Indoor Garden for People with Dementia
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Jeanne Hobbs
Posted on: May 23, 1999

I will be purchasing herb plants from your catalog soon to be used in a nursing home environment. I have many questions, starting with recommendations you may have to assist me in chosing the most appropriate plants. I’ve scoured the catalog for herbs that would offer sensory stimulation – touch, fragrant, and colorful. I’ve found many to fit the bill, but would you tell me if you’ve had such a customer before and any ideas that have come up in the past to stimulate people with dementia. As I said, I’ve found many plants so I won’t name them all now, but a few are the scented geranium, rosemary, and woolly lambs ear.

All of the scented geraniums except the knotted geranium provide tactile stimulation, because of their hairy surface. Not all of them have a particularely pleasant scent. To me, those with lovely scents are lemon Frencham, peppermint, apple, Prince of Orange, prince Rupert, Attar of roses, coconut, Rober’s lemon rose with variegated mint-rose also looking as well as smelling lovely. Other plants I think have a nice smell and intersting texture are pineapple sage, menthol plant, Cuban oregano, as well as Italian and Syrian oregano, mints such as orange mint, peppermint, improved spearmint, applemint, grapefruit mint and pineapple mint. Most basils have a lovely scent, but are a bit too fragile for frequent touching. For those that like a liquorice tast and scent anise hyssop is a good choice. The scent and taste of lemon peel can be enjoyed from lemon balm, while lemon verbena provides a powerful scent and taste of lemon juice. Both have interesting textures.

Wormwood, I see, is an appetite stimulator. Are there other herbs that are known to stimulate appetite?

Any of the bitter herbs stimulate the appetite: mugwort, dandelion, other wormwoods and oreganos are ones that come to mind.

The plants will be placed in a table garden under a grow light indoors, and in hanging baskets in a south-east facing window, and a west facing window. I’m almost certain that these will provide enough light.

Most herbs require strong light. Often standard indoor grow lights do not provide enough light. Please check the "Magazine Rack" section of our website for articles on growing herbs indoors. There is specific information on what lighting systems you can use.

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