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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Planting Geraniums ... keeping on the growing cycle

Horticulture Therapy at my hospital is production-oriented. I say that to explain to any newcomers why I have all these projects going on at anyone time. We have many phases of growing going on at one time. And that's good because where I work, the veteran patients are all at different phases in their rehabilitation and ultimately, their life. Some go too slow and some are too fast and we try to settle things out before they hit the community pavement.

There is the greenhouse. It starts kicking up its heels shortly after Christmas... until about now when I frantically try to empty the greenhouse before the seriously hot days of summer come around. The hot days just fry the plants that are pot bound in their little market cells needing more growing space and nutrients. There is the landscaping outside around 35 plus or minus buildings on 150 acres of land. And then, there is the New Leaf Flower Shoppe...where we try to sell some of the plants that we grow in addition to houseplants that I buy wholesale to round things out.

So, today we planted out by the flagpole all the red geraniums that we have been growing since March? We sold some geraniums in our other horticulture venue... The New Leaf Flower Shoppe. However, geraniums need full sun and the Shoppe doesn't get that so they were moved down to the greenhouse for "spa" treatment. (My co-worker refers to the greenhouse as the plant-spa...) I had the guys bunch the geraniums in four plants and it used up 7 or 8 trays of individual 4.5 in pots in NO time. We also planted Crackerjack Marigolds but that is almost a futile exercise since the rabbits and the ground hogs eat them for a late evening snack. But maybe one or two will survive and bring color to the area.

We weeded and I trimmed the roses.

The therapy part of today was getting the guys to stay focused on their recovery. As I am watering in the geraniums, I was discussing the different requirements of the Outpatient Substance Abuse program. Then we starting talking about long range housing goals when we started weeding. For one of the guys who is living in a per Diem program (a non VA run program located on VA grounds) he can stay for there up to 2 years but that isn't permanent. Since he was previously incarcerated, employment is going to challenging but he can't stay in rehabilitation program more than 4 months.

It is hard work, but it is doing something to help people be self sufficient. That's the best I can do...


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