Gardening is Good for You

I’ll admit, gardening is not on my list of favourite activities, since yard work seems to be a never-ending task that’s right up (or rather, down) there with trying to keep a tidy house while living with small kids. But judging by what I found out when researching a story on the benefits of coaxing seeds to grow, and digging in the dirt, I probably should reconsider my position.

From providing stress relief and offering a sense of purpose and accomplishment when those things feel lacking in other parts of your life, to fostering creativity, and promoting mental health, gardening has a great deal to offer. And in fact, some specially trained counsellors and therapists incorporate caring for, or even just spending time amid plants into their practice — a discipline that’s known as Horticultural Therapy.

One thing to note before you start reading the story. I made a typo in a statistic that’s quoted in the piece. In the study that inspired the name of Cheney Cramer’s horticultural therapy practice — One Green Square — people in the office featuring a plant experienced a 20 per cent increase in creativity, not 70 per cent as stated in the story. My apologies for the error.

So, now let me lead you down the garden path, with this latest Good Times health feature: Gardening is Good for You.

My thanks go out to all of the interviewees: Cheney Creamer, a horticultural therapist and chair of the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association; Leo Gosselin, vocational rehabilitation coordinator of the Adult Tertiary Mental Health and Substance Use program at Vancouver Coastal Health; his colleague, Moira Solange, a horticultural therapist at Willow Pavilion (part of VCH’s Adult Tertiary Mental Health and Substance Use program); Dr. Scott Grandy, associate professor with the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and an affiliate scientist with the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Division of Cardiology; and self-proclaimed ‘Posy Pusher’ and passionate gardener Diana Maretta of Amherstburg, Ont. 

Photo by Huy Phan courtesy of Pexels