"Healing Gardens have the power to restore broken connections between people, people and plants, and people and the Earth"
I personally create Healing Gardens with ‘act local, think global’ intentions to help holistically heal Humanity and our Earth... one garden at a time. A Healing Garden for me is all about celebrating interconnectedness and creating empowered, enlightened individuals. Our health and wellbeing are intricately interwoven to the health of our planet. Humans are an integral part of the Earth’s ecosystems and if we wish to be truly healthy, we need to care for these ecosystems as an extension of ourselves. We don’t need to have access to an expansive piece of land to achieve this as individuals. This can begin by creating Healing Gardens in our backyards, no matter how large or small this space is.
First and foremost, all gardens - the tiny patch of Mother Earth that we are guardian of - need healing. This means caring for our backyard and seeing ourselves as more guardians than gardeners. As the guardian of our land, we can set the intention to return it to a thriving ecosystem that nurtures all endemic life - from the soil microbes to the tallest trees and every living creature in between (including us as the endemic humans). And secondly, all gardens can grow things that will support our health & wellbeing and can lighten our footprint on Earth - like organically grown fruit, veges, nuts, seeds and herbal medicine.
My Healing Garden approach has been greatly inspired by Mary Reynolds; nature activist, reformed landscaper and author of 'A Garden Awakening' and creator of We Are The A.R.K. – acts of restorative kindness. Mary helped me realise that the holistic healing paradigm I apply to my Naturopathic clients can also be applied to the land. Holistically healing the human-made wounds of our land as the first priority ensures our land can then grow the most dynamic, powerful plant medicines to heal us and our planet.
This means that we don’t just focus on the physical repairing of the ecosystem within our backyard, we also work on the vital force of the land – the energetic and emotional aspects. Yes, what I’m saying is that our land can be imbalanced in energy and can hold emotional wounds from the clearing of its original ecosystem or from any misuse and abuse of the space prior to our guardianship. Just think: was it once an area that our First Nation peoples once roamed and revered? The soil once held an infinite number of microbes, mycelia and roots systems that once communicated to each other and were a tight-knit community. Was there once a Grandmother tree on your land who was connected via soil roots and mycelia to all her descendants around her? Did previous owners spray and hack and mow and have a controlling, disrespectful influence to your space? These are just a few examples we can begin to consider that this land we now call ‘ours’ once was.
Traditionally, Healing Garden concepts and designs around the world are very human-centric. They explore ways in which an area can offer a limited one-way healing opportunity, which is always about how it can serve us. I think it is unfair and unrealistic to expect our gardens to grow healthy plants to help feed and heal us if we are not as a first priority helping the garden to be the most vital and healthy it can be.
When we garden with an intention to heal the land, we ultimately begin to heal ourselves. This is true interconnectedness and reciprocity, or as the ancients called it Ayni. Guardianship can be a spiritual practice where we nurture and revere our relationship with nature, which can flow on to heal us on a physical, emotional and soul level and thereby create a more holistic, balanced and fulfilling life, that gives back to our planet at the same time.
If you are interested in hosting a Healing Garden workshop, please send me an email.
“We are only brief guardians of these portions of land we call our gardens.
We do not and cannot truly own them. Our bodies are made of the earth
and return to it eventually, but the land will always remain alive.
Everything we need to survive and all that nourishes us comes from the
earth, her soil, the atmosphere, the sun and the stars beyond.
We are simply walking pieces of earth.”
~ Mary Reynolds —‘The Garden Awakening’