USA News

After gunpoint attack, woman turns her trauma into a healing garden

For DeShelle Taylor, 46, a garden has always been a special place.

The granddaughter of Virginia farmers, Taylor said she remembers her childhood, picking produce for that evening’s meal alongside her grandmother and running among the peach and apple trees. Being outside with her hands in the dirt, she said, was something that brought her joy and peace from a young age. That’s why she said she returned to gardening in her 20s as a recent college graduate, new to Pittsburgh, navigating the corporate world, needing a way to relieve the stress and distraction between work and career.

A hobby she took up as an anchor for loved ones and a form of anchoring transformed into a necessary form of healing following a traumatic gunpoint attack outside her home in 2020 , a few meters from his garden. Taylor said she suffered a concussion and suffered from various symptoms following the attack, such as insomnia, hypervigilance, hypersensitivity to light, anxiety and night terrors.

What made her recovery more difficult was that her attacker, whom Taylor did not know, was never arrested.

DeShelle Taylor started her business, Your Garden Karma, with a mission to help people reconnect with nature through gardening.

Andrew Wyatt

Taylor said she turned to outpatient counseling to help her recover from the attack, but it was the height of the pandemic and everything was virtual. She said she knew she needed something more tangible, and that’s when she discovered horticultural therapy, using plants and herbal activities to for the purposes of human healing and rehabilitation, according to the Horticultural Therapy Program at Rutgers University.

“Horticultural therapy is contact. You have contact with the soil, you have contact with the plants, you have contact with colors, sound,” Taylor said. “You’re just in constant contact with nature. And for me, that’s what I needed.”

She said she returned to her garden not looking for a distraction, but for a moment of release and time to work on her garden while simultaneously working internally to process and heal from the attack . She said the peace she found was something she wanted to share with others, so she began helping family, friends and neighbors grow their own gardens.

That same year, Taylor launched her business, Your Garden Karma, with a mission to help people reconnect with nature through gardening. The needs of the dozens of people she has helped range from improving access to fresh produce to creating a sensory garden for a loved one with a disability.

Today, Taylor’s passion and talent are recognized by the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation, whose members have seen the joy that Taylor’s original garden outside his Pittsburgh home brings to the neighborhood and have chosen to include it in this year’s house. & Visit to the garden. This is a major accomplishment for Taylor: it will be his first garden ever recognized.

It’s also a coming-full-circle moment, receiving recognition for the work she’s done in a space in which she emerged from trauma, and seeing it celebrated for the beautiful thing she’s made of it. Still, she said she wasn’t finished.

“This garden is finished, but there are so many other gardens, and there are so many other people to work with,” Taylor said. “I want people to essentially reconnect with themselves through nature. They will find their answers and their healing in nature.”

ABC News

Back to top button