Late bloomers: Seniors find meaning in caring for garden at Common On Thorton

August 22, 2017

Our local paper did a story on two of our residents who volunteer in the garden. They also go on to highlight our flower challenge and Senior Volunteer Expo. Check it out!

Frances Croci spent 82 years living on a ranch, first as a child and then as a married woman.

Burton “Skip” Kirchner worked for PG&E for 40 years, working his way up from meter reader to executive, and when he retired, he and his wife bought a piece of property in Sebastopol, where he grew apples, olives and pinot noir grapes on nearly three acres of land.

After they lost their spouses, each moved to The Commons on Thornton, a Stockton senior living community, where they’re linked by their mutual love of gardening.

As they looked at the petunias, impatiens, gerbera daisy and other plants that Kirchner planted in three standing flower boxes on the senior residential community’s patio, Croci couldn’t help but pick out a few wilted blossoms.

They also weed the planters and water them and help keep up the facility’s small vegetable garden that had been planted by employees.

“I like being outdoors,” Croci said.

It’s what she always knew, coming by her green thumb congenitally. Her father grew cherries and peaches in Linden, and there always was room around the house for vegetable and flower gardens. Her mom loved camellias. She likes all flowers.

Kirchner, too, is an outdoor person

“I grew up in the small town of San Rafael, where there were hills to walk up,” he said. “I’m not used to too many places where you can’t do that.”