41: Transforming Lives through Horticulture with Ashley Edwards, Garden Therapy Specialist

In this episode, Roz  engages in a conversation with Ashley Edwards, a dedicated gardener and garden therapist. Their discussion revolves around the therapeutic influence of gardens on mental and emotional well-being, with a focus on the inspiring work done by Horatio's Garden, a charity building accessible gardens in NHS spinal injury centres.

The Healing Essence of Gardens:
Ashley underscores the remarkable power of gardens to alleviate stress, anxiety, and establish a serene connection with nature. He emphasises how gardens at Horatio's Garden, specifically designed for accessibility, have the potential to profoundly impact the lives of patients recovering from life-changing injuries, offering them both solace and motivation.

Horatio's Garden: A Sanctuary of Tranquility:

The charity's mission is to create fully accessible gardens in every NHS spinal unit across the country. These gardens serve as sanctuaries of healing, providing patients with spaces to reflect, rejuvenate, and engage in nature's therapeutic embrace.

Crafting Accessible Gardens:
Designing gardens that cater to diverse mobility needs involves thoughtful consideration of factors like uneven surfaces and wheelchair accessibility. High-quality materials ensure both durability and aesthetic appeal, making these spaces inclusive for all.

Gardening Through Seasons and Independence:
Ashley shares insights about how the garden at Horatio's Garden is meticulously designed to maintain interest and beauty throughout the changing seasons. The therapy approach encourages patients' independence, allowing them to partake in gardening activities based on their unique abilities, nurturing a sense of achievement and pride.

Challenges and Lessons Learned:
Ashley reflects on his journey of learning and adaptation, particularly in understanding spinal injuries and varying patient needs. Overcoming perfectionism and embracing imperfections in gardening emerged as essential aspects of creating a welcoming and accommodating space.

Inspiration and Future Prospects:
Ashley draws inspiration from grassroots gardeners and community leaders who bring about positive transformations through horticultural initiatives. He expresses his desire to elevate the awareness of gardening as a skilled career and participate in more media platforms to foster broader understanding.

How to connect with Ashley:
If you're looking for more information about Ashley Edwards and his work, you can find him on Instagram at @plantsforwellbeing, where he shares posts about gardening, well-being, and his involvement with Horatio's Garden. Additionally, you can explore the Horatio's Garden website at www.horatiosgarden.org.uk to learn more about their charitable efforts and the accessible gardens they create for spinal injury centers.

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