Gardens and Benches Invite Community

Our front garden has been our creative and emotional oasis this past year, both for us and our neighbors. Our Free Little Library receives many visitors, who both borrow and donate books. Our rotating art gallery delights pedestrians, delivery people, and drivers who catch a glimpse and stop to look. The bucket of chalk has inspired all ages to draw pictures and words on the sidewalk (and the picket fence).

And the bench at the end of our front walkway provides a resting spot for walkers, including four regular visitors. Twice a day, an elderly man stops for a rest on his twice-daily walks. His helper asked Bill if it was okay to sit in our garden and he said, of course, and so we often see the man at the end of the walkway and his helper on the bench in the garden. We can hear their cheerful arrival. And then about 10 minutes later, they continue on their walk. Every few days, a nanny stops to take a rest on the bench at the end of the walkway, with a young child in a stroller. You will catch glimpses of the above in the photos below. We just added another bench to the end of the walkway.

Recently, I learned about a town in Germany — Arnsberg — where the community has made an active commitment since 2004 to help their elderly residents stay or become active. A tiny office called the Department of Future Aging (DFA) has a tiny staff two and project budget of approximately $24,000 per year, and it is able to support projects that ensure that senior-oriented planning isn’t just woven into the social fabric of the city, but the physical design. For example, the city has numbered benches every 550 feet (approximately one short block) in some of its markets and on the promenade along the River Ruhr. The benches provide essential resting spots, but with an added bonus for someone experiencing dementia. Each bench is numbered. If necessary, a lost person can call for assistance and quote the bench number so that they can be found and assisted. Read the wonderful article where I learned about this here: https://www.yesmagazine.org/health-happiness/2021/07/01/germany-department-of-future-aging

man on bench at end of walkway

Helper adjusting cushion

Resting on cushion 🙂

Wildflower seed paper really works! A fun and easy way to plant wildflowers.

Fence pickets are perfect height for little children

July’s art gallery with Suzanne DeCuir’s paintings. Watch our 9-minute film about her work on this website (free stream), under Films. Watch for free on Vimeo. Visit Suzanne DeCuir’s website: suzannedecuirfineart.com

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