Community Gardening Comes Full Circle at Vi at Lakeside Village

Vi at Lakeside Village, a 46-acre community situated on Lake Osborne, has abounding trails and green space, so it's no surprise that many Vi at Lakeside Village residents and staff share a love for flora and fauna. This shared passion for nature goes beyond simply growing plants—gardening together also helps nourish the entire Lakeside Village community.
Cultivating passions

When resident Judy Dubrow first moved in, she noticed that the community greenhouse needed a little bit of TLC. She started to visit more regularly and found she enjoyed flexing her green thumb by watering, arranging and caring for the plants.

“They breathe just the way we do—they purify the air,” said Judy.

In addition to the community greenhouse, Judy also gardens in her home’s sunroom. Judy’s passion for plants came later in her life, courtesy of her daughter’s love of gardening.

Over the years, Judy’s daughter has given her cuttings from her garden, many of which have been planted in ceramics handmade by her late husband, bringing warm memories of family into her home. 

Vi at Lakeside Village resident Judy Dubrow.

Taking center stage in Judy’s sunroom is a lavender orchid—a welcome gift from the community when she moved in. 

Growing new friendships

At Vi at Lakeside Village, all new residents receive an orchid. And if they need help with plant care, there’s no need to worry—Lifestyle Director Michael Thomas is always available to help.

Michael Thomas, Vi at Lakeside Village's lifestyle director and Garden Club leader.

Originally from the small Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, Michael first learned about how to care for plants and vegetation by helping his mother in her garden, which was home to sweet potatoes, mango trees, oleanders and hibiscus. 

Now at Vi at Lakeside Village, Michael spreads his passion for and knowledge of gardening to residents during his biweekly Garden Club class.

Participants come to the greenhouse to work on special projects, like planting herb seeds, caring for the community garden, or helping fellow residents repot plants from their homes. 

Michael also gives history lessons on plant species and offers cuttings as an opportunity for members to bring a piece of Garden Club home with them and continue building their skills.

The club has been an opportunity to grow new friendships and relationships with fellow residents. 

“There’s definitely a bond between the club members,” said Michael, “and it starts conversations.” 

As the club gardens together friendships bloom, telling stories, sharing memories, and, of course, offering one another their best gardening tips. 

From garden to table

The Garden Club’s contributions to the community stretch beyond the walls of the greenhouse through a partnership with the food and dining program.

Executive Chef Peter Murphy (known to residents as Chef Pete) says that having fresh ingredients grown on-site helps elevate the culinary possibilities and keeps the menus at Vi at Lakeside Village fresh, exciting and evolving. 

To Chef Pete, herbs are especially important when it comes to considering menu development for seniors, who are mindful of salt and added sugars. 

“I use herbs very heavily in order to season and add flavor to dishes,” said Chef Pete. “Providing scratch-made food to our residents and seeing them enjoy it is highly rewarding.” 

Porkchops with greenhouse rosemary at Vi at Lakeside Village

For the Garden Club at Lakeside Village, everything comes back to growing—whether it’s growing plants, passions, friendships, or community.

“The Garden Club is sort of a huge family,” added Michael. “And they have this sense of responsibility to the community. They all want to see the community flourish.”