Miniature Garden Therapy Mission: Spark Joy

Miniature Garden Therapy at the Old Soldier's Home

Operation Spark Joy has begun! Our first installation as The Miniature Garden Society at the Washington Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Washington, south of Seattle.

Miniature Garden Therapy Mission: Spark Joy

I love it when a plan comes together. Now, to see if it works!

After talking to Linda for a minute on that cold, gray day in the middle of the winter, it felt like I was talking to an old friend. She was asking if I knew of a speaker that could come and talk at their big workshop day that is held every spring for the the Hill and Dale Garden Club. Who knew that that would turn into a project that, quite possibly, can “spark joy?”

I’ve always wanted to find out if a miniature garden can really deliver some garden therapy to non-miniature-gardeners if it was put in the right spot. If a full-size garden can be therapeutic for everyone, why not a tiny one too? And now that the Miniature Garden Society is established, we can make time to reach out into the community, to see what we can do with our hobby to share the joy of gardening in miniature.

So, with the help of Linda and the ladies at the Hill and Dale Garden Club, we installed a larger miniature garden in the courtyard at the Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Washington. Here’s what happened:

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The Hill and Dale Garden Club did the hard part: the lugging in of the trough and the potting soil. The tub is 6′ x 2′ x 2′ and it’s filled more than half-way up with chunks of styrofoam. The styrofoam won’t make it easy to move but it saves a boatload of time, money and energy not having to fill it all up with soil.

Find out more about the right potting soil to use for your miniature garden here.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

After the mountain was in place, we dug in. I’ll be putting the instructions on this easy-mountain-install in the Miniature Garden Society!

See the MiniatureGardenSociety.org website here.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Steve made the silo from a beer can and straws! This side will begin to look more like farmers fields when the different thymes start to grow in.

See our different Thymes here. 

 

I made the little cinderblock fence from our tiny cinderblocks and a couple of skewers. The silo and the fence were glued on to a board which was hidden with micro gravel.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

When Linda and the ladies installed it, they made sure it was a good height for most wheelchair-users. That need triggered the idea for some sort of backdrop for their point of view, so we built up a hill with a solid chunk of Irish Moss from my full-sized garden that needed a good home. It’ll be a great place for a picnic!

See the gray flagstone sheet here.

See the Mini Patio Mix Kit here. 

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Linda brought some full-sized Hen and Chicks so we used them as Agave-type plants to add some great texture to the miniature garden bed.

See our full-sun plants here.

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Layers and textures, oh my! Here’s what we planted in the trough. It’s going to get full-sun all summer, and it’s protected in a courtyard to it should be a great growing environment for the plants.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The patio was a bit rushed at the very end, but I don’t think anyone else noticed. The bright green chair matched the Golden Torch Barberry in the upper-left corner.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The Mercedes Dwarf Birch, the Goldfinch Fir and a few of the succulents were donated by Bob Fincham and Linda Maida.

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Dueling Photographers. That’s Linda taking a photo of the finished garden. Steve said everyone was just beaming with smiles as they slowly realized what was happening. For someone who didn’t know what was going on, it must have looked strange. Lol!

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

That’s Thomas, he’s a master gardener so we left it in his good hands.

 

A few of the residents gathered to watch the garden go together and some of the staff watched too. It was fun to see them respond as the garden came together. Between us, the garden club, the residents and the staff, it sounded like everyone wanted to “look after the garden” so I imagine it will be well-taken care of! We’re looking forward to going back in a couple/few weeks to see how it’s growing – and to see if it sparked joy.

Like this?

Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter! It’s free and every Friday! Join us here.

Want to know more about our Miniature Garden Society? See that here.

Here’s an UPDATE! We visited the OSH to decorate the garden for the Fourth. See it here.

 

Miniature Garden Gift Ideas from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

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4 Comments »

  1. Dr. K said

    Love this project! It would be great to see these all over the country. And thanks for labeling the plants in the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brenda said

    A flag pole would be a nice addition

    Like

    • They have flags everywhere around the property and then some. We wanted it to be a “place to get away to” for the residents.

      Like

  3. […] Society at the Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Wa., is collecting some terrific feedback! As we mentioned in the first blog, and as I was reminded of when I was speaking with one of the staff members, the staff is enjoying […]

    Like

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