Horticulture is certainly a state of mind and far more than work or even passion. The happily growing awareness of people who look at the world through green spectacles allows us to perceive the garden very widely and even holistically. And while the garden companies, such as our one, concentrate on “healing” the garden, improving its condition and presentation, it is worth mentioning a more and more popular subject of healing by the garden, i.e. horticultural therapy.
Horticultural therapy, simply put, is a method of therapy effectiveness of which results from physical work performed in the garden because no one needs to be convinced that the contact with nature has a beneficial influence on the wellbeing of healthy people as well as people suffering from disturbances, dysfunctions or physical and mental illnesses.
All this was thought up long ago when Edward Osborne Wilson presented a theory of biophilia. In his opinion, just at the stage of evolution, a man was genetically programmed so to positively response to the environment which consolidates the feeling of security and peace and consequently facilitates recover of strength and health. For this reason, inter alia, the gardens were formed around hospitals, and sanatoria were located in beautiful surrounding of nature. Today, of course, an economic factor plays the first role but maybe it is worth recalling original reasons?
The horticultural therapy is seen as an alternative for already developed infrastructure of sensory integration, motor or manual coordination activity. This has been developed to such an extent that more and more academic centres propose postgraduate studies in this field. One of the first examples was the University of Life Sciences in Poznań managed by Agnieszka Krzymińska, Sc.D. Habil. According to information provided on the website: “The basic purpose ofthe Postgraduate Study in Horticultural Therapy is to educate professional staff to run occupational therapy in gardening. The graduates will acquire competences to perform and supervise therapy for different social groups. This applies to the age bracket (children, youth, adults, seniors), forms of psycho-motor disabilities and other limitations excluding people from living an active life in society, i.e. due to intellectual deficits, mental diseases or social isolation (treatment of addictions, detention facilities with a low rigour of restrictions) and others”.
While writing about horticultural therapy we cannot also stop thinking about gardens being designed for people with disabilities. Is this trend well developed among green architects already? Are such solutions for paths and alleys in the gardens – house gardens, park gardens or botanical gardens – developed that they can be easily accessed with a wheelchair? Do designers and contractors take into account raised frames at which people with disabilities can work? And finally, do we, the manufacturers, think about horticultural therapy as a need to create friendly tools that are not only ergonomic but also dedicated to persons requiring very specific solutions?