Study after study has reached the same conclusion: getting outside and into a garden helps sick people heal, improves the condition of people living with mental illness, and brings everyone a little peace and joy.

In Toledo, Ohio, this philosophy has been adopted by several healthcare providers and community garden organisations, which have developed “healing gardens” to benefit sick patients, family members, and staff who need time out to reflect.

Kelly Hicks, social worker at Ebeid Hospice in Sylvania, said the gardens, “provide hope and a reminder of the cycle of life. It brings physical and spiritual rejuvenation.”

Many patients look to the garden for a sign, something that will bring hope to family members and their sick loved ones. Just a few weeks ago, Ms Hicks said a bald eagle landed in the courtyard, which brought comfort to many people.

With the benefits clear, healing gardens are crafted in a particular way, with plants chosen and layouts designed with the garden’s primary purpose – stress relief, healing, and rejuvenation – front of mind.

Chris Gajewicz, the natural resources director at Bowling Green Parks and Recreation, maintains the healing garden at Simpson Garden Park. He said, “We want people to see that plants have a long human history of healing. It is a great place for a quiet, contemplative walk, and whatever makes people feel better means we’re doing our job.”

Learn more about the benefits of trees here.

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