As the weather changes, look for opportunities to transition both your plants and your therapeutic gardening activities from outdoors to indoors.
It is good to transfer our gardening activities indoors to extend the therapeutic benefits we gain from our involvement with nature. Tending to plants gives us a sense of purpose and need. Our fascination with nature can continue throughout the colder months with indoor activities. As older adults gravitate toward warmer indoor environments, bring the garden to them.
Dust off potted herbs, spray them down to wash away any lingering outdoor critters and bring the pots indoors. If placed in sunny locations, rosemary, basil, parsley and lavender will all continue to grow indoors, delighting people with their fragrance. If you have south-facing windows, relocate pots of geraniums indoors. The splash of color will brighten moods and serve as sensory cue reference points to help orient people with partial sight or diminished visual acuity.
Involve the elderly in autumn gardening activities. Snip pieces off vibrant coleus plants, place them in water to root, and set in a sunny windowsill to grow. A shopping trip to the local gardening center to buy beautiful ceramic pots on clearance turns a simple gardening activity into a social outing.
Once autumn settles in, shift your garden practices to capture your plants’ longevity. Although your outside growing season may be waning, your garden is a living organism that provides therapeutic benefits year-round.