Gardening as Therapy


Gardening as Therapy

Horticulture has ever been recognized as a type of treatment. At one extreme you’ve got professional horticultural therapists working within the Enabling Garden of the Chicago Botanic Garden; at the other, you’ve gardeners just escaping the sounds of the road or spending time in the business of things that are growing.

Chores Become Their Particular Benefits
Taking an active role in the job of the garden may be healing, so long as it’s something which you love doing. What may be more exhilarating, for instance, than raking leaves on a crisp fall day? Mowing the yard can be treatment for some. I got a neighbour who mows his lawn two times a week just because he likes it. For many folks it will be a chore, but for him it is healing and pleasurable.

Amazing how fast we can come into enemy lines when primroses ‘re being rescued by us from garlic mustard! Their interest shortly flags to be honest, and I am left to fight on. But, absurd or not, my system works for me, and I get great satisfaction whenever that I yank on out one of these bad guys of the earth.

Putting bulbs may be great therapy also where I use my imagination in a way that is different. The earth is always rock hard in the autumn, and I do not believe I could complete the job if I could not visualize the end result of my digging. Great treatment for a gardener!




Horticulture goes inside to bright windowsills, where most gardeners are limited to several houseplants when winter comes. How can a gardener get through the tough months ahead? Imagination helps. Most gardeners have no earlier set one garden to bed than they’re planning the next one.

Armchair gardening is at its finest with a wish list in the other as well as a garden catalogue in a single hand. The catalogue ought to be good with colour photos.” In copy short, that causes the wish list to grow until it seems never-ending, and also the reader to eventually become lost in a vision of springtime, completely ignorant to the elements outside.

Garden catalogues do an excellent job of alleviating the winter doldrums. But the very best treatment for the majority of gardeners is getting out in their lawns, regardless of what time of year. In winter I understand I am going to find something to capture my interest. The bushes and trees are bare, where the colour is, but the earth covers are. Purple ajuga, brilliant green feverfew, maroon large and epimedium root geranium with scarlet and pink leaves. When temperatures hover just above freezing, Siberian bugloss and the sweet woodruff seem nearly indecently healthy. Lungworts and the hardy cyclamens appear lovely with their gracefully leaves that are mottled. But I find all this beautiful and never tire of looking. For me, this is treatment.

What makes plants successful in alleviating tension? Whether through passive screening or active horticulture, our heads let go of present stresses and become absorbed in favorable ideas of beauty, renewal, and wonder.”