The Positive Effects on Mental Health of Visiting Botanic Gardens

Sophia Shaw


This paper continues the Guest Essay theme on the positive contribution that experiences in gardens and nature can make to people. It draws on her own and others’ personal experiences, particularly in Chicago Botanic Garden, to demonstrate that time spent in a garden, whether as a casual visitor or as a participant in specialised horticulture therapy and education programmes, can improve mental health and physical well-being and that this is to the benefit of individuals and society as a whole. The paper finishes with a comment on the value of the scientific work carried
out by botanic gardens and how this also contributes positively to mental health by empowering people to do something constructive about the ecological challenges facing society.

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