Patricia “Trish” Ardissone has hundreds of flowers in her garden. Each is carefully labeled and catalogued in books she judiciously keeps updated with photos, planting dates and where she’s proudly exhibited them for competition. Trish affectionately refers to each flower as “she.” She says each has unique characteristics and a personality, like a person.
“I think this is the right place for me,” Trish says of her duplex at Via Christi Village on McLean in Wichita. “I’ve got a garden for my irises. They’re all labeled. I have 150 varieties of them.”
She quickly reels off names of the various kinds of irises she has, with quite a bit of well-earned pride. “It’s a great spot for irises. I’ve got sun and they like sun — except for Tectorum. She’s got to have shade,” says Trish.
The right place at the right time
Trish says her home at Via Christi Village is perfect for her and for her “friends,” the hundreds of irises she carefully tends to and shows. Trish moved to her duplex on the advice of a friend, who thought it would be a great fit for her. “She called me and said she found me a place. I came over and looked at it and I started crying. I said, ‘I think so!’”
A passion for helping
A true “green thumb,” Trish spends a lot of her time volunteering at Botanica, The Wichita Gardens. She started volunteering with her late husband, Larry. Trish and Larry were always active and didn’t slow down until he got sick with cancer. The two moved into another Via Christi facility when it became difficult to take care of their large home with its many iris beds. After Larry passed away, Trish moved to the Village at 777 N. McLean Blvd. with her irises to help keep her company.
Trish says her kids wanted her to move somewhere that was clean and had great security. McLean seemed to be the perfect choice. Plus, there are plenty of activities to keep her busy when she’s not gardening.
“They have a great activity staff. I pick and choose the things I want to do,” Trish says. “I finally made it to the spelling bee. That’s the kind of thing that intrigues me, that and playing Scrabble or playing cards.”
Trish also volunteers at the Village. She did all of the sewing for the circular scent pads residents made to comfort premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Via Christi Hospital on Harry. Mothers wear the scent pads that are then placed in their babies’ isolettes.
“I love to sew. My machine is always running,” Trish says.
Trish loves interacting with the staff at Via Christi Village on McLean. She says they are kind to the most helpless residents and are an inspiration.
“They’ve got some good staff. I go to church here on Saturdays and I put puzzles together here. They are so kind, they make me want to be kinder to people!”