Enabling Garden Ideas

clg1(z7 AR)December 29, 2002

Our Master Gardeners have a wonderful project going at our local non-profit nursing home. We are doing a horticultural therapy program complete with new enabling garden. We have raised brick beds, a pergola, concrete walkways and a planting desk. The area is such a success, that we want to expand by putting in a wheelchair accessible path through the rest of the garden. The problem: we are tired of concrete and our funds are dwindling. Any ideas?

We are also looking for good ideas for theme garden beds (sensory, color, etc) and sources for enabling tools and even better, freebies! Any ideas are welcomed!

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Some of the residents are most likely 'old pros' at gardening. Are you getting input from them? My mom, who had been a lifelong gardener, became an amputee at age 80.. The garden at the convalesant home, which included a vegetable garden, was wonderful therapy. They most likely also have favorite herbs and flowers.. There is comfort in familiar things and being able to participate. On gardenweb have seen photos of gardens using the interlocking blocks for paths. That might add more interest than the concrete and be safely navigable. Sometimes long handled barbeque tools such as forks and tongs make handy light weight and durable gardening tools. Hope you will give us periodic feedback on your project.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2002 at 9:06AM
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Cigl, You are all to be commended! I will present your question to our MG bunch, maybe we could think of something. My first thought is hanging baskets, on chains so they would be at the right height. Or pots, they could work on them, and they could be lined up or arranged afterward. Plantings with winter berriies or twisted, strange barked plants might be interesting for the winter. Have you told enough people about your project? I am constantly amazed at how many wonderful projects go on without asking for money from local business. How about a trip to local nurseries, Green houses, farmers coop, to beg plants and supplies? Remember, you are not asking for yourself, asking for others. Other business might give money for the project. Our local high school shop class does woodworking for local worthy projects. Call your local paper, tell them what you are doing. A story, a picture of the results, and mention of need for supplies might get a bigger response than you think. Lotta

    Bookmark   January 7, 2003 at 1:13AM
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MsBuffalo(z6 WNY)

I second "Lotta Fruit's" idea about soliciting local businesses. Contact your State office of the aging and see if they can't point you in the direction of grant funds. Do you have any community foundations that award grants? Watch the garden shows and contact sponsors with your proposal to name the garden or the walkway after their company if they pay for it.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2003 at 1:48PM
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SunGal(Z8East Tx)

As a Christian small business owner, I can tell you that I would love to sponsor a program like yours. We like to help out in our community, and we don't have a big advertising budget so the "free press" that goes along with this type of thing is very helpful for us , too. We own a collision repair shop, so you don't have to limit yourselves to businesses that are garden related only. You might think in terms of rehabilitation centers, small pharmacies, etc. who cater to the elderly. Good luck to you, you are doing a great thing!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2003 at 4:26PM
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ellen_(z5 NY)

Are you also keeping in mind the visually impaired or blind. My grand father managed an estate for 50 years. I am visually impaired and he was wonderful at teaching me gardening as a child.
There may be some residents who gardened before being admitted to the nursing home. If they are visually impaired, they don't need any special walkways, just orientation to the walkways that are already down. And if they're experienced gardeners, they can orient some of the other new members.
Visual impairment doesn't require concrete walks or anything like it. The other group of seniors who need the stimulation of gardening, but don't need the special accommodations are those suffering from chronic brain syndrome, (confused). I'd suggest focusing also on their needs if your program will permit it. As a social worker, having worked with the elderly for many years, I can tell you the biggest satisfaction is if you can find someone right there who has a lot of experience and can help the other residents.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2003 at 8:08PM
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