Betty Monson, a resident at Oak Crest in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota calls herself a “butterfly nut.” She mentioned her love of butterflies to the Oak Crest staff and that she had her eye on a space outside where she thought a garden would look lovely. Soon after, Housing Administrator Cheryl Grams surprised Betty with designs for a garden in a sunny, butterfly-friendly spot at Oak Crest. More than that, the garden would be dedicated to her through a PHS program known as Liberty Dreams. “This was a true blessing that far surpassed our expectations. Betty received so much support from the Oak Crest community” said Cheryl.
There was no shortage of ideas as the team discussed ways to make Betty feel special. Fellow residents raised their hands to paint garden stones with uplifting words and Bible verses. The stones stand out like Easter eggs among the perennials and visitors are encouraged to take one home as a gift and blessing from Betty. The residents at Oak Crest submitted suggestions for what to call the new garden and officially christened it “Betty’s Dream Butterfly and Prayer Garden.”
Through the generous support of several employees, residents and outside donations, the garden came to life. A stamped patio sits next to the blossoming garden, professionally designed. Oak Crest Home Health Aide Susan Bratsch created a sign for the garden that reads, “Whisper ‘I love you’ to a butterfly and it will fly to Heaven to deliver your message.” From the little details to the new patio, furniture and the dedication ceremony, all the pieces came together to make Betty’s Butterfly and Prayer Garden dream come true. “I am so thrilled, it turned out beautifully and I am so humbled by how many people came. I feel like this is my 15 minutes of fame,” said Betty.
As the construction of the garden unfolded, Betty was kept up-to-date with videos and photos of the progress. For weeks, Betty raised caterpillars that transformed into butterflies for the garden. Betty named each of them, “I’ve just had a ball doing this, I didn’t realize that they all have unique personalities” she said as she gazed over the butterflies flitting playfully through the garden. When the dedication ceremony came to a close, Betty beamed at the thought of the many residents and visitors that will enjoy the garden for years to come.