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Sight loss resources Wellbeing and hobbies

Hobbies with low vision: gardening

Published on 30 Jan 2024

Gardening is one of the best hobbies there is for someone with sight loss as it can be as simple or as complex as you like.

Even if you don’t have a garden of your own, the joy of a few pots of colour around the house, or a handful of home-grown herbs, can be a big boost.

With a bit of thought, you can fill your space with colours bright enough for you to see, or with beautiful unique scents and textures. Growing your own fruit and veg can also be incredibly satisfying.

These are the simple gardening techniques used by our veterans:

Think about contrast 

It can be helpful to buy gardening tools and pots in bright colours that stand out. It’s also a good idea to go for flowers or fruits that have bright or contrasting colours.

Organise your space

Put things where you can find them - not just your tools, but your flowers and plants too. Some of our veterans organise their gardens in a very structured way to help them find their way around; others mark plants with fluorescent golf balls or painted stones so that they know where to water and where to weed.

As much as possible, keeping everything clean and tidy will help you avoid accidents.
Bryan, Rehabilitation Officer at Blind Veterans UK

Use seed tapes

If you’re planting from seed, you may want to try seed tapes which you can buy from most garden centres. Stuck to a biodegradable cloth, these seeds are much easier to handle and space. You can get seed tapes in various shapes and sizes and even with mixes of vegetables or flowers on the same tape.

Take extra care

Without the use of your sight, it’s far easier to injure yourself on gardening tools and the like, so take extra care. For example:

Protect yourself from canes

If you’re using canes to support your plants, always pop a small plant pot or cap on the top.

Keep tools together

Keep all your tools together in a bucket, pointed downwards.

Sharpen your tools

As with cooking, a sharp blade will often be safer than a dull one as you have better control and need less force.

Wear gardening gloves

Always wear gloves to protect your hands, even if you're just pulling out a few weeds.

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Blind veteran Ken and his support worker sitting at a table laughing together in Ken's home
Blind veteran Ken, right, and Community Supporter Worker, Matthew (Photo credit: Richard Cannon)