Garden Therapy Notes

 A Collection of Gardening Information and Inspiration




May 22, 2012  

       Therapeutic Garden Projects

Part 1: Choosing a Therapeutic Garden Project With Your Group

If you get the opportunity to work with an individual or group for a whole growing season, a rewarding project would be to let participants choose their own special garden craft project from a small list that you put together specifically for the group you are working with.

Search your library and the internet to find projects that are easy and fun. The best resources have great photos and step-by-step instructions. Make color copies of the instructions and bring them to your planning discussion so that participants get a good idea of what is involved and what the end product will look like.

For instance, I had the opportunity to visit a seniors’ residence and suggested that we grew everlastings so that we could harvest and dry the flowers to use in a craft. I gave them some ideas of projects: decorating straw hats with dried flowers; making a dried floral arrangement in a vase; or decorating a straw basket with dried flowers.

The majority of residents liked the idea of decorating a straw hat. They loved that they had a say in what project they could try. Once we got consensus to do this activity, we started to think about what kind of plants we would like to grow to decorate our hats with. I brought in some examples of dried flowers like strawflower, statice, common sage, and lavender so that participants could see the possibilities with their own eyes. For flowers that I didn’t have readily available, I showed them photos.

We made a list of flowers we wanted to plant, envisioning what the finished straw hat would look like. During our discussion, I explained to the participants that they will be helping to plant, harvest and dry the flowers throughout the summer as material to make our summer hats. Participants began to get excited about upcoming visits to the garden when I painted a picture of what we would be doing ahead of time.

And since I had lavender with me, we made lavender sachets using pretty, thin fabric and ribbon. Residents loved the scent of lavender and wanted to make sachets for their friends as well. The participants appreciated being able to take away a craft with them after our discussion and it is my hope that every time they catch a scent from their sachet, it will remind them of all of the exciting gardening experiences yet to come.

therapeutic gardening activity

Written By: Lea Tran 



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