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ConnieAnnKirk
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Is Gardening Therapeutic?

[ Edited ]

Here's another question from the B&N Classics edition, p. 234:

 

"Can gardening have therapeutic value?  For everybody?  Only for people with special problems?  If so, which problems?"

 

****

 

I think having a connection with nature is valuable for every human being, but that connection may be best achieved in different ways for different people.  Putting one's hands in the soil and tending to plants, I think, could have therapeutic value for anyone, but others may gain a similar, though different, connection in other ways, such as swimming in the ocean or working with animals. 

 

I'm puzzled by the "special problems" aspect of this question.  What kinds of special problems could they be talking about?  Is gardening, in particular, known to help people with particular issues?  I'm sure it could probably help me with my chronic impatience!  (or impatiens might help impatience).

 

~ConnieK

Message Edited by ConnieK on 07-18-2008 02:38 PM
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?

It's tempting to believe that gardening can be theraputic for anyone, but what about the person with a "black thumb" for whom every plant seems to die?  This would seem to be more frustrating than theraputic.  And in some areas, the constant battle against deer, slugs, aphids, and other nasties can be downright discouraging.  My wife was quite sad when she put a pot of beautiful blooming pansies on our porch and the next morning when she went out to greet them found that a slug had eaten many of the flowers and at least nibbled on all of them, so there was no beauty there at all.

 

Personally, I used to garden, but it became more frustrating for me than pleasurable, so I leave it to my wife and children who still think it's worth it even when we lose a huge amount of our potential produce to deer, slugs, and birds.   (The birds especially seen to recognize one day before we do that the raspberries and blueberries are perfectly ripe and ready to enjoy!)

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Peppermill
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?

Personal note:  Deer are what have greatly dampened, even destroyed, the pleasure I used to find in gardening. 

 

Pepper 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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kiakar
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?


Peppermill wrote:

Personal note:  Deer are what have greatly dampened, even destroyed, the pleasure I used to find in gardening. 

 

Pepper 


 

That is true for alot more people today than yesteryears. If laws would slack up on trapping and hunting them. But they are so horrid in the cities , I see one practically everyday in my backyard.
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Choisya
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?

[ Edited ]

As gardening is the national hobby of the Brits, I thought I might answer this question:smileyhappy:.  There has been a lot of research done into the benefits of gardening and one of the most interesting is that gardeners have been found to have a lower rate of Alzheimers disease and senility.  It is generally considered to be very beneficial to health but it is beneficial to the mind because a lot of things need to be remembered when you garden. 

 

Pests like slugs and snails can be avoided if you, for instance, have gravel beds. Aphids can be deterred by early sprays with a milk solution (1-10) and by encouraging birds, frogs and hedgehogs. Container or raised bed gardening is easier for the elderly or disabled.  The stately home owners here got over the problem of deer and other large animals invading their ornamental gardens by building a ha-ha - perhaps it needs to be introduced to the US:smileyhappy:.   There are a number of deer proof plants so perhaps folks should concentrate on those.   

  

There are many ways to avoid the 'stresses' of gardening and to keep work to a minimum so that you can enjoy the beauty of your endeavours. 

 

As urbanisation creeps up on us and fewer and fewer people seem to live near to natural surroundings (in the UK anyway...), I think that gardening is one of the ways we can keep in touch with nature and try to cultivate our own 'garden of eden'.  

 

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 07-19-2008 05:34 AM
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?


Choisya wrote:
.... There are a number of deer proof plants so perhaps folks should concentrate on those.

 

Choisya -- I think the operative word on these lists is allegedly: "The plants listed are allegedly deer-proof."
We live with such lists in our neighborhoods here. Daffodils have almost entirely replaced tulips in our community. Digitalis doesn't seem to deter the local white tails. Some plants that didn't survive as new neighborhoods form can find a niche or protection behind or admidst other plantings as time goes on. But, if one has gardened without these constraints .....  (Ours are hardly areas amenable to ha-has.)
So, one makes the tradeoffs. :smileysad:

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?

Try planting green onions in a vegitable garden. For some reason(I suspect the odor) it keeps away the deer, moles, dogs,and racoons. Haven't found anything that works for rabbits yet though.
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?


Choisya wrote:

As gardening is the national hobby of the Brits, I thought I might answer this question:smileyhappy:.  There has been a lot of research done into the benefits of gardening and one of the most interesting is that gardeners have been found to have a lower rate of Alzheimers disease and senility. ...


Which may be cause and effect, or may be effect and cause.  One also wonders whether they tested gardening against other outdoor hobbies such as birdwatching, model airplane building and flying, camping, morris dancing, white water kayaking, and other things.  

 

Many garderners I know are avid about the benefits of gardening.  But many other hobbyists I know are avid about the benefits of their hobbies!  

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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?


Peppermill wrote:

Choisya wrote:
.... There are a number of deer proof plants so perhaps folks should concentrate on those.

 

Choisya -- I think the operative word on these lists is allegedly: "The plants listed are allegedly deer-proof."
We live with such lists in our neighborhoods here. Daffodils have almost entirely replaced tulips in our community. Digitalis doesn't seem to deter the local white tails. Some plants that didn't survive as new neighborhoods form can find a niche or protection behind or admidst other plantings as time goes on. But, if one has gardened without these constraints .....  (Ours are hardly areas amenable to ha-has.)
So, one makes the tradeoffs. :smileysad:

 


Very true.   No garden center in this area offers "deer proof" plants.  The best they will say is "deer resistant," but in almost all cases what's deer resistant is the stems and old growth, not the new growth and particularly not the flowers.  And I don't know of any vegetables that are touted as deer resistant, let alone deer proof.  

 

Now maybeif we lived in an area where cactus thrive outdoors! But we don't, and I don't think most deer live in those areas either.  They live in the areas where what grows is what they love to eat.  

 

Sigh. 

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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?


TiggerBear wrote:
Try planting green onions in a vegitable garden. For some reason(I suspect the odor) it keeps away the deer, moles, dogs,and racoons. Haven't found anything that works for rabbits yet though.

Wow! thanks for that one!  A couple of my friends will appreciate this.

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Choisya
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?

That is true P and yes, we all tend to make trade-offs when gardening.   I have been plagued with lily beetle these past few years so have stopped growing them and grow more pelargoniums, which have a high resistance to aphids and slugs/snails. 

 


Peppermill wrote:

Choisya wrote:
.... There are a number of deer proof plants so perhaps folks should concentrate on those.

 

Choisya -- I think the operative word on these lists is allegedly: "The plants listed are allegedly deer-proof."
We live with such lists in our neighborhoods here. Daffodils have almost entirely replaced tulips in our community. Digitalis doesn't seem to deter the local white tails. Some plants that didn't survive as new neighborhoods form can find a niche or protection behind or admidst other plantings as time goes on. But, if one has gardened without these constraints .....  (Ours are hardly areas amenable to ha-has.)
So, one makes the tradeoffs. :smileysad:

 


 

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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?

[ Edited ]

Choisya wrote:

That is true P and yes, we all tend to make trade-offs when gardening. I have been plagued with lily beetle these past few years so have stopped growing them and grow more pelargoniums, which have a high resistance to aphids and slugs/snails.

 


Peppermill wrote:

Choisya wrote:
.... There are a number of deer proof plants so perhaps folks should concentrate on those.

 

Choisya -- I think the operative word on these lists is allegedly: "The plants listed are allegedly deer-proof."
We live with such lists in our neighborhoods here. Daffodils have almost entirely replaced tulips in our community. Digitalis doesn't seem to deter the local white tails. Some plants that didn't survive as new neighborhoods form can find a niche or protection behind or amidst other plantings as time goes on. But, if one has gardened without these constraints ..... (Ours are hardly areas amenable to ha-has.)
So, one makes the tradeoffs. :smileysad:

 


 


As Eman says: Sigh.

 

(For years, all my Oriental lilies disappeared before we ever saw a bloom.  Now, a few that survived are protected by shrubs deeply enough to blossom.  I even have had a few daylilies in recent years, but it is still not unusual to walk out and find all those plump buds have disappeared yet another year.)

Message Edited by Peppermill on 07-21-2008 09:59 AM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?

[ Edited ]

Do gardeners need to be really smart about what works and doesn't work in gardens in their area in order to enjoy the hobby fully?  In other words, do you think people who go out and plant something they like in a nursery without regard for the "risks" to its survival that may lurk in their neighborhoods are the same people who end up frustrated?  Everyman and Pepper--did you research what you planted first in that way, and then you still had unexpected problems?

 

What I'm wondering, I guess, is whether the true gardener studies what will grow in his/her space, then chooses his/her favorites among those, rather than trying to force a favorite into an environment that won't sustain it.  It seems like you'd have to accept the limitations of your environment first?

 

My example is that, ok--I look for plants that supposedly grow in the Northeastern US, because that's where I live.  I also consider sunlight, though I'm never quite sure what the degrees of that are.  After that, I might buy a plant and try to follow directions carefully for planting and watering.  However, then I still have bad luck because it gets attacked by something.  Am I just not researching my environment and the plant's needs deeply enough to have a success?  Is the trial and error aspect of the hobby part of the interest of it for avid gardeners? 

 

The gardeners I know are not frustrated with their gardens at all.  It's an activity that keeps them grounded and gives them joy, comfort, and peace.

 

~ConnieK

Message Edited by ConnieK on 07-21-2008 11:43 AM
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?

If you are willing to accept deer wandering freely about your property, and we do for the enjoyment we get from them and from their babies (we have seen them moments after giving birth under the trees on our side lawn), then basically you plant nothing that hasn't shown it can survive by growing naturally.  That means some (not all) varieties of trees, mostly evergreens,   blackberries, wild roses, salal, moss, and ferns.  That's really it.  Everything else has to go behind deer proof fences.

 

Our local nursery keeps trying to find plants that will resist deer, but the only success they've had is planting things next to other plants that they know the deer love so the deer will settle on the sacrificial plants and, at least some of the time, leave the desirable plants alone.  But even that doesn't always work.  The nursery basically had to build an eight foot fence around their whole growing area.  The only things outside are their water garden with water plants (the deer don't bother going in the water, though they will swim if necessary) and ferns.

 

And slugs -- it's impossible to make five acres slug proof.  And gravel paths and barriers, while they reduce the problem a bit, don't eliminate it. Neither do the expensive copper barriers we bought and they seemed to view with appreciation as local highways.

 

And on top of that, of course, we need plants that can survive salt water sea air.

 

If we tried to  "e really smart about what works and doesn't work in gardens in their area" we would basically grow nothing but blackberries, wild roses, and salal.  Pretty dull garden!


ConnieK wrote:

Do gardeners need to be really smart about what works and doesn't work in gardens in their area in order to enjoy the hobby fully?  In other words, do you think people who go out and plant something they like in a nursery without regard for the "risks" to its survival that may lurk in their neighborhoods are the same people who end up frustrated?  Everyman and Pepper--did you research what you planted first in that way, and then you still had unexpected problems?

 

What I'm wondering, I guess, is whether the true gardener studies what will grow in his/her space, then chooses his/her favorites among those, rather than trying to force a favorite into an environment that won't sustain it.  It seems like you'd have to accept the limitations of your environment first?

 

My example is that, ok--I look for plants that supposedly grow in the Northeastern US, because that's where I live.  I also consider sunlight, though I'm never quite sure what the degrees of that are.  After that, I might buy a plant and try to follow directions carefully for planting and watering.  However, then I still have bad luck because it gets attacked by something.  Am I just not researching my environment and the plant's needs deeply enough to have a success?  Is the trial and error aspect of the hobby part of the interest of it for avid gardeners? 

 

The gardeners I know are not frustrated with their gardens at all.  It's an activity that keeps them grounded and gives them joy, comfort, and peace.

 

~ConnieK

Message Edited by ConnieK on 07-21-2008 11:43 AM

 

 

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Peppermill
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?


ConnieK wrote:

Do gardeners need to be really smart about what works and doesn't work in gardens in their area in order to enjoy the hobby fully?  ...

 

The gardeners I know are not frustrated with their gardens at all.  It's an activity that keeps them grounded and gives them joy, comfort, and peace.

 

~ConnieK


Connie -- for me, it has been a combination of research and trial and error.  I had always been open to the knowledge that came with "trying" as well as that associated with research and learning from others.  Gardening had been a source of considerable pleasure for years -- across different parts of the U.S.  Then, I moved some 30 miles to an area with a much larger deer population.  It has changed things drastically for me -- I do relatively little gardening any more.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Choisya
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Re: Is Gardening Therapeutic?

Do gardeners need to be really smart about what works and doesn't work in gardens in their area in order to enjoy the hobby fully?  

 

The research  into gardening which concluded that gardeners had less incidence of Alzheimer's disease stated that it was  because gardening combined mental and physical activity.  Gardeners have to remember the names of their plants, often in Latin if they are keen like me:smileyhappy:, what sort of conditions they like etc etc. as well as get down on their hands and knees and up again frequently and so on. So as a hobby it has an unusual combination of things that keep you alert and fit.    

 

 

 


ConnieK wrote:

Do gardeners need to be really smart about what works and doesn't work in gardens in their area in order to enjoy the hobby fully?  In other words, do you think people who go out and plant something they like in a nursery without regard for the "risks" to its survival that may lurk in their neighborhoods are the same people who end up frustrated?  Everyman and Pepper--did you research what you planted first in that way, and then you still had unexpected problems?

 

What I'm wondering, I guess, is whether the true gardener studies what will grow in his/her space, then chooses his/her favorites among those, rather than trying to force a favorite into an environment that won't sustain it.  It seems like you'd have to accept the limitations of your environment first?

 

My example is that, ok--I look for plants that supposedly grow in the Northeastern US, because that's where I live.  I also consider sunlight, though I'm never quite sure what the degrees of that are.  After that, I might buy a plant and try to follow directions carefully for planting and watering.  However, then I still have bad luck because it gets attacked by something.  Am I just not researching my environment and the plant's needs deeply enough to have a success?  Is the trial and error aspect of the hobby part of the interest of it for avid gardeners? 

 

The gardeners I know are not frustrated with their gardens at all.  It's an activity that keeps them grounded and gives them joy, comfort, and peace.

 

~ConnieK

Message Edited by ConnieK on 07-21-2008 11:43 AM

 

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