This thing they call Plantherapy

A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. — Gertrude Jekyll (2011) ‘Wood and Garden: Notes and Thoughts, Practical and Critical, of a Working Amateur’ Cambridge University Press

I joined the plant craze at the start of the pandemic quarantines last year to have something to do in the weekends and give me some diversion from the work-from-home set-up. As a self-confessed shopaholic, it did fill the void of not being able to go to my favourite retail shops.

This home garden has gotten so much attention from me in the past year than it has ever got in almost a decade it existed.

I do have a little garden in our modest home and a few potted plants but after a year of potting and re-potting and weekly trips to nearby gardens, every corner of our home has plants and our garage has turned into my plant showroom. Now, trips to nearby provinces for staycations are not complete without a visit to gardens and every time, we go home with the good company of plants that fill every available space in our car.

In the article Is Plant Therapy a Real Thing, author Patricia Marie Cordero Irizarry shares the study of The American Horticulture Therapy Association (AHTA) that traces plant therapy’s roots to ancient Egyptian times where garden walks were prescribed by doctors for those suffering from mental disturbances. We have read many books and articles on beautiful medieval gardens and many researches found that the healing benefits of gardens date back to 2000 B.C. Read more

Monthly Agriculture shares the research of Dan Buettner who found a common hobby among Japan’s centenarians: gardening. The same article refers to the Harvard University study that also found something common among people who live near greeneries- they tend to live longer given the lower possibility of cancer or respiratory illnesses. It further shares that in Scotland, doctors prescribe walking in nature to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and to increase overall happiness. Read

My own personal experience is a testament to how my plants have become my de-stressors. The sight of new leaves give me joy and the new knowledge I have gained in tending to my “babies” is not only refreshing but insightful as well which can very much be applicable not only to my corporate work but also to life itself. For instance, I learned that plants can grow really big by putting them in big pots but you do not transfer a plant from a small pot directly to a big one as its roots will have a hard time growing. Instead, transfer it to a pot amount 2-4 inches bigger in diameter than the old pot until it outgrows it again. Isn’t that the same as human potential? A talent not given the environment to grow will not reach its full potential.

I guess, after 27 varieties of Philodendrons and counting; more than a dozen Calatheas and Aglaonemas; an increasing collection of Monsteras and Rubber Trees and many more, I can call myself a certified Plant Momma.

Indeed, there is such a thing as plant therapy and it is real!

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