I was first introduced to a healing garden a couple of years ago by my yoga teacher. Although at the time I just thought it was a lovely looking garden, quite quiet and peaceful, and in-keeping with the spiritual nature of a yoga teacher – I didn’t realize just how life-changing healing gardens can be.
I ended up working on a healing garden at a retirement home about a year ago and this is where I really got to understand how useful these types of gardens are. They can really help someone who is living with health issues, provide a place to be at one with nature, and are just truly wonderful places to spend time and relax.
What Are Healing Gardens?
Healing gardens are gardens, or areas within gardens that promote healing. They are commonly found on hospital grounds and retirement complexes due to – as the name suggests, providing healing benefits.
The main benefits healing gardens offer include relief from stress, helping to reduce symptoms of illness, and promoting a better sense of well being and lifting mood. Pretty impressive for a garden I’m sure you’ll agree, but they absolutely do have this amount of impact.
The best thing is, you can create your own healing garden at home if you have at least a small garden space to work with. You can customize it to your own needs too and the time spent working on the garden can be part of the therapeutic process.
Healing gardens can be a quiet spot in a corner of your yard, or even a raised bed near the door where you can quietly grow and tend aromatic herbs.
Health Benefits a Healing Garden Offers
To elaborate a little on the healing benefits you can enjoy from a healing garden, these are the main areas:
Reducing stress: You cannot underestimate the power of nature. Having a well designed garden can help provide a place to relax and escape all the stresses of modern life. You can be a mere few feet away from your house, but if you leave your cell phone, laptop etc. inside, you can feel a million miles away.
There are various studies that show plants can reduce stress while improving memory and concentration. Just being among nature – opening your senses to take in the colors, sights, smells – can make a huge difference to your mood and how you feel.
Provides a distraction: In some situations being distracted isn’t the best thing. But in the instance of a healing garden it’s one of the key benefits for patients suffering from physical or mental health issues. Being able to take your mind off of your symptoms, even for just an hour can help someone lessen their concerns and issues.
Spiritual connection: We all have a natural spiritual connection to nature. Some of use choose to connect on a deeper level than others, but having a healing garden makes it a lot easier. It gives us the chance to reflect on nature, existence beyond ourselves, and take in the natural beauty around us we may have previously looked past.
What Plants and Features Does a Healing Garden Need?
The more plants that help you to engage all of you senses the better the experience in the garden will be. There are no hard rules as to the plant’s, design, or ornaments a healing garden needs, so you have some room to let your (or someone else’s) creative flair loose.
If you’re designing your own haven, start by including plenty of colorful plants, different textures and feels, and plants that make soothing noises as the wind blows through their leaves. Our sense of smell is one of our most powerful senses, think about including herbs like rosemary or thyme, or plants like Asiatic lilies and lavender.
Click here for more information on creating garden rooms which can serve as healing spaces.
Guest Blogger Bio
I’m Mike, a gardening and DIY enthusiast, along with my wife Jane we started yardday.com to share our passion and knowledge with others.