Garden of sweet delights

Laura Lepre with her plants and herbs for sale.


Social distancing doesn’t stop Mercy Place Dandenong residents indulging sweet tooths and green thumbs.

The aged-care residents marked International Chocolate Day on 7 July with cupcake baking and decorating with chef Ben Pilois.

Also on the menu was gardening, exercising, flower arranging, bingo and felt-rose crafts.

Laura Lepre, 83, who tends the garden beds and vegie patches, hosted a potted-plant sale.

“Laura lost Antonio, her husband of 65 years, just four weeks ago, and ever since, she has thrown all of her energy into the gardens and vegie patches here,” Mercy Place Dandenong Service manager Ralf Pelz said.

“Together with Fay Tooby, one of our volunteers, Laura has been busy potting some of the plants and herbs to sell at our first-ever plant sale. It’s been wonderful to see her with a smile back on her face.”

Ms Lepre, who worked in a nursery, says she grew up among big gardens filled with vegetables and herbs.

“Working in the gardens here takes me back to those days, and it means I have plenty of fresh herbs for my special pasta sauce,” says the renowned gnocchi-maker.

In coming weeks, residents will take an armchair holiday to France for Bastille Day, knit-and-natter and join in karaoke.


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