Friday, August 01, 2008
Friday Flowers: Accessible Gardening
She isn't a patient and she doesn't need the wheelchair. The lovely girl is a seventeen year old from Spain who is in Canada for a month on a summer exchange program. Her host works at the hospital and brought her to work for a day this week. Our occupational therapist was showing her how to drive a power wheelchair and she thought it was great fun. One of my patients was watching her and said,
"Oh the beauty of youth! If they only knew how fleeting it was."
My patient knows the reality of disability and lives her life from a wheelchair. She doesn't think it is great fun.
Patients spend many weeks or even months at our hospital. This garden at the back of the building near the chapel features raised beds so people can garden from their wheelchairs. Penny, our recreational therapist organizes a group of gardeners to work the beds and tend the flowers and vegetables growing there.
She has a wonderful assortment of herbs, lettuces, tomatoes, annual and perennial flowers. The herbs and vegetables will be used for special meals and for making flavoured oils and vinegars. Getting outdoors and watching things grow is very therapeutic. One patient who is waiting to be transferred to a nursing home is concerned he may not see his tomatoes ripen. Hopefully his new home will have a similar gardening program.
Garden centres are full of long handled tools and padded accessories for aging boomers who find the bending and kneeling of gardening hard on their deteriorating joints. Raised beds are a great option and are easier to keep watered than traditional flower beds. I enjoy coming in this back entrance or taking my patients out here for a walk. Even if summer is hot, dry, wet, humid or bug-infested, it is still summer and better than our long, dark winters in my opinion.
Our hospital garden was featured in this recent article in our local newspaper.
Have a great long weekend! I plan to get caught up on blog reading during my time off.