Therapeutic Gardening means design garden for stress management using selected floral wealth which aims to promote a healing environment, receive mental and physical health benefits, and increase well-being of humans. In other words gardening aimed at stress healing and recovering illness through natural intervention.
In 1812, Dr. Benjamin Rush was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals with mental illness. Veteran hospitals in 1940s with garden in USA were designed with therapeutic gardens and during 1973 – NCTRH- National Council for Therapy and Rehabilitation through Horticulture AND AHTA- American Horticulture Therapy Association played an important role in revolution of thematic gardening.
Therapeutic Gardening aims activities which binds mind and heart. The gardens can be used for specific age groups, specific activities of gardening like planting, propagation and designing, gardens for attracting butterflies, birds and bees or a garden for diseases specific remedy. Internationally recognised organisations for planning and designing different types of Therapeutic Gardeninginclude American horticultural therapy association, university of Minnesota Healing Gardens, Therapeutic Landscapes Network And University Of North Carolina Horticulture Therapy.
Kashmir is facing lot of mental stress issues especially among youth and drug addiction is now at a peak level. Developing a concept of Therapeutic Gardening at society and government level as well as at health sectors can help society in a meaningful way.
Benefits of Therapeutic Gardening
• Cognitive benefits: Therapeutic gardening has cognitive benefits and lot of studies in this regard has been carried out.
• Social benefits: Social isolation is main cause of anxiety, blood pressure, depression and sleep disturbances. Ensuring Therapeutic garden is an alternative to cope up with such situations.
• Psychological benefits: Social and thematic landscaping reduces depression and alleviate the aggressive behaviour as increased ability to concentrate and engagement helps reduction in medication.
• Physical benefits : Deep involvement with nature ,social interaction, deep concentration on different components visible at eye level ,aromatic feel at smelling point of view, hand eye and mind coordination help easing stress. It has been reported that after surgery scenic view of natural elements dominate positive feeling on negative ones, helps concentration on negative emotions and reducing stressful thoughts.
• Constructed Garden Elements
• Paved walking
• Landscape lighting
• Raised beds
• Water features
• Electrical outdoor outlet; for music and related activities
Characteristics of Therapeutic Garden
• Scheduled and programmed activities
• Well defined perimeters
• Recognizable place making
• Supportive conditions
• Universal design
Types of Therapeutic Gardening
Based on adult care programs and dementia residences provides physical exercise to come out of tension, frustration and aggression by involving the patients in management of flowers and other flora. Color, smell and sound of birds, animals add the engagement of patients.
Based on acute care hospitals and aims improvement in sense, hopefulness and improving adjacent environment. Greenery and water are main focus to develop a spot of healing.
Rehabilitation gardens based on rehabilitation hospitals
Restorative gardens psychiatric hospitals
Senior community gardens based on assisting senior citizens
Cancer therapeutic gardens
Enabling gardensbased on vocational schools and arboretum
Medication gardens religious institutions and other faith based settings
Natural elements of Therapeutic gardens
Attractive floral wealth
Plants that attract birds, bees and butterflies
Aromatic and ornamental plants with pleasing appearance and scented qualities
Ornamental annuals for imparting charming colour scheme
Designing garden in such a way to create sunny, semi shade and shady situations for recreational purposes
Ensuring normal wind and precipitation
Open space for sitting/activities
Aesthetic and recreational atmosphere
The Key Design Principles
• Meaningful activity
• Understanding of its therapeutic value, activity programs and maintenance regime
• Garden’s success very much depends upon the staff’s understanding of the design
• Locate gardens where they can be easily viewed from inside the
• Simple path system
• Ensure garden accessible with people by removing the physical andmental barriers
• Ensure there is plenty of shade
• Offer a range of garden beds at differing heights for ease of access
• Enhance the quality of life
• Include elements that encourage interaction between family members
• Meaningful activity
Safety can be the defining factor in whether a garden is allowed to be used or not. Ensure that all potential safety issues are addressed in the planning process of the garden
Examples of Plants enhancing the sense of smell to relax
Lavendula, Rosa, Hyacinthus, Primula, Narcissus etc.
Persian lilac,Cape Jasmine,Din kaRaja,Wintersweet,Magnolia
Scented Climbers,Honeysuckle,Hiptage,Potato vine,Star Jasmine,Rangoon creeper,Bower vine etc
Lavender ,Kasturi , Passion flower,Rosemary,Balm mint,Chamomileetc
? A Garden at your Workplace May Reduce Stress reported by Department of Landscape planting, University of Agricultural sciences, Sweden who carried an analysis of connection between Level of stress and access to a garden at the respondent’s workplace and found 89.42% stress with garden compared to 130.14% without garden.
Classification of workplace greenery index in relation to Level of Stress (LS)
Having no view of a garden and no chanceto go out during breaks
Having no view of a garden and a chance of a break out of doors once a month at most
Having a view of a garden and few or no chances of a break out of doors (once a week at most)
Having a view of a green garden and chances of a break in a green garden more than once a week
Case study 2
Horticulture Programming’s Effect on Youth’s Emotional Wellbeing Mitchell(2013) St. Catherine University, USA.
Emotional Benefits Scale
? Emotional well being is increased in the youth those who are involving in the garden activity.
? Mental stress is also reduced.
Popular Therapeutic Gardens
• Enid A. Haupt Glass Garden
• At New york university.
• Provide a Horticulture therapy to patients.
• 1600 m2
• Olson Family Garden
• Location: St. Louis, MO, USA
• Size: 8000 sq.ft.
• Sky Garden, Chicago
• 23 story Children’s Hospitaland 11 story is completely therapeutic garden
Future Thrust Areas
• Awareness and recognition
• Adaptation in various institutions
• Indoor Gardening.
• Space utilisation in Metropolitan city.
• Natural and effective method in reducing stress, tension, fatigue, anger, pain, sadness, depression and anxiety.
• Increase positive mood, energy and feelings of calm and encourage human–nature interaction.
• Hospitals may design therapeutic Gardens.