As a writer, I find gardens essential to the creative process; as a physician, I take my patients to gardens whenever possible. All of us have had the experience of wandering through a lush garden or a timeless desert, walking by a river or an ocean, or climbing a mountain and finding ourselves simultaneously calmed and reinvigorated, engaged in mind, refreshed in body and spirit. The importance of these physiological states on individual and community health is fundamental and wide-ranging. In forty years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical “therapy” to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens.

Oliver Sacks, Everything in Its Place: First Loves and Last Tales.

In Oliver Sacks’ essay “Why We Need Gardens,” he details how patients who were unable to function inside a hospital seemed to come alive in a garden. Sacks uses the term “hortophilia,” to describe the deep bond people have with gardens. It is the desire to interact with nature, to manage and tend a garden, to water a sagging plant or deadhead a geranium, and the momentary respite such interaction brings.