by Rachel Sepe
When the warm weather finally arrives, I am always on the lookout for fun ways to get my children outside to enjoy nature. It can be challenging, though, for children in wheelchairs to really get in touch with the great outdoors. It seems the equipment always comes between really touching and exploring grass, dirt, and the wonders that can be a backyard.
When our spring flowers began to bloom, my youngest was curious about how plants grew and asked to garden. However, she is too weak to really dig and plant in the yard, and her power wheelchair makes it a challenge to get up close to our landscape. With the help of neighbors, we took an idea from Pinterest and created Scarlett’s garden, which brought nature within her reach.
By measuring the span of her chair we decided on a six-foot-long, U-shaped table with sides, with a cut out to drive up to. The garden was then assembled, filled with dirt, and placed on casters so it would be moveable around our yard and patio. A trip to Home Depot allowed Scarlett to select vegetables, herbs, and flowers she wanted to grow, and the purchase of a toy watering can meant she could take care of her baby plants on her own.
Scarlett now checks on her garden daily and has many plants successfully growing. We can’t wait to eat her veggies later this summer, and are already enjoying many of the herbs. An accessible garden could easily be made larger or smaller depending upon your space, and even container gardens would give a child a sense of pride and connection to nature.