Evylen Farrant and Norman Woods, members of the Berwick by the Sea gardening club.

Rooftop gardening club grows plants… and friendships!

Moving into independent living gives these seniors more time to pursue their passions

A warm sea breeze makes its way across a rooftop patio, tickling the leaves of young tomato seedlings and spring flowers. It’s a Tuesday at Berwick by the Sea, which means the gardening club is at work tending to their plants and sharing a few laughs.

Berwick provides the large pots (and incredible mountain and ocean views), and residents provide the garden know-how. Some grow dahlias and daffodils, others grow berries, vegetables or herbs. Eleanor Thomas germinates seeds in her suite, and plants them on her balcony and on the Berwick rooftop. Maggie Hobden has been known to grow towering tomato plants taller than her!

“Eleanor and her husband were big gardeners. They had a patch of 350 dahlias, and also grew berries and vegetables. At Berwick, she currently has peas, sunflowers, dahlias, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and radishes. So wonderful that she didn’t have to give up gardening when she moved here!” says Dianne Robb, Community Relations Manager for Berwick by the Sea.

Independent living means letting go of household chores, but it doesn’t mean giving up on the hobbies you love. The residents of Berwick by the Sea don’t have to worry about cutting the grass or mopping the floors, which leaves them more time to play in the garden. Being in a Berwick community also means there are always friends nearby who share your passion — in the case of the Gardening Club that means a group of green thumbs to consult with on fertilizing, pruning, or for Evylen Farrant and Norman Wood, mapping out an irrigation plan for the pots on the rooftop patio.

Gardening for mind and body

The number one reason Berwick by the Sea residents garden is because they love it, but gardening has many other benefits of course. Being outdoors soaking in the fresh air and sunshine can boost your vitamin D, which benefits your bones and immune system. Nurturing plants may also improve your mood, lowering stress and anxiety, and maybe even combating dementia.

Gardening is also a great way to get your body moving and maintain hand strength. Exercise Physiologist Chris Connolly, who is an exercise specialist at Berwick Qualicum Beach, says hand strength is one of the keys to overall fitness.

“It’s one of the lowest common denominators of fitness. If hand strength fails then you have to give up all sorts of daily activities, which means you’re not building general strength and endurance.”

Then there’s enjoying the harvest, and reaping what you sow. Gardening Club herbs and veggies have been known to make their way into delicious meals in Berwick’s dining room and bistro!

Berwick by the Sea is an award-winning independent and assisted living community where residents can continue to live nourishing, active lives. To learn more, call Dianne Robb at 250-914-8055 or email bcr.marketingmgr@berwickrc.com. Follow Berwick on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates!



Berwick by the Sea offers spectacular views on their rooftop patio, complemented by the flowers and veggies grown by members of the Gardening Club.

Berwick by the Sea offers spectacular views on their rooftop patio, complemented by the flowers and veggies grown by members of the Gardening Club.

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