The Little Yellow Book of Gardens and Health

Wilts-Pythouse Kitchen Garden

The National Garden Scheme’s Little Yellow Book of Gardens and Health was first published in 2021 to bring together the rich vein of stories that run through the charity and that connect us with our gardens and the enormous health benefits they provide.

What started as a record of the heightened awareness of gardens as we headed out of the pandemic in 2021, has become an increasingly significant annual publication and a highlight of our Gardens and Health Week each May.

The National Garden Scheme has devised a varied programme in recent years to demonstrate the importance of gardens for everyone’s health and wellbeing. We began in 2016 with the publication of the report, Gardens and Health: implications for policy and practice, commissioned from the leading health policy organisation, The King’s Fund.

These Little Yellow Books bring that programme to life with personal stories and case studies that demonstrate the real health benefits that gardens can give people across a range of circumstances. It also provides the forum for wonderful joint activity with our beneficiary charities who provide so many of the stories. From garden owners living with Parkinson’s or cancer, to groups of young carers having a rare day out at a garden, or someone coping with recent bereavement, the Little Yellow Book of Gardens and Health brings to life a range of experiences with incisive – and often uplifting – immediacy.

Our Gardens and Health programme, which this book documents, has seen us donate more than £3 million to a wide range of beneficiaries – a growing part of the £70 million we have donated since we opened our gates in 1927. These are donations that we intend to build on in the coming years, not only funding more garden projects in healthcare settings but also in the community for the benefit of individuals and different groups enabling more people to have access to gardens and to discover the benefits they will find there.

Our Vision is ‘that everyone has access to a garden and values the benefits to their health, wellbeing and enjoyment of life’. It is a simple message that took on particular resonance through the Covid-19 pandemic when one of our garden owners summed it up in just a few words; ‘the world is all right in the garden’.

We want to spread this message as widely as we can in a variety of ways that together make up our ongoing Gardens and Health programme. That includes donations for specific garden projects carried out by different charities, such as Horatio’s Garden which creates gardens for spinal injuries units in hospitals; for Maggie’s which creates gardens around their centres in various hospitals which support people living with cancer; and gardens made by other charities such as Greenfingers which builds gardens in children’s hospices.

Most recently the National Garden Scheme’s support for community garden projects has begun to make a major contribution to the charity’s wider Gardens and Health programme. In 2023 the charity donated a total of £260,000 to fund nearly 86 community garden projects all over the country. In 2024 the programme will donate a similar amount to fund more projects, offering a huge range of individuals and local community groups the opportunity to become involved for the benefit of their health and wellbeing.

Here are the links to the first three volumes of The Little Yellow Book of Gardens and Health.
The 2024 volume will be published in April.

Please note: these volumes are digital and link to gardens and events relevant to the year in which they were published, links may not be current when viewing them in a different year.

Vol 1: 2021 

Vol 2: 2022 

Vol 3: 2023 


For more about our Gardens and Health Programme click here




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Our donations in 2023

Donor 1
Donor 2 £450,000
Donor 3 £450,000
Donor 4 £450,000
Donor 5 £425,000
Donor 6 £350,000
Donor 7 £350,000
Donor 8
Donor 9 £100,000
Donor 10 £90,000
Donor 11 £80,000
Donor 12 £281,000
Donor 13 £260,000