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Bridging Community Through Landscapes

Mary Kemmer is so grateful for all the connections she has made in the Columbine Health community working as Landscape Manager for over 24 years! From retirees to seasoned gardeners, each connection adds depth and significance to a shared passion for gardening. It’s a big reason Columbine Health puts so much energy into enhancing the landscapes at each of its facilities.


“One of my favorite things is seeing residents come out and watch us while we are working,” said Mary. “Many grew up or had homes and farms and love to see us ‘beautify’ their building. At times, I get an opportunity to talk to them about gardening and how some of their gardens were huge and fed their large families.” The joy they express reminiscing is heartwarming!


Gardening transcends age and backgrounds and builds camaraderie between Mary and the residents. Her expertise provides opportunities to share her passion throughout the different Columbine Health centers. “Some of our facilities have very active garden clubs and I enjoy visiting their gardens or leading a class talking about plants or insects,” she said.


Nature and engaging in activities like gardening have a therapeutic power. The variety of colors and textures have a soothing effect on the mind, offering respite from the stresses and bustle of daily life. Right now annual flowers are being planted at each of the facilities. The burst of colors from the flowers not only soften the building’s brick and glass but the residents take great joy from their beauty.


Pictured (L to R): Gabriel Soto, Nick Martin, Olga Tikhonova, Sonja Meyer, Mary Kemmer, Elena Torres, Dylan Anderson (Not pictured: Charlene Read Sophie Kowal)

Columbine Health also works to conserve nature’s resources around its properties. Mary and her team have embarked on a project to reduce water usage along Centre Avenue and Worthington Circle, transforming grassy parkways into havens of native and low-water-use plants. With the support of the City of Fort Collins and the Xeriscape Incentive Program, they’re not only beautifying the community but also contributing to the city's natural wildlife corridor. The goal is to eventually change all of Columbine Health’s parkway areas along Centre Avenue. It will be exciting to watch this all unfold!


Mary leading the planting of a salsa garden during Centre Avenue Health & Rehab's Garden Club

If you happen to see Mary or anyone from her team working around any one of the facilities, please make sure to say hi! She and her team are working hard to sow a bright future for Columbine Health Systems, its residents, and the community!

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