Mr. Pan's Story
Mr. Pan is one of my personal favorite gardeners (shh, don't tell the others). Perhaps it's his kind smile or the fact that his calm energy reminds me of my own gung gung (grandfather). Either way, Mr. Pan always has a second in between tending his two plots he's been growing on for 20 years to greet youth and visitors with a head nod and smile.
At 92 years old, Mr. Pan is one of our most senior gardeners. He's seen the garden grow and change since first setting down roots at the Danny Woo Community Garden in 1996. On a tour of his plots, Mr. Pan proudly points out the 20 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers he nurtures during his daily visits to the garden. He's got everything from roses, lettuce, and even sweet potatoes growing within a 15 square foot space. Fortunately, Mr. Pan's long career as a Design Engineer in China taught him how to optimize his small growing space.
Unlike most of his fellow elder gardeners, Mr. Pan does not live in the neighborhood. But commuting to the garden and making time to be outside is his top priority. And he shows no sign of slowing down. Upon wrapping up our interview, Mr. Pan got straight to work, throwing around a 30 pound bag of chicken manure and moving agilely between his two plots.
Thank you for sharing your story, Mr. Pan!
This story was transcribed from an interview between the elder gardener and a staff member from the Danny Woo Community Garden. Verbal consent to share the above information was obtained before publishing the post.
The Danny Woo Community Garden is a 1.5 acre edible growing space located in the heart of Seattle's Chinatown/International District. The garden has been a place for elders to grow for over 40 years and is also home to a children's garden, chicken coop, and outdoor kitchen. Visit us at 620 S. Main St., Seattle, WA 98104.