Gardening column: Gardens...A place of healing

Many garden clubs, including Richmond Garden Club, continue to be asked to assist community organizations develop “healing gardens.”

Healing gardens are usually related to green spaces in hospitals and other care facilities. They are designed to specifically benefit healthy outcomes, places of healing and refuge for patients, families and staff. More recently, church and seniors organizations have become interested in creating peaceful areas for their constituents.

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The important feature of healing gardens is having real natural green vegetation, flowers and calming water features. It is also important to have the healing garden away from city noise and from outdoor smoking areas.  It is best to leave sculptures and structures out of the garden as sometimes these are viewed in a negative way!

We gardeners feel that all gardens are intrinsically healing. While strolling through green spaces, forests, beautiful gardens, we experience an overall sense of wellbeing and peacefulness. Gardens have also been proven to reduce stress and provide relief from symptoms.

Children, especially those growing up in an urban environment, should get outside and into nature by visiting our local parks, hiking trails and forests. Studies have shown that after spending time outside in nature, our moods improve quickly, changing from anxious, stressed or even depressed to becoming more calm and balanced. 

Many therapists use nature to heal family stress by giving them a prescription of green therapy — getting outside into nature.

My husband and I have been hiking with our son and daughter since they were able to walk. We both grew up in the West Kootenays, surrounded by mountains, forests and lakes. Recently, our son and daughter took their three little girls on a four-day hike on the Heather Trail in Manning Park. The three little girls have all grown up in the city, spend a lot of time on technology but do love getting outdoors.

We hiked in with the “young people” for the first hour of their 30-hour hike.  The incredible sense of peacefulness and wellbeing as we hiked through the sub alpine meadows, overwhelmed us immediately.  Within three to four minutes, we all felt we were breathing more deeply and that we were a part of something much bigger than ourselves.

Research has shown that nature is fundamentally linked to our human spirituality. We all felt connected to something way beyond ourselves.

So, take some time each day to breathe deeply, calm your brain, fill your head with beautiful soothing images by visiting a “healing garden” near you. Richmond Garden Club highly recommends strolling through Paulik Neighbourhood Garden Park on Heather Street! 

Lynda Pasacreta is the current president of the Richmond Garden Club

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