Summer in the Garden

Like so many Minnesotans, Rising Cedar residents Russell and Jemette enjoy spending their summer working in the gardens. “I love working in the community garden – it’s so relaxing,” said Russell. “It’s good to see a small seed grow into food or a beautiful flower.”

This Nature-Based Therapy program, which focuses on healing through involvement with plants and nature, is led by Cindy Berlovitz, a Certified Horticultural Therapist with the University of Minnesota Arboretum. The program creates a connection between plants and people which is multi-sensory at every level, and the sensory stimulation nourishes and restores the brain.

The community garden has flowers, vegetables, fruit, and even a Zen garden for relaxation. Two raised beds, which can be accessed by wheelchair or while standing, were added in the summer of 2015.  “Everyone can participate now,” said Russell “You can work to your ability, sit down when you need to, and contribute what you can to the garden.”

Residents from the Rising Cedar and New Hope Apartments come together weekly to plant, weed, and harvest fruits and vegetables. The group has also worked on creating floral arrangements and has a weekly cooking activity which uses herbs, vegetables or fruit from the garden with a focus on healthy eating. During the winter months, window herb gardens, cooking and planting seedlings bring the garden indoors. “We have a big garden and need a lot of people to keep it up,” explained Jemette. “I enjoy our gardening community.”