Accessible gardening for therapeutic horticulture
Do you recall times in the garden when, after weeding a row of flowers, you had more energy? Or after a walk outdoors, you felt more peaceful? If so, you experienced the therapeutic benefits of horticulture, and you are one of many who retreat to...
Do you recall times in the garden when, after weeding a row of flowers, you had more energy?
Or after a walk outdoors, you felt more peaceful?
If so, you experienced the therapeutic benefits of horticulture, and you are one of many who retreat to the garden to relax, renew energy, create a sense of place, and restore self-esteem.
Therapeutic Horticulture is the purposeful use of plants and plant-related activities to promote health and wellness for an individual or group. A garden benefits you on many levels. One seemingly magical effect of gardening is stress relief.
Emotional benefits of gardening may derive in part from the sense of the natural rhythm of life that plants and gardens impart. It can divert thoughts plants and gardens impart. It can divert thoughts about yourself and your situation.
In the garden, you can create and control your environment. This control is empowering. Gardening stimulates all of the senses, giving great pleasure and satisfaction. You can design a garden to challenge your strength and balance, or promote eye-hand coordination, range-of-motion and endurance to just about any degree you want.
Cognitively, gardening benefits the mind. Designing a garden and learning about plants and specific gardening techniques can be done in a number or complex ways. And with books or classes, you can learn new things year-round.
Besides these benefits, gardening brings you together with other people. Human bonds created between gardeners have the potential to transcend social barriers. Gardens invite socialization.
Bringing plants and people together promote cooperation. The garden neither judges nor discriminates.
It’s a safe environment where people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can come together, connected by the simple fact that we all rely on the earth to survive.
Forty percent of Americans find that being around plants makes them feel calm and more relaxed and particularly valuable attribute in cities today.
What is an accessible garden? According to the Merriam Webster dictionary “accessible” means the “capacity to enter or approach, to get at or gain access to something.”
All you need are a few simple adaptations to the area, methods, and equipment. Here some examples of various types of accessible garden containers: raised beds, boxes and pots, hanging baskets, table planters, barrels and tubs.
So, go play in the dirt!
References: Jean Larson, horticultural therapist; Anne Hancheck, former Minnesota Extension horticulturalist; Paula Vollmar, horticultural therapy intern, University of Minnesota.
For more information on gardening, please call the Becker County Extension Office at 218-846-7328 and ask to speak to a Master Gardener.
Catharine Weisenburger is a Becker County Master Gardener.