Why nature, why plants?


Nature and plants are vital to our health, our wellbeing, and our spiritual and psychological needs. Even the most distressed, most disconnected people, have a natural affinity with nature if given the opportunity, and they bring great peace, calm and purpose.  Human desire and need for nature is genetically and inherently programmed into us, and we ignore it at our peril.  Here at Project Nurture, we have witnessed and been part of the wonderful transformation that both nature and plants offer first hand.  This is why we do what we do.  This is what lights our fires!

Of course, for many of us fortunate enough not to be suffering from severe illness or disadvantage, nature and plants are an enjoyable hobby, an interest, perhaps a retreat from the stresses of modern life.  The spaces they occupy are also wonderful areas of fun and play and learning for children and adults alike.  We all appreciate and crave outdoor and natural space.

Sadly, the economic pressures of this world, and the effects of illness and disability, mean that the majority of people who most need the restorative and joy giving qualities of nature, are denied this vital access.  If you suffer from mental or physical ill health, and are perhaps in hospital for months or years, how deeply disconnected one must feel from any aspect of the world.  Even the very feel of grass underfoot or fresh air, or birdsong, isn’t available if there is no garden space provided, or no access to nature.  This is sadly the case for many hospitals, hostels, and care facilities.  Even if there is outdoor space, it is so often poorly designed or not considered at all, and is therefore rendered an unwelcoming, uninspiring and ultimately useless potential resource.  We can change that.

Of course, nature and plants aren’t limited to just the outside, there are a myriad of ways that we can bring nature indoors, and into our lives even more.

If you are disadvantaged, and living on low income or in less than ideal housing, then to be able to escape to a natural space, which has been tended and cared for, boosts your self-esteem, your motivation, your energy.  It can be the inspiration and respite needed to carry on.  It is also an essential resource for children who have very little space to play and run, to be free to be children.  It can be a sense of normality in an otherwise chaotic and uncertain environment.  We can deliver this.

If you have a learning disability, then perhaps your perception and understanding of the world and way it works is unique.  Your sensory needs are unique, and you are forced to live in a world which does not work for you.  You need a different atmosphere to be able to thrive, to play, to learn, to relax and de-stress.  You deserve the healing and restorative effects of green space, offered and designed in a way that you can understand and love.  We will help.

Of course, we at Project Nurture are not the only ones to know that nature, plants and green spaces are essential, and that they can be the biggest catalyst for positive living.  We have listed below a series of research projects and links which back up our knowledge, and we will continue to add more and more, including our own research projects!

The Effect on mood of a ‘living’ work environment

This research, from New Zealand, examines how having a living plant in an office can boost mood and productivity.  It also examines whether this boost in mood and productivity can be achieved by putting an artificial plant in an office, rather than a real one.  It is no suprise to us here at Project Nurture that, not only did the addition of a real plant boost mood and productivity, compared to having nothing in the office, but that having an artificial plant in facts appears to reduce mood and productivity, compared to having nothing in the office.  Listen up all managers and employers!  (interestingly, this research also examined the effect of real and artificial fish also, and found similar results.  So, if you want to get the most out of your workday, add both a real plant and a real fish tank)