Many adults can attest to the positive effects of gardening on their lives. Gardening is actually good, gentle exercise, that reduces stress, and gives a feeling of satisfaction as hard work pays off in healthy, colorful ways.
But more and more research is starting to show that children can also benefit from horticulture.
It seems kind of countercultural in a society where everyone believes children need to be on the go all the time and, if they’re not doing that, they’re stuck behind a desk in classes or doing homework, or on their way to a part-time job or hockey or baseball or basketball ...
Definition of Horticultural Therapy
Horticultural therapy is defined as using plants, planting and plant-care activities to improve people’s social, educational, psychological and physical well-being. Horticulture was actually designated as an official therapy about 40 years ago.
How Horticultural Therapy Benefits Children
Horticultural therapy is starting to be implemented in many schools and communities because people have recognized how the healing effects of gardening can help children of all ages and levels of abilities.
It’s been shown to have a profound positive effect on children on the autism spectrum, as well.
Horticulturalists believe that gardening works by providing:
• A chance to be a caregiver
• Enhancement of self-image and worth
• Development of their ability to accomplish something
• A relaxing environment
• Decrease in symptoms of depression
• Decrease in aggressive or angry feelings
• Opportunities for problem solving
• Opportunities to work as a group or individually
Gardening Blossoming Across the Country
The benefits of gardening have been seen since the days of Ancient Egypt. In the 1600s, it was common for patients who couldn’t pay for medical treatment to turn to gardening to earn extra money.
Doctors of the time noticed a difference between these patients and those who didn’t garden. Patients who gardened demonstrated faster recovery times and generally greater overall well-being than their non-gardening counterparts.