When we think about the benefits of gardening, we often think about the joy of fresh pesticide-free food. But the garden is also a place to relax, find a sense of purpose and restore self-esteem. With the ability to help you tap into all of your senses, a garden is truly a magical place. But, did you know gardening can help people who are suffering from mental health issues such as PTSD, substance abuse, and depression? A lot of the intricacies of how gardening affects the brain is still a mystery, but scientists have found a connection between gardening and decreases in the stress hormone, cortisol. As a result of this finding, therapists have since utilized this connection through Horticultural Therapy.
The concept of Horticultural Therapy first appeared in ancient Egypt where physicians prescribed walks through the gardens for mental health. It wasn't until the 1800s that Dr. Benjamin Rush began to document this therapy technique after he discovered the positive correlation between mental health and gardens. Since his initial findings, hospitals around the world adopted green spaces to help treat patients. As this movement continued to grow, Michigan State University started offering the first degree in Horticultural Therapy.
Here are some ways you can dig in and reap the reward of gardening:
Container Gardening — This type of gardening is a great option if you are limited in space or time but still want your own garden. Check out our Bloembagz, railing planters, and window boxes to find the perfect container for your needs.
Community Gardening — This type of gardening allows you to work a larger area of land while splitting responsibilities with other members of your community. It's a great option if you're a beginner looking to grow your skills or if you are limited in space. Check out this list of community gardens to find one near you.
Residential Gardens — Having a garden in your yard allows you to reap the mental health benefits of gardening whenever you want, but residential gardening also requires the most work. To start your own at-home garden check out these 10 steps from Better Homes and Gardens.
Give your winter blues one final kick in the butt, grab your loved ones and connect with the earth.