Jordanian doctor transforms Amman clinic into garden of 3,000 plants

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A doctor in Jordan has transformed his small Amman clinic into a garden where he has grown over 3,000 plants.

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Doctor Nizar al-Halaby's love for greenery began over 35 years ago, when his aunt bought him a small plant to congratulate him on his newly opened clinic.

“Anyone who has studied psychology understands that plants are calming. Just like classical music calms one down, these plants will do the same. It is better to look at something beautiful than to look at nothing.”

He spends up to two hours a week watering the plants, with flowers and cacti among his favorites.

“It takes me between an hour, hour and a half, sometimes two hours [to water the plants] depending on the workload in the clinic,” al-Halaby said. “It's a wonderful feeling, it's like caring for someone you love, giving them water and protecting them. They are a part of your life.”

He believes they also have a calming effect on his patients, who often find themselves competing with the plants for seats in the waiting room.

“I've been visiting this doctor for more than 20 years, yes it has been more than 20 years, we came here as kids with our mother and would stare at the plants in the clinic,” said patient Mohammd Abu Zainah. “We used to play with the plants and even tried taking some home. It's been a sight to see ever since I was a kid.”

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pushing Jordan into a lockdown in March, the keen plantsman said coming to his clinic and spending hours with his plants has been comforting.

“It's very hard staying away from them,” al-Halaby said. “Even being away for two days, I would come back and be amazed by how great the clinic looks. I planted every single thing. I didn't buy any of them. There is a love connection with the plants.”

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