The health benefit of gardening is well documented throughout history. Benjamin Rush, a prominent Philadelphia physician and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the first to document the therapeutic benefits of working in the garden with individuals with a mental illness.
By the 1950s, the practice of horticulture therapy expanded to treat war veterans and gained acceptance in benefiting a wide range of disabilities and diagnoses. Today, therapeutic gardening or horticulture therapy, benefits those with physical disabilities, mental illness, dementia, PTSD, and many more, including family caregivers.
At Hope Grows, the healing value of nature is at the core of our caregiver support programming. In fact, Hope Grows’ Hope House in Moon Township has seven therapeutic and restorative gardens designed with family caregivers in mind.
The Garden of Hope, designed to stimulate all of the senses, offers tranquility and peace. The many textures of plants embark on the sense of touch, whether it is spikey, smooth, soft or rough. The many colors and scents of the flowers throughout the seasons touch upon the harmony and beauty of the one viewing the garden.
The Inner Child’s Garden allows us to experience our inner child. Sometimes in caregiving, we put shields up to protect ourselves as we cope with demands. Taking time to see the world through a child’s eyes can help us to experience more joy and peace, lower our defenses, and trust our intuition.
The Garden of Harmony and Peace encompasses all of the elements and philosophies of a traditional Japanese garden to create a sense of harmony and balance. This garden showcases Japanese maple trees, azalea and beautyberry bushes, and hinoki cypress trees.
The Iris Garden is the newest of the Hope House gardens and is designed as a tribute to caregivers and in memory of care recipients. The Blue Bearded Iris, featured in the garden, symbolizes care and has come to represent the Hope Grows Iris Movement™ to honor caregivers and raise awareness of needed support. Proceeds from Hope Grows Iris Movement™ products are used to support Hope Grows caregiver programs. Learn more at hopegrows.net/shop-hope-grows.
The demands of caregiving can leave the caregiver feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, isolated, and disconnected. The therapeutic relationship of human beings with nature can help reduce stress and anxiety while supporting a sense of increased well-being. Take a walk in the park. Wiggle your toes in the dirt. Hug a tree!
You are invited to experience the Hope House gardens for yourself. They are open to family caregivers, care recipients, professional caregivers, and the community on the last Sunday of each month, May through October, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. RSVP requested: email@example.com, 412.369.HOPE (4673).