"Gardening helps me wind down and relax after a day's work and I
now get regular physical activity in a way that I enjoy," says Orchid
contributor Roxie Oakes. "Soon after planting black-eyed susans,
coreopsis, cone flowers, and zinnias, I quickly benefited from the
joy of watching the seedlings sprout, then picking fresh flowers
for my house and watching beautiful butterflies each day." Her advice:
"Try gardening in small or big steps. There are many ways to garden
and a wide range of approaches to make a garden accessible and fun
are some of Roxie's tips:
a garden in a raised bed, planter, box, or other container. This
lets you reach without bending.
garden tools that help you function in the smoothest, most efficient
using lightweight children's tools.
gripping material or padding to tool handles to make them easier
to hold and use.
you garden while seated, try long-handled tools. You can fit a
broomstick or tennis racket handle into the socket of a trowel
or fork head. For little jobs use long-handled barbecue tools.
mulch, mulch. This keeps down most weeds and helps the garden
thrive with little watering.
soaker hoses or spray wands for watering. These let you water
with minimal bending or lifting.
ratchet pruners and shears for general pruning jobs. These offer
a lot of power with little effort.
a long-handled pick-up grabber for all of those clippings. You
can find them in some gardening stores, or try a dog's pooper-scooper.
you stand while gardening, have a seat available for resting.
There are many stools, carts, kneeling benches, and pads for sale.
You don't have to spend a lot of money; an inexpensive stool or
tipped-over recycling bin would do.
cart, wheelbarrow, wagon, or plastic tarp helps move things to
and from the garden. Choose the approach that works best for you.
I often pull a tarp on the ground; this works well with my back
strength and balance.
Pam Dickens, NC Office on Disability and Health]
Resources about accessible gardening...
Promotion for Women with Disabilities
Gardening for People with Physical Disabilities: A Guide to Methods,
Tools and Plants
Adil, Janeen R. Bethesda, MD; Woodbine House, 1994.
Living: Accessible Gardening
with Gardening: A Twelve-Month Guide for Therapy, Recreation and
Moore, Bibby. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press,
Able Gardener: Overcoming Barriers of Age and Physical -Limitations
Yeomans, Kathleen, RN. Pownal, VT: Storey Communications, 1992.
Enabling Garden: Creating Barrier-Free Gardens
Rothert, Eugene, HTM. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing, 1994.
See also ...
Botanical Garden Offers Horticultural Therapy Program