After spending time at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show last month, my mind is exploding with the possibilities that exist to fill my garden this summer. It was a wonderful departure from our snowy and rather cool March and great preparation for the sights, smells and sounds of spring. Using bushel baskets for pots, cinder blocks for benches and large rocks for garden accents, the sights at the show makes me think outside of the box and realize the creativity involved in the horticulture industry. The smell of the tulips, roses and herbs in full bloom made me anxious for July and August when we will experience the same explosion of smells in our own backyards. The only thing missing from the show was a sound I so enjoy, those of the returning birds to our area.
I recently was introduced to Paula Levy and Alyse Burman, co-owners of The Wildbird Shack, Ltd. located in Mt. Prospect. The store sells feed/seed and a host of bird-related items and also has programs including one called Tranquil Feathers. Tranquil Feathers was designed to stimulate the multi-sensory responses of people who are afflicted with dementia and other cognitive impairments. The concept is based on blending nature and Person Valued Care techniques to regulate circadian rhythms in these patients and divert the onset of sundowning. Tranquil Feathers develops a culture of change and, by using the appropriate tools, can transform the quality of life. Birding is a life experience that progresses from childhood through adulthood. Birds are a constant in our lives and encountered daily. Contingent upon where you grew up, the common backyard birds are easily identifiable, even for Dementia patients. Tranquil Feathers uses ‘birdscaping’ to create a sensory garden that features bird feeders, bird houses, garden art and seed to attract a variety of birds to one location allowing patients to see first-hand and up close the interaction of birds. Thus, identifying the vibrant colors, shapes, sizes, sounds, engages the patients with the use of the many tools that are available in the Tranquil Feathers in a box: Bird Log Book, Chart, Puzzles stuffed animals, etc.
I hope you enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of spring. It’s a great time to get out and enjoy the explosion of life right here in Cook County.