Nenagh designer Tom's garden aids dementia by helping memories to bloom again

Nenagh designer Tom's garden aids dementia by helping memories to bloom again

Nenagh garden designed Tom Grey with Sinead Grennan and Clive Jones

Nenagh native Tom Grey has been announced as one of 22 award winning garden designers to take part in the Botanical and Floral Art exhibition at Bloom 2017.

Run by Bord Bia and now in its 11th year, Bloom showcases the best of Ireland’s horticultural and food industry.

This year’s event will take place in Phoenix Park, Dublin, over the June Bank Holiday Weekend from June 1 to 5.

The Bloom Dementia Friendly Garden (DFG) design has been led by Tom, a Research Fellow at TrinityHaus, Trinity College Dublin.

Tom has an architectural background and has undertaken many age-friendly and dementia-friendly design projects.

For this project he has teamed up with Clive Jones of landscape company, Newtown Saunders Ltd and Sinead Grennan of Sonas apc, an award-winning dementia training organisation.

Dementia can bring difficulties with short-term memory, comprehension, orientation, spatial awareness, visual perception and mobility. These difficulties are gently accommodated in the Bloom Dementia-Friendly Garden, where a clever use of layout, colour, planting and customised garden fittings creates an attractive, safe and therapeutic outdoor space. It is designed to tap into a person’s retained skills, abilities, interests and memories.

Plants from the person’s youth – here daisies, lupins, lavender and dianthus – trigger memories and facilitate reminiscence. Scented flowers, flowing water and birdsong stimulate the senses. Zoning and colours provide visual cues, helping with orientation and wayfinding. The accessible raised planter, mini-glasshouse and tool shed, and vertical planter give easy access to gardening activities and engagement with nature. It was designed with one couple in mind, Pauline and Andrew. The stone wall and wildflowers and grasses remind Pauline of her childhood spent on a farm and the water feature reminds Andrew of the stream that ran near his childhood home.

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