Christina’s Gardens Making Mayflower Beautiful

November 23, 2023

Nestled within the serene borders of Mayflower Brighton, an enchanting new space of greenery and colour is taking shape, capturing the heart of Christina Andersen's love for gardens. As the mind behind the ‘Christina Garden Extension Project’, Christina paints a narrative of resilience, mindfulness, legacy, and the eternal beauty of life.

Pictured above: Christina in front of one of the many beautiful and colourful installations, “As you share your walk along life’s journey, stop and remember those you loved. Take them amidst your care and connect with the garden, beautiful we have made. In your thoughts, you will treasure the memories in your hearts. Love those you treasured, go with stars in your thoughts.”

Starting modestly, as Christina recalls, the project’s ambition grew alongside her passion. “Initially just the first section in the corner, then someone mentioned doing the rest of it – and eventually, I undertook to do the whole lot!” she exclaims. The project took on the entire side of the Mayflower Brighton residence, alongside our retirement living unit car park.

The scent of the Murraya Paniculata, more commonly known as Orange Jessamine, which once surrounded her former home in East Bentleigh, holds a special place in Christina’s heart. Each window there opened to the perfume and view of this charming flower hedging. At Mayflower Brighton, she sought to recreate the essence of that special garden. Christina's vision sees the Murraya Paniculata forming a hedge on the back wall, while the garden's front invites family members to commemorate their lost loved ones with plants in their memory.

Christina’s heartwarming reason for creating the garden is simple: "I wanted to leave this as my final resting place, a beautiful legacy to myself and to my thoughts and to my heart." Her vision is one of happiness for every individual at Mayflower Brighton.

A collaboration with Display Makers in Cheltenham added a vibrant touch to this green canvas. “Lauren, daughter of Ross, who manages Display Makers, has crafted exquisite artworks of birds and butterflies,” says Christina. But why birds and butterflies? "Birds give us happiness. They bring us peace," explains Christina, “like the symbolic representations of birds such as the dove of peace,” she says. Strikingly beautiful and colourful birds are purposeful additions to remind visitors of tranquillity. As for the butterflies, “they help the plants grow and it's important to have butterflies visiting your garden, so I wanted to represent that." These intricate creatures welcome all, whether on foot, wheelchair or by car, “as people leave the car park, or walk past Mayflower they can also enjoy the garden,” says Christina.

Christina’s life journey has been nothing short of miraculous. Once pronounced dead 23 years ago, she survived against all odds. Despite the hurdles, including her current battle with a terminal illness, her spirits remain high. "Thank the Lord I still have my marbles," she jests, proving that her spirit is indomitable. Being mindful of remembering plant names, especially their botanical names, Christina confesses they help keep her mind active and sharp.

This latest addition to Mayflower Brighton will be Christina’s third and final garden, following the ‘Maple Trees – an Expression of Peace and Joy’ and ‘Christina’s Garden Project, A Legacy of Peace’ around the back of Mayflower.

Christina believes that we are all here to do good. "And if we do that, we can leave the world for the better, and show those still here there's a place for them to find peace and happiness."

As we reflect on her journey and her gift to Mayflower, Christina's concluding thought resonates deeply: “It is hard for me to say this, but I know my days here aren't long, but I am leaving this garden as a legacy to my thoughts, to send peace and joy to those who visit."

At Mayflower, a not-for-profit charitable organisation, we deeply cherish and are grateful for the generosity of community members like Christina, who help us make the world a little brighter and more beautiful for all.

Thank you, Christina.

Pictured above: Christina with Saul, a Mayflower Brighton registered nurse she shares a special bond with.

Pictured above: At the beginning of the garden, those strolling through are welcomed.

Pictured above: Birds on a fence, "Hello Hello, Would It Be A Surprise for This Beautiful Garden We have Found A Selection Of Magnificent Birds Flying to Compete Amoung The Butterfly's Please Enjoy Them All" - Christina A Andersen.

Pictured above: The colourful 3D butterflies pop out against the black wall of the car park

Pictured: A large wall art installation of birds

Pictured above: Christina with her glorious halo of birds and butterflies