For the first time in 60 years, The Colorado Garden Foundation featured a garden display themed around accessibility at the 2019 Colorado Garden & Home Show.
Presented by local landscaping company FRSR LLC, and with input and direction from Craig's horticultural therapy program, the Accessible Garden featured options, ideas and support for gardening enthusiasts with limitations, proving that age and disability should not keep homeowners from maintaining and enjoying their garden; rather, spending time outdoors and in an activity such as gardening can be a healing and therapeutic experience that everyone can – and should be able to – enjoy.
Elements of the Accessible Garden included:
- Pathways featuring a wide clearance and smooth surfaces, to accommodate multiple users, including persons in a wheelchair;
- Raised planter beds with minimal rim width and U-shaped design, to allow wheelchair access around and underneath, as well as minimize the space between the gardener and the plants;
- A barbecue and outdoor dining area that is accessible and ADA compliant;
- A meditation space, complete with a water feature, that is accessible and offers sensory and ornamental plants with proven healing effects.
“The idea behind this is barrier-free gardening,” said Eric Fuerst, FRSR owner and Accessible Garden designer. “Whether because of a disability, age or injury, we want everyone to know that they can still maintain and enjoy their gardens and outdoor spaces. This garden showcases a few of the ways we can help accommodate limitations and get homeowners back to the joy of gardening and spending more time outside.”
This year, the Colorado Garden Foundation celebrates its 60-year legacy of contributing grant and scholarship funding to various horticultural projects statewide. As one of its past grant recipients, Craig has used their funding to support horticultural therapy for our patients, using elements like those that were on display at this year’s Accessible Garden.
Craig is a past recipient of a $100,000 grant from the Colorado Garden Foundation to build our plaza garden, which used to be the middle of Clarkson Street and was closed off to create a garden space between the East and West buildings. Featuring a full perennial garden with annual plantings, three-tower water feature, shade structure with seating, built-in benches, and electrical outlets, this main garden and its adjoining garden spaces (also funded in part by separate CGF grants) offer patients, staff and families an area for healing and respite; sensory stimulation for patients recovering from brain injury; varying terrain for physical therapy patients working on mobility and range of motion; and meditation space for psychologists and therapists to meet with patients to encourage mental wellness.
“At Craig, we work with patients to help them get back to what’s important to them in life," said Susie Hall, Horticultural Therapy Program Coordinator at Craig Hospital. “With grant funding support from Colorado Garden Foundation, we’re able to demonstrate simplified gardening techniques that work for anyone and everyone, and the impact on our patients is remarkable. We look forward to showcasing some of these techniques at the Show and giving that access back to those for whom gardening has become a challenge.”
Original Colorado Garden Foundation Press Release.