“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” Audrey Hepburn
Ask a gardener, any gardener, and I’m sure they will tell you that they feel more alive, healthier and happier after spending time digging in the dirt, picking and pruning flowers and vegetables – their head in the sun and their soul at one with nature.
One of our New Year goals or ‘resolutions’ for our Lifestyle team here at Holmwood Aged Care was to revamp and revive our courtyards and resuscitate our gardening program after the long hot dry summer. All the while, making our gardens more accessible, more user-friendly and more interactive and inviting.
What was once a quiet area for getting some sun and fresh air is now more thriving with life and open with invitation. Staff have worked hard to create an area that screams out to our residents to get out and get their hands dirty. Our new courtyard garden (the first of several to get a makeover) has been designed with the residents in mind. There’s herbs and spices, fruit trees, raised vegetable garden beds and all the tools necessary for residents to be fully hands on in the garden as they please.
“The residents seem a little overwhelmed at the moment and we are encouraging them to take up a trowel or a watering can and go to town. It’s their garden, their vegetables, they can come and pick as they please” says Lifestyle Coordinator, Ben.
The new garden features two wheelchair friendly raised garden beds, purpose built on site. They have already been taken over by an abundance of vegetables including zucchinis, capsicums, carrots and broccoli.
There are also two new wall mounted herb gardens. In the spirit of gardening and the environment, they are two upcycled wooden pallets that are stained and sealed. Residents have a choice of mint, oregano, dill, chamomile, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Eat your heart out hanging gardens of Babylon, we have the hanging gardens of Holmwood!
We also have a chilli plant, a lemon tree and there is a single lonely pot just waiting to be filled. We just haven’t decided what to plant there yet!
“The idea of the garden is that it’s an area where residents can be completely immersed in and find engaging. They can pick, pot, plant, water, turn soil, harvest, dig, sweep, and rake as they please. Or they can just sit by the vegetable garden and enjoy being surrounded by nature. It’s an area where residents have complete unrestricted access to and an area that is stimulating to all five senses – taste, touch, smell, sight and sound” said Ben.
A key feature of the garden is the ‘tool rack’. This is something that has garnered a lot of interest and indeed some copycat gardeners. The third up-cycled wooden pallet is adorned with an abundance of gardening implements.
The residents are already on board for starting the next courtyard makeover. They have been researching ideas, designs and how to improve on the last.