Although my Mum lost most of her eyesight when she got older, she loved to potter about in the garden and particularly loved the flowers that had a strong fragrance. That made it easy for her to recognize the plants even if she couldn’t see them properly. She was lucky that she was still able to get about under her own steam in the garden but there are many people who are not so fortunate and the Buehler Enabling Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden has some wonderful ideas for those folks who still want to enjoy the pleasures of gardening even if things are a little bit more challenging for them.
The Buehler Enabling Garden is a hands-on garden that encourages people of all ages and abilities to participate and is a major learning center for horticultural therapy programs.
Raised flower beds, vertical wall gardens and hanging baskets make it easier to reach the plants in order to tend them, and for the visually impaired there are beds marked out in squares where many textured plants are grown. The more than 3,000 plants in the Enabling Garden were chosen for their appeal to multiple senses so texture and perfume are important.
As with so many areas in the Chicago Botanic Garden, water plays an important role in the Enabling Garden. Fountains and pools are easily accessible and there are two uniquely designed water walls.
Just down the path from the Enabling Garden is the McGinley Pavilion where on Tuesday mornings during the summer months The Botanic Garden hosts free concerts. Playing this week were Strings of Silk, a violin/guitar duo featuring Jennifer Silk playing violin, and very pleasant it was too, sitting in the shade of the pavilion’s awning, wafted by a gentle breeze coming off the lake, surrounded by spectacular gardens while listening to beautiful music. Definitely a treat for the senses.