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#14: Practical Matters for Physically Challenged Gardeners

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Welcome to the 14th installment of Practical Matters for Physically Challenged Gardeners. On this thread we discuss the day-to-day challenges of gardening and otherwise enjoying the outdoors when there is also some sort of physical limitation to contend with. Contributors here may be anything from mildly mobility challenged due to aging to those gardening from wheelchairs. The visually impaired can range from “can’t see those little seeds like I once could” to blind. Also, there are those coping with the energy deficits that are a part of Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and heart/lung ailments. We are a diverse group. Feel free to join in. We came from here:
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1230532//
we decided to keep an updated list of websites and books on different aspects of accessible gardening in the introduction of this thread. Feel free to add or give your opinion of the sites/books listed
WEBSITES: Please let us know about any sites you have found especially helpful or if you found links invalid.
Thrive
http://www.carryongardening.org.uk/
-This site addresses gardening with various types of challenges. This website is based in the U.K... Some gardening vocabulary might be unfamiliar to U.S. gardeners. This is not a major issue, however. Highly recommended
-AgrAbility
http://fyi.uwex.edu/agrability/about/
AgrAbility is a program for disabled farmers and ranchers. The focus is on agriculture rather than horticulture. The link is to AgrAbility “About Us” page. If you need info such as how to get from a wheelchair into a pick-up truck, this is the place to go.
-Gardening Tips for the Visually Impaired http://www.visionaware.org/gardening_tips_for_the_visually_impaired

-Gardening from a wheelchair
http://www.mda.org/publications/quest/q31garden.html

BOOKS—All, except one. of these books are available in audio format from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The exception is “Garden Unseen” which is only available in Braille at the time of this post. This list was compiled by a visually impaired person; there may be print books available that are not on the list. Please correct the oversight, if you know of any. The books in this list are, of course, also available in print and may be at your local library.
-Garden Unseen by L. Stevens
-Accessible Gardening for People with Physical Disabilities by Janeen R. Adil (We especially liked the list of recommended vegetables for containers and raised beds found in this book.)
-The Enabling Garden: A Guide to Lifelong Gardening by Gene Rothert--Written by a horticultural therapist employed at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It should be kept in mind that this book was written 17 years ago. Some of the information on raised bed building materials is outdated, but it is still worth reading since the author gardens from a wheelchair. He possesses both academic and first-hand knowledge.
-Gardening Through Your Golden Years by James W. Wilson
-Accessible Gardening: Tips & Techniques for Seniors by Joann Woy
Very comprehensive. No matter what problems advancing age is throwing at you to spoil your gardening fun, you should find a way to keep gardening in this book. Mobility limitations, visual impairment and more subtle issues such as balance are all addressed. Will possibly be updated later this year. .
--The Able Gardener: Overcoming Barriers of Age and Physical Limitations by Kathleen Yeoman
A good book for those new to gardening and those who garden on the west coast. Some information may be outdated, but much garden knowledge stands the test of time well.




This message was edited Jan 7, 2012 11:28 PM

Thumbnail by Amargia
Midland City, AL

I will forever remember "The Able Gardener" as the "My dog ate the whole bag of bonemeal" book. lol.
Enjoy your trip, Carrie!
BTW: The dog suffered nothing worse than a tummy ache. ~N~

(Debra) Garland, TX

Thank you, Kay. :-)

Hope the weather holds good for you, Carrie.

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

I had a dog get into bonemeal once. He did'nt eat much before I caught him tho.
Am in the process of destroying my house or at least that's what it looks like. Lowes people will put down my new linoleum next week.No more carpet!!!YES!!! Can't make up my mind what color to paint inside walls with tho.Am leaning toward a dark golden orange with blue trim. or the golden orange with a dark maroon. Orange sounds brighter than bright but this color is muted.

Am still going thru some depression. Who would have thunk with all the wonderful renovating. Sometimes wonder if maybe I bit off more than I can chew.I will keep my eye on the end result tho.LOL
Grandson is gone from the mountain, only lost $25 and some odds and ends this time.His mom (my DD)Is mad at me cause I chewed him out. I cannot get through her head that yes he is her son but I am HER mother and to steal is wrong.An Alice meets the Mad Hatter kind of thing.

Thanks Kay for the list of books.
Hope you had fun Carrie.

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

I've been feeling like I have bitten off more than I can chew for awhile. You get used to the feeling. ;-)
Getting rid of the carpeting here is something I've never regretted. It makes life much easier when you have animals. Floor is a little cool on winter mornings, but now I can justify buying fun house shoes. Jim's larger than normal w/c means we've had to renovate our renovations. I think we will go with the sliding glass door. We won't even need the special ramp if we sink the door frame into the wood frame so the sliding track is flush. No doubt the crevice cleaner on the vacuum will get a workout, but a sliding door is easiest for both w/c users and v.i.p's, especially in a small space. No open doors in traffic lanes to bump into and the door itself doesn't get in the way when you are negotiating a w/c through the doorway.
I always preferred warm colors. I've heard it suggested that you paint a big swatch of the color you are considering on your wall and live with it for a few days before committing to it by painting the whole room. We are not very adventurous with wallcolor after our "Chutney" experience. Jim likes cool colors so the main bedroom is gray/blue punched up with burgundy. Crisp white, Navaho white and caramel are in the remainder of the house. k*

(Debra) Garland, TX

Me, too, Vickie. Worst bout in years. I know enough has happened in the last six months to have precipitated it, but my goodness! This, I could have done without. :-)

I like carpet underfoot, and it is a real bad idea with these dogs, so just as well the house has all hard surface flooring. Hope you have fun with the color coordination.

Sliders sound like a good thing, Kay.

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Kay, You've talked me into it.LOL think I'll see if sliding doors can be put in. Now all I've got to do is gather myself up and find a carpenter and painter.Lowes will do the floors but the rest is up to me.
In my older years, I've broke down and wear furry houseshoes.(When I can keep Scoot from carrying them outside.)Barefoot was always the way to go inside or out.
Hugs Debra.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Thank you, Kay, for this beautiful new thread.

Debra! The ONE DAY we spend in Texas it pours ALL DAY!! What's up with that? Our fantasies of moving are all rekindled by the pleasure at seeing out grandchildren again . DD#2 looked at North Texas State and liked it.

(Debra) Garland, TX

My bachelors is from UNT. Because it is a commuter school, there is less of a sense of cohesion and identity with the school like you might find in a Stanford or Arkansas State, but it has fine programs, including the 1:00 Lab Band from their Jazz music programs.

Midland City, AL

Today I’m reading “Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older by Sydney Eddison. I thought I would have trouble staying focused since nothing she writes about is applicable to me. The focus is ornamental landscape gardening. There isn’t much on the nuts and bolts of the subject, but it is a charming book. (“Charming” isn’t a word that slides naturally into my vocabulary). Still, it is the best word I can think of. It’s a wide angle book that is more about the different philosophies of gardening in your advanced years. She embraces the writers maxim “Write what you know” so she refers often to her own Connecticut garden and those of her friends. This makes the book of particular interest to New England gardeners. I appreciate that she doesn’t shy away from the hard issues like getting help and tough questions like, “Would it be better for me to adapt my current garden or should I move on to something smaller and more manageable? Also, I like that she touches on the many options for reducing labor in the garden and doesn’t only tout the option that works for her. Everything from the Ruth Stout method to growing in containers is mentioned.
It’s a gray, hazy day at Amargia. Not much going on outside. Papa Jim had a problem with his Sleep Number bed last night. In the course of doing research, he discovered that excessive mold growth on the product is often reported. That is an explanation for Kay’s ongoing problems we haven’t considered. Replacing the Sleep Number with a standard orthopedic mattress seemed advisable. I didn’t see any visual signs of mold, but Kay’s skin is very thin and sensitive. There are days I envy Kay her thin skin. You can SEE her veins. The nurse at the blood bank had to stab my finger multiple times to check for iron deficiency. And, that is just the preliminaries of giving blood. Oh well, it gets me a new blood donor t-shirt and that warm, fuzzy feeling. Not to mention an excuse for chilling the remainder of the day. ~N~


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This message was edited Jan 10, 2012 7:57 PM

This message was edited Jan 10, 2012 8:09 PM

Midland City, AL

Evidently, Nadine and I both need to quit for the day. Sleep deprivation has her too if it took her four attempts to get the above correct.
I did find a powdery white substance on the interior foam when I dismantled the old mattress for disposal. . It will have been well worth a sleepless night if we have found the cause of Kay’s recent health troubles. That reminds me, Carrie, were you ever able to get the anti-allergy vacuum working right? (Jim)

Midland City, AL

MK recieved the new t-shirt today, Debra. It looks great.
PJ worked outside most of the day while MK was at the computer buried up in medical transcription work. Now that was a change! ~N~

(Debra) Garland, TX

Yea! Thank PJ for the ideas. I love all the layers of meaning.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Debra, coolio. She (DD) applied online practically instantly.

Turns out in Texas, you can apply for just the part of Medicaid you need, and they DO have a home care program, and DH's income is NOT included when calculating that. Speaking of which,I got denied for MassHealth as of midnight tonight. I got a big old manila envelope to put all the required documents in. (They needed pay stubs and proof of this and that.) So it was returned for insufficient postage. I put ANOTHER 44 cent stamp on it and mailed it at the post office. I called 1/4/12 to inquire and they said they were SURE it was sitting around in a pile somewhere; that they were very backed up and it wasn't in the system yet. Yesterday I got two horrible pieces of mail: the notice saying my benefits would end 1/12/12 and my original re-enrollment envelope with the four 44 cent stamps on it!! Oy. I've spent more time on hold these last two days with Medicaid than I can think. So yesterday my PCA cleverly faxed in my application with all the attachments and with a poignant letter about how badly we (I) need PCAs. Now they have (admit to) my application in the system.

(Debra) Garland, TX

Don't know what her major is, and I graduated in 1999, so many of my professors at North Texas are now gone, but these people are good resources.

Dr. Daniel G.Rodeheaver, Associate Professor/Chairperson-Sociology. Humorous and sometimes a little brusque. Has no patience for loafers or attitudes, but is SOLID support if you show some interest and at least try. He was one of the three people I asked for a recommendation letter for me to get into University of Texas at Dallas' graduate school.

David Williamson, Associate Professor-Sociology. He, too, has a sense of humor, if not as easy a one as Dr. Rodeheaver's. Deeply religious. Works/worked extensively with medical sociology programs in African countries like Cameroon, and women's studies in Israel.

Mr. Glenn Kasparian, Adjunct Faculty-Biology. In addition to teaching at UNT, Kasparian teaches Anatomy and Physiology in the Dallas County Community College District. He has a reputation as an extraordinarily tough academic instructor, but if you pass his class, you know your stuff. He also teaches Tai Chi at the Brookhaven campus in DCCCD. Know from four semesters of personal experience that he is an extraordinarily flexible and supportive instructor in THIS subject. :-)

Dr. Susan Brown Eve, Associate Dean-Honors College. Don't know her, really, but she also had a solid reputation for supporting her students.

Midland City, AL

Oh, Carrie, being without medical insurance is bad even for me and I am in generally good health. One of the reasons I give blood is it is a cheap way to learn if I am iron deficient. If I’m not, I pay for the test with a pint of blood. I can not even imagine what it would mean for you to be without medical insurance. BTW, great article. I lucked out today. Both articles were about tea plants. It wasn’t the focus of Shari Scott’s article, but hibiscus is synonymous with tea in my mind. “Red Zinger” is one of my favorite commercial blends of herb tea. Hibiscus is the major ingredient in that one I think. ~N~

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATIE!

Nadine, it seems like if I drive 45 min. or so (I always ALWAYS get lost) to the nearest office, they can fix it for me. And I ALWAYS have Medicare. And I just refilled most of my pills. It's being without PCAs that terrifies me. I'll have to pay out of pocket -- and me pockets aren't THAT deep.

(Debra) Garland, TX

Hey, Katie! Feliz cumpleaños! (hug)

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Kb, a belated Happy Birthday from all of us at Amargia.
No rest for the wicked. I planted our native eastern red cedars (juniperus virginiana) along the entire length of Amargia's eastern boundary. It's a xera-scape area and none of the nursery recommended trees we trialed did well. Some survived, but none thrived. The junipers should not have any trouble with the conditions once they get established. However, forgot the eastern boundary is like a busy deer highway linking one stretch of woodland with another. The trees averaged only 4-5' tall so I thought I could get away without staking. Jim saw a doe pull a tree down on herself this morning. Deer will nibble on juniper at the height of winter when more palatable food is scarce. Neither deer nor juniper suffered any permanent harm, but obviously I need to go hammer in some stakes and re-think a dog-free Amargia. I'm imagining the harm deer could do if there were no territorial dog to keep them in check. The daylilies need a dog! k*

Thumbnail by Amargia
Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Does anyone care what bergamot is? It's used to flavor Earl Grey tea and in men's colognes and.... in other things I can't think of. I'm trying to think of shorter articles to write, rather than the entire social history of tea from 2727 BC onward. It looks very warm in that picture of Armagia.....my feet are very cold!

Midland City, AL

:-) We cheated in honor of Katie's b'day. No DL blossoms here until April. Daytime highs have been in the upper 50's for the last few days. Nighttime low's only slightly above freezing. That's a May picture of one of the daylilies that needs a dog. It has green leaves at the moment, but that is all. The tentative ID is that it is an old variety called Mrs. Nesbit's Clone. I still think it holds its own as the prettiest of the pinks and it is tough even by daylily standards.
I'm impressed by Papa Jim's determination. He worked outside a lot this week. He has taken on the task of weeding the shady wildflowr bank and planting it in some kind of groundcover. He sits on the ground to do it, but it is getting done. He hasn't decided what to plant yet. I would like to see some violets there, but I'm not sure beyond that. Kay wants to trial wintergreen. But, it is marginal here and finicky from what I've read. It might be better to trial that in a raised bed in the Fragrance Garden. ~N~

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Shady bank = vinca minor, up here!

(Debra) Garland, TX

I like vinca minor, especially the variegated and gold varieties. Our area is in Stage 3 water restrictions, so not much new will be going in my yard unless we get exceptional quantities of Spring rains. But it is on my list for later.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Here it is practically a weed, or can be very vigorous! DH is going to apply for the Dallas job!

(Debra) Garland, TX

WooHoo, neighbors!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

possibly....we'll see.

(Debra) Garland, TX

Kay and Jim, you can show Travis his seedling is doing well so far. :-)

Thumbnail by lovemyhouse
SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

Travis will like that! I'll have him paint a small raised bed for it. He is having a hard time with his mother's abandonment of the family. I think Amargia is his security blanket at this time.
Alright, Carrie! No more cold feet...possibly. Would this article be about bergamot orange, as in the citrus tree? One of the two different kinds of monarda called bergamot? Or, orange bergamot mint? Or, is orange bergamot mint just another name for one of the monardas?
But, wait, you mentioned Earl Grey. That means the citrus tree. I think so anyway. Yeah, I'm prety sure it is the fruit juice that is used in tea. Or, is it the dried peel of the fruit. LOL. Yes, I'd say the subject needs some attention. I'm a tea drinker. There are still quite a few of us. We should know these things. k*

(Debra) Garland, TX

Can understand that, my paternal grandmother was mine.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

The citrus tree bergamot--but YOU know about all the different kinds, and nobody else does. It could be "What exactly is bergamot, anyway?"

Midland City, AL

That sounds like a good article idea, Carrie. I would like to learn more about teas. I assume all the differerent plants called bergamot are used in tea. A very elderly woman named Mary Hyde started a 4:30 tea tradition at Amargia. It may have started out distinctly Irish, butI doubt Miss Mary would recognize it anymore as her creation. Mindy made it more about herb teas and I put an oriental twist on it in my turn introducing green tea to the mix. I tried one of Kay’s black teas once. It was called English breakfast. Wicked stuff. It stood my hair on end. ;-) Kay says I would have liked it better if I had added a little cream. Cream in tea! My southern sensibilities rebel at the thought.
We are moving a large peach tree today. ~N~

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Traditionally MILK is for tea and CREAM is what you put (as in clotted cream,which is more like ..... whipped cream cheese, I guess) on your scones. I adore English Breakfast but not without a tiny bit of sugar. Irish Breakfast is if you're trying to grow a full beard!

Just the oil of the citrus tree bergamot is used in Earl Grey tea; the other stuff is called bergamot because it resembles the smell, I was surprised to learn! We writers are now trying to think of a reason to have a week of odd citrus articles.

Midland City, AL

Well, it is harvest season for Florida’s citrus. That seems like a good reason for citrus related articles to me. I don’t know about the harvest seasons in the citrus growing regions of CA, AZ and TX, but logic says they would be the same. Harvest season falls in Dec. here, but we are at the northern extreme for citrus. We can grow only a few hardy varieties.
Finished moving the peach tree. What a job! It was about 10’ tall with two trunks about the thickness of a man’s forearm. It partially obstructed a path in the Bee-Zare Garden. (The higher limbs presented a threat to the faces and eyes of VI gardeners and it is so fast growing there is no keeping it trimmed back.) .) It had to either be moved or cut down. MK was for cutting it down. It is a variety that does better a little further south. It buds very early and often gets caught by late frost. When it does escape late frost, however, it is amazingly productive so PJ wanted to save it. He won the coin toss. It is already beginning to form buds. Adjusting to the move may delay it enough to give us a good harvest this year. We got the whole root system and it was out of the ground very briefly. I have little concern it will survive the move. It is much tougher than our other peach trees.
Its new home is on the boundry of the w/c garden. PJ is moving toward fewer annual raised beds. What remains are tabletop, e-buckets, and strawbales that will mainly be planted with tomatoes, peppers and strawberries this summer. .) He is putting more focus on permaculture and perennial food crops like asparagus, grapes, kiwi, figs and pomegranates. We are debating putting hardy citrus there. Citrus and figs don’t make good neighbors. We are doing research on how far apart they need to be to keep both happy. ~N~

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

I enjoyed the lecture on teas. Love most teas. Think I'm back temporarily. My house is a complete wreck.But am in seventh heaven. My walls are all white with primer and my floors have no carpet nor linoleum. But when thru I'll have a new house. This is the first time in my life I'm redecorating with no one else to please but myself.(a good feeling)
i'm at DD,s on her computer. Heaven knows when my house will be back to normal.The linoleum is dark blue and brown stone pattern. The walls will be blue in some rooms ,pink in my bedroom and golden and burgandy in LR. I got carried away and ordered about a dozen magaziness. Have got to stop spending money now.
Carrie, Will love having you as an almost neighbor in Dallas.
Take care all
Vickie

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Welcome back Vickie!! He has to get the job, first, people.

Midland City, AL

We have a winner! Remember Kay’s contest to give the Fragrance Garden a snazzy new name? The “Outta Sight Garden” has been chosen as the new name. Now, Kay’s garden has a name as weird as the other gardens. LOL.
Glad you popped in, Vickie. I was beginning to get concerned. When you are through re-designing your house, feel free to come re-design Amargia. I haven't done very well so far when it comes to beautifying things. I'm settling for functional and do what I'm told beyond that. .
Debra, do you remember the name of the daylily for Travis? I remember it is very colorful. Thought I would send him a picture of the plant in bloom, if I can find one.
This is what Kay’s been up to today. Planning out a way to get 4 seasons of interest in the neglected wooded corner I have been weeding. I especially like the Snakeroot and the creeping blueberries. Notice how many of the plants are fragrant? ;-) The power in the name comes from the electric power pole and support cable that is there. One of the reasons it was neglected. How do you design around something like that? We decided to keep it wild and fun…and…surprise. Surprise…fragrant.
Shade Power Slope
January: Osmanthus fragrans CN: Sweet Olive On boundary.
Febrary: Sarcococca confusa CN: Sweet Box
March: Oxalis articulata f. crassipes CN: Pink fairy bells, Pink Oxalis or Pink Woodsorrel
April: Viola walteri CN: Prostrate blue violet
May: Actaea racemosa 'Black Negligee' CN: Black snakeroot. cohosh
June: Vaccinium crassifolium ‘Well’s Delight’ CN: Southern Creeping blueberry
July: Gardenia jasminoids CN: Cape Jasmine, Gardenia
August: Hydrangea quercifolia CN: Oakleaf hydrangea
September: Clethra almifolia CN: Summersweet
October: Luzula sylvatica 'Aurea’ CN: Golden Greater Woodrush (Or, Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ CN: Yellow Japanese Forest Grass, if an affordable source of the latter
Can be found.) Both are shade grasses with yellow accents.
November: Rhus aromatica ‘Grow-Low’ Fragrant Sumac
December: Ophiopogon japonicus CN: Mondo Grass/Monkey Grass Use the different sizes and shades for interest, yet consistency. Standard, Dwarf, Semi-dwarf, Black, etc…
Now, if we can just stick with the plan. (Jim)

(Debra) Garland, TX

Like the name, Kay. :-)

Aromatherapy is cheaper than a PhD. :-D

Tell Travis his daylily is a seedling from Spacecoast Pattern Plus and Spacecoast Modern Symmetry. The flower hasn't come up yet to see what it will look like. Kind of like having daylily children. Don't know what you will get or which parent it will look like, but it will surely be colorful from this mom and dad. This seedling will be THE most fun of them all to see what we get.

http://www.kinnebrewdaylilygarden.com/spring2007/SCBehaviorPattern.htm
http://allthingsplants.com/plants/view/66126/Daylily-Hemerocallis-Spacecoast-Behavior-Pattern/

http://www.kinnebrewdaylilygarden.com/spring2009/SpacecoastModernSymmetry.htm
http://www.daylilies.org/DaylilyDB/detail.php?id=160112&name=Spacecoast%20Modern%20Symmetry

LOVE Black Mondo grass. It is too dry here for it to do well--and I've tried! Like the looks of the Forest Grass and, though I haven't tried it, it is too dry here for it, as well. I get sales and catalogs and such all the time. If find good ones on these two plants, will let you know.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I like the Outta Sight Garden! The name, at least. I think I've askedyou before, but do you label your gardens for visitors and the uninitiated, or is it just a big in-thing?

(Debra) Garland, TX

Guess I should have said too dry without supplemental water, which I don't provide. :-D Couldn't this year, anyway, due to the water restrictions. But I DO like those grasses...

Carrie, if DH gets the Dallas job, be prepared to find a home with landscaping already in place. At least for now. You wouldn't be able to add any this year, or fill/refill a pool. Unless all of North Texas gets miracle rains between now and May or June to bring the lake levels back up. Texas only has one natural lake (on the Texas/Louisiana border). But we have many reservoirs and all of them are well below normal.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

WE WOULD GET AN APARTMENT! I can't take care of a house: we JUST got a vacuum cleaner this year. Do they have accessible housing there? What I found most heartening (after hours on the phone getting transferred around from dept. to dept.) is that they look at MY income and MY assets if I'M the one requesting home services. If we want Medicaid across the board then they look at ALL our assets, but that's not what we'd be asking for!

I just want a patio or a balcony or maybe even a window! Nothing to mow or water.

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