Horticulture Committee

Lion’s mane, tomatoes and bees…oh my!

Introducing the new Plymouth Place Horticulture Committee

When Alice Chin created a “plant parlor” at Plymouth Place two years ago to help repot and maintain struggling house plants, she didn’t realize she was planting the seeds for something much bigger. Like the magic beans from Jack and the Beanstalk, her passion for plants and gardening quickly took root. Today, Alice is the head of Plymouth Place’s newly formed horticulture committee which is comprised of eight subcommittees including our new Farm to Table program.

Alice Chin and the Chefs at Plymouth Place

Chef Mark Sabbe, Alice Chin and Chef Rianna Roueche proudly display their first batch of pink oyster and Italian oyster mushrooms.

“For a program that is just over two months old, we’ve really put our nose to the grindstone,” laughed Alice. Working together with Chef Mark Sabbe from Plymouth Place’s esteemed Thirty North Restaurant, Alice and the Farm to Table committee have successfully produced their first batches of Italian oyster, pink oyster and lion’s mane mushrooms. They’ve also harvested their first batch of microgreens.


Tiny and tasty, microgreens pack a powerful punch of vitamins and minerals.

“Everything is a test right now to see if we can grow in larger quantities,” said Alice who is working with her team to scale up their offerings. So far, the fruits of their labor have been served by Chef Mark at small group gatherings. The committee is also growing tomatoes, shitake mushrooms and other edible plants.

Key to the committee’s success is having all the tools they need right at their fingertips. Plymouth Place’s recent expansion includes a new, state-of-the-art greenhouse, additional raised garden beds and bee hives for successful pollination and future honey output.

Harvesting Mushrooms

Chef Mark Sabbe harvesting Italian oyster and pink mushrooms.

“It’s fascinating what our residents are doing,” said Kathleen Riley, director of life enrichment at Plymouth Place which boasts over 30 resident-led programs. “We have so many life-long learners who want to continue pursuing their passions and develop new ones. Plymouth Place definitely offers everyone here a platform to be involved and do what they love.”

According to Alice, her passion for cultivating plants is second nature. When she was five years old, her family immigrated from China to Joliet, IL. “Being an immigrant, we brought over what we knew how to do. My mother didn’t speak English, didn’t have a car and had never even been to a grocery store,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from her. Our whole yard was a garden. We dried our own veggies. We just figured everybody did that.”

The Horticulture program at Plymouth Place is comprised of eight subcommittees:

  • Farm to table
  • Natives, naturalization and monarchs
  • Beekeeping
  • Greenhouse operations
  • Houseplant repotting
  • Composting
  • Community outreach
  • Fundraising

“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Alice, who has cultivated ideas for the newly formed Plymouth Place horticulture committee over the past two years. “We have one of the largest and most active group of residents. Each subcommittee has a chairman. People are taking my ideas and running with them. It is exactly what it should be. I’m excited.”

To learn more about our horticulture committee and all the ways we promote a highly active and social lifestyle for adults 62+, call our marketing team at (708) 354-0340.

Residents who would like to join our growing horticulture program can reach out to Alice at pphorticulturecommittee@gmail.com or just pop into the greenhouse and say hello!