Disabled people will get their hands dirty at Davenport's newest garden

October  08, 2012

More people have a place to plant, water, and grow plants now that Davenport's newest garden is open. This morning, the parks and recreation department held a ribbon cutting to open an "enabling garden" at Vander Veer Botanical Park. The 28-hundred square foot garden is adjacent to the conservatory and completely handicapped accessible. 

Sherrie Fischer,"Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation Supervisor," spearheaded planning for the project. She says the beds are built at different heights to accomodate people who use wheelchairs and children. 

The enabling garden also includes two vertical beds for blind people to find plants laid out in a grid. Fischer says its like a 3-D trellis, and a different plant will grow in each square. 

Horticulturalists helped select plants that stand out for their color, fragrance, and texture. Over the past several weeks, clients from the Handicapped Development Center and Vera French helped plant the enabling garden.

Although it only took four months to build, Fischer and a Genesis Medical Center employee first began talking about adding "horticultural therapy" programs more than ten years ago. Therapists at Genesis and Trinity regional health systems plan to tell their patients about Davenport's Enabling Garden. And Fischer says wounded veterans will use it, too.

More photos are posted on Facebook.