An 80-year-old Claremore man uses a scooter to tend to his flourishing garden

A Claremore man says his garden has always brought him joy and purpose. But when he fell a few years ago, he had to get creative to figure out how to keep growing his favorite vegetables.

Larry now uses a scooter and has created an oasis in his backyard to ride around and do all his gardening.

“My best technique is not to push too hard, to let the water soak in,” said Larry Erne.

Larry Erne, 80, has quite the setup in his backyard.

You’ll find rows and rows of all kinds of vegetables, and Larry – carefully tending to each one.

Larry loves his garden. It is his passion and his greatest joy. “It’s therapeutic,” he said.

But three years ago, Larry fell and crushed his shoulder.

His family members told him that gardening would be too dangerous and that he should stop. “It goes without saying that I was very upset,” Larry said.

Larry said when his family told him to stop gardening, it just wasn’t happening. He took to YouTube to find ways to garden right from his scooter.

“I can take this thing and go anywhere,” Erne said.

Every morning, Larry gets up at 5 a.m., drinks tomato juice, gets on the scooter and starts tending to his garden. “I start watering by pulling my garden hose,” Larry said.

Larry learned online how to lay this ground cover and put up the fence. His vegetables grow above the ground, so he doesn’t have to weed, which is hard on the scooter.

Larry’s wife, Margo, said he was an example to anyone, regardless of age or disability, that he could continue to garden.

“I knew he wanted to be here, so I said go for it, go ahead, and he did,” Margo said.

During this heat wave, Larry dreams of his fall harvest. “I’m preparing for fall planting – okra, green beans, peas.”

He hopes for many more years with his scooter, his squash, and his sweetheart. “If you love gardening, there’s no reason to stop,” Margo said.

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