Friday, July 13, 2012

Benefits of gardening

Did you know that gardening an viewing green spaces produces a restorative response for people's mental health?  Yes, it is true according to research produced in 1973 by Environmental Psychologist Rachel Kaplan.  She discovered that people enjoyed gardening for the experiences it provided, such as working the soil, seeing things grow, learning new things about gardening and simply being outside. Gardens also offer a diversion from life's stressors, aesthetic pleasure, a chance to relax and may also provide a sense of accomplishment.

Kaplan stated "The garden is a miniature, a slice of nature compressed in space and a pattern of information compressed in time. Rarely is so broad a spectrum of nature and natural processes found in so little area. Rarely are so much nature-based action and so full a view of the life cycle so vividly visible and so rapidly completed."

The therapeutic value of gardens was also observed by horticulturalist Charles Lewis.  He discovered the value of community gardens for people living tenants in Chicago.  Mr. Lewis observed "Plants are alive and are dependent on the gardener for care, if they are to survive.  IN a world of constant judgement, plants are non-threatening and non-discriminating.  They respond to the care that is given to them, not to the race or the intellectual or physical capacity of the gardener.  It doesn't matter if one is black or white, has been to kindergarten or college, is poor or wealthy, healthy or handicapped, plants will grow if one gives them proper care.  They proved a benevolent setting in which a person can take first steps toward confidence. 

The observations noted above are recorded in City Bountiful: A century of Community Gardening in America, by Laura J. Lawson.

(Pictures at right from our backyard garden)

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