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Fresh produce brings Sunset Ridge retirees together

Sunset Ridge gardening 603_crop.jpg

Fresh produce from a bountiful vege patch has been a focus of friendship and community for residents at Bolton Clarke’s Sunset Ridge retirement village at Emu Park.

Keen gardeners Geoff and Jenny Marquardt started the project and have now got other residents involved with new gardens underway, produce being shared and a herb patch in the offing.

For Jenny, it’s a natural part of a supportive neighbourhood – something that has been particularly important over recent months.

“We planted the garden as a project that would get Geoff out and busy,” Jenny says.

“Now we have banana trees, cauliflower, beetroot, three types of lettuce, silver beet and sugarloaf cabbages, and Geoff is about to plant potatoes.

“We have lemons we’ve been giving away and I’ve just shared 1kg of cumquats with my friend – we’re planning to make orange and cumquat jam.”

Sharing community meals is nothing new at Sunset Ridge – on Mother’s Day Jenny and friend Shirley used the village kitchen to cook 130 pancakes for fellow residents, along with a home-made mulberry syrup.

“We could only deliver six at a time, so our Village Manager Judy Osborne delivered them in the buggy and played Elvis Presley music full bore – people were coming out and dancing.

“We ended up making an extra batch for the local Ambulance crew!”

Jenny and Jeff lived on a cattle property for 40 years before travelling and finally settling at Sunset Ridge eight years ago.

“We’re so glad we came here – we feel so safe and it’s a beautiful community,” Jenny says.

“Geoff walks our dog every day and spends time in the garden, and he’ll pick a big bunch of silver beet and share it with the neighbours, or share the bananas around and have a talk.

 “Judy has plans to start a herb garden for us too. It would be just lovely to see everyone coming down here, having a little vege patch.”