I love making beautiful gardens for people, but lately, I’ve felt like I want to create gardens that are not just lovely to look at but that also include a healing, soulful component as well.
Many of the people I work with live in cities like New York, where one of their only connections to nature on a regular basis is this garden that I’m working with them to create.
I believe that people are missing a sense of connection to each other and to the earth. Our brains evolved over millions of years living most of our days outdoors. We have a complex interdependency with nature that we’re not even aware of that affects us in profound ways.
Our eyes developed with these fractal images alongside us of the way bark looks on trees, the way moss and lichens and grasses and ferns grow, or the way waves crash on the shore.
When we no longer have the visual, auditory, and olfactory cues from nature, what it does is create a deficit in our brains, a disconnect that can result in a myriad of problems. Things like depression, anxiety, insomnia, and lethargy can be alleviated through a greater connection to the natural world. Even the smell of the earth, of dirt, is being shown now in studies to have an effect on our serotonin levels, which affects our everyday moods.
I have decided to help address the disconnect I see between people and the natural world by opening up a new branch of my business that will be specifically devoted to healing gardens. A healing garden is one that engages the senses on multiple levels – through sight, touch, fragrance, and sound. It’s a garden that encourages interaction, whether it be listening to the sound of leaves rustling or water running, or the smell of flowers, or being visually very beautiful, or something that looks pleasing to the touch.
I can also recommend specific herbs that will be useful to you that can be used to make teas or baths that can soothe and heal your body and mind.
When we lived in tribal societies, every tribe had its medicine man or woman who helped people heal through plant medicine. I think the reason why there is so much interest now in herbal remedies is that we are coming full-circle back to our roots to discover why it is we are here, our connection to the earth and to each other, and this is something we’ve been needing and wanting for a very long time now.
By having a thoughtful, balanced approach to our own garden designs and landscaping, we also can achieve greater peace of mind as well.