Here are some great books I have on my bookshelf. Some are specifically related to health, wellbeing and nature and some a little more loosely so. However, all encourage us to think about our connection to nature, what it means for us and our role in reciprocating care to it.
The Garden Cure
By Jan Cameron
Published in August 2020, this is the most recent of all the books listed here. Jan spent over 30 years working in therapeutic gardens and said on a Facebook post recently that she wrote this book to help others learn from her experiences.
As a relative newcomer to Social and Therapeutic Horticulture I envisage bookmarking sections and returning to this book over again, for practical as well as moral support.
The Natural Health Service
By Isabel Hardman
Isabel is a political journalist but her interest in nature and its benefits for our mental health came about because of her own personal experiences.
In Isabel’s words her mind ‘stopped working’ in 2016. This book cleverly weaves the story of her own illness and recovery through others’ accounts and related research. The description of her personal relationship to nature is very affecting as she talks about the outdoor activities that have helped build her resilience.
By Lucy Jones
What a smart and detailed book this is. The research referenced here is so plentiful that you cannot come away with any doubt that nature is good for us, in so many ways. In ways you might not have even imagined.
Importantly, Lucy encourages us to consider what would happen to us if our natural world didn’t exist. What if we had to experience plants and wildlife synthetically? We need to understand that nature isn’t just a resource for us to use. It must be cared for, respected and loved deeply.
By Robin Wall Kimmerer
Just beginning to read this book you immediately get a sense of how special and moving it is going to be. The writing itself is like the most beautiful poetry.
Robin Wall Kimmerer has vast experience and insight to offer, from both a professional, scientific perspective and a personal one as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. It is so important that we understand our often lost connection to the natural world and our place in it. I haven’t finished reading yet but I know this book is a great place to learn from the wisdom inside.
Last Child in the Woods
By Richard Louv
Published in 2005, this is the oldest of the books listed here but no less relevant. When Richard’s sons were young one of them asked him why his childhood was more fun than theirs, referring to the fact that they didn’t seem to have the outdoor adventures their dad had at the same age.
This book discusses the increasing distance between children and their time in and experience of nature. Richard coins the term ‘nature-defecit disorder’ as he describes the mental, social and physical effects of this loss of connection.
By Katherine May
Writing this in early December I can say, it is the perfect time to read this book. Inside its covers Katherine shares what happened when her winter came, how it is a part of the cycle of life and ways to make it through. I would add reading this book to the list of ways for me.
The parallels drawn between seasonal winters and our own provide great comfort and a perhaps a new perspective on how to slow down and build ourselves up through both until spring comes.
The Well Gardened Mind
By Sue Stuart-Smith
Beautifully written, amazingly informative and most of all, specifically about the therapeutic power of growing a garden. My copy of this book is full of post-it notes, marking described accounts through history, fascinating research and Sue’s own experience as a psychotherapist combined with her love of gardening.
I found the story of Sue’s grandfather’s use of gardening as a means of helping him deal with trauma from his experiences in WW1 particularly moving. This book offers a lot of hope.
Have you read any of these books? If so, tell me what you think of them. Do you have any others you would recommend? Drop me a line.