Touchmark Garden Club grows flowers and friendships

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 11:00 AM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - You’ve heard the saying, “Bloom where you’re planted.”

A group at Touchmark on West Century in Bismarck has taken that saying to heart and found a way to keep their green thumbs busy while living there.

If you ask Keegan Carns, this herb garden is better than any grocery store.

“It’s wonderful,” said Carns.

Each day, the Touchmark sous chef checks out the herbs, hoping to find some he can use in that day’s meals.

“It’s provided great flavors for all of our dishes we’ve made this summer,” he said.

The herbs are courtesy of Touchmark’s Garden Club.

Master Gardener Annette Kost meets with the club weekly to talk about what to plant, how to care for it and to dream up new ideas.

In just its second year, the club has grown almost as fast as the flowers the residents tend.

“It’s blossomed more than I ever thought it could,” said Kost.

They started with just a couple of volunteers and six raised beds. This year, they’ve got nine raised beds, tomato plants and hanging baskets. They’ve also got enough volunteers to keep everything looking nice.

Those hanging baskets are Eileen Rouse’s favorite.

“We get so many comments from people eating in the dining room how wonderful the plants look,” said Rouse.

For Rouse, this club is a chance to get her hands dirty and reminds her of years gone by, when she had a big garden.

“I canned a lot, and I had a big strawberry patch,” she recalled. “I planted a lot of tomatoes. I even planted okra and celery once.”

Edith Ripplinger is a founding member of the garden club. For Edith, there’s a lot to love about this group.

“It’s a way to get out into the fresh air, work with other people and just the beauty of the flowers,” said Ripplinger.

And while they enjoy the fruits of their labor, they know they’ve gotten more than just some pretty flowers and a few tomatoes. They’ve harvested laughs and friendships — blessings that will last long after the harvest is over.

The garden club is already planning what they’ll plant next spring.