The dictionary version of Therapeutic gardening is as follows:
A Therapeutic Garden is an outdoor garden space that has been specifically designed to meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the people using the garden as well as their caregivers, family members and friends.
To me, I think it goes a bit further. At a time where the news has little good to say and many people are finding themselves struggling to get by, there has never been more of a need to have a sanctuary to escape from it all. Gardening has a way of magically reducing stress and taking away the problems of our lives and replacing them with purpose. Recent studies indicate that placing your hands in soil can stimulate the serotonin in your brain which can be a mood stimulator. A garden can benefit you on many levels. Nature has a natural rhythm of life that plants and trees allow us to witness. In the garden, you can create and control your environment. This control can be very empowering, particularly with success. There is something incredibly spiritual about gardening and watching the subtleties of each plant each passing day, all be it to admire the way the light reflects on a dew moistened leave, or glistening flower petal. Gardening stimulates all of the senses providing great pleasure and satisfaction.
Working in your garden challenges your strength and balance, promotes eye-hand coordination, range-of-motion, and endurance as much as any physical activity might, but can be designed to just about any degree you want. Cognitively, gardening benefits the mind. Designing a garden opens the creative mind experience and learning about plants is a great way to enhance your knowledge base. With books, classes, and a wealth of information on the internet you can learn new things year-round.
There is also a social aspect that is an equal opportunity experience for all levels of gardeners as with gardening, no two people have the same level of expertise or interest; Which allows you to both share your experiences and learn from those around you. The therapy here is to un-do some of the less appealing human contact many of us experience throughout our day-to-day.
Planting for the senses is also therapeutic. Certain colors inspire happiness and peace. You can research the color wheel to study the colors meanings so that you may find the most appealing colors for your therapeutic benefit, and of course we all have our favorite colors that always seem to make us feel good when we see them. Smell is the strongest memory sensory to humans and edible plants and herbs can enhance your overall experience.
Creating scents throughout the garden as well as sounds in the form of birds, wildlife, or water features with running water and goldfish can be additional forms of therapy by creating opportunity for meditation and reflection.
Spending time in your garden is also a great way of sharing quality time with your children and family. Although there is a lot to be said for spending time there with no outside influence in a world all your own.
However you choose to spend your time in the garden, even when it’s just to keep things alive and trimmed, you may not be conscious of it but you will feel more energized, more patient and calmer after some time with your green and flowers.
Use this as a springboard to start a small meditation garden and with each success, you will find peace and tranquility where you may not have expected it.
Lisa’s Landscape & Design
Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time