Jose Spring's Story
Jose visited 14 therapeutic gardens across Europe, in 2014, to investigate how gardening research for neuro-disability therapy was being developed and implemented in this trail-blazing region of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Jose Spring is Research and Development Co-ordinator and therapeutic gardening researcher at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) in London. In 2014, she travelled to Sweden, Norway and Denmark, to research their approaches to gardening-based therapy and assessment of its effectiveness. She was greatly impressed and saw huge benefits at green-fingered neuro-rehab units.
In Scandinavia, it was clear that much thought was given to the evidence before creating gardens and garden activities. She also witnessed much greater integration between horticultural therapy and the natural environment which is explored with patients in microscopic detail, and also on a greater scale, for example, taking in the tactile stimulation of tree bark.
Since her return to the UK, Jose is in the process of writing up her Fellowship findings for a peer reviewed paper, as well as a practical guide for practitioners. She plans to share these papers widely with relevant groups. Jose has also had articles published in 'Growth Point', published by Thrive, the disabled gardening organisation, Horticulture Week and one in the Horticulturist. A poster was presented at the Brain and Behaviour conference in Stoke-on-Trent in March 2015, and she has been invited to speak at the Association of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Practitioners. An Open Lecture, given in February 2015, attracted over sixty clinical and horticultural attendees from the South East.
Jose already has over five years of experience researching the benefits of gardening therapy in the UK, and her Fellowship findings will build upon her work in this area. Practical implementation of her knowledge will be included in the re-modelled garden for Huntington’s and neuro-behavioural residents at Putney.
Her prior research has focused on the therapeutic benefits of gardening for people living with Huntington's disease.