Therapeutic horticulture is the process of working with plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as communication and thinking skills.
'Leo Bentley has a long history working with plants and vulnerable people as well as the public sector. Before creating Oak & Reed Leo worked with plants to aid the wellbeing of adults in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, children with autism, ADHD and of course we all remember the terrarium times when Leo held workshops all over Bristol and Bath.
Working with plants is not just a career choice for him it is a lifestyle.
"When you see how such a small change in nature can produce huge differences you become more intune with yourself. Working with plants benefits not just the people's mentality and physicallities but the awareness of something bigger than oneself, something that one can not control; and that is nature. This understanding of nature enables a sense and understanding of faith and trust. Key elements in anyone's progression".
Therapeutic horticulture can benefit people in a number of ways
Help to reduce stress
Better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility
Help to increase productivity
Improved mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement
The opportunity to connect with others – reducing feelings of isolation or exclusion
Plants help to reduce sickness and absence rates
Acquiring new skills to improve the chances of finding employment
Just feeling better for being outside, in touch with nature and in the 'great outdoors'
Therapy and rehabilitation It can be part of a person’s rehabilitation process, to help recover and 'find their feet again' after an illness or a difficult time in their lives. It can help people dealing with a wide range of conditions and help learn new skillsIt can help slow down the deterioration seen when someone has a degenerative illness. Social and therapeutic horticultural also benefits people with many different disabilities, including those recovering from stroke and heart disease, blind and partially sighted people, those in the early stages of dementia and people with physical and learning disabilities.