You will know already that I enjoy my garden, and spending time in it, redesigning (or rather, ‘rebuilding’ after the winter of destruction) pruning, planting and just generally getting lost in it. An interest that I inherited from my father who has conquered many new gardens as he has moved houses around the country, and indeed around the world. My favourite plant has to be the Rose. I just love the blooms and the perfume and the appearance of a rose garden is just stunning in the summer months.
I hadn’t realised until over the last twelve months, how important this love of gardening is to our family, and in particular our son Marc. I have been looking to redesign the garden to accommodate his wheel chair as mobility challenges reduce his ability to walk around, but I had not thought he would begin to share my interest quite as much.
He has quietly developed a liking for herbs and brightly coloured flowers, and has taken to stroking the leaves of lavender, mint, thyme and others and smelling the perfume on his fingers. Bright colours attract his attention, and as they and the grasses sway in the breeze, I catch him ‘listening’ to the rustling leaves and stems, and watching the bees and butterflies as well as the many different birds that brave the cats to came to the gardens.
We are repairing the lawns so that, even in his chair, we can play Croquet, Bowls or even Boules. above all getting into the great outdoors.
He wants to get involved in planting our pots – digging in the ground is beyond him now – and so we are investing in raised beds for vegetables he can help grow, and then cook. Planting bulbs for the seasonal pots and baskets, and we will now install a greenhouse so we can do all of this even when its raining.
Such a strange interest you may think, but what we have found is that when he is with us helping in the garden, his mind is focused. The terrors of the chaotic thoughts are forgotten here, and the world becomes coherent for a short while. Building this into the other interventions we are using has been another significant breakthrough in supporting his Autism and will feed even more into the overall plan with our garden. Sitting on our ‘readers bench’ in the walled garden, we sit chatting, talking about the sensations we can hear, see and smell and even eating the results of our work.
Oh yes, we always have that flask of tea and some sandwiches to go with the herbs we pull.
Sensory success 🙂