- Raised Beds
- Hanging Baskets
- Walled Gardens
- Shallow Pans
- Raised Water Features
- Scenic Overlook
- Discovery Cart
- Tool Shed
- Smooth Brick Pathways
Colorful, dramatic, raised garden beds are one of the highlights of this garden. As any true gardener will tell you, back aches or aches in general are easy to come by when you garden. Long stretches of kneeling and bending can be challenging and increase in difficulty as you get older. Raised beds solve this issue so you don't have to bend down as much. When I had a home a few year back, gardening was my main hobby. I would easily spend eight hours or so putzing around in the yard doing everything from planting, edging, mulching, turning the mulch, pruning, weeding and just about anything else I could think of. I'd used those garden kneezies (a foam pad that you lie on the ground to cushion your knees when kneeling to garden) to make it easier. I absolutely loved it. By the end of the day however, you have had a workout and I can see how the raised garden bed would make that easier.This photo is of my former home where I loved to garden.
Hanging Baskets-At the enabling garden, they showcase hanging baskets that raise and lower on a pulley type chain. This allows the user to raise and lower the hanging basket for watering.
Walled Garden-A walled garden is used to illustrate the concept of vertical gardening. Vertical gardening brings your plants and flowers up to eye level or off the ground making maintenance easier.
Shallow Pans-Shallow pans are raised beds that aren't very deep or wide. The depth allow you to get a wheelchair closer to the bed and the fact that they aren't as wide allows a person in a wheelchair to water all of the plants without having to lean over very far.
Raised Water Features-Keeps the water features at eye level making them easier to see for disabled individuals as opposed to water features on the ground. I can see this feature making it easier for people with a "vertical gaze palsy". Dear Son has difficulty looking up and seeing things that aren't straight out in front of him.
Scenic Overlook-Allows the user to look out over the garden.
Discovery Cart-This feature at the garden allows wheelchair users to pull up to a special cart to explore gardening tools.
Tool Shed-Filled with accessible tools to make gardening easier.
Smooth Brick Pathways-Having a smooth brick pathway is essential for people in wheelchairs. When Dear Son was a child, we had a wooden swing set in the backyard and it was very difficult trying to push the wheelchair over the grass to get there. When the ground was slightly wet, it was even more difficult. A brick pathway would not only make it easier but would look beautiful too. While I didn't visit the enabling garden, I would imagine that the brick pathways would need to be at least three feet wide, which is a standard width for pathways and sidewalks. This would allow adequate room to push a wheelchair. As always, a five foot wide area would be required for turn arounds or to turn the wheelchair around. A pretty brick circle design would be a wonderful visual element in a garden.
Dear Son had a fabulous time. He really enjoys plants at school and I am always amazed at how much kids with disabilities notice the scent of a plant. At school, they do a lot with plants. They take the kids out into the community (Home Depot) to purchase plants, soil and pots. At school, they decorate the flower pots then plant the plants. The plants are then distributed to teachers in the building. The kids are assigned plants to water in the building. Two days a week they water the plants to help them grow. Watering the plants help them with their occupational therapy. Dear Son has a special water bottle (think sports bottle with a flexible spout) that he uses. The therapist puts the water bottle in his hand and has one hand over Dear Son's hand on the water bottle and the other hand on his left arm (Dear Son is left handed.). When the therapist feels a slight movement in his fingers, she helps squeeze the bottle to help him water the plant. This helps Dear Son since she gives his brain time to relay the message to his fingers to move them and this is a higher concept or a little higher functioning than just putting her hand over his and helping him squeeze the bottle. Dear Son also enjoys reading books about plants on the computer at school. He has a switch set up so he can take his head and hit the switch to turn the pages, so to speak, on the computer. He really enjoys it. Yesterday, they purchased some lemon grass at the store and he enjoyed smelling it. It's nice how they use many of their senses in learning about plants. One of Dear Son's favorite things however is when they put dirt on his tray and he gets to put his hands in it. That's how you know he is a real gardener!