As National Lawn and Garden Month, April is a great time to showcase the easy ways seniors can enjoy gardening in an assisted living community. Gardening is an enriching activity that lets both groups and individuals experience the wonder of God's creation. Even if seniors only have access to a window or balcony, there are plenty of choices they can make when it comes to the type of gardening they'd like to engage in.
It's common to see houseplants and herbs nestled around a sunny window inside the homes of individuals with green thumbs. With some investigation to determine the intensity and duration of sunlight for their own apartment windows, seniors with self-proclaimed black thumbs can give indoor gardening a try too by using low-maintenance houseplants. Seniors who want to have function and fun can grow lettuce for their salads or strawberries for a sweet treat.
Because many flowers grow well in containers, butterfly gardens are a beautiful way for seniors to surround themselves with nature. Seniors who opt to plant a mixture of nectar-rich plants and the host plants that butterflies lay their eggs on increase their chance to witness caterpillars growing and transforming into these flying wonders. Clustering pots of different sizes and shapes brings an added layer of visual interest to the area and forms a natural windbreak that provides vital shelter for the delicate insects.
Scent is one of the most powerful memory triggers. A familiar smell can instantly transport our minds back in time to a beloved childhood home or remind us of a loved one. Here are a few fragrant additions to consider including in your garden.
While peppermint and spearmint are the most commonly known mint plants, there are also types such as apple, chocolate and ginger. Mint is sometimes considered an invasive species due to its tendency to spread and can actually be easier to grow and control in containers than in the ground.
A member of the mint family, basil has a delicious variety of tastes and scents that include cinnamon and lemon, which seniors can use in their cooking and potpourri creations.
Many types of jasmine grow well in containers, both indoors and outdoors, and the star and pink varieties add fascinating color and shape to the equation.
The sheer number of nostalgic scents, both sweet and spice-like, that geraniums provide mean that seniors could easily create an aromatic collection using only these classic herbs.
Having an orchard may seem unrealistic, but with a little planning, dwarf fruit trees are surprisingly easy to grow in containers. The temperate climate of Creve Coeur works well when growing classics such as apples, peaches, cherries and pears, and the small size ensures that ladders are unnecessary when tending and harvesting the fruit. Tropical bananas and citrus can be sheltered indoors during cold weather, and some, like the Calamondin orange, can be grown as houseplants year-round.
Bulb flowers often steal the spotlight with their dazzling colors and large blossoms. Crocus, daffodil and tulips are planted in the fall in preparation for their spring arrival. Begonia, dahlia, lily and gladiolus are just a few of the summer-blooming favorites that need to be planted in the spring.
Seniors who would like to share their gardening hobby with their grandchildren may want to consider elephant ears and caladiums. The unique foliage of these bulbs has been a favorite way to involve youth in planting projects for years.