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Therapeutic Horticulture Featured on Virgin Media TV

February 5, 2024

Therapeutic Horticulture Featured on Virgin Media TV

If you’ve ever wondered what therapeutic horticulture might look like in Ireland, or abroad if you have a VPN, you’ll be able to see highlights during a one off segment on Virgin Media TV.

Last summer I had the opportunity to work with Mind the Gap films on the TV series Second Chances with Rebecca Tallon De Havilland. I was introduced to Joe in An Gairdín Beo Community Garden, the location I chose for the filming due to it’s incredibly calming therapeutic gardening area.

TV still of Dee Sewell on Second Chances from Virgin Media TV

After the introductions, Joe and I had an opportunity to walk along the pathway designed by Trish Darcy, which I created with an Education Training Board (ETB) community education group during the pandemic. The barefoot, sensory path meanders across the entire stretch of the therapeutic garden, changing from larger pebbles to smaller as it weaves and winds, the intersections planted with creeping thyme for the added sensory element.

Sensory barefoot path being created in a community garden in Carlow

The path provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our lives, how they change and move and don’t stand still. As you walk along this path, it leads you around the heritage orchard and past the limestone carvings created by Bob Frazier who recently retired from the Delta Centre.

At the end, the walkway forks, providing choices in direction, again, reflecting our lives; which one will we take? We turned to the left, and walked to a beautiful Yin Yan mosaic with a wooden chair, both having been created by ETB community groups, providing an opportunity to stop for some quiet reflection.

There are so many things to look at in this part of the community garden, but we stopped to look at the herb wheel that I designed and subsequently created and planted with another ETB group who were keen to learn about herbs. The Celtic Knot of Healing consists of four arcs that are created in one continuous line. The arcs represent Natural, Energy, Emotional and Spiritual healing, all woven to create balance for wellness and healthy living, and interplanted with healing herbs. It seemed appropriate to pause there with Joe, to reflect upon some of the herbs and discuss how he might use lemon balm and chamomile for instance to aid with relaxation.

We finished the session by planting up a container with herbs chosen by Joe, that he could take away with him to mind and care for, and perhaps use in his kitchen as he cooked with his son. I also presented him with a journal so he might start to take notes or sketches about his garden or the natural world around him.

You can find a link to the Virgin Player and view the full episode here. The therapeutic session starts at around 20 minutes in. If you have a chance, do look back at the other Second Chances episodes too which feature, art, dance, adventure, water and theatre therapy amongst many others. Healing and mental wellbeing isn’t just about visiting a GP, though that can be important too. I don’t generally work one on one, preferring group and community sessions, but the series highlights how there are many activities we can undertake designed to help us.

The journey begins by putting on the shoes and heading outside, or picking up the phone and calling someone.

Have you found nature or your garden therapeutic, has it changed how you feel?

 

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