Friends House Retirement Community in Sandy Spring, MD sets a great example for eco-friendly living. They have a 2-acre, on-site garden maintained by a dedicated Garden Committee of master gardeners, committee members and other residents. Residents choose from ground-level or raised gardening plots where they plant a variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. There are also specialty gardens including the rose garden, cutting gardens, and the Shakespeare garden. With a true sense of community, gardeners offer their extra produce to other residents and staff.
Garden committee members also create the elegant flower arrangements displayed throughout Friends House. The herb garden is used by both residents and the kitchen team. There is even a small herb selection in the Bistro for residents to flavor their entrees or snip and take home. Fruit trees are planted on the border of the garden. Residents often make jam or baked goods for sale, with benefits going to the Residents Assistance Fund.
The Garden Committee also manages the community-wide composting program. Composting allows the entire campus to turn food waste into nutrient-rich soil for the garden. Friends House has won awards from Montgomery County for excellence in composting.
Did you know? According to the EPA, there are multiple benefits to composting!
- Improves the structure and health of your soil by adding organic matter
- Helps the soil retain moisture and nutrients
- Attracts beneficial organisms to the soil and reduces the need for pesticides and fertilizers
- Reduces the potential for soil erosion
- Sequesters carbon in the soil
- Builds resilience to the impacts of climate change
Eat local. Live local.
Friends House also offers a weekly farmer’s market to residents and staff during the growing months of the year. Local farmer, Tom Farquhar, owner of Sandy Spring Gardens, supplies extremely fresh organic produce.
Friends who garden together, stay together.
If you find yourself as excited as our residents are to start working the soil for your spring garden, don’t forget to check the Farmer’s Almanac Average Frost Dates chart so you know when it’s likely safe to plant your seedlings. When it’s finally time to get your hands dirty, have a plan using the handy Planting Calendar to get the most out of your time outdoors.
Friends House Retirement Community is committed to promoting sustainability and supporting local agriculture. Their garden, Garden Committee, farmer’s market, and award-winning composting are just a few examples of how they are making a positive impact on the environment and the community.
Come grow with us!
Contact Anthony today for a personal tour of our community garden during the month of April and see our garden come alive firsthand.