Social and therapeutic horticulture: evidence and messages from research

Thrive; University of Loughborough. Centre for Child and Family Research
Publication year:
60p., bibliog.
Place of publication:

Gardening and horticulture, in many different forms, have been used as a therapy or as an adjunct to therapy in the treatment of illness and disease. They have also been used to achieve social and psychological benefits for disadvantaged individuals and communities, and have been used to promote health, physical and psychological well-being. Analysis of 131 texts presented in this review provides evidence on the outcomes and effectiveness of horticulture and gardening in a number of different therapeutic settings and with different groups of people. The review presents this evidence and draws it together to create a synthesis and a model that will help to explain the processes and outcomes. While there is clear evidence that the outcomes of social and therapeutic horticulture can be positive and multifaceted, for example, in promoting health gain, general well-being, social cohesion, employment, skills development etc. there seems little doubt that this evidence base is currently under-developed and, at times, lacking in scientific rigour. Evidence can take many forms, from the anecdotal and descriptive through to rigorous academic research. This review draws on all these forms of evidence, but as the authors argue, it is evidence from systematic and analytical research which forms the best basis for the development of understanding, policy and practice. The underlying messages from this review concern not just the outcomes of social and therapeutic horticulture but also how fertile an area this is for future research.

Subject terms:
leisure activities, literature reviews, social skills, therapeutic horticulture, employment, evidence-based practice, gardening;
Content type:
ISBN print:
0 907274 29 3

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