World Mental Health Day 2020; How gardens can contribute to mental health for all

Gardens and Coronavirus Report

On October 10th, the National Garden Scheme supports the importance of World Mental Health Day and its theme mental health for all.

“The National Garden Scheme has long recognised the importance of gardens to our mental and physical health and wellbeing,” says CEO, George Plumptre. “And the challenges presented to people across the world during the Covid-19 pandemic this year have brought mental health to the fore. Enforced and prolonged isolation, restrictions on meeting friends and family and lack of access to outdoor green space has impacted on many and, even though our gardens were closed during lockdown, we continued to champion and share our gardens as places of rest, relaxation and recovery through a unique programme of virtual garden visits.”

Comments and feedback left by viewers – and those who were filmed in their gardens – further supported the National Garden Scheme’s view that even a virtual visit to a garden could be good for your mental health. The charity received stories of families viewing the gardens from different parts of the UK – indeed the world – and then coming together by phone, facetime or zoom to discuss what they had seen. People who were housebound, unwell, shielding or isolated looked forward to the weekly film releases – they gave ‘hope’ and ‘solace’, many found them ‘uplifting’.

“Anecdotally, we knew that gardens (real and virtual) were playing a significant and important role in people’s lives during lockdown but to back this up we conducted an online survey into the importance of our gardens and outdoor spaces during lockdown. Over 2,400 people responded, the results of which were combined with our garden owner’s testimony to create our Gardens and Coronavirus 2020 report. The report clearly confirmed our own belief that the power of gardens to do good has never been more important,” adds George Plumptre.

Uniquely positioned to provide affordable access to over 3,700 gardens of quality and interest, part of the National Garden Scheme’s ongoing mission is to continue to demonstrate, and raise awareness of, the huge benefits a visit to a garden can provide for our mental health and wellbeing. This will be brought to life at the National Garden Scheme’s Annual Lecture: Gardens are for People with Tom and Sue Stuart-Smith on November 11.

One of the most internationally distinguished and influential couples in the world of gardens and horticulture, universally renowned garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith and his wife Sue, a leading psychiatrist and psychotherapist – author of the bestselling The Well Gardened Mind – come together to share their fascinating story of gardens and wellbeing. [For more about the lecture and to buy tickets  https://ngs.org.uk/2020-annual-lecture/ ]

As Sue Stuart-Smith’s book of science, insight and anecdote demonstrates, our understanding of nature and its restorative powers is only just beginning to flower.

But, as one garden owner from Long Crendon said: “The garden is my favourite place. It’s my solace, my peace, my quiet, it’s the best place in the world to be.”

Visit Long Crendon

There is a picturesque village in Buckinghamshire called Long Crendon that perhaps not many have heard of, but its starring cast of gardens and garden owners are sure to put it firmly on the map. A changing cast of gardens, great and small, have been opening for the National Garden Scheme since 1978 – some for longer with Barry’s Close chalking up thirty years this spring. They bring together open vistas, lakes, organic gardens and natural swimming ponds, formal planting, vegetable patches, wildlife areas and orchards, but what connects them all is their owner’s passion for gardening and the health benefits that brings with it. Visit the gardens and their owners here

You can read the full Gardens and Coronavirus 2020 report here.

For case studies, virtual garden visits and more about our Gardens and Health programme click here

Lead photo: Sarah Chapman (Counsellor and garden owner) Brindles, Long Crendon by FlashCat Productions




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