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Ayers Health and Rehab holds Bob and Barbara Mills Infinity Garden Dedication

Ayers Health and Rehabilitation Center held a dedication for the Bob and Barbara Mills Infinity Garden on Thursday, August 26. This beautiful garden is located on the back lawn of the center. It truly is an Infinity Garden as the garden walkway forms two large circles that you can walk or be pushed in a wheelchair for an infinity or endlessly.
Bob Mills was a Landscape Architect who designed many important projects during his career such as the River Walk in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was also the Dean of Physical Property at University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and he designed the landscaping for a large senior retirement facility in Savannah just to name a few.
Bob and Barbara grew up in Ohio, and were high school sweethearts until graduation when Bob left for college. They both moved on with there lives, but reconnected in 43 years later and were married 2001.
When they moved to this area they both would visit Ayers often and volunteered there. Bob always had a heart for the elderly and wanted to improve the life of the people who were residents.
Barbara said, her husband, Bob would head out the door and say I’m going to Ayers to visit awhile. As a couple they always visited Ayers on Christmas day, it became part of their tradition.
Jo Buckles the Administrator at Ayers Health and Rehabilitation Center said, “Bob shared the importance of the need to have sunshine in your life to improve your inner spirit and quality of life. He designed Gardens that would encourage people to get outside and see the beauty of Nature. Which would improve their souls.” Through the years Bob gave much advice and worked on several of the gardens at Ayers including their first project the Healing Garden which started as Levi Sprague’s Eagle Scout Project. He also worked on the front garden which was founded by a donation from Master Gardener Diane Clifton, in memory of Bill Clifton. Buckles said, “Through Bob’s vision we also added glass doors to the center to bring more light inside.”
In 2007, Bob Mills designed the Infinity Garden while volunteering at Ayers. The design idea for the garden was to get Alzheimer’s residents outside and Bob’s plans addressed their need to be always in motion. When Bob passed away in May of 2016, he and Barbara made a substantial donation to make the Infinity Garden a reality.
Buckles stated that the project turned out to be larger than first thought and the center received some help from several sources. The Frontrunners Chapter of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association and Stefan Liopiros. This group with Stefan’s guidance developed the landscape design, acquired the plants, water feature, rocks, and drip watering system. A group of 40 volunteers came out to Ayers and built and planted the entire garden including trees in one day.
Buckles also thanked Mark Ondrick of M&M Masonry who poured the concrete pathway. Ondrick and Liopiros both attended the dedication along with a host of other people.
The project was finished with new fencing, sprinklers, outdoor furniture and a beautiful white pergola.
The Ayers employees were praised for helping maintain the garden. They often take a few minutes to pull weeds, which is very important to any garden.
Another garden project is planned for Ayers, it will be called, The St. John Garden. In memory of the late, Mrs. Ruth St. John who lived at Ayers for the last ten years of her life.
Buckles said, one of the goals at Ayers is for each resident to have a garden view from their room.
In closing, Buckels said, “We are so thankful for Bob and Barbara Mills for having such a vision for the need for this garden and also making it happen with their donation.”