'Flowers became his Cure' - A Healing Garden

photo by Jan Johnsen

In 2006, the National Gardening Association in South Burlington, Vermont (I used to be a garden design consultant for them in the early 80s) decided to celebrate National Garden Month by inviting readers to share their garden tales for a "This is My Garden" Sweepstakes.

Here is one of the poignant and inspiring stories that they received:

Deciding to Cure by Joanne B.

Darryl, my husband, lived in what is now our home for 9 years before we married. Each fall I planted daffodil bulbs. He had no interest in planting anything. 

During the winter of 2004-2005 Darryl suffered a bad bout of depression. So that spring and summer flowers became his cure.

 Petunias in planter - created by Jan Johnsen

He built a planter at the front edge of the lawn, planted perennials and lots of petunias in hanging baskets and scattered large pots about the yard.
During the autumn we planted tulip bulbs and pansies in the planter. Darryl also planted hyacinths, daffodils and Asiatic lilies.

planters created by Jan Johnsen

Now kids walking by on their way to and from school stop to look at it all. Some have said funny things. Are they real? Are you selling flowers?

Adults slow down as they drive past. One sunny afternoon, a fancy car with a woman at the wheel stopped. I walked out to talk to her. Said she was just stopping to look at our beautful yard. Then she introduced herself as the mayor. I knew her name of course but had never met her. "We give beautification awards" said she.

National Gardening Association

A dull yard became a paradise simply because my husband decided to cure his depression with flowers rather than seek medical help.

Congratulations- Joanne B! I am on your team...Flowers rule. I wonder if you got a beautification award....So everyone: planting those bulbs now will give you a great smile at the end of a cold winter....


  1. I wonder how many people truly understand the powerful effect that flower gardening can have on the human psyche. There is a euphoria that races through our bodies when we garden.

  2. Couldn't agree more! When my father passed away, I started to get more and more into gardening. I planted tons and tons of flowers throughout the season (a little too much if you ask me). I guess rather than drinking or doing drugs to overcome how I was feeling, I simply gardened my problems away!

  3. Totally inspiring. Nature has all of the healing properties we humans need.

  4. Nice--but really, there are people who need medical help. There is nothing wrong or weak about seeking medical help when it is needed. For some reason, many folk who immediately turn to an oncologist or a cardiac specialist will deride the mentally ill person who needs psychiatric help--and I am not talking about "therapy."

    I have seen lives saved by psychiatric intervention, and lives wasted by denying same. Much as I love flowers, I don't think they should be recommended for a serious bipolar depression, for one example.

  5. so true!...anti-depressants have saved many people (some close to me). But for Darryl they seemed to work and his wife wrote that lovely story that I wanted to share.

    but you are very correct in your warning.

  6. I think these treatments go hand in hand. Studies have shown that plants and animals truly help with happiness and quality of life. Many times being active is recommended by professionals to help with depression. I agree people usually should consult a professional (sometimes the professionals should consult a professional), but don't dismiss the power of combining these things. Orchids definitely make a big difference to me. Here's why: Why To Love Phalaenopsis Orchids

  7. Wow so cute & so beautiful flowers.these flowers are so impressive gifts.i like so much. gifts send to

  8. Beverly Seaton, You are correct.

  9. but a few flowers never hurt....


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