Mar. 16 Cart simplifies task for disabled gardeners

March 17, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

"It's spring in here," says Karen Gailey of the greenhouse at the Anita Lynne Home, west of Hagerstown near Cearfoss.

The greenhouse, built in 1993 at the residential facility that serves adults with developmental disabilities, is full of plants. The potted tulips and daffodils, pansies, Johnny-jump-ups, snapdragon seedlings and herbs all are planted and cared for by Anita Lynne's five-member Flower and Garden Crew. Gailey and fellow crew leader Donald Stickley are there to guide the residents as they do all the nurturing the plants need.

Their activities nurture them, as well.

Gardening - horticulture therapy - helps with motor coordination, work and social skills, says Kelli Rowe, day program director. It's rewarding to see the crew members' pride in the job they're doing, she says.

Anita Lynne has an exhibit at Hagerstown Community College Alumni Association's Flower & Garden Show, which continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the Athletic, Recreation and Community Center. The Flower and Garden Crew will have a display of their handiwork - flowers they have grown, planters they have planted.


In keeping with the show's recycling theme - The Good Green Earth - the crew has created whimsical planters using recycled children's shoes and boots.

Anchoring the exhibit is the Garden on Wheels, a cart designed and built by Anita Lynne employee George Bingaman.

The apparatus will enable Anita Lynne Home to bring spring inside - all year long.

The cart will provide indoor gardening opportunities for two other Anita Lynne crews. Members of the Social and Leisure Crew and older residents in the Autumn Program will be able to get their hands dirty and experience the benefits of some good green earth.

The cart can be moved inside, outside, even bedside. It is designed to hold removable plastic storage bins that hold a lush variety of Anita Lynne greenhouse-grown flowers and plants. The height of the raised bed provides easy access for the seated gardener. One of the members of the Autumn Program uses a wheelchair, another a walker. Water and drainage systems and grow lights on timers are built in, and the power cord is concealed for safety.

Members of the Anita Lynne team will take orders for the custom-made carts, which cost $1,500. Blueprints for the cart will be sold for $20 each. Proceeds benefit the home's Flower and Garden Crew.

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