Living with a long-term health condition can overshadow your hobbies at times, but gardening is one that you can truly make your own. By knowing your capabilities, using adapted tools and different methods of gardening, you don’t have to miss out on the Great Outdoors. Not only does growing your own flowers, fruit and veg wield a bountiful crop and the satisfaction from growing it yourself, but it also has a wealth of benefits. The physical activity involved is great for your overall health, and your mental health can reap the benefits of what you sow, too. From helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, it can also do wonders for your confidence and self-esteem.
Here, we round up the top products and tips to improve your gardening experience, just in time for this year’s growing season and for National Gardening Week!
Developed by UK company, Peta, the Easi-Grip Trowel is helpful for people with weak grip and poor hand control. The angle of the handle means that the wrist and hand stay at their natural angle and doesn’t require as much grip. There’s also the option to add an extra arm cuff for additional support. £14.95, peta-uk.com
If you struggle to bend down or kneel and would prefer to garden from a standing or seated position, try adding raised beds to your garden or allotment. You could ask someone to help you make some so they’re perfect for your height (either seated or standing), or shop around for a suitable product. Be sure to check the size before you buy!
Wheeled Pot Trolley
Large pots full of compost can be very heavy, so why not invest in a wheeled garden trolley? This enables you to move pots around the garden with ease and helps to avoid any injuries that heavy lifting may cause.
Picking plants that require less attention can be the perfect solution. If you’re unsure how much time you can commit to your garden or struggle to maintain it, opt for plants that are slow-growing or don’t need pruning regularly.
When it comes to pruning your plants, there’s a whole range of options to assist you. This handy guide from Carry on Gardening will help you to determine the best set of secateurs, whether it’s a battery operated set, or the cut and hold design. Think about your mobility and having to pick the clippings up and what is the safest option for you in terms of grip and the type of blades.
Folding Garden Kneeler
Cushion your knees and take a seated break with this 2-in-1 design from VonHaus. Place it on the foam pad side down, and use the bars to assist you with getting up from ground level, or flip over to sit down. A trowel, fork, hand rake and storage bag are included too. £21.99, vonhaus.com
Sprinkler or watering systems
Watering cans can be really heavy and depending on the size of your garden, it can take a long time to get all the plants watered in the summer. Consider options such as sprinkler systems that can be set on a timer, ortimer or moved around the garden to make sure that your plants continue to bloom and grow! Alternatively, this wheeled sprayer is a more portable option to use.
Knowing your abilities and identifying the areas that you require assistance with is important, and key to finding the right tools to help you. It’s always best to get someone to help you with any tasks that require climbing ladders, and other more dangerous tasks for example. Map out your garden and figure out the areas that you want to adapt or refresh, whether that be bit by bit, or a complete overhaul.
To find likeminded people who enjoy gardening, the great outdoors, and all things nature-related and have MS, why not join our Nature Peer Pod? Each week, this group meets via Zoom for a catch up and have a chat. It’s a great way to meet people who can relate to your situation and forge new friendships. Find out more about Peer Pods and the different groups by clicking here.