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Therapeutic Gardening

April 8th, 2016 · 1 Comment · Books, City Library, Grades 6-12, Main Branch, Teens, Trustees

Can you believe that we’ve survived another winter, albeit a mild one?  Now that the temperatures are slowly rising, it’s time to think about spring gardening, purchasing seeds, bulbs, and plants, and marking out plots.  Plant now and you’ll be able to harvest the benefits in a few months.

Hmm… not into gardening, you say?  Maybe reading this will change your mind.

According to Scott (2015), there are “…mental, physical, and emotional health benefits…associated with being in and appreciating nature.”  Some of these include reduced stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, and depression (Scott, 2015).  It can also help deal with grief.  The use of therapeutic gardens can be traced back to ancient restorative centers around the world in Greece, Persia, and Japan.  But these gardens can also be maintained in any public or private settings such as prisons, rehab centers, or even your backyard, as long as they promote movement, and provide a place of comfort for those experiencing difficult times.  Interestingly, these sites also promote sensory awareness, and help develop a sense of community (2015).

But gardening is more than just good feelings.  It’s also about overall health.  With all the latest news about deadly pesticides being used in agriculture, it’s no wonder that many are eating organic, and trying to grow the ingredients for their own meals.  However, for most of us, it’s not economically feasible to buy organic produce all the time.  This is where gardening can help.  Besides, it’s a great way to boost your spirit, knowing that your hard work paid off in the form of future meals you can confidently place in front of your family for dinner!

These are the things to keep in mind when planning a garden (Franklin, 2012):

  • Keep it green (layered landscapes at varying heights – 70%; concrete walkways – 30%)
  • Keep it real (sculptures are nice, but don’t soothe)
  • Keep it interesting (chairs for conversation, birds, etc.)
  • Engage multiple senses (sight, touch, sound, and smell, but avoid strongly fragrant plants)
  • Mind the walkways (gaps in the pavement can be a hazard for those with wheeled IV poles)
  • Water with care (the sound of water falling can vary, so aim for a waterfall, not a dripping faucet)
  • Make entry easy (not too far away, or behind heavy doors)

While our library has several books on gardening and horticulture, you can also explore all the articles available to you in our databases.  There are many periodicals and resources that provide numerous ideas on how to get started.  Moreover, there are different ways of gardening that can be suited to fit your lifestyle.  Don’t believe us?  Here’s an article to get you started:  “Grow Your Own Good Health” (MacMillan, 2006).  We also have several e-books available for checkout (see the resource list posted on our website catalog for more info).

You might not know how to search the online databases available to you through our website — don’t worry, we can show you how to find resources by walking you through the search process.  Just ask one of our Reference Librarians.  Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be well on your way to planning your first garden, or making your first trip out to visit one.

By the way, the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food has released a NH Garden Guide if you’re looking for where to find plants, gardens, events and garden learning opportunities throughout the state.  Ask a librarian at the Rotunda to see this!  If, for whatever reason, you can’t get out to one of these beautiful places, there are always the gardens you can admire through books, magazines, and websites.

We’ve compiled a list of resources for your entire family.  It’s listed on our catalog page (Therapeutic Gardening), so you can peruse the books available.

So what are you waiting for?  Come on in, and browse through what we have in store for you!

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