Plants Bring Meaning and Purpose to Life

Prisons, schools, housing projects and hospitals have all documented the positive effects of working with plants.

Charles A. Lewis, Research Fellow in Horticulture at Morton Arboretum, has studied the effects of plants and landscaping on people in various communities, including neighbourhoods, housing projects and prisons, over a 30- year period.

In a paper published in "The Role of Horticulture in Human Well-being and Social Development," Lewis concluded that when horticultural programs are implemented in those communities, the landscaping process makes an enormous difference in how members feel about themselves and the area in which they reside.
Lewis writes, "The gardener takes on a responsibility when he grows a plant. It's a living entity, its future dependent on the gardener's ability to provide conditions for growth. Each day as he tends his garden, the gardener observes the growth of his plants, and sees in that a measure of his success in planting, watering and fertilizing. He identifies with his garden and builds a personal relationship with it. The garden becomes an extension of himself, a highly visible representation of his individuality. All of this enhances his self-image, helping to create self-esteem.

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