How can you invite your garden visitors to smell the lemon verbena and caress the lambs’ ear leaves when you’re not in the garden all the time?
If only the plants could speak for themselves. They might ask for a drink when they’re thirsty, or say 'look up at me' when they're flowering overhead.
You know your garden offers healing but… maybe the people who most need the benefits are caught up in their own thoughts, their problems and pains? Maybe they simply sit there and don't look closely at the plants or even hear the birds?
Maybe you feel sad or frustrated when they miss out on the gifts nature has to offer?
You’re in the right place.
I wanted to encourage my clients to independently engage with the garden and reap the quality-of-life benefits. After all, I was available only a few hours per week, but the garden was open all day, every day. And every dose of nature counts!
Years of leading therapeutic garden programs in healthcare and social service settings taught me that many people need permission, encouragement and instruction to engage their senses and do hands-on garden activities.
Garden Activity Signs that’ll invite your garden visitors to engage with nature and feel fully alive in the moment. They’ll smile with delight and share their discoveries.
Encourage your garden visitors to harvest the benefits:
Reduce stress watching leaves dance in the breeze
Improve mood by smelling the aroma of a fragrant rose
Evoke cherished memories while rubbing and sniffing a favourite herb
Experience the satisfaction of tidying up wilted pansy flowers
Get a boost of endorphins by harvesting a handful of berries
Grin with childish delight while plucking a daisy for your buttonhole
Transform your clients’ ‘turn around the garden’ into a deeply healing and uplifting experience.
They’ll thank you for it.
"The first thing I noticed was the clear instructions, short concise wording, a great picture that says what the words say, and the URL for more information. I like that!”
— Sara, High School Teacher
"The signs show people what they can do to slow down, pay attention and be present without any kind of coaching, coaxing or companionship needed. So simple they run the gamut of ages.”
— Tara, Horticultural Therapist Garden Assistant & CHTA Administrator
"These signs are perfect for giving people permission to do things in the garden, and for getting more people out there and involved. You're buying a whole program!"
— Carol, Gardener
The sensory and hands-on activities these garden signs encourage are deceptively simple. The benefits they provide can be life-changing for the health of individuals, communities and our living earth.
You have a busy job, a limited budget and need simple ways to be effective and innovative in serving your clients and fulfilling your organization’s mission.
You’re familiar with the ‘connect to nature’ movement and want to put it more fully into practice at your site. You can see that the garden activity signs will easily and economically provide effective programming. Hourly wages for program leaders cost much more. So does making signs in house.
By adding these signs to your agency’s garden, you’ll add value to each visitor’s experience. The signs invite your garden visitors to engage their senses and enjoy natural distractions that lower stress and improve mood and concentration. Proven health and wellness benefits: just what you want for your clients, your staff and yourself.
What if there was a way to lead garden activities without even being there? Imagine your clients in the garden, feeling confident that the beans are ready to harvest, the pineapple sage is worth rubbing and sniffing, and it's okay for them to pick a daisy or two. Meanwhile, you're leading another program, catching up on paperwork or better yet... walking in the woods on your day off!
I wanted my clients to know the garden is theirs to enjoy and nurture. I felt frustrated that I had only a few hours per week to lead garden activities. The garden was available all day every day, but the clients were more likely to engage with the plants if I guided them to smell the peonies and showed them which plants would like a drink of water.
I wanted a solution… so I created one.
I designed a set of 12 garden activity signs to give my clients permission, encouragement and basic instruction in how to independently enjoy and care for the garden. They now have activities to do when they choose to come out to the garden by themselves, with their family and friends, or with staff or volunteers.
The signs offer 6 sensory and 6 hands-on activities to enjoy, the garden gets looked after, and I get the satisfaction of knowing the signs are at work even when I’m not.
Whether you’re an experienced garden program leader or just starting out, these garden activity signs can make your work more effective. Easily extend your reach to more clients and bring the garden alive for them, providing them with more of the evidence-based benefits that come from engaging with nature. The signs can be moved as often as you wish to create new experiences for your regular garden visitors. While you look around the garden for the next spots to place the signs, you get to enjoy the sensory activities and reap the benefits yourself.
If you choose more than 6 signs, you'll receive a 24-page instruction booklet chock-full of ideas for programming with the signs. Way less prep and planning required than most gardening activities.
Many gardens and their visitors are likely to come alive and thrive with garden activity signs.
Is your garden one of these?
Gardens at care homes for seniors, and at supported community-living homes for teens and adults: to reduce stress, increase social interactions and improve quality of life
School gardens: to improve attention, creativity and problem-solving
Corporate gardens: for employee wellness, productivity and job satisfaction
Community garden areas tended and enjoyed by community members: to invite participation
Therapeutic gardens in healthcare and social service settings: to reduce stress and provide restorative benefits
Enabling gardens with facilitated programs: to improve skills and provide participant-specific benefits
Home gardens: for parents to encourage their kids to notice nature and do garden ‘chores’ like sweeping and watering
Display and botanical gardens: to engage, educate and provide benefits to their visitors