The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Secrest Arboretum has many gardens, but its newest addition stands out for its therapeutic and research value.
Established in summer 2015, The Lemmon and Rice Health and Wellness Garden was designed to boost visitors’ sense of well-being and provide opportunities for research into the impact gardens and nature have on human health. The garden was constructed thanks to donations from Bill Lemmon, president and owner of Lemmon & Lemmon Inc., and Kevin Rice, vice president of Rice’s Nursery and Landscaping, both located in the Canton area.
This is one of the country’s few gardens designed around the concept of the pillars of wellness. The garden focuses on six of the nine pillars: environmental, physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social. OARDC has teamed up with The Ohio State University College of Nursing to conduct future research in the garden.
“Many visitors already use the arboretum as a part of their wellness program,” said Joe Cochran, Secrest’s interim director. “One visitor told me he had lost 36 pounds somewhere on the paths throughout the gardens.”
Studies have shown the benefits of gardens and other outdoor spaces on health and wellness.
• Gardening 3–5 times a week has been found to be a good strategy to combat obesity and lower stress.
• Patients with musculoskeletal pain taking part in horticultural therapy programs experience an improved ability to cope with chronic pain.
• Children with attention deficit disorder who play in grassy, outdoor spaces have less severe symptoms than those who play in windowless, indoor settings.
• Dementia patients who have access to gardens are less likely to display aggression or suffer injuries, and they display improved sleep patterns, balanced hormones and decreased agitation.