October 31, 2017

Resident Arthur Mami mans Spring Mill’s community garden all while planting his roots even deeper within the local community he’s lived in with his wife for decades.

As the orange-toned evening sun shines down on Spring Mill before dropping past the horizon for the night, you can find resident Arthur Mami on the lush side terrace, gardening gloves on and watering can tightly in his grasp.

As he’ll lean over the edge of the soil-filled wooden vessel he and the Spring Mill maintenance team built, he’ll carefully examine and handle the fruits, or in this case, vegetables of his labor.

Arthur, who’s lived with his wife 61 years, Marie, at Spring Mill since November 2016, is the chief of the garden on the terrace, where his tomatoes, both cherry and normal-sized, grow among the colorful chrysanthemums.

“I’ve always had fruit and flowers in my gardens at home, so I decided to help out with it here,” Arthur explained of his green-thumbed hobby.

“We started with a group of flowers here. But then moved to the tomatoes. I like tomatoes and I’ve always grown tomatoes in my garden. We found, to our astonishment, two plants here from last year resurrected with little cherry tomatoes. I never knew they could do that!”

As his avid hobby grew at Spring Mill, Arthur, who’s lived with Marie in Montgomery County, specifically the Plymouth Whitemarsh area, since they were married in the late 1950s, knew he would need a bigger outdoor workshop.

So after brainstorming ideas with the maintenance team, they took matters into their own hands with wood and nails.

“We have a large box we built outside – it’s about 4 by 4, 4-feet high,” Arthur said. “It was quite the undertaking.

“But then I bought another separate large planter for the larger tomatoes. That grows very well, also. … But I’m out there every day after dinner. I water the flowers. We also have flowerpots along the walkways and I water them. I pick fruit and determine which flowers should be replaced.

“Good soil, good gardener – It’s a combination of things!”

While gardening has been Arthur’s longtime hobby, he spent 35 years in the healthcare field as an executive purchasing officer in two separate local hospitals. When the hospitals closed, he moved into sales for a local bank.

Arthur and Marie came to Spring Mill after deciding to downsize.

They and their three children knew the couple wanted to stay within or as close as possible to the local community in which their roots have been planted so deep for the last several decades.

“After we went scouting, we decided this would be the best place for us,” Arthur, Born and raised in South Philly, said of Spring Mill.

Outside of the garden, Arthur plays an active role within the Spring Mill community itself.

“I was encouraged to be in charge of the gift store here and I enjoy that,” Arthur said. “We have a little gift store, which contains candies and health goods, mostly. I man it five days a week. We have two volunteers, too. I take the inventory and I replace it and I work on the projects with it.”

But Arthur’s interests extend outside of Spring Mill, as well.

He and Marie are avid restaurateurs and enjoying checking out all the new joints around the area in all different food genres.

Arthur was also recently ordained as a minister and will be officiating his oldest grandson’s wedding this fall.

“I’ve been an ordained minister for about five months now,” Arthur explained. “I did it online. You can go online, and you apply for the license and subscribe to various certificates you need.

“So I’ll be administering my grandson’s wedding. It should be fun! I’m looking forward to it!”

To Arthur, a big part of the enjoyment he and Marie get out of living at Spring Mill is the inherent independence to do those sorts of things.

But they also enjoy the home-like atmosphere the team members and fellow residents create and keep going strong each and every day.

“It’s cozy and family-like, which is what we like!”