Horticulture at Tuscan Gardens

“Gardens” is part of our name. Tuscan Gardens’ overall horticultural approach is one of our primary differentiators.

Gardening plays an important role in the daily lives of our residents. It provides relaxation, repose and contemplation. Our residents and associates work together to socialize and enjoy the leisure skills they may have enjoyed their entire life. Some may have never gardened, before but are now discovering that it’s something that they like to do.

This type of full sensory experience – smell, sound, touch, sight and tastes – engages the residents, family members and friends.

Culinary Herb Garden Program for Independent and Assisted Living

Tuscan Roots’ educational herb garden brings a ‘farm to fork’ concept into our community to showcase culinary talents, while integrating classes & activities for a unique resident experience.

Gardening plays an important role in the daily lives of our residents. It provides relaxation, repose and contemplation. Our residents and associates work together to socialize and enjoy the leisure skills they may have enjoyed their entire life. Some residents may have never gardened before but are now discovering that it’s something that they like to do.  Gardening provides residents with an ongoing sense of purpose and fulfilment, a program that they can take ownership of.

Handcrafted Herb Garden

  • Includes fresh herbs and organic, nutrient-rich soil.
  • Feature herb of the month concept for cooking demonstrations with the mobile garden.
  • Residents get to participate in planting herbs. The Ethnobotany-themed garden provides cultural and educational activities, e.g., Italian parsley prompts Italian phrases, studying Italian art, and learning Italian etiquette.

Therapeutic Horticulture Program for Memory Care

Tuscan Roots’ sensory gardens provide our residents with new purpose and engage with all five senses. The elevated planter beds are located inside and outside the community providing the opportunity to grow a wide variety of plants/herbs in all types of weather.

Therapeutic Sensory Garden:

  • Includes fresh herbs and organic, nutrient-rich soil.
  • Residents get to participate in planting herbs.
  • Organic soil, initial fragrant herbs, beautiful plants (selected by resident).

Therapeutic Horticulture Classes & Garden Maintenance

  • The Signature Program Director and the Memory Care Program Director will include the Tuscan Roots’ Horticulture Program in their activity programs at least one time per week. The program can include, but not limited to:
    • Planting of new or replacement plants
    • Cultivating plants, flowers, etc for use in another activity like table center pieces or herb cuttings for spa treatments or other like activities.
    • Grow herbs and/or flowers that can be used in creating oils and soaps, which the residents can be involved in as an additional activity.
    • Develop a flower, plant or herb of the month and create programs around it. Lavender can be planted then used to make oils, aroma therapy, and even painting classes using the Lavender as a subject to paint.
    • Weekly education program on various plants, flowers, herbs.
    • Tilling the soil and removing any weeds that might have grown.

Benefits of Horticulture

With age, we become more vulnerable to physical limitations, poor health and the difficult emotional struggles that accompany these changes. For this reason, therapeutic gardening blossoms as a welcome activity for independent seniors, as well as residents in assisted living communities.

An article published in the quarterly journal Psychiatry Investigation titled “What Is the Evidence to Support the Use of Therapeutic Gardens for the Elderly?,” by Mark B. Detweiler et al., gathered information from various studies to prove the benefits of therapeutic gardening. Highlights include:

Physical Activity – Gardening is considered one of the best opportunities for seniors to get their exercise. Planting, daily pruning and watering and even just walking through a garden can help them stay physically well, promoting muscle movement, coordination, heart and lung health and flexibility.

Pain Reduction – Spending time in nature can reduce how much people perceive pain. Detweiler et al. claims that the sensory stimulation provided in a natural setting can actually keep us from noticing unpleasant feelings, both physical and emotional. This offers a natural pain reliever for those suffering from chronic illnesses, long recoveries, joint pain, etc.

Studies have shown that patients recovering from surgery not only need less medicinal pain relief, but also recover much faster when given access to nature. Simply bringing plants into the hospital room was enough to provide these benefits.

Improved Attention – Therapeutic gardening can help improve attention span and the ability to concentrate. Being engulfed by the colors, textures, smells and sounds in a garden stimulates our involuntary attention, which allows the mind to wander and clear itself without causing fatigue or stress. Using involuntary attention reserves the mind’s energy and helps us pay “voluntary” attention when we need to concentrate.

Reduced Stress – Studies show that being in nature can improve how our bodies react to stress. Seniors suffering from stressors such as health concerns, mobility problems, loneliness and grief can benefit greatly from spending time in a garden. Nature provides a sense of calm and reassurance through growing things and pleasant surroundings.

Empowerment – Working in a garden can give seniors a sense of control in their lives. For many, aging involves increased dependence on others, which can impact their self-esteem. However, tending to living things gives seniors independence, knowing that their actions can make things grow. They can watch as their flowers bloom or their tomatoes ripen and enjoy a feeling of accomplishment in what they’ve done.

Socialization – Gardens are wonderful tools for building a strong community. For example, residents of an assisted living community gardening together have so many opportunities for connection, especially since their garden gives them both literal and figurative common ground! Flowers, herbs and vegetables that they grow can be shared among the community, connecting residents to caregivers, cooks, visitors and each other.

My mom has a rare progressive neurological condition and has declined so rapidly in the last 6 months. Tuscan Gardens and the amazing staff have given her the absolute most quality of life. Thank you ALL so much for your compassion, dedication and going above and beyond for those who can no longer care for themselves.