John & Bob's Blog

Gardening for Mental Health: Women’s Prison Garden Update

In May, I posted a blog regarding the benefits of gardening for our mental well-being. Nurturing plants and being in the natural world provides many people with peace and a sense of well-being. My landscaping team and I have been constructing and assisting in the design of a garden at Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, California, the largest women’s prison in the world. As I mentioned in my previous blog (link), the garden is being funded by the group “Chapel of Grace”, who work hard to positively impact women who have had difficult lives, made mistakes and are now imprisoned and often hopeless. The garden is designed to be a sacred space for reflection, prayer and perhaps fundamental change for these women. The project has now been completed and is available for use by women in the Valley State Prison. On May 17th, nearly 500 inmates and...

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According to John: Gardening for Mental Health and Well Being

Recently, I was a guest on a radio gardening talk show. The host surprised me by starting the show with a quote from Garden Chic Magazine and then asking me about it. The quote was “Recent research shows that just 5 minutes of active gardening decreases the risk of mental illness and increases the sense of well being.” The host then said, “John, don’t you think this is a bunch of baloney? Do you feel better if you work in your garden after work?” I wasn’t sure if he was serious, since he, of course, knew that I worked on garden-related issues all day. I was uncertain where to go with his question and we were live on air, but it is a compelling issue and I tried to strongly and quickly assert my belief in the life-improving aspects of the profession I chose and continue to choose because of...
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