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For Nina Gragg, green thumb comes naturally

No matter where she has lived, Nina Gragg has always done her part to bring a little beauty into the world. At 90, the lifelong gardener attributes her green thumb and overall passion for flowers to her mom and her rural upbringing.

“I think a lot of my love of flowers came from being raised on a farm and seeing all of the wildflowers,” said Nina. “ My mother always had flowers and gave me a little circular spot out in the yard where I could have my own. That taught me what would grow and when—something you have to develop over several years.”

While Nina has grown and nurtured countless species of flowers over the years, she is able to identify a few of her favorites.

“I really love pansies and their little smiling faces,” said Nina. “I also like my amaryllis plant because it’s beautiful and actually easy to grow. I bought it in Florida with my granddaughter and it has bloomed for 25 to 30 years.”

When Nina sees others struggling to keep their plants alive, she is usually able to identify one common problem.

“Most people overwater. If a plant starts looking a little sad, people think it needs water and that’s not always the case,” said Nina. “I just find things kind of thrive when you leave them alone.”

After living in the Villa for more than 10 years, Nina moved into Independent Living last year and, as usual, couldn’t wait to get her hands into the soil—however Mother Nature had other plans.

“I found a nice place outside to put in three tomato plants but I had to wait because I had a goose make a nest right where I wanted to put them,” said Nina.

As a long-term resident of the community Nina has grown to appreciate both the care she has received and friends she has made over the years.

“It’s a good place to be,” said Nina. “You have good attention and people are concerned about your health and that’s the main thing.”

Over the past year, the staff’s main concern about health has revolved around combating COVID-19. However, with vaccines now distributed, Nina is eager to get back out into the world.

“I am really looking forward to going on some bus trips so we can go someplace else to eat—our food is good, but being able to get out and do some bus trips and eat something different will be nice,” said Nina.

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