Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west

Garden visiting is good for the soul

Two new pieces of research confirm the importance of our gardens to both short term stress levels and longer term health benefits.

Have you visited many gardens this year? If so, has it helped your stress levels and lifted your soul?

For those who have been out and about this summer visiting private gardens or getting involved in the NGS Gardens Open Scheme it is more than likely it has been good for your health.

The National Garden Scheme has released research as part of the charity’s latest campaign, ‘Open the garden gate to wellbeing,’ which reveals visiting a private garden is good for the soul – with over 85per-cent of the charity’s supporters reporting that being in a National Garden Scheme garden has a positive impact on their mental wellbeing and feeling happier after visiting than before.

Despite almost all having their own garden, two thirds of people in the research say visiting a National Garden Scheme garden can be a calming experience and an enjoyable way to spend time with loved ones. Around half say it aids creativity and gives you that feel-good factor because you’re donating to charity and three quarters say it helps you learn about plants, flowers and gardening.

Emily Hodge, who, as a health psychology specialist, coach and therapist, supports people’s health and wellbeing, said:

“With our worlds often full to the brim, whether from families, work or commitments, it’s important to take care of our mental wellbeing. Garden visiting is great because it actually offers many ways to do this in one activity. Taking time out, being outside, connecting with nature and other people, being present and mindful, and learning about the space you’re in, are all part of visiting a garden - and are recommended ways to build resilience, re-charge your batteries and feel happier.”

As part of the National Garden Scheme’s commitment to gardens and health, the charity commissioned the King’s Fund to produce a report in 2016, when it also began an annual funding programme for projects which promote the health benefits of gardens and gardening.

In 2018, the National Garden Scheme gave £296,000 of the total £3.1 million charitable donations to gardens and health-related projects.

Find a garden by visiting

...and carers say gardening has a real calming effect

carers and gardeningMore than two thirds of unpaid carers are managing their stress levels by gardening, according to a new survey by the UKs largest charity for unpaid carers.

A quarter of carers surveyed also said they had specifically taken up gardening because of their unpaid caring role, giving them much needed downtime.

The therapeutic qualities of spending time in the great outdoors, visiting gardens and gardening, have long been known.

Unpaid carers who look after their gardens said they found that it helps to reduce their stress levels and has a calming effect, with respondents reporting it was a form of therapy, for the social aspect and by sharing their love of plants and gardens.

Julia, 65, from, Devon who cares for her husband, said: “My garden is where I can be myself, away from the carer role. Through being a carer these last few years, my love of gardening has expanded one hundred per-cent. I don’t often go out now, just locally to post a letter or to the local shop, so my garden is a place I go to.

“Being able to just pop out into the garden to plant a few new plants or deadhead blooms, or pull a few weeds is such a release from the demands of the role. It brings me such deep joy to smell a rose and scented petunias. We sit out in the garden in the early evening, after all the day’s needs have been met. My husband loves to watch the birds on the bird table and being surrounded by a variety of plants and small trees, it gives such a lovely peaceful energy.”

To visit a garden or to find out more about the NGS caring scheme visit

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