Gardening Initiatives Connect Residents and Staff Across Respect

Cohuna Village, Tyler Village |

Residents gardening at Cohuna Village

With gardening found to boost positive emotions and soothe negative feelings of stress, tension and fatigue, it’s little wonder it’s a favourite activity for many of our residents and staff. And to further support this shared passion, several of our homes are progressing with unique initiatives focused on boosting resident participation and wellbeing.

A Gardening Club uniting residents and staff at Cohuna Village, in Victoria, may have started as a seed of an idea late last year, but it’s already well and truly flourishing.

Cohuna Village General Manager Melissa Watson knows full well the positive impacts that gardening has on wellbeing, so when residents shared their interest in participating in more garden-based activities, she was over the moon.

For Melissa, gardening is about connections. The connection one enjoys with the earth, fresh air and sunshine. The connection and sense of pride one experiences when they nurture a seed, cutting or plant into something beautiful or delicious, or both. And – importantly for Cohuna Village – the connection you can foster with others.

Gardening at Respect homes

Affectionately named ‘The Village Garden Club’, the goal of the new group was simple: to create an all-inclusive, mutual connection between residents interested in gardening, in a way they choose or are capable. Everyone is welcome and everyone is included.

The Club has already engaged in a number of activities, including replenishing the garden beds at the front of the home as well as learning more about indoor gardening. Melissa says feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’re proud that the Club and our garden belong to the residents as an extension of their home, and their feedback has been amazing thus far,” she says. “Many staff members have also expressed interest in contributing their time, knowledge and resources to support this initiative so it can continue to grow.”

Melissa says club members are looking forward to learning more about native plants, terrarium care, and growing from rose cuttings (just in time for Valentine’s Day!).

“Engagement with the community of Cohuna will also form a big part of growing this initiative, as will re-engaging with volunteers,” she says. “The team and residents are putting out feelers in the community to garner support with donation of knowledge, time, expertise and garden supplies.”

Melissa says this growth – and the support from others for things like outdoor seating and raised garden beds – will ensure even more residents can access “the incredible benefits of spending time in the garden”.

Gardening at Respect homes

Meanwhile, at Tyler Village in Prospect Vale, Tasmania, our residents and staff are continuing with another all-inclusive program that has already brought much joy to participants.

When residents were asked last year about the activities and pastimes they wanted to get more involved with, they suggested raised garden beds so they could grow their own food and contribute to the running of the home themselves.

A bit of time later and the amazing results are now on full display – even allowing the home’s chef Anita to collect greens from garden beds to use in the residents’ meals: lettuce, spring onions, zucchini, parsley, and basil.

Tyler Village staff members have celebrated the initiative as a wonderful way to engage residents and allow them to take an active role in supporting their home – and all are looking forward to planting even more vegetables and plants as the year progresses.

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