Aug 3
Virtual Tour: University House Wallingford’s Beautiful Courtyard Garden 1

Resident Spotlight: Donna Shares Why She Fell in Love with the Gardens at University House Wallingford

Donna, pictured above, is a resident at University House Wallingford and leads the community Garden Club. 

From the unique association we have with the UWRA to our retirement community’s vibrant and active lifestyle, there are many reasons to choose University House Wallingford as your next home. Today, we want to highlight another distinct feature of our community — the beautiful courtyard garden.

The lush landscaping at University House Wallingford is designed in the classic garden style and showcases vibrant colors, interesting textures and shapes, as well as eye-catching sculptural art. Donna, a resident of our community, fell in love with this garden when she and her husband Jim moved in back in 2016.

“The garden here at University House Wallingford is very different from the snow-covered gardens my husband Jim and I created and tended to in Maine,” Donna shares. “However, the more I learned about the complexity of this gardening space, the more passionate about it I became. The fact that the courtyard sits on top of a parking garage is an engineering feat of its own. Full-sized trees in elevated planters and a wide variety of ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as perennials, bulbs and seasonal color plantings, make this garden a unique and most beautiful landscape.”

Donna has always had an interest in gardening and learning about the heritage of plants. After joining our community, Donna took it upon herself to begin identifying and learning the history of the plants grown in our garden.

“I called it ‘my secret’ garden and immersed myself in identifying the award-winning plants,” Donna shares. “While I have no formal academic degree in landscape design or horticulture, what I do have is a life-time of gardening experience and identifying plants and researching their history and medicinal use.  I enjoyed spending time researching and naming the garden art and sculptures.”

And her involvement hasn’t stopped there.  Since moving in to University House Wallingford, Donna has helped transform what was formerly the Greenhouse Committee to become the current University House Garden Club. Donna feels the new club better reflects the changing interests and activities of the residents.

“While I and the other residents care deeply about the community’s courtyard greenhouse and its beautiful orchids,” Donna shares, “we also had a broadening interest in our garden and the natural world around us.”

As a leader of the Garden Club, which welcomes all residents at University House Wallingford, Donna puts together presentations and monthly reports showcasing various plants and provides background information on the history and origins of each flower.

We are so grateful to have passionate residents like Donna take an interest in our garden, and we are thrilled to start seeing other residents begin to share that passion as well. Before you go, please enjoy the presentation Donna put together below to get a glimpse into the kinds of flowers, bushes, and sculptures shown in our lush landscaping. And if you are interested in seeing our garden in-person, we would love to have you come in for a tour! Please contact us here or give us a call at (206) 452-3209.

About Donna

Donna’s gardening experience includes raising and propagating plants (with a focus on heirloom varieties); planning for and participating in home and garden tours; and presenting programs on heirloom plants. She is particularly proud to have had her heirloom gardens be the focus of a major publication in 2008, Gardens Maine Style – Act II, by Rebecca Sawyer Fay and Lynn Karlin. She maintains a large collection of horticultural publications, thousands of 4×6” index source cards and here at University House Wallingford, she has published From the Gardens, Greenhouse and Garden Club articles for resident email newsletters.