When I was working, I built a pond at a nursing home. It was to serve two purposes. One was as a marketing tool. People would see it and either the potential residents or the ones looking for a place to put them would think that the administration and owners of the home were providing great amenities for the residents. And two, the residents would enjoy sitting around the pond, watching the fish, listening to the waterfall and generally enjoying the landscape. It worked.
While I was building the pond, I had the opportunity to meet some nursing home residents and talk with them. I heard them as they reminisced about their gardens when they still lived at home. Hmmmm, could we build gardens there so they could continue to garden? I talked it over with the staff and we devised a plan to build gardens on stands, rather like card tables, so wheelchairs would fit under them. They would be at the right heights for planting either flowers or vegetables. The residents were delighted and they or their families provided seeds or transplants. This was in New Orleans, the weather was good almost year around so there were no downtimes.
The planting began. The gardens were seeded or full of transplants within the first week. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it.
One totally unexpected thing happened. On Friday after working that first week, the residents lined up at the administration station. I was astounded to hear that they were waiting for paychecks. I had to laugh, but remember, I didn’t have to deal with angry residents either.
The administrator had to do the explanations, but explained that anything they grew they could keep or give to the kitchen for use in their meals. And they would have the flowers to enjoy as either cut flowers or in the landscape. Thankfully the gardeners continued to garden, minus paychecks. Our experiment succeeded.