It's easy being green

Published 8 October 2021
Kate Neale with two kids in Singapore

Southern Cross Researcher Dr Kate Neale, joins the latest episode of the SCU Buzz Podcast, to talk about the therapeutic benefits of the garden and how it promotes emotional, mental, and physical health for all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

As Vice President of Therapeutic Horticulture Australia, Kate recently conducted a national study with its research subcommittee exploring the impact of therapeutic horticulture. Dr Neale shadows the organisation's values, including the fact that curiosity and attraction to nature are inherent human qualities.

“In the recent survey that we did, there really does not seem to be a group of people, a cohort, or a person who could be excluded from the benefits.

Personally, I work in the space with children and people with disabilities. I'm also moving into the space where I'm looking at youth at risk or with lived experience of trauma,” said Kate.

Kate echoes that you don’t have to have an elaborate garden either to reap the rewards of a therapeutic landscape.

“It's really about bringing in any green space, or participating in any gardening activity that provides an opportunity for us to feel better about ourselves, to feel more connected, and more grounded,” she said.

“We do it through a number of different ways. It might be the textures around us, the ability to get our hands in the soil, having access to natural surroundings. I truly believe that if you can be around or touching a plant in any way it has therapeutic benefits,” said Kate.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, we have seen a clear increase in individuals' passion for gardening. Kate shares a motivational metaphor as to why we enjoy gardening in such chaotic times.

“Gardening has this really wonderful thing where it makes you believe in tomorrow, as trite as that sounds. You plant a seed, and you tend to it because you believe in growth tomorrow, and that's a beautiful way for people to see through some extraordinary hard times during a pandemic. To think about it in terms of what can I do today that will contribute to a better tomorrow,” said Kate.

 

Tune in to the latest SCU Buzz Podcast episode to hear all about the benefits of therapeutic horticulture, plus the secret to keeping a house plant alive.

Dr Kate Neale is a Southern Cross Researcher with a PhD in Childhood studies. She works within the SCU Centre for Children and Young People for the Faculty of Health. Recently, her work has delved into discovering the role therapeutic horticulture has in fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion for people at a social or community level.

Media contact: Content team content@scu.edu.au