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Residents of New Horizons North get a healing boost from therapeutic garden
Barbara Satterfield, left, with New Horizons North, talks with resident Natalie Bennett along part of the therapeutic garden recently created by the Hall County Master Gardeners. - photo by Tom Reed

Qualities of a therapeutic garden
Sounds of water
Diverse fragrances
Incorporating plants and wildlife into the space
Having blooming plants during each season
Plants of different textures
Well-though out paths with walkways and shade for patients
Lori Carson, Hall County Master Gardener

Even with temperatures soaring this summer, residents at New Horizons North are able to enjoy the outdoors under plenty of shade thanks to the new therapeutic garden at the nursing home.

The garden, which was recently installed by the Hall County Master Gardeners, was a collaboration of ideas from Master Gardener Lori Carson, the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Auxiliary and New Horizons North.
Many of the garden's qualities can be applied to the home garden for the same effect, she said.

"It is supposed to have certain features because it is supposed to help them to heal," Carson said. But along with the plants it is "just the connection with nature, helping them get outside, get them around the plants, the fresh air, sunlight, the shade."

As far as what you put in the garden, she said there should be something for every season and different shapes and textures that visitors can touch and feel.
"Different colors and scents, like the gardenias ... the sound of water is one of the main things and lots of bird feeders," said Carson.

Just getting outside and having one more activity is something that is very important to the residents.
Barbara Satterfield of New Horizons North said she goes out with the residents daily and blows bubbles and picks weeds to help with garden upkeep while residents enjoy the outdoors.

Carson made it a point to plant blooming flowers, like gardenias that bloom in the summer and beauty berry in the fall, along with many other flowers and lots of greenery. About eight Master Gardeners helped Carson with the therapeutic garden; the group also installed a garden at New Horizons West.

Henry Roberts, administrator at New Horizons North in Gainesville, said he is very happy with how the garden turned out especially after staring at the plain green space it replaced.

"It didn't have much rhyme or reason to it, but what I wanted to do was expand the area where our residents could go," Roberts said. "The Northeast Georgia Medical Center Auxiliary has Marketplace every year, and the auxiliary has dedicated 2009 and 2010 proceeds from Marketplace to go toward the renovation of our facility.

While Roberts said much the overall project is in planning and designing phases right now, the courtyard was one aspect that they could do rather quickly.
"It's a neat marriage of our auxiliary and the master gardeners enhancing what the auxiliary was doing for us."

Carson said she has known the healing power of the therapeutic garden for years from her background as a doctor, along with her degree in interior design.

"When you know they (the residents) need it and you see them using it, it makes it all worthwhile," Carson said.

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