Therapeutic horticulture uses plants, gardens and outdoor green spaces to help improve our physical, mental and emotional health, learn new skills or improve existing ones, and develop our communication, interaction and connection with each other and our environment. Therapeutic horticulture offers a greater understanding that we are nature and separate from it and gives us the opportunity to nurture ourselves. I have seen firsthand how gardening can develop our learning and, in turn, our confidence and gives us a sense of purpose, personal achievement and fulfillment.
Gardening can help support recovery from stress and trauma, providing a rehabilitative environment no matter what our life experiences have been. It can also provide us with an opportunity to learn more about food growing, deepening our connection and understanding of where I food comes from. It is incredibly satisfying to eat something you have grown yourself – not only does it taste wonderful but we reap the benefits of the time, energy, dedication and care we put into its growth.
Gardening is an inclusive activity, suitable for all levels of physcial mobility and skill, and we don’t need to know about plants or growing to be involved. Gardening is a wonderful lifelong learning activity – we are constantly learning new skills and gaining knowledge. And often if something grows well one year, it may not the next year and we never know why – but it is fun trying to figure it out!
I’m a qualified Horticulturist and Garden Designer and have worked in horticulture both commercially and within community organisations since 2001 and, more recently, in further education as a Lecturer. I am a keen allotment gardener, taking personal advantage of its therapeutic wonders in my leisure time.
I no longer offer professional services in garden design or maintenance, having shifted my focus to social and therapeutic engagement projects. If you are a community organisation and would like to contact me about my services in Therapeutic Horticulture, please feel free to contact me.