2nd Place Winner
Evergreen Horticulture Therapy Project
Johnson County Kansas State Extension Master Gardeners
Our mission is to provide Horticultural therapy for the residents of Evergreen Community of Johnson County, Kansas using their garden. This is an award-winning nursing center where they manage four individual communities. Residents have a lot of flexibility about activities and what and when they do things each day. As Extension Master Gardeners, we help them to participate and recapture memories of their own gardens, times, and happy places in their lives. We bring them joy from the garden. We nurture this garden which is a little bit of paradise right in the center of their facility growing flowers and food. There is also a koi pond and a gazebo which is a place of refuge on a hot day. Chairs and tables are randomly placed around the edges of the smooth level sidewalk. We may communicate verbally or by our actions as we work in the garden together for those able.
We use enabling tools and individual attention to help residents participate. A resident with an extreme level of disability can participate in the smallest way, even if it is to sit and enjoy both the edible and visual beauties. We create with them and for them, hoping to provide a place of peace at this moment in their lives. It is an opportunity to grow and learn ourselves. Together we help Evergreen residents, their families, the staff, and ourselves have a better quality of life. This is what Horticultural Therapy is and should do for all involved.