The power of social and therapeutic horticulture in Surrey
Tucked away behind the village medical centre in a Surrey village is a haven of positivity and growth. The Therapy Garden, which in normal times, opens for the National Garden Scheme in May and September, is a horticulture and educational charity that uses gardening to generate positive change. Even in lock down, with restricted access to the garden, the skeleton staff are looking after the crops and flowers planted earlier in the year, hoping that their clients can return to continue the nurturing process and prepare them for sale. Find out more with Senior Horticulturalist, Hannah Bates:
A closer look…
The Therapy Garden is a two acre working garden which offers a supportive learning environment within a calm and protective space where visitors are able to reconnect with nature and the outdoors. The garden changes throughout the seasons in its planting to ensure an on-going array of colour and produce. There is a sensory area dedicated to providing a beautiful space where colour and fragrance are paramount, which includes a central water feature, a wildlife pond and a ‘medieval’ herb bed. The vegetable gardens are planted with a range of produce every year, including brassicas, legumes, root vegetables, soft fruit and there is a small, fledgling orchard.
The garden is wheelchair friendly with hand-built raised flower and vegetable beds and a series of heated poly tunnels and dedicated propagation equipment. The on-site shop supplies a wide variety of bedding plants, seedlings, hanging baskets and more, all grown on-site and the team are also able to stock the shop with a wide variety of our home-grown fruit and vegetables, as well as cards and gifts produced on-site.
The Therapy Garden opens twice a year for the National Garden Scheme, inviting visitors to experience first hand their educational and therapeutic activities and to indulge in home-grown plants and produce. In 2019, the Therapy Garden received a Community Garden Awards grant from the National Garden Scheme to help develop their site. Find out when they open next here
Community Gardens Award
These awards were set up in 2011 in memory of Elspeth Thompson, the much-loved garden writer and journalist who died in 2010. Elspeth was a great friend and supporter of the National Garden Scheme; she also wrote an admired ‘Urban Gardener’ column in the Sunday Telegraph. Her column often celebrated community gardens and so the awards support gardening projects carried out within local communities all over England and Wales.
Previously managed in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, from 2019 the scheme became wholly managed by the National Garden Scheme and in 2020 we gave out awards to 44 projects bringing the total of projects supported to-date to over 100, with a total amount donated of £209,384.
The application process for 2021 will open in Autumn 2020. Visit this page link for more information later in the year.