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Rancho de Calistoga Community Garden is a space for seniors to grow

Rancho de Calistoga Community Garden is a space for seniors to grow


What was once an eyesore has been turned into a focal point at Rancho de Calistoga Mobile Home Park.

Residents and community volunteers have transformed an unused space into a garden providing avid senior gardeners with space to grow tomatoes, beans, herbs, other fresh produce on the property.

The garden is an offshoot of the community garden on the other side of town. It was started a couple of years ago, not long after longtime Calistoga resident Lana Richardson moved to the park.

Richardson has been instrumental in orchestrating the project, finding volunteers, and, as she says, “scavenging materials.”

“It’s been an evolutionary process and a cooperative effort,” she said. “Calistoga is really a gardening community. It’s an important asset.”

Residents of the park have formed the RdC Garden Club, and the original garden included three in-ground plots and three low raised beds. The Club recruited members, held fundraisers, received donations, and a Community Enrichment Grant.

The funds have been used for materials for a new fence, planter boxes, and gradually the size of the garden has more than doubled, to 13 plots.

“Lana really turned this around and kept it moving forward,” said Rancho manager Lauren Haugen.

Some of the plots were built with higher raised beds from wood and corrugated steel that are more easily accessed by “senior backs.” Perimeter boxes also provide flowers and herbs that the whole community can access.

Richardson’s biggest challenge, as with any gardener, is keeping critters out. Next, she’d like to add pigeon strips to the top of the fence, but those working alongside her know she won’t stop there.

“She’s thinking about putting a second story on next year,” joked Bruce Gardon, who built planter boxes for the garden.      

The Club has also recruited youth from the UpValley Family Center’s Kids Diversion program, and also plans to work with Calistoga Elementary school and assist with their garden program.

While garden improvements have been supported by member contributions and fundraisers, efforts for raising funds for the garden were challenged by the pandemic. The Club is holding a Flea Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Park, in hopes of raising money to continue improvements. Find everything from baked goods to furniture and collectibles.

Find out more at

Join Jaime Giorgi of The Monkey Flower Group for a brief tour of her garden. Courtesy of Napa County Resource Conservation District

You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.

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