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Joy of Gardening Grows at Eagle's Trace

July 12, 2017

Houston, Texas—Judy Doba traces her passion for gardening directly to her mother.

"Farming was predominant on my Mom's side of the family," described Judy.  "Growing up in Missouri allowed me to be part of that culture and gave me a love for the land."

Judy would eventually settle in Texas with her husband Raymond, where they raised a family in northwest Houston.  Their backyard was a joyful haven for butterflies and hummingbirds as Judy planted a plethora of native plants such as Mexican milkweeds to attract them.

Upon retirement, the couple joined the Priority List of Eagle's Trace, and in 2014, they moved to the Erickson Living retirement community.  "The opportunity to continue gardening was a major attraction," stated Judy.

The 70-acre campus of Eagle's Trace features a dedicated area for residents who want to sport their green thumbs.  Twenty-three individual gardenscapes, with dimensions averaging 8' x 8', provide the fertile soil for residents to grow flowers and vegetables throughout the year.

"It's a convenient 24/7 set-up.  The shed provides storage for large tools that we all can use, and each of the gardeners has their own dedicated shelf for gloves, fertilizer and other equipment," noted Judy.  "We practice organic gardening, meaning no pesticides, as we strive to protect the environment.  The General Services Department maintains the walk-ways around the gardenscapes and keeps the area looking spectacular."

"Ironically, I always wanted a vegetable garden at my old house, but now I have it here at Eagle's Trace," she said.

Judy joined the resident-led Garden Club, and in 2016, became its chairperson.  The resident-gardeners meet quarterly for educational sessions and social gatherings.  They partner with the Extension Service of Texas A&M University to take advantage of the speakers' bureau series in which master gardeners visit residents at Eagle's Trace to give lectures on horticulture.  In June, the group took a field trip to Bear Creek Pioneers Park to hear about the demonstration gardens.

"We really love learning new techniques, and this knowledge really helps us," noted Judy.  "Our gardens are filled with freshly grown flowers and a bountiful crop of herbs and vegetables, including lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, radishes and of course, tomatoes of all varieties."

Gardening brings people together at Eagle's Trace.

"It's no different than being in our old neighborhood.  Residents share their 'harvest' with their friends and family throughout the community, and many people make the gardenscapes a part of their walking route," said Judy.  "The gardens are a conversation piece, too."

"The social aspect of the Garden Club at Eagle's Trace is so wonderful," said Judy.  "We celebrate a common interest together, at our own pace.  With last fall's opening of Amarillo Terrace, an independent living residence, we are blessed to have many new enthusiastic members."

Plans are currently being developed to renovate the gardenscapes to create container gardens that are elevated and easier accessed.

"We are literally bound only by the limits of our imagination," reflected Judy.  "Gardening is so rewarding.  It's a miraculous demonstration of God's infinite wisdom and the cycle of life that we enjoy immensely at Eagle's Trace."

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