You may have been watching the beautiful gardens at last week’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show and wishing that you could brighten up that patio or even re-plant that window box. If so, you may be interested to know that there are garden design ideas and gardening aids designed especially to keep older people gardening.
Gardening is Good!
Gardening is beneficial for older people because it is an enjoyable form of exercise and an activity that promotes relaxation and well-being. There is also the added advantage of producing delicious home-grown fruit and vegetables.
Designing for Practicality
A garden for older people needs to be structured to allow access with a walker, frame or wheelchair. Paths should be flat and level. Raised beds make it easier to tend to plants than if they are planted at ground level. Make sure that there are places to sit and rest (perhaps near a scented jasmine or rose). Choosing low-maintenance plants, using mulch to reduce the need for weeding and installing an irrigation system are all ways of keeping gardening duties to a manageable level. After all, half the fun of having a garden is in having time to sit in and enjoy the space, the changing seasons and the wildlife around!
A low-maintenance planting scheme might include slow-growing evergreens to give structure and year-round interest (you might try Viburnum Tinus, Philadelphus Belle Etoile, Choisya Ternata). Ground cover plants such as Vinca Minor or Lamium Maculatum can help to reduce weeding. Nepeta Fasenii provides constant colour throughout the Spring and Summer and is a manageable size. It looks lovely combined with a perennial geranium, such as Wargraves’s Pink.
Further Information (or Inspiration!)
If you would like to start or continue gardening, the following websites or organisations may provide further inspiration. Of course if you are Homesharing, you may already have a (hopefully green-fingered) helping hand – right at hand!
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) website has a section that deals with gardening for the disabled or elderly – www.rhs.org.uk
Thrive is a national charity that helps people with a disability to start or continue gardening – www.Thrive.org.uk
Gardening for the Disabled Trust gives grants to people all over the United Kingdom in order that they may continue to garden, despite disability or advancing illness. A person of any age can apply. It is their love of gardening that counts! www.gardeningforthedisabled.org.uk
www.Chillingtontoolsonline.co.uk offer a range of tools with foam cushion grips and extendable handles