CHASTAIN HOME THERAPY GARDEN
By Carol Nelson VCE Southside Master Gardener Whoever said, “Never underestimate the healing power of a quiet moment in the garden,” knew what she was talking about. The benefits of gardening – fresh air, exercise and mental stimulation - are well documented. A new garden area on the lushly landscaped grounds of Halifax’s Chastain Home for Gentle Women is providing daily quiet moments, as well as lots of healthy vegetables and flowers for bedrooms and dining tables. The Chastain Home Therapy Garden was designed last year by Southside Master Gardener Rita Powell and received approval as a Master Gardener outreach site by Virginia Cooperative Extension and VA Tech. Rita moved into the Chastain Home in 2018 and right away started engaging the ladies with crafts and art projects. As a lifelong gardener, she thought about building raised beds near the Home’s back entrance to give the residents a convenient way to walk outside and join in planting. Raised beds are one way that garden work can be modified to be more accessible as a form of ‘horticulture therapy’.