of Washington, D.C.).  The community is home to 700 residents and is filled with fascinating people and fantastic opportunities.  With over 80 resident-run and resident-driven clubs and groups, an indoor pool, a fitness club, transportation services, 24-hour security, and flexible dining options, life at Ashby Ponds offers a true sense of community and is an exciting alternative to the typical retirement community.  More information about Ashby Ponds can be found at: