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The Enabled Gardener


first printed in Pond & Garden March/April 2001
By Josh Spece

Wow…talk about jumping right into something! I never imagined I’d end up with my own column after just one article!

Those of you who read my article in the last issue know that I was born with a form of Muscular Dystrophy and use a wheelchair to get around. My passion for plants started when I was very young by helping my mother in the vegetable garden. Soon I had my own raised veggie garden that gradually became mostly annual flowers. As my interests expanded I began designing beds around our house and yard, discovered the wonderful world of hostas, and installed our first water garden. Now, ten years, close to 300 hosta varieties, and three ponds later, I’ve completed my AAS in Horticulture and my mom and I have opened a garden and gift shop specializing in, what else…hostas and water gardens!

Obviously, being in a wheelchair poses certain obstacles when it comes to gardening. Millions of people, both young and old, have physical limitations due to aging, injuries, or as in my case, diseases, but there is no reason they can’t enjoy gardening in one form or another. Whether it’s a single African violet on the windowsill or an elaborate raised pond in the back yard, with a little creativity the possibilities are endless.

When I first took an interest to gardening, a lot of trial and error went into figuring out ways for me to do things that most gardeners take for granted…things as simple as digging a small hole or watering a new planting. As common as both disabilities and gardening are, you would think there would be more information available on handicap accessible gardening. Even today, aside from a few sites on the internet, resources on accessible gardening are few and far between and on water gardening in particular are almost non-existent.

I am by no means an expert when it comes to water gardening and making it more accessible, but I do have a few tricks to share and if you have an idea to share or a topic you would like me to cover, let me know. Hopefully this column will help everyone, regardless of physical ability, enjoy the relaxing world of water gardening to the fullest extent possible.

Website by Josh Spece
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