30 April 2024

A talented volunteer and an industrious resident have been almost entirely responsible for the complete transformation of a tired campus courtyard at Dimboola Care Community.

The Bretag Garden is one of a handful of courtyards where residents can catch some fresh air and sunshine, but it was beginning to look a little jaded. At one of their regular residents’ meetings, resident Graeme suggested Dimboola artist Colleen Bouts would be the ideal person to give the area a facelift by painting a mural on the garden wall.

A student aid at Dimboola Primary School, Colleen had previously painted other murals at the campus after she began a part time role as a personal services assistant after hours at the campus.

While Colleen started the long project to complete another huge painting, resident David decided he wanted to upgrade the garden. The retired Bacchus Marsh dairy farmer had a passion for gardening and a plan that would complement his enthusiasm and turn an area of neglect into a sustainable vegetable plot.

Sadly, David passed away only days after he was photographed and interviewed for this article.

Dimboola campus manager Keshia Roche said David was completely self-sufficient in his quest.

“David had a trailer that he would hook up to his mobility scooter and he would head down the street and get the soil he wanted along with the seeds and plants and all the bits for the sprinkler system,” Ms Roche said.

“Then he would come back and toil away in the garden each day. He would go out there every day, weather permitting, and he just loved being out there.”

Meaningful Life coordinator at Dimboola Megan Naylor has been supporting David with his project. She said everything David had grown was either consumed at the campus or given to the community.

“A lot of the produce is utilised in our activities with the residents,” Ms Naylor said.

“The residents have already made David’s beetroot relish which has proved a big hit and he will be remembered fondly every time we enjoy the fresh produce from his tireless work.”

Dimboola Care Community used part of a Department of Health $20,000 kitchen garden grant to pay for the garden components.

Grampians Health acting Director of Aged Care Services Sarah Kleinitz said Dimboola’s encouragement toward David was a great example of how Grampians Health aged care communities actively support a person’s entitlement to live an engaged, meaningful and purposeful life.

“Grampians Health is Australia’s largest provider of public sector aged care and our care communities, and the commitment of David and Colleen demonstrates how our ‘Meaningful Life’ model of care operates on the principle that it takes a community to support our residents to live a meaningful life,” Ms Kleinitz said.

Dim Mural
Dimboola Meaningful Life coordinator Megan Naylor
with residents Graeme and the late David in a section
of the
Bretag garden.