community garden

Growing Gardening Club Blossoms in 2022

With summer here, many plant-loving people are finding themselves prepping for the upcoming gardening season. The Garden Club at Trillium Woods, a life plan community in Plymouth, MN, is no exception — they are now digging up new beds and beginning to plant. This year, residents and staff can expect to see a wide variety, of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and other many other veggies. On top of that, there will be an assortment of beautiful fresh flowers.

resident working in the community garden

Trillium Woods’ resident-run gardens started as a passion project of a resident when the community first opened seven years ago. Missing the ability to plant in her own garden, she decided to dig out a plot of land and set up the first vegetable garden. For the next few years, this resident gardened solo, but she created the groundwork for the Garden Club of Trillium Woods.

In 2020, when the Garden Club was founded, it began as a few small plots of land with minimal fencing and just a few gardeners tending to the plots. Since then, the garden has grown to a large, fenced area with several added spaces outside the main fence. With each passing year, the demand for new plots increases. This year saw an especially large jump in perspective gardeners, forcing the club to decide that people would need to draw straws in order to see who would claim one of the 12 plots which feature six 6’ x 3’ raised beds and six 6’ x 4’ ground plots. Each gardener can plant whatever they want in their section of land and will be able to choose from a large variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

The Garden Club hopes to instill in residents the importance of gardening and its therapeutic benefits. Gardening has practical uses and offers the ability to connect with nature and nurture something from seed to harvest. It is also a proven and effective way of managing stress and anxiety. Additionally, it can increase quality of life, sense of community, and physical activity levels. “First and foremost, the garden enhances the physical and mental health of the residents,” says former physician and Garden Club Chair Michael Tan.

A senior woman uses a shovel in the community garden at Trillium Woods senior living community.

Tan has even created ways to make gardening more accessible to the community of retirees, including the use of carpet underneath mulch pathways to flatten the ground and standing raised beds. This innovative idea will help resident gardeners by reducing fall risks and minimizing stress on backs.

Not only does the Garden Club help residents, but it also has a symbiotic relationship with Trillium Woods’ restaurant. The Garden Club will supply beans, tomatoes, squash, and other vegetables to help supplement some of the produce purchased, while the restaurant’s kitchen will provide vegetable scraps to help feed the Garden Club’s compost.

Tan’s own plot, which he calls the “Second Garden of Eden,” is created from hundreds of plants started from seeds grown in his living room during the winter and spring.
“It is so pleasant to have a reason to be outdoors in the sunshine,” he says, “nurturing the flowers and vegetables I am growing for the garden.”

The Garden Club of Trillium Woods was born from one resident’s desire for a garden and has grown into a group of individuals discovering a new passion. Tan and his crew of gardeners are hopeful that this will be their most successful season yet.

To learn more about Trillium Woods and their resident clubs and activities please visit or call (763) 744-9400.