By Justin Seward
Bow Island Heath Centre residents have been able to enjoy the garden area a bit more as of late, thanks to Jayco Builders constructing raised garden beds.
“We just contacted Jayco Builders because we found there was a great need, that the residents here who use wheel chairs were not able to actually touch the dirt in the garden,” said Katelyn Scott, BIHC recreation therapist.
“They couldn’t actually participate in it and we looked at all these different options at like Home Depot and nothing could actually work—like I brought a wheel chair to Home Depot—and there’s no way these actual garden centres work. So, I found this idea online and I contacted Jayco and they were all about it.”
Jayco Builders ended up building two raised garden beds with a universal wheelchair design.
“So, it’s really appropriate and really just enables the residents to engage—like it’s the perfect height and perfect mechanics for that,” said Scott.
“It’s really allowing them to return to the garden.”
The local Health Foundation donated funds to purchase gardening supplies.
“It’s been going so well,” said Scott.
“It’s been really fun just to see these clients either getting the benefit of exercise by standing and lifting the water can, planting the seeds, scooping the dirt or starting to get that sense of purpose again (and) that sense of independence. And just the reminiscing aspects—like you just sit the client in front of the garden bed and they’ll just start talking.”
Residents are planting tomatoes, asparagus, cucumbers, green peppers, marigolds and strawberries.
Residents are responsible for the upkeep of the gardens as well.
The hope for next year is to plant ingredients for homemade mint tea, chocolate mint tea and salsa.
“We just thought it would be a good way to contribute to the community,” said Mildred Thurston, Jayco Builders marketing coordinator.
“It was just something we were happy to do. We have the means to do it. We like to do things for the community—we donate regularly to auctions and charity things that come up.”
Residents began enjoying the new garden experience on June 15 when the planters arrived.