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Gardening

More than 40% of people enjoy gardening in the UK. For old people, it is a fantastic way to stay active, sometimes to socialise, to have some form of work after retirement, plus a place where they can enjoy wildlife and have their spirits lifted. Alas, different conditions can rob older people of having this hobby: osteoporosis, heart failure, muscle weakness, and the list goes on. My grandmothers say that if there were tools to allow them to do gardening while sitting on a little chair for longer time, they would have some normality and even happiness in life. I know it is not essential to do gardening, but it is an important activity in lives of so many. 

Do you have any thoughts and ideas on this topic? 

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Miroslava Katsur 11 months ago

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Adrian Girling 11 months ago

I've searched online for raised planters and they are rather expensive, A planter on legs so that disabled and elderly people would be able to plant and tend flowers/vegetables etc whilst sitting down.

I'm wondering if a fairly simple four legged "torchere", where a conventional plastic or ceramic truncated cone plant pot, sitting inside the wooden legs extending above the raised base, would allow people to enjoy gardening at a level raised above ground. Inexpensive to make, it could "flat plack" for transport (with two H frames slotting together at right angles, assembled in seconds).

Happy to sketch this if not clear.

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Miroslava Katsur 11 months ago

If you can, I would be grateful if you could sketch it. Maybe it is something my family can make for my grandmother :)

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Adrian Girling 11 months ago

Sorry this took so long at it's rather a rough sketch! It's not to scale, but if the uprights are 60cm high, with the pot extending above, the pot rim would be about table height - length of cross bars depend on pot diameter. Size, with tapered top to uprights, to make the pot a snug fit.

Each planter needs four identical uprights and two identical cross bars - which are slotted into their respective uprights the opposite way up. Joining uprights to cross bars is shown as a mortice and tenon joint which is nice, but there are simpler ways (U shaped cutouts).

I suggest using 38 x 63mm (1.5 x 2.5in) studwork timer as it's cheap, ready planed and rounded corners. About £3.00 for a 2400mm length. So planter should cost less than £5.00. Paint with preserving/decking oil.

These are my suggestions but I welcome suggested improvements!

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Miroslava Katsur 11 months ago

Hi Adrian! Thank you for drawing this sketch. I'm very visual person, so it helps a lot. This is such a simple and affordable solution that I can imagine it being used widely! Great idea!

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Adrian Girling 11 months ago

Thanks! If I get time, I'll make one to show.

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Nattawan Utoomprurkporn 11 months ago

I totally agree that doing gardening even though not "essential", it is good for their emotional well-being. I doubt that online gardening application would give a similarly uplifting effect to their moods though.
Both the raised planter and the stool ideas sound terrific :)

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Miroslava Katsur 11 months ago

I've talked to my grandparents, and they are avid gardeners. They said that it would be great if the following activities were easy to perform (i.e. while sitting, or walking with a stick): digging, sowing, scarifying lawn, putting support for climbing plants, and weed removal. They even suggested inventing a movable chair so that they don't need to stand up, but rather can move around in the garden, even though the ground is soft underneath.

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Siana Jones 11 months ago

Yea, nice idea. What about people who don't have a garden? do you think we should have more public spaces available for gardening? Perhaps new spaces could be designed with novel technology in place that made the process more accessible to less able individuals.

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Miroslava Katsur 11 months ago

Oh, this is a fantastic idea! How joyful it would be to work in a community garden where everyone contributes as much as possible. This could be a place not just to work, but sit in this beautiful place, chat and play. I absolutely love it!

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Gordon Anderson 10 months ago

Gardening is such an amazing therapeutic activity, and has countless benefits for all of us; activity, socialising, common interest, outdoors, etc. Lock-down had me finally take up gardening, and I am hooked!
However, as we age it becomes harder to manage. What can we do to engage more older people in gardening and gardens, and also engage and support care facilities to become more garden orientated?

Could there be a 'Sofa Gardening Club'? Perhaps working with a handful of the amazing gardens across the country, such as Sissinghurst, Hidcote, Cothay, and many more, it would be possible to have a year-long programme via the web and TV for people at home, or in care homes, to follow the gardens as they evolve over the year.
It could involve real engagement with people, and care homes. There could be seeds sent out for homes to plant and grow, so they can truly engage with the programme, and simple gardening activities highlighted for viewers to then carry out each week. Maybe family or local schools could help with the heavier work?

I listen to Gardeners Question Time every week, and maybe the programme could be involved in getting the message out about a gardening club for the less able?

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Miroslava Katsur 10 months ago

Hi Gordon! Such brilliant ideas and thank you to sharing all this information! Even though I am still in my 20s, I cannot wait to start gardening! I would absolutely love journals or, better, TV programmes, because I learn best from demo videos. Your answer made me thinking that care homes could have gardens where the residents could care for plants. Or, perhaps, there could be some plants to care indoors... And I absolutely love the idea of seeds being sent to people! They can be chosen based on the time of the year, or a person can select them from a brochure, or inquire on phone... If schools can help to look after the community garden, that would be benefical for both school kids and the older generation.

This is an innovative idea to have "Sofa Gardening Club"! As I understand, people could watch the progress of plant growing on TV or web. I think it would be useful for those people who have gardens, or who don't but enjoy seeing beautiful plants and learn more about them.

Thank you for contributing to this discussion, Gordon - much appreciated!

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Stuart stuart.rotman@nhs.net 9 months ago

A lot of our elderly grew up with allotments. A whole allotment can be quite a lot of work. I think that all plots should have a community/shared plot for those that want to dabble.

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Georgie Cade 9 months ago

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