National Gardening Week

Springtime sparks a surge in gardening nationwide, with even the smallest balcony or window ledge being transformed into a riot of colour. National Gardening Week celebrates this passion, with a range of interactive gardening activities available across the country.

In this article we are embracing our green fingers and exploring how those with learning disabilities can join in and share the love of gardening.

Gardening is a very inclusive activity, there are a wide range of adapted tools available and gardens can be designed to make them more suitable if you or a loved one has a physical disability. Get advice on overcoming barriers to specific gardening tasks from Thrive, a national charity aiming to support people with disabilities to start or continue gardening. Their website gives lots of information as well as links to providers of specialist equipment. Learn more about Thrive here.

Digging, pruning and planting in a garden not only develops physical health, it has widely reported psychological benefits too. For individuals with learning disabilities, these benefits can be even greater, with volunteering and work opportunities in horticulture offering a chance to learn a new skill and join a new social group. There are a wide range of local initiatives in many areas, contact your local volunteering centre to find out more.

The variety of textures and scents available in planting can be also be hugely beneficial for those with visual impairment and other sensory needs. Choose plants that make a sound as the wind moves through them such as bamboo or scented herbs and flowering plants such as honeysuckle to stimulate the senses.

If you fancy igniting a passion for plants, visit other gardens for inspiration here Accessible Gardens – a directory of gardens in the UK and information about accessibility, with website visitors able to leave a review on the facilities.

National Gardening Week runs from 30th April – 6th May. Find out more about events near you here.

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