There is no doubt that gardening can have considerable health benefits for people of all ages. It connects us with nature and engages the senses, while providing a great low-intensity workout.
Seniors, and others who do not have gardens at home, might turn to community gardens for that crucial healing of the body and soul…and for good reason! Community gardens bring people together, reduce loneliness and isolation, and offer a fun way to maintain gardening skills.
Some seniors and other gardeners with limited mobility face a unique set of challenges when it comes to community gardening opportunities. Garden beds are often close to the ground, requiring repetitive kneeling and bending. Pathways can be overgrown or narrow, making accessibility difficult for those who rely on mobility devices like walkers, canes, and wheelchairs.
Earthwise Society’s new Garden Buddies Teaching Garden, currently under construction, aims to change that.
The Earthwise Garden Buddies Teaching Garden consists of raised garden beds built on a paved concrete patio. The ground is stable and solid, with wide, wheelchair accessible pathways between the garden beds, enabling safe movement throughout the garden area. Garden beds are set high off the ground so they can be easily accessible from a wheelchair or to an individual with limited mobility. Some of the beds include benches for sitting, or handy ledges to place gardening tools. Some of the beds have built in trellises for vertical gardening, to increase the variety of plants that can be grown. The garden area will also include a picturesque gazebo to provide shade and a comfortable gathering space for resting and talking to others.
The Garden Buddies Teaching Garden is being built by a team of senior volunteers at Earthwise Society. Once complete, it will be used as a hands-on venue for senior-led therapeutic horticulture programs related to growing food, healthy eating, and small space gardening. Senior gardeners will also develop and deliver programs geared at youth to help develop strong intergenerational connections in the community.
The Garden Buddies Teaching garden has been built with support from the New Horizons program for seniors. For more information about the Teaching Garden email email@example.com.