anne ribes first terre de femmes winner gardening

Anne Ribes

In the garden

As the first ever winner of the Terre de Femmes Award back in 2002, Anne Ribes has helped change the landscape of horticultural therapy in France. She is the author of Toucher la Terre, published by Editions Médicis.

Plus, you get strawberries!

Anne, funnily enough your name means ‘blackcurrant, redcurrant’ in Latin. Do you think you were destined to be a gardener?

Definitely! I was destined to join a caring profession at any rate. I was a professional nurse until the late 1990s.

And that’s when you decided to embark on a radical career change!

It’s not that radical really. I’d always had this idea that because the earth has resources, by tending to the land, you can tend to others. I became a garden landscaper/architect, tasked with designing gardens as well as growing and maintaining them. But I still wanted to be of use to others.

And that was when you set up your association “Belles plantes”?

Yes! My partner and I were the first people in France to promote the concept of horticultural therapy, or healing through gardening. Back in the day, health establishments weren’t very familiar with the practice at all, despite its effectiveness.

In therapy gardens, we heal whilst tending to plants.



Can you tell us more about the benefits of therapy gardens?

A garden, by definition, is outside. Just getting patients out of their bedrooms and into the great outdoors has huge health benefits. Gardening and having that contact with nature rouses their senses. Their sense of smell, sound and sight are all stimulated, which can help relieve their suffering and accelerate healing. And better yet, we heal whilst simultaneously tending to plants.

What sparked you to pick up the pace?

It was at the Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpétrière hospital that everything really started to take off. Thanks to Professor Basquin, the head of the child and adolescent psychiatry unit, I was able to create my very first therapy garden. And it all just went from there. I started offering my gardening workshops to other hospitals, health centres and retirement homes.

You describe your gardens as workshops. Why is that?

The idea is that everyone gets involved, patients and healthcare staff alike. We’re there to get them started, to give them the green light, if you’ll excuse the pun! We’re also there to make sure that each garden is tailored to each institution’s ‘gardeners’. For example, we’ll prioritise raised beds for the elderly and disabled gardeners. We’re also there to make sure that the staff continue running the therapy garden, and that patients make it their own. When we leave, we hand the reins over to them!

Think, live and take action outside the box

What advice would you give people?

Think, live and take action outside the box. Establishing a garden is like creating your own slice of paradise. It’s something you can do right now. Creating a garden is a quiet revolution. Plus, you get strawberries!

More about Anne’s project:

WebSite Association Belles Plantes



Are you working on a project that fosters biodiversity, and has a positive social and environmental impact? Looking for support?

If so, apply to the Terre de Femmes Award and you may just secure a grant and the support of an entire network of inspiring women!



Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

قطعات خودرو