Horticulture therapy has a wide range of use. It began gaining ground in the ‘40s, and has been found helpful in rehabilitative, vocational, and community settings. We at Bridging the Gaps are excited to implement this therapeutic opportunity into our programming.
Horticulture therapy incorporates the use of plants to aid healing and improve mental health.
“What makes a garden therapeutic? The basic features of a therapeutic garden can include wide and gently graded accessible entrances and paths, raised planting beds and containers, and a sensory-oriented plant selection focused on color, texture, and fragrance” AHTA
Additionally, individuals also work at improving their relationships and communication with peers while improving their environment and surroundings. Clients also gain mental and emotional benefits from the upkeep and care for the plants.
Healing can take place in the therapeutic environment horticulture creates. This definition of healing refers to “restoring one to the experience of wholeness and connection to the cycle of life.”
Furthermore, in recovery, planting plants teaches clients about healing themselves from the ground up. Developing a fostering a good root system before any growth is imperative.
Just as we make way for the seeds to sprouts, and sprouts to leaves, and leaves, to flowering flowers, they learn to also can make way for the growth within them selves.
One unique study conducted in Scandinavia explored the therapeutic value horticulture therapy has to offer clients with neurological and psychological aliments. They found that in creating the gardens that all clients had access to and also benefited from. Some of the benefits include improved socialization, decreased stress, motor movement, and overall relaxation and healing.
They also found that in creating these therapeutic environments, that they were also able to engage in other healing activities. These activities included yoga, dancing, and learning about maintenance and construction of gardens.
Plants provide us with life supporting oxygen and nutrients, we too support plants in the environment and care we give them. Our lives are connected, and when we learn to have an appreciation for how we are able to support nature, beautiful things begin to sprout.
Horticulture therapy is more than learning to live in recovery. Planting and experiencing nature up close and hands on provides more than just beauty, it supplies life. It is about learning to “become competent in (positive) activities, to improve self-concepts and break negative cycles of real or perceived abilities and control.”
Bridging the Gaps is excited to have this programming implemented for clients this summer! We look forward to the harvest from the garden that has been planted. We also enjoy the beauty that the flowers have added. Horticulture Therapy has really taken root here at BTG, and we cannot wait to see the process grow!