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Setting down new roots

Original location of Karen's treeA place named “Orchard Path” elicits images of dappled sunlight on tree-lined walkways with calming sounds of leaves rustling in the breeze. This vision attracted Karen Krumpelmann, who will be moving to Orchard Path, the future Presbyterian Homes & Services senior living community in Apple Valley, MN. So much so, that she offered a beloved magnolia from her current home to be transplanted in the suburban forest that will surround her future home. 

The young magnolia holds special meaning for Karen. It was first planted in the backyard of her home two years ago in memory of her husband, Tom, who had died recently. Karen and Tom were married in 1994 and he moved into her split-entry house in Apple Valley where she’s lived for over four decades. For 23 years, Karen and Tom, her three daughters and his two sons formed one family. They welcomed nine grandchildren into their lives. And they shared a mutual love of trees as Karen noted, “They are more lasting than flowers.” 

The magnolia sapling grew alongside many trees on the property, each with its own story. Among the stand are three trees, each one planted for her three daughters’ confirmations. Two mature red maples grow strong after being relocated from her former home on Leech Lake in the North Woods of Minnesota. “Every tree was planted for a reason,” explains Karen.  

Now, Karen is pulling up the roots of her life; preparing to transplant herself in a new apartment home at Orchard Path when it opens next spring. She attended an introductory presentation when construction had barely begun on the new community. “I liked what I heard,” she said. “It’s time to have everything on one level,” she acknowledged. Karen was among the first future residents to make a reservation for a senior living apartment. She chose the 2-bedroom “Prairie Spy” floor plan, named for an apple variety bred and cultivated in Minnesota. “I love, love, love that it has a sunroom with big windows facing south and east,” she said.

Before she moves in, Karen will be able to choose some of the colors and finishes for her first-floor apartment as it is completed. After she moves in, she will be able to look out her apartment windows and see her beloved magnolia tree.  

Planting Karen's tree outside her future apartment at Orchard PathKaren credits the Orchard Path staff and development team for making her unique request a reality. She recalled how willing Linda Engelken, Orchard Path Housing Advisor, was to find out if the new community could accept the tree. Karen was impressed when Jim Inman, PHS regional engineering manager, placed a sawhorse where the tree could be planted in sight of her apartment. “They were absolutely fantastic!” she said. 

Accepting Karen’s tree donation wasn’t difficult, according to Steve Kuhns, Partner with Essential Decisions, Inc (EDI) the project development firm for Orchard Path. “Knowing people are making difficult transitions, we’re glad we can make it a little easier and feel more like home,” he said. EDI collaborated with Ryan Reed, Project Superintendent of Anderson Companies, general contractor for the construction project. “We looked at the tree and made sure it would fit into the city approved landscape plan,” said Kuhns. When all agreed it was a go, they coordinated the transplant with the landscape subcontractor, careful to consider the construction schedule and weather. 

The tree was removed from Karen’s property on November 9, 2017. “The fellows who came were very careful and thoughtful in their mission. I appreciated this very much,” said Karen after watching the landscape crew extract the tree from her yard. The crew planted the tree right outside Karen’s future apartment, just as she had hoped. 

“I didn’t think moving the tree could happen, but now I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to see it from my sunroom,” Karen exclaimed. “It is a way of bringing a piece of my home and life with me,” she said. 

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