Many of us have similar reactions when we see butterflies. Whether we are meandering through the garden, sitting in our car at a stoplight or on a brisk walk up the street, we pause for butterflies. We are captivated by the graceful fluttering of their wings, their sporadic flight path as they investigate the world for the inviting scent of nectar. Children catch sight of their flashing color from the corner of their eye and point excitedly in their direction. If a butterfly lands on us, resting delicate feet on our hand or our shoulder, we calm our movements and hold our breath in awe. It feels like a blessing.
Horticulture therapy, involving the interaction of a person with garden and plant-based activities, understands the healing that can come from people intentionally interacting with the natural world. Healing gardens have far-reaching effects, across age and situations. Whether it is someone recovering from an addiction or suffering dementia, a child with a life-threatening condition or someone receiving hospice care, the connection to life that we experience while walking through a garden is a crucial benefit to our healing.
People suffering from depression, anxiety, or the loss of a loved one, can find comfort in a stroll amongst blooming flowers, slowing down to notice the plants around them and observe the simplistic beauty of butterflies going about their day, flitting from flower to flower. Butterflies inspire tranquility, calmness, and perhaps an appreciation for life. At least they offer us a moment of quiet observation, a moment in which to take a breath and simply enjoy nature.
The intention of Sarasota Butterflies is to help create more opportunities for interactions with butterflies and gardens at Assisted Living and Memory Care Residencies. We hope to offer people suffering from memory loss an experience that will be familiar and calming, bringing more beauty and, as research suggests, sustainability into their life.
Visitors to Sarasota Gardens are offered the opportunity of education, of learning ways that people can nurture and support the habitats crucial to butterflies. Our programs include only native butterflies. Therefore, what people learn by visiting our gardens can then be applied in their own neighborhoods and homes as well. By creating a healthy environment for butterflies in your own yard, you can bring the benefits of horticulture therapy into your everyday life.
Perhaps, in the chaos of a busy life, you have not taken a moment lately to pause for a butterfly. Maybe you have not had the time to walk amongst flowers and plant life. Or perhaps you have seen butterflies, but brush them off as just another pesky insect to avoid. Hopefully, after reading this, the next time delicate, colorful wings pass your vision, you will remember to pause and observe the pure, healing beauty fluttering by.