Health professionals discovered that plants are part of our day to day life. They are present in virtually all daily activities. Part of the day was spent looking at the relationship that people have with plants and nature and how this influences our cultural and artistic practices. We enjoyed a bit of poetry – ‘The Last Hedgehog’ by the brilliant Pam Ayres and thought about how poetry can be used therapeutically.

The afternoon practical session focused on the art of making hanging baskets and flower bowls. These beloved seasonal creations provide a comforting visual treat. We also delved into the world of seeds looking at associated creative activities, activity analysis and tried out a variety of seed sowing materials! We used a mixture of reliable and pretty flowers – petunias, calibrachoas, geraniums and verbenas as well herbs and dwarf beans.

You can find some of my personal favourite gardening related poems at the the Poetry Archive; these include The Trees by Philip Larkin, Summer of the Ladybirds by Vivian Smith, A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns, Five Years Trying to Win the Flower Show & The Preservation of Flowers both by Julia Bird, Marigolds by Vicki Feaver and In the Tool Shed by Andrew Greig. There are also a fine collection of gardening poems in Jeremy Naydler’s book ‘Soul Gardening”; two I particularly like are I The Gardener & The Nettle in the Basil Pot.

I have also enjoyed reading the work of the poet & artist Edward Lear (1812-1888). This has inspired me to mix poetry and horticultural therapy. I loved his humourist take on people and plants and his simply brilliant sketches. This one below I have at home and it represents how chaotic and stressed individuals can present to Occupational Therapists whilst in recovery.

Manypeeplia upsidownia From Edward Lear’s “Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets” published in 1872, London

Finally, for more information on how occupational therapists help recover ordinary lives click here.