News & Events

May tries her hand at gardening and discovers a green thumb

February 19, 2018

May Hedin will try her hand at anything. She throws herself into new things with gusto no matter if it’s for recreation, well-being or to earn money. Her life at OCAV’s Braeside Park village in Berwick is a testimony to her willingness to make things happen, keep things going and get others involved.


It’s eight years since May left her home in the Yarra Valley to come to Braeside Park. She had heard about Rushall Park from a friend but went to an open day at Braeside Park and decided to put her name down. The idea of living close to the city at Rushall Park was appealing, but she is very happy she ended up in Berwick, where she has built a community of friends.


“I go up to the shops and see lots of people I know, so I never feel like I am on my own,” May said.


She has thrown herself into life at Braeside Park and recently took over the garden from long-time resident Bessie Gould, who died in 2017. In the garden beds she grows rhubarb, cucumber, beans, beetroot, sliver beet and tomatoes.


May, 78, loves the peace and quiet of the garden in the morning and works until it is too hot, or she has had enough. She distributes the vegies and much of it goes to the kitchen to be used for residents’ meals. Not bad for someone who had never been much of a gardener and picked up all her know-how watching her partner, a keen gardener, before his death in1998.


Last year a few women expressed interest in playing Mahjong so May invited a member of U3A to visit for a few weeks and teach them how to play. The group enjoyed the game and played until a few of the residents became ill. May hopes it might resume one day, but she doesn’t dwell on what isn’t happening, rather on what’s possible. She takes advantage of the public transport offered near the village to keep as fit and connected as possible.


“The public transport available around here is amazing. I can catch a bus to visit family in Rosebud and go where I want. What fabulous services we have on offer,” May said.


May was hit with the flu last year and has taken a while to get back into her usual routine. She normally walks every day and three times a week she catches the bus to the nearby Fountain Gate Swimming Pool and swims for 40 minutes, walks to the shops and catches a bus back to Braeside Park.


“I’ve been swimming and walking a lot my whole life so I want to keep that up as long as I can,” May said.


When she isn’t in the garden, swimming, walking or catching up with family and friends, May gets involved in whatever is going on in the village that takes her fancy, such as craft and fortnightly bingo. She has been involved in the residents’ committee for years and is now serving as treasurer.


“I taught myself to crochet from some books I bought and I ended up developing classes and teaching it at neighborhood houses. I am happy to try my hand at most things. Sometimes it is because I had to and sometimes because I want to.”


The apartments are beautiful, with lovely, open and bright rooms, and a balcony for growing plants in pots. I am starting to make my apartment into a home.

– Catherine, Leith Park

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