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Growing In More Ways Than One


Along with canoeing, yoga, Pilates, classes and events, there is now also planting, watering and fertilizing. Because just outside Cunningham Hall, at the base of a shiny windmill, a previously empty community garden has sprouted to life.But who is behind all the leaves, colors and vines? And what is the garden all about? During a chance meeting between Alex Murphy, Lifestyle Director at Starkey Ranch, and Gary Cormack, one of our residents, the answers began to blossom.

When Gary was twelve years old, his dad asked the neighborhood’s best gardener to come over and till the back yard. The gardener was very helpful but it was actually Gary who did the tilling until the dirt was ready for planting. As part of what would be a father’s great lesson, Gary and his dad planted over 15 types of vegetables and approximately 50 plants in total. Gary was told this would be his garden to take care of and encouraged not to fail. And from that day on, his thumb has gotten greener and greener.

Gary reached out to Alex and asked if he could help tend to the garden. Of course he could! Who better than its residents to make Starkey Ranch thrive? With a little help from Mother Nature and some guidance from Gary, our residents have created a beautiful garden we can all be proud of. More than that, we can get involved thanks to the new Starkey Ranch Garden Club.


To Gary Cormack, being part of the Garden Club provides a respite from the daily grind. It brings people together to learn about welcoming new life into this world – a small green plant, nurtured until it culminates in a red tomato, green pepper, yellow squash, sweet potato, watermelon, or one of many varieties of herbs. Not to mention spending time with people of all ages and walks of life. And the best part is you don’t have to be a pro. In fact, Gary says most people already involved simply want to learn, and perhaps his favorite thing to do is help them turn a brown thumb green.

The Garden Club recently held its first meeting and will continue to meet once a month. Volunteers will harvest the community garden and residents can purchase vegetables and herbs on Wednesdays. Proceeds will go toward maintenance of the garden.

If you’d like to see the abundance of vegetables and herbs for yourself, just stop by the garden and take a look around. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see you at the Garden Club’s next meeting.