Gardening was a big part of Duane Reynolds life and so was his work at Vinland.
When the long-time associate director suddenly passed away in the spring of 2015, Vinland’s community was hit hard.
“Right away I knew we needed to have a garden for him,” said Vinland Gardener and Housekeeper Colleen Elvecrog. “Duane worked here 18 years. He was a mentor and friend to everybody.”
Elvecrog came up with the design of a memorial garden including what to plant and how to arrange it. She recognizes the help of Carl’s Landscaping in Plymouth which helped with edging, putting in mulch, and putting in the retaining wall and stepping stones.
“The centerpiece is a smoked bush which is pink like cotton candy,” Elvecrog said. “Two years ago I saw that at a golf course I worked at and asked Duane about it who said he had it in his own yard at home.”
A bench swing sits within the memorial garden area in memory of Reynolds. A laminated picture of Reynolds resides in the earth beneath the bench.
“Duane loved Disney cruises so we put some Disney themed mementos out there too,” she said.
The mementos include a Mickey Mouse solar light and Mickey and Minnie on a little swing.
There is also a fishing themed wind chime recognizing Reynolds’ love for fishing as well as a bird house with a Vikings theme to honor his love for the football team.
Elvecrog would like to add a natural stone plaque so people know what the garden is about in the future.
The memorial garden overlooks Lake Independence, right outside the cafeteria on the south side Vinland’s facility in Loretto.