Seasonal vegetables are benefits we ordinarily associate with gardening, but in addition, there are, in general four benefits of horticultural therapy. There is certainly enjoyment in gardening, tasting and seeing the fruits of our labors. But there are other benefits that are really therapeutic, for the typical gardener and for the atypical gardener. Bernie Petit concludes with the four benefits of horticultural therapy that he had been illustrating in his article.
Physical: Improvement of gross and fine motor skills and muscle retention.
Cognitive: Learning new skills, improvement of problem solving abilities and increased independence.
Social: Opportunities to share experiences and relate with others.
Psychological: Increased motivation and self-confidence.
Petit says that “horticultural therapy is the process of using plants and gardening activities as a vehicle for wellness, therapy and rehabilitation.” For a person in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, it would be therapeutic for him to take a walk in a flower garden. The color, shape, and particularly the smell of a flower, such as lilacs, are likely to rekindle memories. For the person with physical therapy needs, digging and working in the soil aids their healing. Bernie includes many quotes from Charles Shane, a retired biology teacher.
Several studies have indicated that interaction with nature and gardens reduce stress and anxiety, helps alleviate pain and lessens depression. “The whole concept is to take your mind away from where you are and into the plant world and to have some joy,” said Sane.
Though you will probably not be able to attend the discussion that will be led by Charles Sane and Jan McGuinn, a horticulture agent for the North Carolina Extension Service, this article is worth reading for an overview of the four benefits of horticultural therapy. You can read the article by clicking here or on the link below. Be in touch with us, and like us on Facebook and G+.