A new project at the Glenwood Springs Community Garden aims to nourish seniors with more than food for the body. Bill Lockwood, a local master gardener, is growing flowers that will accompany daily meals delivered to seniors across the county.
Lockwood earlier this year took over a plot of raised beds formerly used to grow vegetables for Meals on Wheels, a program that brings nutritional meals to seniors in Garfield County, sponsored by Valley View and Grand River hospitals.
This year, thanks to his efforts, recipients will receive a jar of cut flowers along with their daily meal.
For Lockwood, a fit 76, it’s about sharing something of beauty with those who can’t get out to appreciate what spring has to offer.
“I’ve always liked beauty, especially flowers,” he said. His grandmother instilled in him a love of flowers. “I inherited her Siberian iris, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Pat Girardot, who has helped Lockwood in the garden, applauds his effort to bring beauty to seniors through Meals on Wheels. “I think the project is just wonderful,” she said. “It’s an original idea, I think, offering nourishment for more than the stomach.”
This day the flowers — cosmos and delphinium, zinnia and bachelor buttons and Asiatic lilies — are just beginning to show themselves above the dark loamy soil in the raised beds. Lockwood chose them for their hardiness.
“They’re not fussy. They’re not sensitive to changes in the weather. They’re colorful and will look nice in a vase,” he said.
The flowers will be ready for cutting about mid-July.
Lockwood has had his own space at the community garden for about four years. He grew flowers for a garden club at Grace Healthcare nursing home in Glenwood Springs. This spring, Lockwood applied to the city to take over the senior nutrition program’s beds that were going unused. He bought the flower seeds and planted them in late May.
Now he tends the green flower shoots daily, watering and weeding. As a master gardener, he recommends planting annual flowers from seed.
“Instead of spending money on perennials, buy some seeds and stick them in the ground,” he said. “They’ll be a lot happier than transplants.” And the plants will come up every year.
He sees himself in the role of master gardener as “a sort of missionary who goes out into the world to inform the public about the best growing methods.”
He’s looking for some help in the daily watering chores, until the plants get established.