3 steps to crafting a container garden

Gardening is one of the best senior activities not only for the spring, but also for boosting mental and physical health. Several studies have examined the positive effects gardening can have on seniors’ overall well-being. Among those are increased self-confidence, decreased risk for developing arthritis and elevated mood.

There are several ways that seniors can participate in this fun activity, from joining a volunteer group and decorating buildings in the community to crafting their own flower bed in the front yard. For those living in retirement communities, container gardens may be the best option, as they offer the perfect place for older adults to grow their green thumbs while not having to worry about taking care of a wide swath of land.

1. Look for the perfect location
Before picking colors, pots or seeds, the first thing to consider is where the container garden will go. Unlike traditional gardens, these mini-versions can take a number of shapes and forms, meaning that seniors can choose to utilize large concrete holders or small glass ones that hang from garden spikes. Either way, they must first pick the perfect spot for the garden, as location greatly influences the rest of the decisions. For example, if seniors choose to place the garden outdoors, they must choose if it will be in a shaded or sunny area, as certain flowers thrive in the dark while others require abundant sunlight. Additionally, for those who want their gardens to enhance the appearance of a certain area – such as a walkway or exterior of a building – they may prefer to choose a standing container or several smaller ones. Seniors should scope out a few spots before choosing, but once they’ve picked the perfect spot, it’s time to select the garden’s shape.

2. Choose your shape wisely
There are three-dimensional characteristics to take into consideration: size, material and number. Smaller pots may be easier to manage, but for seniors who wish to undertake this task as a social activity, a larger container may be preferable. Additionally, small gardens can be transported, an option perfectly suited for plants that may react negatively to harsh weather conditions, such as fluctuating temperatures or heavy rainfall. While large containers may not be easily moved, seniors have the opportunity to pot a number of different flowers, which may lead to a more colorful and varied garden.

More creative individuals may choose their materials with extra care. Clay, stone and glass pots are timeless options, as they are sturdy, well-ventilated and conducive to growth. However, seniors with both a green thumb and eye for craftiness may opt for less conventional containers. HGTV featured a set of hanging gardens that were made from old tote bags and purses. This is a simple option for those who want to introduce a little flair to the retirement community. Simply line carriers with plastic, add soil and plant the flower. Then, hang these bags around various areas, whether they’re best suited for one set of spikes or they’re used to adorn an exterior wall. Additionally, they can be easily carried indoors when it rains or if it gets too windy.

3. Pick flowers with care
Once the location, size and number have been selected, it’s time to pick the perfect plant. The flower should reflect the choices seniors have already made, as certain breeds can only survive in particular conditions. For example, fuchsias thrive in shade and grown in drooping clusters, so they would be a beautiful, vibrant selection for small containers hanging in the shade. Sunflowers, however, require plenty of sunlight and attention, so they’re best left in sturdy, medium-large sized pots in the sun. Seniors should speak to local gardeners and conduct plenty of research before choosing their plants, so their buds last through the season.