Gardening and Therapy

By feeling the soil, planting seeds or seedlings, watering flowers, cutting branches – you harvest what you have planted literally. And in the end, a sense of duty is accomplished. Peace and calm occur when seeing that the green around you has a little of your work included. The healing role of gardening does not have to be said in words for those who love landscaping and gardening, but there is an almost healing bond between nature and the care for nature through gardening. The link between gardening and therapy exists.

One kind of psychiatric therapy is based on observation, called horticultural therapy. It has been used since the nineteenth century. The legend goes that the painter Vincent van Gogh, when he decided to go into a mental institution in France himself, used his free time to consider the plants, forests, and gardens of that area of Provence. This view gave rise to a frenzy of paintings that became a reference to Impressionism, such as the famous Starry Night.

The rules of horticultural therapy (an evolution of the Anglicism Garden Therapy) involve the practice of gardening, which causes the patient to put his hand in the ground and to occupy the mind with an activity that has practical results that can be counted. Before the approach of psychiatry as a science, gardening therapy made psychiatric patients practice contact with their surroundings and to consider the result of their actions.

Gardening can give the person who follows it a look at the role of humans and other living beings on the planet, even if it is accidentally. Bonds with the basic elements of life (air, water, earth), the link and communication between them, is a notion of mortality that does not shock us but reminds us of our humble role in the universe. The beauty of a set of flowers, vegetables, or other plants, the possibility of hearing the birds singing; one will seek the food and comfort of what was planted with their own hands. There is nothing more healing than discovering with these seemingly simple signs made with rakes and earth, what their role is in the life that is lived.

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