“Nature is but another name for health.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.
Gardens are designed for all sorts of functions. Some gardens are specifically grown for food or medicinal herbs, while other gardens may be grown purely for their aesthetic value. However, even gardens filled with nothing but ornamental plants can have some medicinal and healing value – a collection of plants meant to soothe and heal the mind and body are known as healing gardens. Continue reading for some healing garden ideas to help get you started in creating a healing garden of your own.
What are Healing Gardens?
These are simply gardens filled with a variety of plants that promote a sense of well-being and hopefulness. They are not a new garden trend, by any means. In fact, healing gardens have been planted at hospitals and healthcare facilities for centuries. These gardens provide a place of refuge for patients, their families and staff. They promote peace, healing, and stress relief, as well as providing distraction and psychological comfort.
In recent studies of stress and its damaging effects on our health, test subjects were shown images of different things. In most cases, when shown images of nature, they suddenly became calmer. These nature images also decreased stress hormones, blood pressure, respiration rate and brain activity in the test subjects. In the same way, gardens that heal can improve sleep and rest, as well as mood and pain tolerance.
How to Make a Healing Garden
Creating gardens that heal isn’t difficult at all. In fact, it’s safe to say that by just adding a few plants here and there, you’re well on your way to a more blissful state of mind. That said, healing gardens are usually designed with only plants and natural looking garden décor.
The soft subtle colors and textures of nature generally have a soothing, positive effect on the mind and spirit. Too much brightly colored objects or other unnatural garden art materials can actually take away from the healing effects of a healing garden. Driftwood, large stones and other natural elements are ideal for healing gardens. A garden for healing also will require adequate seating areas to be properly enjoyed.
Gardens that heal may contain a wide variety of plants. Trees not only provide shade, but also give people a sense of strength and protection. Different colors and textures from different plants give people different feelings – so be sure to delight the senses with an array of stimulating plants.
For example, the garden does not have to be merely for looking at or smelling attractive, fragrant plants like lilac, lavender and honeysuckle to have healing effects on the psyche. Finely textured plants, such as ornamental grasses, ferns, etc., can be soothing to touch as well. And it’s okay to add subtle displays of ornamental features, like natural looking wind chimes or a soothing water fountain. These can appeal to one’s sense of sound for added enjoyment.