Gardening for the Soul at Second Story Women’s Centre in Lunenburg

Gardening is Good Therapy

By Barbara Ware

The Chronicle Herald, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009, p. A4

In the Second Story Women’s Centre in Lunenburg, Rosmarie Bradley runs a program she designed called Gardening for the Soul. Funded by the Nova Scotia Mental Health Foundation, Rosmarie’s program “uses plants and crafts associated with plants to improve women’s emotional, social and physical well being.”

The Lunenburg centre is one of eight resources and referral centres for women in Nova Scotia, offering crisis intervention, therapy, support, advice and information. Rosmarie Bradley combines horticulture therapy with running her own organic landscaping company, which focuses on organic gardening, landscape design and education. By nurturing and caring for plants, the women who come to centre experience “a sense of satisfaction, pride and accomplishment. They take care of plants, cultivate them and preserve them; they eat the food they grow and they create crafts such as bath salts made from organically grown lavender.”

Marilyn Zinowki, administrative co-ordinator for the centre, says the differences among the participants, who range from lawyers and women on social assistance to seniors and students, don’t matter “when the focus is taking care of plants. … [A]nd when they step outside, the women are more comfortable saying hello to someone they might not normally relate to in the community. … You realize we are all pretty much the same and share the same issues, same problems at times.” To this, Rosmarie Bradley adds the benefits of relating to and experiencing nature. “You’re learning how to do the growth, how to be sustainable and take care of the plants but then feed yourself as well. … [W]ith these economic times we’re in, learning to feed yourself is important.”

~ by artpoped on January 11, 2009.

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