The Benefits of Horticultural Therapy: Returning to Earth

Horticultural therapy can restore our much needed connection to ourselves and each other. We are plugged in, online, connected, wireless, and completely out of touch.

The more technologically advanced we become, the less connected we are with the land.

When was the last time you raked your yard by hand? Donned a pair of ripped jeans and got dirt under your nails? Have you ever felt the gentle, throbbing muscle aches after planting a row of trees? Or taken in the smell of burning wood and dry leaves while pruning shrubs in autumn?

Have you ever used your 5 senses all at once?

Horticultural therapy is just one of many great relaxation techniques!

“Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, and you must treat it as a powerful stranger.”

~ An excerpt from Stand Still by David Wagoner

Horticultural therapy helps us reset and reconnect to our surroundings. We become present in the moment. There is something truly primal, raw, and nostalgic about returning to our roots. Regardless of where we are from - urban or rural - we all have an inherent, biological wiring with the earth. It is part of our genetic code.

Horticultural therapy is a gift to yourself, an opportunity to work in unison with a world you may often feel works against you. You give of yourself and the earth rewards you with beautiful trees, flowers, and PEACE. One realizes that time spent in the garden is truly his or hers. You become more grateful of your surroundings and enjoy a renewed sense of purpose. So, grab a garden tool and return to the earth.

For more information about horticultural therapy, visit This is the official website of the American Horticultural Therapy Association.

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The Starfish Story

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!” ~

~Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)~

This simple story serves as a good reminder that:
• YOU are worth time and effort.
• Maybe you can't help everyone, but you can help someone.
• Goals can be achieved one mini step at a time.