Spanish Cove breaks ground on celebration garden

Henson: ‘Fitting tribute’ to residents, caregivers, supporters

Spanish Cove board members, residents and administrators join the project designer and contractor at a July 14th ground-breaking ceremony for the Cove’s celebration garden are: From left, Walter Toney, Gary Miller, John Nail Jr., Leslie Soulen, Ellen Henson, Lois Stagner, Debbie Miller, Don Blose, Cheryl O'Neill, Elda Johnston, Jill Huff, Mike McEachern, Daniel Jordan, and David Goodwin. (Photo by Jeremy Pyle)

By Cara Pattison
Contributing Writer

What started out as a nondescript patch of lawn at Spanish Cove Retirement and Assisted Living Village is rapidly transforming into a beautiful celebration garden.

The dream of residents Ellen Henson and Lois Stagner became a reality on July 14 during the official groundbreaking ceremony at Spanish Cove, 11 Palm.

“I believe turning a piece of on-property ground into a celebration garden is a fitting tribute to all past residents, current residents, caregivers, and supporters of Spanish Cove,” Henson said.

Spanish Cove Marketing Director Jill Huff believes the timing of the new Celebration Garden’s construction is a perfect way to celebrate the village’s 50th anniversary in September 2024.

“The garden symbolizes the Spanish Cove spirit – a spirit that Sherman Huff named many years ago,” Huff said. “This spirit is something that is felt in all of us that live here. It’s contagious and amazing.

“We’ve been here for almost 50 years, and this garden honors all the memories planted here and the people who have redefined the aging experience as residents. They’ve made the golden years the best years of life. And now, we have an opportunity to honor them by planting their memories in a beautiful celebration garden.”

Don Blose

Spanish Cove CEO and Executive Administrator Don Blose agreed, saying that Spanish Cove aims to help residents “finish well,” and this garden fits that ideal.

“Spanish Cove has always been a wonderful community in the heart of Yukon,” he said. “To me, I like that the celebration garden memorializes residents and helps them leave Spanish Cove better than they found it.”

The new celebration garden will be located at the front of the Spanish Cove Pavilion, which houses assisted living, memory care, and long-term care residents.

The garden will include a concrete walking path and cart path, boulder sculpture, lush landscape with edging, and a bronze statue.

The bronze statue of an elderly couple with two children sitting on a bench, titled “Generations,” was on display during the groundbreaking ceremony.

Spanish Cove celebration garden co-creators Ellen Henson (left) and Lois Stagner with project designer Daniel Jordan. (Photo by Jeremy Pyle)


At the center of the garden will be an area where fund-raising brick memory pavers will rest.

For months, residents and staff have been selling the engraved pavers for $100 a piece with the theme, “Buy a Brick, Plant a Memory.” The sale of each brick funds the building of the garden.

Construction will be completed by Yukon developer and building contractor John Nail Jr.

“Mrs. Henson and Mrs. Stagner designed the garden, and I agreed to build it,” Nail said. “I appreciate the fact that these ladies have taken an unspectacular area of lawn and are turning it into this beautiful garden addition. It is an honor to construct this beautiful spot for the Spanish Cove residents, staff, and visitors.

“When done, it will be the perfect spot not only for recreation, but also a place with benches for anyone at Spanish Cove to sit and enjoy nature.”

As the construction manager, Nail will gather the specialists in each phase, hire the right people, and oversee the work to ensure it turns out according to Henson and Stagner’s vision.

A few phases of the celebration garden’s roll-out include performing the dirt work, perfecting elevations for proper drainage, installing a sprinkler system and electrical wiring, pouring the concrete sidewalks, and perfecting the masonry of the memory brick area.

Even though the groundbreaking ceremony has already occurred, Henson and Stagner are still fundraising for the garden by selling the brick pavers.

The ladies have also organized a benefit dinner to help build the lush retreat.

The fundraising dinner will be 5 p.m. Saturday, July 22 at the retirement village.

After dining on cuisine prepared by Spanish Cove Director of Culinary Services Eric Peters, attendees may participate in a dessert auction manned by Canadian County District 1 Commissioner Tom Manske.

The evening will culminate in a Whodunit Theater performance of “The Beverly Kill-Billies.”

Cost is $60 per person when purchasing four or more tickets, or $75 for individual tickets.

To inquire about the celebration garden, call the Spanish Cove Marketing Department at (405) 354-5906.

Yukon builder/developer John Nail Jr. is the contractor Spanish Cove’s new Celebration Garden. Behind Nail, Spanish Cove CEO Don Blose speaks to residents. (Photo by Jeremy Pyle)