THERAPEUTIC GARDEN CARE AND MAINTENANCE
One of the questions asked at the end of a lecture at the Leading Age Conference involved the maintenance of a Therapeutic Garden. The person asked if these gardens require more to maintain than other gardens. They were interested in reducing on- going maintenance in a garden. The simple answer is that all gardens require maintenance, however, if properly designed, gardens can require lower maintenance. A few suggestions to help reduce the care and maintenance of a garden include:
- Select plants that do not require frequent pruning
- Include indigenous plants – they will require less water and are suited for the region
- Limit the amount of annuals (plants that grow for just one season) and include more perennials
- Space plants closer together so they fill out sooner
- Eliminate plants that require constant pruning, such as hedges
- Organize gardening groups to help maintain the garden – it is good exercise and a way to stay socially engaged
- Plan special events to include garden ‘work’ parties
- Solicit the involvement of garden clubs, master gardeners and other interested people
- Hold classes in the garden to teach others gardening basics
- Create an endowment for the care and maintenance of the garden
These are a few of the basic ideas for helping to reduce the maintenance of the garden and a way to get others involved. A good design at the beginning insures that the garden gets off to a good start and improves its chances for success. Strategies to develop garden partners can help can reduce the maintenance burden on staff.Read more
LEAF WALKS – THERAPY IN NATURE
This is the time of year to check out leaf colors. During the day today, I had to slow down to take in all of the colors along the roadside. One of the first trees to turn in this region are the Black Gum trees with their red and magenta hues. Sassafras are a particular favorite illustrating bright orange, yellow and red colors. The brilliant yellow of the Locust trees is almost blinding. The Maple trees are just starting to turn color, so the sequencing of the autumn color display goes on for weeks.
This is a great activity for everyone to get involved in. One of the ways is to take a walk outside in the garden and around the neighborhood. You will not only discover a wide range of trees, you will reconnect with friends and neighbors. Some activities include:
- Ask people what their favorite trees are. See what comes up as the most popular.
- Take a camera along to record what is found and to show others later. maybe have a slide show or hang pictures of favorite trees.
- Collect various samples of the leaves that can be brought back for identification. See how many different leaves can be found.
- Have a contest to see how many trees can be identified. Bring along one of the tree I.D. books or use one of the Apps’ for your phone such as ‘Leaf Snap’
- Organize a joint adventure between a school group and elders from the community for a joint lesson in tree identification
- Visit and arboretum or nature center to explore many of the native trees in your area – and meet new people at the same time
These and other activities can be planned easily and quickly. No special equipment is required. Just a comfortable pair of shoes or sneakers. Maybe a pad and pencil for recording the information. The goal is to get fresh air and exercise. Getting together to socialize and share stories is always a great thing to do, especially with this great fall weather.
One of my favorite trees is the Green Leaf Japanese maple – what is yours? Enjoy!Read more