Welcome to HortAbility! In this Horticultural Therapy (HT) blog space I’ll share my experiences, ideas for seasonal activities, and strategies for working with all populations.
Being in nature and working with plants has so many great benefits for everyone. We are soothed by green colors, we decompress, breath deeply and relax. Working with plants is a great equalizer. Everyone can have a green thumb no matter your background, level of intelligence, experience or skill.
Most people have some kind of history with plants and nature. Not all of them favorable – I remember as a young child going to our Long Island summer home and practically jumping out of the car (no kid car seats back then) and running into a lush meadow of wild flowers – I was mesmerized with the smell, colors of the blooms, and the sound of the insects. Fast forward 4 months to that same meadow where on the edge was a pear tree filled with aging fruit and lots of wasps buzzing around. I was captivated watching them a little too closely and, well my first not so glorious experience in nature . . . a wasp or two stung my arms. Everyone has a story to tell about an experience in nature. Tapping into those deeply etched moments brings joy to people in the telling and the listening. Stories are alive with memories of childhood when tasting a freshly picked fruit or hiking through the woods. Or as adults, recalling harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables or using a variety of spices that make delicious holiday dishes. These are memories etched in our senses.
I oftentimes work with people with cognitive issues. I’ve learned that the goal is not about “helping” people remember, instead it’s about truly living in the moment. Being present to what is happening around us and enjoying the process of, say, repotting a plant or sowing seeds. Looking to the future – being hopeful for those seeds to germinate into healthy plants. The impermanence of life all around us reminds us to live thoroughly in the moment.
I hope you will find these blogs enjoyable for yourself and for the people you work with. Stay tuned!