Youthful energy gets garden built at Murray Heights retirement village

A team of residents, led by Kevin Schrapel, has created an oasis at the Lutheran home.

This story was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled stories are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.

They were as excited as schoolboys on a camp-out.

Utes and trucks lined up at Murray Heights Lutheran Village late last year, seven or eight of them, septagenarian adventure-seekers at the wheel, big grins on their faces.

They’d been up to the Adelaide Hills, where they traipsed about on a farm, collecting rocks.

Thirty pallets’ worth were brought back over a few trips.

Years melted away from the volunteers as, together, they created something they hoped would endure until today’s schoolkids grew old.

On Wednesday, the garden they established was officially opened at the retirement village up the top of Adelaide Road, Murray Bridge.

Project mastermind Kevin Schrapel and his helpers designed the garden to engage the senses, with plants selected for their smell and feel as much as their attractive appearance and water-wise nature.

The sound of trickling water is audible throughout, and in the heart of it all is a fire pit, a natural gathering place for residents during winter.

Now that the garden was done, Mr Schrapel joked, “I’ve had women say ‘what are you going to do with our men now?’”

Manager Delton Schiller thanked all who had contributed to the garden, next to the village’s community centre.

The space was originally to have been used for three houses, he said, but this was more valuable to residents.

“As we get older, some things – like smell, touch and the feel of certain textures – enhance our life and bring us back to memories of yesteryear,” he said.

“It really is a warm, fuzzy feeling.”

Pastor Peter Welke blessed the garden, which he said had been the topic of much conversation and object of close inspection as it develped throughout 2020.

“At the very least, it got a few guys out of the house,” he said with a smile.