The Blind Center’s vision of a wellness garden includes growing spaces we call pods which are encircled by and connected to each other by pathways. Within the crop circle-like pods are an assortment of veggie-bearing beds. Lavender seedlings are planted three feet apart and three feet from pathway borders. The vegetables will support the nutritional needs of the visually impaired supported by the Blind Center while the lavender will offer the Blind Center community a source of revenue from its various applications. A 100 ft x 20 ft greenhouse supports the Farm’s garden and other plant and shrub landscaping needs of the larger campus as well as other PRI HC gardens. The greenhouse also features an off-grid water collection system. A greenhouse length gutter directs rainwater.
Our concept of wellness gardens, to include gardens at BCCC, the Blind Center and Rose Haven Center of Healing, feature the following lived and build metaphors:
1) All roads do not lead to Rome – but to a journey that unfolds in steps taken but never leaving the site or the moment; you can walk, or wheel, or other mode of transport, almost 1/5 of a mile on movement friendly pathways from start to finish at BCCC, 1/10 of a mile around the outer connected paths at the Farm and 1/7 the of a mile journey on the garden labyrinth at Rose Haven. In essence, the similar but different application of a radial design at all three gardens let you walk and see, or walk and garden without
ever leaving the space or the moment.
2) Access to all, priority for none – through the use of various shapes, sizes, heights, and materials for raised beds, the opportunity for gardening is not limited by abilities, only by motivation.
3) When is a garden not just a garden-when more or all senses get to play.
a. when colorful shrubs and perennials share bed space with veggies;
b. when herbs and spices serve double duty, as aromatic intoxicants to the gardener and chef and subtle or not so subtle taste accelerators for the palate
c. when arbors and trellises serve as ladders for grapes, beans and welcoming jasmine to grow and structures of liminality to welcome and usher people along on their journey of recovery
d. when garden’s birth, growth, and bloom of petal and fruit is cast as art and provides the canvas, the colors, the brush leaving the gardener as a plein air interpreter of nature’s creative passion
– Most pods/walkways complete
– 350 lavender planted around 5 pods
-Over 400 tomatoes, peppers, onions, okra were planted