Friday, February 24, 2012

Horticultural Therapy

In recent months, I've read a lot of articles about the health benefits of gardening. In particular, using gardening as a form of therapy to help deal with catastrophic grief and working through mental health issues is gaining popularity. Dubbed Horticultural Therapy, this article from NPR links the benefits to stress reduction, calmer nerves and a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. If I needed another reason to spend time in my garden, then certainly, this would be it.

As Mom to two toddlers, I'm experiencing another aspect of horticultural therapy; building confidence and encouraing independence in my kids. The three of us maintain numerous flower beds, raised veggie beds and potted plants, and enjoy spending this time together. They're as passionate as I am...ok almost...about seeing the process through from seed to table (or floral arrangement) and are learning to express why that is. And their little personalities are as different as their taste in plants.

Whatever your reason or need, gardening may provide an outlet. If you've never had an opportunity to flex your green thumb, start with an easy to care for potted plant like a peace lily. If you're feeling more adventurous, purchase a seed pack, a bag of potting mix and a planter. It's that easy. Give gardening a chance and see which benefits you reap from horticultural therapy.

Here are a few photos from last summer's garden to inspire you.

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