It’s good news that we at Collington are hiring a horticulturalist to make the most of our wonderful 125 acre wooded and lake campus.
And, if we take advantage of the opportunity, it would be wonderful news.
Obviously, the new person (formal job description here) will be able to coordinate and improve our existing campus landscape efforts. As the online description says:
This Community Horticulturist serves as the “proprietor” for the campus; and duties encompass all aspects of landscaping maintenance including annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, irrigation adjustments, grasses, aquatic plants, hardscapes, trash, snow related events, recycling cleanup, etc. The associate is responsible for consistently evaluating and maintaining the designated landscape as well as providing guidance and support to residents on their landscaping needs. This position will work in partnership with the maintenance team to provide community snow coverage and removal; supports the maintenance team with projects as needed. All tasks utilize the best organic practices.
With the right person, the job could be even more exciting, and make an even bigger different to our lives. One of the really unique things about Collngton is how much our residents are already involved with the landscape here, including leading our becoming a Certified Wildlife Habitat, being deeply engaged in clearing and cleaning-up (video link), and of course having a very active Grounds Committee.
So, I would see part of the job being fostering and building on that enthusiasm to engage even more residents in the enriching of our campus of nature island. Little steps like committing to buy our own chipper make engagement so much greater. There is also so much room for community education on our environment and how to love and improve it.
There is even another possibility. More and more ageing experts are discovering the value of horticulture therapy (a term I only just learned). As the above-linked website of the American Horticulture Therapy Association Says:
Horticultural therapy is a time-proven practice. The therapeutic benefits of garden environments have been documented since ancient times. In the 19th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and recognized as the “Father of American Psychiatry,” was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals with mental illness.
I know it works for me. Imagine more of this at Collington:
A therapeutic garden is a plant-dominated environment purposefully designed to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature. Interactions can be passive or active depending on the garden design and users’ needs. There are many sub-types of therapeutic gardens including healing gardens, enabling gardens, rehabilitation gardens, and restorative gardens.
What makes a garden therapeutic? The basic features of a therapeutic garden can include wide and gently graded accessible entrances and paths, raised planting beds and containers, and a sensory-oriented plant selection focused on color, texture, and fragrance. Learn more by reading AHTA’s characteristics of therapeutic gardens.
What a great job that could be!