In my work as a Lecturer in Horticulture in further education, I supported a variety of students of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, with many students experiencing previous educational exclusion due to learning challenges or being within the criminal justice system due to adverse circumstances.
Student engagement was minimal when teaching in a classroom but when venturing outside in the natural environment, my students' participation was more enthusiastic and they developed a strong sense of working together. To see them connect with each other and their environment was incredible; miracles do happen if we provide them with the right conditions.
Nurturing Is In Our Nature
My work with community organisations includes developing social and therapeutic horticulture projects, encouraging and supporting the profound positive effects that tending plants have on health and well-being, helping us to reconnect with our need to nurture even if we have received very little nurturing from others or have no experience or encouragement of doing this for ourselves. This was never more apparent than with my work with a women's safe house and residential refuge in Glasgow where the residents were victims of sustained abuse and subsequent substance addiction.
The Green World was one of the first steps which led me to develop my own therapeutic practice and I gain so much personally from working with the Earth. Before undertaking my studies in horticulture, I was an indoor gardener for many years - and still am - as I did not have access to an outdoor space, and this is also a wonderful way to work with plants and connect with them in our environment. Any little space in our homes and in our lives can be enhanced by plants.
For almost 10 years I worked with the land on allotments but in recent years my work has been dedicated to the design, creation and construction of WytchWood Potager, an organic medicine and healing garden based at my home practice. This is now my main horticultural focus, with one to one private sessions and workshops, creating decoctions, elixirs, tinctures and remedies from the harvest of the garden to use in my practice and in the products I create for clients. Plants are our allies and I respect both their physical medicinal properties and their spiritual teachings when working in harmony with them, and this integral to my work as a shamanka and spiritual mediator.
What Is Therapeutic Horticulture?
Therapeutic Horticulture uses plants, gardens and outdoor green spaces to help improve our physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing. It allows us to learn new skills or improve existing ones, and to develop our communication, interaction and connection with each other and our environment. Gardening therapy offers a greater understanding that we are Nature, and not separate from it, and by nurturing new life and growth, it gives us the opportunity to nurture ourselves. I have seen first hand its incredible transformative effects and how gardening can develop a greater awareness and knowledge of ourselves, our own unique gifts and skills, our confidence and gives us a sense of purpose, personal achievement and fulfilment.
How Can It Help?
Gardening can help support recovery from stress and trauma, providing a rehabilitative environment, no matter what our life experiences have been. It can also provide us with an opportunity to learn more about food growing, deepening our connection and understanding of where our food comes from. It is incredibly satisfying to eat something you have grown yourself - not only does it taste wonderful but we reap the benefits of the time, energy, dedication, love and care we put into its growth.
Gardening is an inclusive activity, suitable for all ages and all levels of mobility, learning ability and skill, and we don't need to know about plants or growing to be involved and reap the benefits.
Workshops will be available at WytchWood Potager soon. If you would like to be updated on these, the Flourish email newsletter provides regular updates on what's new - there is a subscription link at the bottom of the page.
Social Engagement and Community Projects
If you are a community organisation and would like to contact me about my services, please get in touch using the form below.
Commercial and Residential Enquiries
Currently my focus is on social and therapeutic engagement projects however if you are looking to design and develop a sensory border, medicinal garden, potager, food growing area or other dedicated small green space in your own garden, I occasionally take private clients - please use the form below to enquire.
Therapeutic Horticulture Enquiry
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