Therapy Gardens

We all feel relaxed in the garden, but what you probably don't realise is your backyard could have healing powers, you just need to know what to plant.

"I think it's something we need to embrace - this idea that health care isn't just bricks and mortar and economic bottom lines." Here at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital, Dr David Joske is giving us a tour of their community garden, a place where patients come to escape their cancer treatment. The retreat was only recently opened; it took a team of volunteers' months to create the right mix. The idea is that a beautiful garden can put patients in a better frame of mind.

How important is that in mainstream care? "Look it's crucial. In Solaris Care we try to get people to a better place psychologically. Here we're using nature physically to try and help achieve that aim." A cancer specialist, David believes the road to recovery takes more than just medicine alone. Beth Roberton runs Nathanael's Rest, a garden retreat for weary minds and bodies. Beth has used plants of varying texture, colour and smell, and it truly is an uplifting experience.

By choosing the right varieties, Beth has ensured colour for every season. We already know that getting in the garden can be therapeutic, now it seems the benefits are also being recognised by the medical profession, "I think this kind of thing enriches our society and creates a healing environment right where we need it." and you too can, grow a healing garden in your own backyard.

Aromatic plants - such as lavender and rosemary are good for clearing the mind.

Flowering plants - like Nestorians or leptospermum - provide uplifting colour.

And herbs, such as basil and coriander - aren't only fragrant, they're also good for you.