Q&A: Ageless Gardens – The Therapeutic Side of Gardening



Therapy can come in many forms. From lying on a couch and sharing feelings with a therapist, to having deep discussions with a circle of friends, or partaking in a vigorous workout, we all have ways of making ourselves feel better.

Digging into a garden, planting some seeds and tending to some beautiful, growing plants is another great way to boost ourselves physically and mentally.

In the episode of “Ageless Gardens” on therapeutic gardening, hospice patients use gardening as therapy for the aging body, while an engineer practices bonsai gardening to restore his mind. Additionally, a 93-year-old retired nurse uses gardening as a quiet time to remember loved ones, and a therapist creates a hospital garden that gives patients a place to relax and restore.

Charlie Dobbin

To explore this very beneficial side of gardening further, we chatted with Charlie Dobbin, gardening expert and host of ZoomerRadio’s (Saturdays at 9am ET/6am PT), about the therapeutic qualities of gardening.

Q: Senior living centres now provide gardening opportunities to its residents. Why is such an activity viewed as beneficial to this group of people?

Charlie: “Horticultural therapy is not a new concept. Whether gardening with seniors, different abled folks, or as part of a mental health strategy, discovering the wonders of nature can cause a profound change for everyone. By nurturing plants, we are rekindling the desire to live and do something meaningful. Bottom line, there is truly something magical and curative about the powers of nature as seen in the growth of a plant.”

Ageless Gardens - Therapeutic Gardens

Q: In your opinion, what’s the best type of therapeutic quality that can come out of gardening regularly?

Charlie: “Horticultural uses living materials that require nurturing and care. The lifecycle of plants provides plenty of horticultural tasks and related activities to stimulate thought, exercise the body, and encourage an awareness of the living world.”

Ageless Gardens - Therapeutic Gardens

Q: How do you think the concept of therapeutic gardening will evolve moving forward?

Charlie: “We will find there are more tools, raised beds, grow lights, and such, that have been adapted for use by clients in wheelchairs or walkers. As mental health concerns are more commonly discussed out in the open, we will learn more about the healing provided by plants.

Ageless Gardens - Therapeutic Gardens

“No one can be depressed or anxious for long in a greenhouse environment! The moist air, warmth and fragrances are typically received in a very positive way. Negative emotions are channeled through the constructive activities of gardening, thus promoting optimism, confidence and self-worth.”

-Adam Grant

For more with Charlie, you can listen to her latest episode of “The Garden Show,” right here!

Visit Ageless Gardens on VisionTV for air dates and much more.

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