Dirty Hands and Happy Hearts

The raised garden beds in the Villa courtyard are truly a labor of love from those who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Residents of the Villa work together to plant, decorate and accessorize them on a seasonal basis. And recently, due to deterioration, old garden beds were replaced with a new set to enhance the natural beauty and functionality of the courtyard.

The Therapeutic Recreation team, an arm of the Wellness Department that provides life enrichment opportunities in the Health Center, helps execute plans the residents have for the beds. And planting commences after residents organize the garden layout.

Last season, Kelly Taylor, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, created personalized markers to easily identify where seeds were planted. Wellness Program Manager, Laura Allen, appreciated Kelly’s work with the garden, acknowledging, “She went above and beyond by making cute markers for everything planted. To personalize it even more, she printed pictures of residents and staff who helped with the garden beds and included those in the garden, too.”

Over the past four years, residents of the Villa have reaped benefits the gardens generously provide; some are involved in planting, others participate in activities around the gardens and still others stroll by and admire all the plantings, typically abundant with fragrant flowers and fresh herbs and vegetables. Laura said, “People take great ownership of the gardens. For some residents, it’s excellent therapy. Gardening is a great way to take pride in something and creates enjoyment for the residents involved.”

The garden also provides an opportunity for interaction by the Care Partners who support residents in tending and watering the gardens.

One unique aspect the Therapeutic Recreation team incorporates is the implementation of activities surrounding the yields of the garden. For example, during the planning meeting, one resident shared how he enjoyed sautéing tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper. So, grape tomatoes were planted with the intention of recreating that experience. After growing and collecting tomatoes from the garden, they were prepared and enjoyed by several people in the Villa! Such a fresh treat!

Gardening is a life-long, enriching activity. Thanks to the raised beds in the courtyard, the residents of the Villa continue to enjoy these activities year after year.

 

         

Above: Bob having fun watering the plants & Kelly’s personalized seed markers.