Social Perspectives in Horticulture

Zadik, Madelaine
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University of Delaware
That people derive pleasure and satisfaction from plants and the growing of them is undeniable. Expanding the scope of horticulture to include this human dimension provides an innovative approach to teaching horticulture. Social Perspectives in Horticulture is presented as an introductory course designed to develop an awareness of the interactions between people and plants and the importance 'of horticulture to human life. As human beings we respond to nature and vegetation, we get involved in growing plants, and gardens play important roles in our lives. We prefer those settings that contain vegetation, and the presence of plants influences how we think and feel. Throughout history plants have served different needs and through their use given expression to different values. While the Chinese approach the garden as an expression of the essence of nature, a place designed for quiet contemplation, other cultures use garden spaces for recreation and entertainment. Additionally, horticulture has therapeutic and rehabilitative applications. Today, as the built environment encroaches more and more upon the natural world, landscape design and aesthetics become vital elements in maintaining our quality of life. People garden in their back yards, in urban and community plots, and on windowsills. Plantings are sprouting on rooftops, in office buildings, and in a variety of public and private settings. Through the use of horticulture there is potential for significant enhancement of our lives and environments. A survey of horticulture and plant science departments revealed much interest in a course focusing on this aspect of horticulture. Such a course may draw students into horticulture and develop a consciousness of horticulture amongst the general population. Through interdisciplinary approaches to current and future world issues, the study of horticulture maintains its relevance and reaches out to a broad spectrum of students. The reader is presented with a core of material as the basis for a course at the introductory level. Concepts are introduced, and instructional objectives and resources are provided in the hope that the subject matter will be offered as a separate course or incorporated into existing horticulture classes.
People-plant interactions , Healing gardens , Sociology , Education - public gardens , Psychology