‘Absolutely Perfect’

Talents Blossom At Lutheran Edgewood Community Garden

One of the most popular vegetables among the residents is tomatoes. Submitted photo

Lutheran Edgewood Communities has had a garden for many years, but thanks to resident Terry Lyle, it has recently received a few upgrades.

Edgewood Communities is a senior independent community on the Lutheran campus, housing those 55 and older. The garden has been part of Edgewood for a few years, offering residents the ability to plant their own vegetables and flowers.

In September 2022, Lyle came to the community, bringing with him the vision of a bigger and more organized garden.

“I’ve been a gardener for 40 years, so I saw the garden and knew it could improve,” he said. “We made it an accessible area for residents, and I worked on designs over the winter. I came up with all kinds of designs.”

Edgewood Communities named Lyle its Master Gardener, which Lyle said is a term they coined themselves and has no relation to the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Lyle said he took a course and studies gardening because he finds it fascinating. He was also an art director for 32 years, and now he lets out his creative side through the garden.

The community garden contains a variety of flowers and vegetables, which are used in residents’ meals.

“It’s an absolutely perfect place to use it,” Lyle said. “My goal is to help people who want to garden. Our oldest gardener is 92 years old, and everyone benefits from better access to make it easier to get to the garden and to garden.”

Lyle has added raised beds and ingrown beds for those who still want to play in the dirt. There is a love for vegetables in the garden, and especially tomatoes, with 81 tomato plants currently in the garden. Any produce grown contributes to Lutheran Edgewood Community’s cafe. Produce will then be served in later meals for the residents.

The overall designs were produced through the winter months. Lyle said they first started talking and submitting designs in January. His designs were created with computer software and, after final designs were decided, Lyle developed a 3D walkthrough of the garden.

Plans began to be put in place in March, but planting itself did not start until late May due to the weather.

“It’s something to do and that you can continue to do for many years,” Lyle said. “It’s physical work, it’s healthy and it’s peaceful. When you enter into the garden, especially if they have a gate, you can see the world but it doesn’t touch you.”

Pictured is Terry Lyle, a Lutheran Edgewood resident, who is in charge of the facility’s community garden. Submitted photos

Lyle said for some, just having the garden as something to do is enough, especially with the big draw of tomatoes.

Future plans for the garden and the residents includes a garden coffee table book. Lyle said it is something that he is looking into that will include photos of the garden but also other submissions from residents as well, as he has invited all residents to include something. Some residents are poets and artists, so he wants to include many things from the Edgewood community.

“I’m getting a lot of attention from this, but it’s really about the people,” he said. “Residents really enjoy the garden, even if they just walk by it. This is about the garden and the gardeners.”

Lyle said the garden itself was the whole reason he chose to move to Edgewood. Years ago the garden was just poles and wires; since then, fences, handrails and easier access to a water source has been built. The garden will potentially expand in the future.

Lyle said a gardener has also adopted monarch butterfly caterpillars and just recently released them as butterflies.

Residents will be holding a wrap up meeting for the garden with potential talks of making it bigger. Lyle said the first person he met at Edgewood he met in the garden and he has been friends with them since. He said the garden was in need of inspiration and was what drew him to the community that is now his home.

“It’s like it was waiting for me,” Lyle said.


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