So a practical understanding of what is on offer and the benefits can be highlighted I would like to give a further explanation of why I chose Bonsai Trees to offer Horticultural Therapy along with the more known “Normal Garden Flowers, Plants and Vegetables Horticultural Therapy.”
Bonsai Trees are Breathing, Living pieces of Nature kept in Unnatural containers.
Much like many of us Humans.
Like the Bonsai Tree in its pot or Container, it is living its life, though often considered not to its full potential.
We as Humans often have to live our life in the same manner.
However, it is only when we look much closer at a Bonsai Tree can we see it might actually be reaching far greater potential because it is kept in a pot because of the time, attention, love and care heaped upon it.
Can we not apply that to Humans also?
Especially those of us who have Mental or Physical Health conditions.
It may be perceived we are contained in a pot and our personal growth will never reach full potential.
That does not mean we cannot reach beyond expected potential.
Though for most of us, daily life is all about paying the bills and getting by. Some of us however are contained in our own private world where the normal daily routine is not as easy or mundane as it is for the average person.
In the same way a person’s Microcosm dictates how they grow and respond, the same is mirrored in Bonsai.
As pointed out above though, that does not necessarily mean for those contained in a smaller world or are dictated by what we can or cannot do especially if we have Mental or Physical Health conditions, we do have the chance to shine and become far more potentially.
I have a passion for caring, I spent 4 years working in the Care Industry. (Often doing 300+ hours in a month at work!)
I have a Passion for Bonsai, I’ve spent the last 6 years learning about Bonsai in my own time and at great expense.
I have a passion for Gardening, again spending the same time learning about Gardening as I did about Bonsai; and spending probably as much learning about it as I did with Bonsai!
I now combine those passions into a Business and try and offer the same peace of mind, tranquility, health benefits and calming nature that they provided to me; to others.
This is why I do what I do and what is on offer from Rutland Bonsai Therapy.
I’ve come home from a 72 Hour shift at work, highly stressed, emotionally drained and knowing all too soon I will have to go back to a highly stressful and demanding job but knowing I need to unwind and relax and centre myself to ensure when I return to work I can do my job and at the best of my abilities to make sure I perform as required and care for the people I am charged with supporting.
Once I have got home I would go out into my garden and spend time with my trees, often a few hours just checking over them while watering them; making mental notes of the ones that needed some attention or something doing to ensure they carried on being healthy or developing. Or planning the trees future, what I’d like it to look like, or just envisioning the next stage of it’s progress. Forgetting about everything else on my mind as I was focussing on the small tree in my hand or on my benches.
Suddenly finding myself calm, relaxed, stress removed and smiling. All set to go get some richly deserved peaceful sleep and set me up ready to get back to my day-to-day routine.
My personal Zen had returned, inner emotional and mental balance achieved.
So why not just start a Sensory garden?
I get asked this a lot.
As well as…
or just use normal Flowers and plants?
A Sensory Garden is in the future for RBT, it’s always been part of the plan and is included in the RBT business plan. Some of the stock to be used for the Sensory Garden is currently being cultivated and I am always looking for the right space of land for that.
So, still the question begs, why Bonsai for Therapy?
Bonsai is very Tactile.
The trees all look and more importantly feel different.
Inside the container or pot, the Soils are all different.
This provides a range of Sensory Lesson applications.
Visually Sensory Stimulating
Due to the Range and Seasonal Changes, no 2 Trees are the same, many may be alike but all are Unique.
A Single Bonsai can be breathtaking, groups can be Stunning, Collections of Bonsai can be magnificent.
So many details to take in, Colour, Shapes, Sight, Sound, Smell, Texture and of course their infinitely delightful Relaxing Presence.
The static Nature of Bonsai Trees allows us the chance to take a moment in our day and sit down, Admire or Consider the Bonsai Tree. A moment’s Respite from what troubles you, giving you the chance to just study the pot, soil, roots, trunk, branches, leaves and light playing in the shade and the multitude of Hues of the leaves. Contrasting colours and shapes with size and proportion.
While often as not we are told to look at the bigger picture, or to see as far and wide as we can. Reducing that focus into such a small space as a Tree in a pot you can hold in your hand, turn it around and see it from all sides and angles…
Allows us to take in the whole of the thing in our hand, we can relate too it.
It can be a great transition to learn how to problem solve or find a route that works for us to problem solve or imagine how we can deal with something we perhaps currently cannot imagine or cope with.
Learning as we study in the smallest detail what something needs or requires, that taking time to see things clearly without being blurred by the often overwhelming input of everything the eye can see if allowed to look far and wide can give us clarity.
It can be said that the devil is in the detail and the lesson Bonsai Trees can teach us; take care of the small things first and then move on to the bigger things.
This is where a living tree in a small pot can show us, the world may be large but we can deal with things by working on small things one step at a time and make progress or gain benefit by reducing the amount of the world we view.
We deal with the Small things, the Essential Details to promote Health and Growth.
As much care as it takes into keeping a Bonsai Tree Alive and Healthy; should go into Supporting someone in Therapy.
Encourage the Human to step back from Barriers, look at what can be done or which direction you can take; to overcome the challenge you are faced with.
Like a Pot Edge may be considered a barrier if you Were a Bonsai Tree.
If you become the Carer for that Tree, you would see the roots of the Tree getting closer to the pot as a visible sign of health and Natural Growth spreading out and establishing into its world naturally.
Once the tree has Reached the Target or Limit of the edge, Bonsai Trees can have the roots pruned to establish better growth in the container it is in or we can move the Tree on to the next stage if it is ready to progress. If it is to stay in the pot it was in, it’s only so more roots or fundamental work still needs doing. Sometimes it is better to stay where you are and continue building deeper foundations before moving on.
Do the things you can, when you can.
For the march of time may be slow.
Eventually it catches up with us all.
It is not just a case of mental benefits though!
As for the positive physical aspects of working with Bonsai.
Many of the required practices or tasks in Bonsai deal with working on a small level.
Some are repetitive so build up good:
- Muscle Memory Retention.
- Hand eye coordination.
What does Bonsai Therapy involve?
A very rough outline of how Bonsai Therapy would start and a guide to what would follow.
Basic Therapy – Intro Session.
- What is a Bonsai Tree Introduction.
- What does it need?
- What does it do?
Bonsai Therapy “What does it need” Session.
- Part 1 – Air, Light, Water
- Part 2 – Food, Soil and Resources.
- Part 3 – In the Ground or Pot?
- Bonsai Basics End Session.
Bonsai Therapy “Practical Experience Number 1”.
The Practical Part of the Intro.
- Touching the Trees.
- Letting the Tree Touch You.
- Texture Experience.
- Soil Experience.
- Dry and Wet Experience.
- Firm and Soft Experience.
- Rough and Smooth Experience.
- Bugs and Wiggly creatures Experience.
Every session; be it Bonsai Therapy or Horticultural Therapy is tailored to Individuals or Groups.
The needs or requirements of the Individual or Group is always paramount and placed first.
I do not give generic “every lesson or session is the same” experiences.
Diversity and Inclusion prohibit that being viable or actually Therapeutic.