Documents: Special Interest: Horticultural Therapy:


from Red Deer
by Linda Tominson
January 28, 2001

1pt.gif (86 bytes)Working outside in the garden is often physically demanding. Most gardeners find themselves lifting, digging, kneeling or bending on a regular basis. For people who have lost some mobility, gardening can be become a painful chore instead of a pleasure.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Manufacturers are helping people overcome some physical problems by adapting tools to make jobs easier; less physically demanding. .
1pt.gif (86 bytes)There are simple gadgets like rubber tap covers. The cover fits snugly on the average outside tap making the handle larger and softer. It is easier to get a firm grip on the larger tap allowing even the weakest hands to turn it.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)The hand trowel is the tool gardeners use most often. Ones with larger, softer grips are easier to hold, making digging easier.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Long handled trowels are very useful. They allow the gardener to dig in the center of the bed without walking in it. The length of handle adds extra leverage to remove stubborn plants or weeds. Digging with a 2 ft. (.6 m) handle allows the gardener to work in a bent position as opposed to kneeling. The long handled trowel works well for any gardener but is essential for ones that can’t kneel easily or do not have enough strength in their arms or hands to dig stubborn weeds.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Small shovels that were once made for "ladies" are back on the market. They are small, light weight shovels that are easier to handle than the average ones.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Raking with a traditional rake or hoe can strain healthy backs. People who have injured there back often find these tools painful to use. Alternative, aluminum ones with a curved handle are also available. These ones put less strain on the back lower back allowing the arms to do more work.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)To avoid bending down for dropped tools use The McGregor Tool Butler. It is a very simple, movable device that is pushed into the soil. It stands upright with curved arms on which to rest long handled tools.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Kneeling is the easiest way to plant and weed most gardens. For some, it is very painful. For others it is hard to get in or out of a kneeling position.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Kneeling pads make kneeling more comfortable. Some knee pads attach to the leg while others are small sheets of condensed rubber that are moved from place to place.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)More elaborate models look like upside down stools. They are soft to kneel on and have sturdy sides that allow the gardener to use their arms to help push themselves upright.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)For those who can’t kneel at all, there are low scooters that roll when the gardener pushes with their feet. The scooters have an area to store tools and supplies allowing the gardener to take everything they need for an afternoons work.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Lightweight wheelbarrows and garden carts are available with 2 or 4 large wheels. Most are very easy to push and just about impossible to tip over. While, these carts are often used in the traditional way to carry soil, garden waste, and plants, they also make good tool caddies. Having all the tools within arms reach can save miles of walking.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)The new styles of pruning tools are light weight, easy to use and very durable. Fiberglass handles on loppers make them much lighter and easier to maneuver. A ratchet mechanism on loppers and hand pruners take the muscle work out of cutting small or medium sized branches. Larger branches can be removed with a small electric chainsaw.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)These and other tools that make gardening easier can be found in most Nurseries, Garden Centers or Hardware Stores.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Lee Valley also sells many gardening items, through catalogue sales or the Internet. They can be reached at 1 800 267 8767, or


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