Greenacres gardening crew surprise IRT residents for Mother’s Day

05 May 2021

This week the Greenacres IRT Community Connect gardening crew are delivering more than 1200 pot plants as surprise Mother’s Day gifts to IRT retirement village residents in the Illawarra, Sydney, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and the ACT.

Since November last year the Greenacres gardeners have been working with IRT Facilities Management to propagate the plants with cuttings sourced from IRT aged care centre gardens in the Illawarra. The plants include geraniums, succulents, money plant, pig face, fire stick and coleus.

The group of seven Greenacres gardeners have been receiving gardening training from IRT Facilities Management employees for the past two years as part of the Greenacres Community Connect program which provides training opportunities for people with disability. They’ve learned basic gardening and land care skills, use of lawn mowing equipment and have been involved in the garden design and planting at IRT Five Islands and Kemira at IRT Kanahooka.

When COVID-19 restrictions impacted the group’s ability to continue tending the gardens at IRT aged care sites they turned their attention to propagating the 1200 plants for Mother’s Day.

IRT Group CEO Patrick Reid says the Greenacres IRT Community Connect gardening program is a great example of two community-based not-for-profits working together to benefit both organisations and the people of the Illawarra.

“Before COVID our residents really enjoyed it when the Greenacres gardeners came to IRT sites and worked their magic on our gardens. We are very grateful that they’ve put their efforts into growing these plants as gifts for the many mothers living at IRT sites,” Mr Reid said.

The project has stretched beyond the work of just the Greenacres gardeners as their workmates at Greenacres Enterprises have also pitched in, decorating 1200 terracotta pots for the plants and crafting hand-made cards. The pots were donated by Bunnings Bellambi.

Greenacres General Manager Heather Marciano says it’s been wonderful to see everyone’s enthusiasm for the project.

“Participants from right across Greenacres have been contributing, including decorating the pots and tending to the plants. There’s a lot of excitement about seeing the IRT residents’ faces when they receive their special Mother’s Day gift,” Ms Marciano said.

Nathan who is part of the Greenacres gardening crew is proud of what he and his friends have achieved alongside the IRT Facilities Management employees.

“It’s been a great project, we have learnt so much like how to propagate plants and what kind of soil to use. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it,” Nathan said.

Nathan and the rest of the Greenacres gardeners are excited for the pot plants to be delivered.

“It’s going to be special for the mothers. If it wasn’t for mothers we wouldn’t be here.”

Media enquiries: Hannah Ellson 0429 361 627 |                   

General enquiries: 134 478


About IRT Group:

IRT Group is one of Australia’s largest community-owned, not-for-profit providers of retirement living, residential aged care and home care. With 50 years’ experience and locations throughout NSW, the ACT and South East Queensland, we employ almost 2800 people and play a significant role in promoting seniors as dynamic, influential and valuable members of society.

About Greenacres:

Greenacres is one of the largest disability service providers in the Illawarra. For over 65 years, Greenacres have been committed to supporting people with disability to achieve their dreams by providing training, employment opportunities, respite and life and leisure programs to over 600 people with a disability.