Category Archives: gardening

The Healing Power of Gardens

This is an excerpt from “Everything in Its Place,” a posthumous collection of writings by Dr. Sacks.

As a writer, I find gardens essential to the creative process; as a physician, I take my patients to gardens whenever possible. All of us have had the experience of wandering through a lush garden or a timeless desert, walking by a river or an ocean, or climbing a mountain and finding ourselves simultaneously calmed and reinvigorated, engaged in mind, refreshed in body and spirit. The importance of these physiological states on individual and community health is fundamental and wide-ranging. In 40 years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical “therapy” to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens.

The wonder of gardens was introduced to me very early, before the war, when my mother or Auntie Len would take me to the great botanical garden at Kew. We had common ferns in our garden, but not the gold and silver ferns, the water ferns, the filmy ferns, the tree ferns I first saw at Kew. It was at Kew that I saw the gigantic leaf of the great Amazon water lily, Victoria regia, and like many children of my era, I was sat upon one of these giant lily pads as a baby.

The Palm House at Kew Gardens in London.  CreditMike Kemp/in PIctures, via Getty Images

As a student at Oxford, I discovered with delight a very different garden — the Oxford Botanic Garden, one of the first walled gardens established in Europe. It pleased me to think that Boyle, Hooke, Willis and other Oxford figures might have walked and meditated there in the 17th century.

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“Crazy plant ladies” are my favorite people!

By Stephanie Rose – Garden Therapy Blog

Crazy plant ladies are my favorite people. They (we) are so passionate about nature and that enthusiasm is contagious. Today I want to take a minute to acknowledge some of the amazing historical ‘crazy plant ladies’ whose love of botanicals influenced the way we view plants and the study of plants today. The women in this list are not well known (or at least not well known for their work with plants) but have made important contributions to the field of botanical sciences and changed the way we think about nature.


This is not to say that these brilliant women struggled with mental health or were labelled insane in their time! In case you didn’t get the memo, Crazy Plant Lady is a badge now worn with pride by the many women who confess that they have an enthusiastic love for plants and nature. Yep, you can get a T-shirt or a mug that Continue reading “Crazy plant ladies” are my favorite people!