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Uncle Sam Says Garden


Produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a propaganda item for World War I, posters urging, “Uncle Sam says garden to cut food costs” sprouted up across our country. During World War II families planted victory gardens to help prevent food shortages.

Today we normally associate gardening with improved mental and physical health, not with patriotism.

However, the older adults in your care, as well as your employees and visitors, may feel stressed by Uncle Sam as April 15 approaches. Leverage the power of your therapeutic garden to soothe both body and soul this tax season as we all participate in the yearly patriotic ritual of paying taxes. In 2017, we now have over 100 scientific studies across a variety of disciplines that show that gardening and being in nature positively impact people’s wellbeing.

Three quick gardening tips to relieve stress this tax season:

  1. Expand rest stations in your garden. Reclaimed wood re-purposed as benches add a rustic, artistic touch that invite guests to linger in your therapeutic garden.
  2. Create a nature journal class that meets in the garden, to document this year’s growth, starting with the return of our feathered friends and the season’s first blooms.
  3. Encourage the gentle exercise and socialization of preparing the garden for the year: gather interested volunteers to weed and prep this year’s flower beds. Direct contact with dirt has been shown to trigger the release of serotonin, elevating mood.

Uncle Sam’s presence is universally felt this month across the country. Do your patriotic duty – 2017 style – and improve both the physical and emotional health of those who turn to your therapeutic garden for support.

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