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The Therapeutic Nature of the Garden

When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden. – Minnie Aumonier

The clouds have temporarily retreated allowing us the perfect view of tonight’s first quarter moon. For those of you who have been watching the sky over the past couple evenings you would have noticed it slowly taking shape as it raised at dusk each evening signalling the Sun to retire for the night. It has been a nice change of view compared to the cumulus clouds that have dominated the sky ominously over past couple months.

It’s amazing what a little shift in perspective will do. With a never ending to do list it has been ever difficult to prioritize my resolve to post weekly updates of my “200km Challenge” but with a visit short visit to a Seniors home – more specifically the vegetable gardens maintained by their residents – I have been inspired to write a post.

I accompanied the Student intern working on the Senior Organic Gardener (SOG) program with the Canadian Organic Growers (COG) Ottawa – St. Laurent – Outaouais (OSO) Chapter to their gardens at the Perley Retirement Residence in South East Ottawa.  Amber (the student intern) and Jess (the program coordinator) have been working with staff and residents to plant and maintain garden boxes. Eight residents are actively participating in the program at this residence and each has their own garden box.

This past spring Amber and Jess worked with the residents to plant vegetables they enjoy eating. They have made periodic visits since then to help the residents maintain their boxes and discuss different gardening topics such as: soil health, watering and pest management to educate the participants on how best to care for their plants.

Totmato’s and romaine lettuce

Hot peppers and cilantro


Romain lettuce


The first tomato’s


Amber and Jess tending to the gardens

This is such a wonderful program, not only does it provide these residents with fresh local organic food but it encourages community and exercise amoung a demographic that is most at risk for solitude and immobility. It was so encouraging to see the carefully maintained boxes and notice the cultivation of some of the produce already.

It was a quick visit as were are currently experiencing quite the heat wave here in Eastern Ontario and the heat advisory meant the seniors were not allowed out into the garden. But it was just long enough to rejuvenate me and renew my optimism in the world making it possible for me to once again tackle my never ending to do list when I returned to the office.

If you want to learn more about this program I encourage you to check out COG OSO’s website here: https://cog.ca/ottawa/our-programs/senior-organic-gardeners/

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