Creating Restorative Gardens, Healing Gardens and Therapeutic Landscapes
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Leaves of Change


img_1841With the change of season and the holidays emerging, many find that November induces a natural contemplative state of gratitude. People begin to reflect on relationships and seek connection with others. Position your therapeutic garden to be the central hub for activities related to appreciation and reflection this month.

img_1839Keep your garden bright, with colors of changing foliage and seasonal blooms such as mums, as well as with soft lighting to address the waning sunlight and shorter days. Doing so will encourage others to see your garden as accessible and relevant, despite the cooler weather. You will likely find older adults and their caregivers strolling through your garden, as they are naturally drawn to a quieter environment for contemplation, self-inventory and rejuvenation. To aid older adults in a softer form of social connection, consider hosting a morning meditation group or gratitude journal session in the garden. Both of these activities capture the spirit of gratitude and reflection during this season.

Simple craft activities are a fun way to inspire creativity and connection, as well. Mid-morning gatherings capture the essence of togetherness in a low-pressure environment designed to allow people to connect with both nature and each other.

One easy craft activity is to gather brightly colored autumn leaves and then glue the preserved leaves to construction paper. Depending on the size and shape of the paper, and the leaves themselves, the creation could serve as either a bookmark or a place mat. We recommend preserving leaves using the wax paper method:

  1. Place a leaf between two sheets of wax paper
  2. Place a cloth hand towel on top of the uppermost wax paper.
  3. Press on the towel with a warm iron for approximately two minutes.
  4. Flip the wax/leaf to the other side; press on the towel with a warm iron for approximately two minutes on this side, as well.
  5. Use scissors to cut around the leaf, which is now sealed in the wax paper.

Keeping older adults engaged with your therapeutic garden this month will capture the spirit of the season, through tranquility and social connection.

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