Published at Thursday, April 11th, 2019 - 10:33:54 AM. Home Decoration. By Adette Brandt.
Therapy gardens tend to be most successful when they have features that appeal to at least one of the senses all year round, Carman says. However, smell is one sense that varies quite a bit depending on the clients needs. Gardens with fragrant plants such as lilacs have been found to trigger sweet memories for those with dementia and brain injuries. “Smell is one of the last senses to go,” says Naomi Sachs, founding director of Cornell Universitys Therapeutic Landscapes Network. For that reason, one garden at the Marianjoy Integrative Pain Treatment Center at Northwestern Medicine outside Chicago has plants that stimulate the olfactory system, says Kyle Butzine, a staff physical therapist at the Wheaton, Ill., campus gardens. Among those are lavender, lemon verbena, and scented geraniums. Conversely, gardens for those undergoing chemotherapy usually are designed without scents since many cancer treatments make patients highly sensitive to smell and easily nauseated, Sachs says. Too much light can also be unsettling. “Those going through any kind of chemotherapy find it affects their eyes,” Delaney says. But the good news is that nature, even without bright sunlight and smells, can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, balance circadian rhythms, and increase vitamin D absorption, according to Roger Ulrichs research into how seeing greenery can influence surgical recovery. “It also can be a positive distraction that takes peoples minds off their ills,” Carman says.
Outdoor living can add enormous joy to homeowners lives, expand usable square footage, and provide a boost when marketing a house for resale. But with more and more Americans focused on wellness, a new gardening niche is emerging. Of course, the idea of a therapeutic garden offering refuge after an illness or trauma—or space to meditate, destress, and connect with ones spiritual self—is hardly new. During the Middle Ages, monastery hospitals developed therapy gardens, and for centuries Japanese people have been using Zen rock gardens as sacred places to perform their daily rituals. In the last few decades, hospitals, memory-care centers, and cancer clinics have taken the lead in constructing gardens that incorporate different features to serve patients specific needs, says landscape architect Jack Carman, founder and president of Design for Generations in Medford, N.J. Owners of businesses outside the health care industry concerned about workplace stress soon followed suit. Jarrod Baumann, CEO of Zeterre Landscape Architecture in San Francisco, has designed many on-site gardens where employees at high-tech companies can unwind.
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