Gardening for People with Disabilities

Spring is here, and it’s prime gardening time. Enjoy this information and book list created by NLS to make gardening more accessible to all.

“Gardening is a deceptively active hobby. Lawns, trees, and flowers stay in one place, but the gardener has to do a lot of bending, stretching, and moving around to tend to them, which can be difficult for people with mobility issues. Blind and visually impaired gardeners need to be able to recognize what is growing. The titles in this mini-bibliography suggest techniques and types of plants to make gardening easier.”—NLS (https://www.loc.gov/nls/braille-audio-reading-materials/lists-nls-produced-books-topic-genre/listings-on-narrow-topics-minibibliographies/gardening-people-disabilities/ )

The digital braille and audio titles can be downloaded from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website. All titles can also be requested from your local library.

Like this list? More topic lists are available here: https://www.loc.gov/nls/braille-audio-reading-materials/lists-nls-produced-books-topic-genre/


ACCESSIBLE GARDENING FOR PEOPLE WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES by Janeen R. Adil (DB 52241)

An avid gardener provides tips and techniques for adapting garden format and methods for people with limited mobility. Explains advantages of containers, raised beds, and vertical gardens. Chapters discuss appropriate tools; choosing vegetables, herbs, flowers, vines, and ornamentals; and starting children in gardening. 1994.

THE NATURE-FRIENDLY GARDEN: CREATING A BACKYARD HAVEN FOR PLANTS, WILDLIFE, AND PEOPLE by Marlene A. Condon (BR 16677)

BIRDS AND BLOOMS magazine field editor’s guide to cultivating an ecological, low-maintenance garden to serve as a habitat for native species. Environmentally conscious techniques stress reducing lawn area and eliminating chemicals. Discusses using natural fertilizers and pesticides, creating ponds, and observing wildlife. Offers tips for elderly and disabled gardeners. 2006.

GARDENING WITHOUT STRESS AND STRAIN by Jack Kramer (BR 02556)

The author explains how to adapt various methods, and how to use some tricks and shortcuts which allow one to garden whatever one’s age or physical limitations. Mr. Kramer offers alternate choices of container gardens and wheelchair gardens. 1973.

THE ENABLING GARDEN by Gene Rothert (DB 43253)

A step-by-step guide to barrier-free gardening for people with disabilities and older adults. Provides a checklist for assessing one’s gardening abilities, then offers advice on selecting appropriate structures, tools, equipment, plants, and garden designs. 1994.

GARDENING THROUGH YOUR GOLDEN YEARS by James W. Wilson (DB 57787)

Former cohost of PBS television show The Victory Garden shares wisdom gathered from “seasoned” gardeners on the benefits of continuing this hobby into old age. Includes tips to minimize fatigue and other ailments, describes laborsaving methods, and offers all kinds of advice. 2003.

ACCESSIBLE GARDENING by Joann Woy (DB 49080)

Advises gardeners with special needs on ideas, tools, and methods. Topics include garden design and layout, raised beds, container and tabletop gardening, easy composting, watering, lawn care, and accessories to facilitate physical tasks. An appendix lists sources of tools, supplies, and information. 1997.

THE ABLE GARDENER by Kathleen Yeomans (DB40311)

Nurse and gardener Yeomans covers general aspects of gardening while emphasizing adaptive techniques such as using raised beds, back-saving tools, and easy-care plants. If the gardener is visually impaired, she suggests designing with plants that are fragrant, textured, edible, or even audible. Included are exercises for gardeners and mail-order sources for plants, seeds, and supplies (including adaptive tools). 1992.

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