Since ancient times, many civilizations have realized the healing qualities of gardens with their fruit trees, flowers, water, and songbirds. The earliest hospitals in the Western world were infirmaries in monastic communities where herbs and prayer were the focus of healing and a cloistered garden was an essential part of the environment.
Restorative gardens for the sick, which were a vital part of the healing process from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century, provided ordered and beautiful settings where patients could begin to heal, both physically and mentally. These were often part of hospitals prior to the mid-twentieth century and are regaining popularity now.
For the home or individual gardener, I think of a healing garden as a place that “heals” us in all ways: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. But, it doesn’t just heal our souls by bringing joy, peace, balance, and wholeness; it also has the added benefit of helping our physical self as we work to maintain this oasis of beauty.
With the pace and the stress of modern life, its hard to find such a place, but your garden can be your own place of refuge and recuperation, a restorative landscape that’s a place for contemplation and a place that offers the chance to revive in the peace, serenity and beauty of nature.
No matter how large or small, it’s easy to transform your own yard, patio, or garden into a personal and meaningful garden for your soul by using the elements of water, scent, color, sound and planting schemes to create a “sensory” healing garden.
Sensory gardens use plants and other design elements to provide experiences to awaken all five senses giving the gardener new ways to enjoy the garden. Garden elements in sensory gardens involve seating, lighting, water features, paths, and whimsy. But the bottom line is this is your own special place, so think of what appeals to you.
Next: 13 tips to transform your yard