I never thought that gardening would be an interest of mine. Ever. I remember when I used to tease my parents about all the time and money they would invest into their garden. Now I proudly sit in that garden in the evenings and enjoy the sweet scent of the Jasmine. Many of us enjoy the benefits of someone else’s hard work. But not many of us have ever thought of gardening as something to take on ourselves. And one thing I am almost certain of is that we haven’t thought about gardening as therapy.
My mother has always resorted to gardening therapy. She loves taking care of her garden and even enjoys getting her hands dirty! I have always been able to see what’s going on inside of her based on her gardening habits. It’s quite incredible really! She takes care of her plants and flowers in a way that is difficult to understand if you aren’t a gardener.
But why does gardening work so well for so many?
“The visual aesthetics of plants are known to elicit feelings of inner peace, which generates positive emotions toward a meaningful appreciation of life. Direct contact with plants guides the individual’s focus away from stress enhancing their overall quality of life”
Planting Hope in Loss and Grief: Self- Care Applications of Horticultural Therapy for Grief Caregivers in Taiwan
What is Gardening (Horticultural) Therapy?
Wikipedia explains it all in depth, but here’s the gist. Gardening therapy is facilitated by a trained therapist. This therapist works in conjunction with medial professionals (depending on whether you are in therapy for physical or mental reasons) to help you in all aspects of gardening. They guide you to grow your own plants and even sell them!
Sure, this is an approach taken by many who are seeking to be guided by the pros. If you think this could work for you organisations like Thrive can help you get started. But if you are looking for a different approach then starting at home can be a good way to go.
Garden Therapy at Home
So, why does gardening help your well being and mental health?
Firstly, it gets you closer to nature. With our busy lifestyles it’s easy to see why so many people don’t get the exposure to nature that they need. Not only does getting out in nature help you exercise it also helps you release those feel good hormones. On top of that you can even release any stress and anger by working the soil.
Another reason why garden therapy is so good for your mental health is because it helps you focus on the moment. Mindfulness is one of the best therapeutic approaches. By focusing on the here and now you don’t have the focus to ruminate on your worries.
How to Get Started + The Best Tools for Beginners
1 – Focus on the Obvious
Before you get into the fun part of gardening and if you are in a house or are lucky enough to have a patch of land then focus on the grass. The instant gratification that you’ll receive by mowing your lawn or even trimming down the excess is a great way to start!
Find the best strimmers for your needs. From cordless to corded to petrol there are many options to help you get started.
2 – Get the Right Tools
If you’re a beginner then you probably don’t have the right gardening tools that you need. A beginners gardening kit can help you get started with all of the basics. From gloves to shovels and even a spray bottle! If your gardening tool box is complete then you don’t have to waste any time trying to get things together; which means that you can focus on actual gardening!
3 – Choose the Right Plants
Whether you are passionate about succulents or flowers or anything else in the gardening world then choose the right plants for you. I only have an aloe plant that I tend to at the moment. But being able to care for a plant that is low maintenance has helped me get the gardening bug. I feel like I am succeeding and it makes me proud to see my plant grow!