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Does Garden Therapy work? How do I start?

Do you garden just for the sheer joy of it? Do you know all over the world the healing features of gardening are being used as therapy? It may sound like a new-age notion, but garden therapy has been around for years.

According to research, conducted by the Public Health Graduate School of Harvard University, people who live in an area rich in vegetation have better mental and physical health. Even Tim Lang, the British professor, says regular contact with plants and natural environment can boost mental and physical wellbeing. He further says, when we live in contact with the natural world, it works as an antidote to stressful modern life.

It comes as no surprise that general practitioners in London have started prescribing gardening time to their patients with the aim to harness both mental and physical therapeutic benefits. You might be wondering why garden therapy works. Let’s find out the reasons.

Soil acts as an antidepressant:

According to a study by the University of Bristol, the soil has similar effects on the brain as antidepressants drugs. They tested the brain of mice that were exposed to amiable bacteria found in soil. They noticed more neurons were activated in mice. Neurons are responsible for producing the brain chemical which helps in regulating moods.

Gardening incorporates mindfulness:

According to psychotherapist Hilda Burke, gardening helps people getting into a “flow” state to a large extent. It means people who engage them with gardening live in the present moment. In other words, such people are more mindful.

Garden therapy has so many benefits for the brain and body, let’s find out how you can start.

How to get started

If you don’t want to join the local horticultural therapy programmes, you can begin it in your own garden. Below are the steps you need to follow;

Start easy:

Since you are gardening to relax your anxiety, don’t start with something that will lead to more stress. Depending on your gardening skills and local environment, you can start by planting easy to grow plants. Consider succulents like Aloe quicksilver, Haworthia concolour and Haworthia cymbiformis.

Most succulents are easy to maintain and suitable for different environments. If you’re a first-time gardener, you may go for these plants. Don’t forget to do some quick research on the special needs and watering frequency of these plants.

Evaluate your space:

Once you have some ideas for plants, think about the space and natural light you need to provide them. Succulents can tolerate a lot of sunlight and are tough and some succulent types like Aloe saturn or Tiger aloe can grow inside as well.

Choose the plants that make you happy:

If a specific type of flower or scent makes you feel joy, plant it in your garden. For instance, you can go for gardenia radicans as it produces white aromatic flowers.

Gardening is an enjoyable activity that has the ability to promote both mental and physical health. If you’re struggling with stress or depression, garden therapy is a great lifestyle change to help in your continued natural remedies.


For more, visit us at Plants Today.

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