Home nurtures residents’ gardening roots

Almonte Country Haven residents recently enjoyed a picnic on the Lanark County long-term care home’s front patio. Residents got to enjoy a well-shaded lunch prepared by residents which included onions and fresh herbs
from the home’s gardens.

Almonte Country Haven gardens boast flowers, herbs, vegetables

Whether plucking a carrot from the garden or enjoying the colourful sight of flowers at their peak, the gardens at Almonte Country Haven offer plenty for residents and staff alike.

Naomi Redner, life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) at the Lanark County long-term care home, says the several gardens on site make an impression. They also provide fresh herbs and vegetables for the nutritional care department to incorporate into meal preparation. The kitchen uses the herbs for their pasta sauces and chicken dishes. Residents also enjoy the fresh lettuce, spinach, herbs and radishes during picnics.

“The gardens are very pretty and well-utilized,” Naomi tells The OMNIway.

There are 12 raised flower and vegetable beds combined, which were constructed for the home by the LEC’s brother. “They’re built high enough that residents can go by in a wheelchair and pick a carrot or an onion if they wanted to.”

With vegetables and flowers planted together, it provides for an interesting sight. “You might see a flower growing up between the onions.”

Residents enjoy the gardens when the weather is nice. The flowers provide a scenic backdrop for word games and short stories on the patio.

Some residents actively take part in the care of the plants.

“They don’t typically do the physical stuff but they’re out there when we’re weeding and watering,” Naomi says. They like that. They compliment the gardens all of the time.” One woman is comfortable sitting in her wheelchair on the patio and running a hose back and forth over the plants.

Given the number of gardens, the LEC incorporates maintenance work into the daily tasks of life enrichment staff on both shifts.

The gardens are important for residents’ happiness because they provide familiarity. Most of the residents have gardened in the past and some hail from the country and farming community. “Even for the people in town, that generation had gardens,” Naomi notes.

She receives consistent feedback from the residents that they are happy to be outside whenever possible. And when inside, “from each corridor they can see some garden somewhere. They’re all over the property.”

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