Gardening as effective therapy for recovery from drug addiction

As part of their rehabilitation program, residents of the Therapeutic Community home are being given the chance to work as gardeners in a new grove situated adjacent to the Caritas residence in San Blas.

The grove was created by Infrastructure Malta as part of the national tree planting program. tvm spoke to some residents who said that this was a very good form of rehabilitation and a way of ridding themselves of drug addiction.

14 men and 7 women, residents of the San Blas Therapeutic Community, have started to enjoy the benefits of a new grove “Bosk it-Tama” (Hope Grove) as part of the therapy being offered during their rehabilitation program. This place serves not only as a place of quiet and reflection but is also a place where the residents can devote their time to maintaining and caring for the grove.

“I view this as part of my recovery. If you don’t take care of a tree it won’t bear fruit. But if you take care of it, its beauty will manifest itself. We take care of it like we take care of our recovery.”

“In the same way that when you take care of a garden you need to water it, weed it out, here we are learning to change their thoughts, the negative principles we held on to in the past. Like a plant which will bear fruit if taken care of, recovery is the same,” said Nicky Sammut, one of the facilitators in San Blas.

The grove was created by Infrastructure Malta in collaboration with Caritas Malta with an investment of around € 50,000. 350 native trees and shrubs were planted in a field, in excess of 1,500 square meters that was no longer used for agricultural purposes.

“We know how important the natural environment is for our country but in particular for those who are doing a program of this type where contact with nature is a way for the individual to get in touch with himself and his values as part of the environment,” Caristas Director Anthony Gatt.

The trees planted by Infrastructure Malta include locusts, cypress, date palm, pomegranate, olive, twig and Judas trees. Rachel Powell said that Infrastructure Malta is introducing endemic species in its landscaping projects.

“We are seeing how concepts such as abalone, rosemary, sage are being introduced n the landscaping of our gardens Maltese” , said Powell.

In the same project in San Blas, Public Works Department workers are building rubble walls and a bench area in the middle of the new grove where residents can spend time resting and reflecting.

This grove is part of the national tree planting program as in three years Infrastructure Malta has planted close to 30,000 trees and 20,000 shrubs in various locations around Malta.