GCJ Book Club – The Garden Cure

Jul 11, 2023 | Books

The Grow Create Joy book club is back and I’m picking up from where I left off with The Garden Cure by Jan Cameron.

The Garden Cure is a guide to cultivating wellness, for ones self or for others, using the garden. Jan has many years experience working in community gardening and mental health care and training. Her vast expertise and deep commitment to this work is encapsulated in the pages of her book.

Interestingly I read the majority of The Garden Cure when I was in the midst of working on the ground in social and therapeutic horticulture and finished it when I had some distance from it. As a newly qualified practitioner, I would have found this book incredibly useful, if I’d have had the headspace at the time to take in the lessons it teaches and apply it to my own experiences. If I were to be in that position again, I could very much see myself turning to the tools and ideas Jan offers here, not only to inform my practice but as a comfort when the job feels difficult and stressful but on the outside appears to be only fun and fulfilling. I’d say that this is absolutely a reference book that you could return to again and again for both guidance and reassurance.

The book is split into two parts, the first called ‘In the Garden’ with chapters split into concepts that align seasonal aspects of gardening with human needs. There is real, useful information on keeping a healthy garden alongside case studies highlighting how that relates to people and their wellbeing. Each chapter ends with key points summarising the focus of that chapter and the meaning conveyed within. Jan addresses so many varied situations that you really would be hard pressed not to find something, if not many things relatable. Especially if you have been involved in community gardening for some time.

Part two of the book is called ‘In the Toolshed’. Here Jan outlines many ideas, techniques, courses and reading she has used. Some are simpler and quicker to implement, others are more significant, needing experience and training. There is a huge wealth of information again here.

An important message that I really like and appreciate in this book is that Jan reiterates how vital it is for the practitioner / manager / support worker to take care of themselves. She advises understanding what keeps you well, what causes you stress and how you respond to everything that comes with supporting vulnerable people. This is a lifelong task and learning curve. Thank you Jan, I fully appreciate what a massive undertaking writing this book must have been.

Did you read this book?

If you’ve read The Garden Cure, let me know what you thought about it. You can contact me on Instagram too.

Next up at GCJBook Club

The front cover of the Unearthed book by Claire RatinonThe next book we will be reading is Unearthed by Claire Ratinon.

I’ve followed Claire on Instagram for many years and I imagine lots of you food and flower growing folks have too.

Join in whether you have already read Unearthed or are planning to of if you’re looking for something new.

Find us on Instagram at #GCJBookClub or see the book club story highlights @GrowCreateJoy.