Plants give us pleasure and can bring healing through all five of our senses, either physically or more indirectly via memories and moods. This is directly related to horticulture therapy because by using this knowledge we could make horticulture therapy even more helpful. Our five senses that plants can awaken are sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.
is a very important part of our senses. Seeing structure and shape
can give people very different feelings. If the design of the garden
is horizontal the feeling may be calming and likewise if vertical it does
the opposite. A curved design gives the impression of gracefulness.
People also vary in their color preferences. Everyone has different
psychological, emotional, and physical responses to color but there are
basic principles that can help you to mix and match colors for the effect
that you want in your garden.
Even though you might not think of the sound that a garden can make it really does impact the way that we feel. From the rustling of leaves and stems in the breeze to the tinkling or rushing of water it can really have a psychologically healing effect. It can also serve as a gateway from noise pollution, urban and workday stresses.
Smelling the scents that plants give off for pollinators can attract humans also. Smell is one of the strongest stimulators of the memory. Garden environments that have well known happy associated scents can be a strong antidote to depression. Some things to think about when incorporating smells into your garden:
hand sign to the left means "I LOVE YOU" in sign language. Certain
plants are great to touch with their variety of textures. Leaves
have feel different such as waxy, smooth, or rubbery like the water lily.
There are also some leaves that have tiny white hairs all over them that
give them velvety feeling (Pelargonium). Also the bark on certain
trees such as Cork Oak or Paper Birch is very interesting to touch.
Touch is very important to people who would be interested in horticulture
therapy because they can't always use all of their other senses to enjoy
the garden. With this in mind plants made to touch need to be needle
free and able to withstand being handled.
Taste is obviously one of the most common associations with growing plants. Herbs and many foods that most of us enjoy come from plants. The most beneficial part of raising plants that provide food, from a horticulture therapy point of view, is the feeling one gets from being self sufficient.