Latest News & Updates
Landscape, Gardens & Health
A recent article posted by the Design Council paves a way for cities that promote rather than damage our mental health.
The Lambeth GP Food Co-operative has launched a video (part funded by NHS England) featuring its work and describing its vision.
As Dr Vikesh Sharma, a GP at the Grantham Practice in Stockwell, points out in the co-operative's latest newsletter, despite the project's success, prescribing gardening is still a novel idea to many patients. The challenge for a GP practice is 'to normalise the concept'. 'People come to GP surgeries and expect to be referred down certain pathways and it requires a change of mindset to consider the gardening club a viable option.' As the video demonstrates, this change is already beginning to take place.
How can a community that’s often on the move enjoy the many benefits of gardening together? It’s a question the Royal Horticultural Society community outreach team in Yorkshire is working on with the 6 Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps.
They’re trying to find a way to create portable community gardens. If successful, it could provide a model to be used elsewhere. It could give our armed forces and their families the same opportunity as other communities to garden together – to learn new skills while tackling issues such as stress, loneliness and isolation.
The Sensing Nature website has been launched. It will keep us up to date with the two-year ESRC funded project started in November 2016 by Dr Sarah Bell. Focussing on individuals living with visual impairment, the project will explore the sensory and emotional experiences we have in nature.
In a recent blog, Dr Bell draws attention to the work of Karis Petty, an anthropologist at the University of Sussex who was taught to 'echolate' by a participant in a research project she was running. Dr Bell suggests that 'echolocation' is an activity we could all try whenever we are quiet in nature. Rather than listening with our ears we can begin to 'listen' with our whole being.
Landscape, Gardens and Health Network conference 2017
The therapeutic value of landscapes and gardens: evidence-based design and beyond
Penny Brohn Cancer Care Centre, Bristol, UK
Friday 22 September 2017
The conference will provide a forum for those wishing to discuss and debate the role of therapeutic landscapes and gardens today. It will introduce current research and innovative approaches to nature, everyday landscapes and wellbeing.
There will be four key themes:
Imagine stepping into a green and tranquil place. Somewhere you feel free to switch off your phone, stop talking and just wander…
Our lives are hectic and we often find it difficult to truly relax. As well-documented research demonstrates, time spent in Nature can be very helpful. But could it be even more effective if we enjoyed it in silence? If, instead of allowing ourselves to be distracted, we listened to the birds and the sound of the breeze in the trees?
A research project that aims to find out more about how Sheffield’s natural environment can improve the health and wellbeing of city residents has launched a new website. http://iwun.uk
Royal Horticultural Society reports on the John MacLeod Lecture 2016.
A leading academic has argued that gardening is uniquely placed to help bridge the widening gap between modern, urban lives and the natural world, during the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) annual John MacLeod Lecture on 10 November.
The charity, Horatio’s Garden, has opened the second of its beautiful and life-affirming gardens at NHS Spinal Injury Centres. With the help of designer James Alexander-Sinclair, a peaceful haven has been created for patients at the Scottish National Spinal Unit at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
Lambeth GP Food Co-operative celebrated its 3rd anniversary this year. A party at Lambeth Walk Surgery, together with a brain-scrambling quiz and a magnificent birthday cake, marked the event in style.
According to Project Director, Ed Rosen, the idea behind the project is really simple: ‘ to build life affirming gardens in every one of Lambeth’s GP surgeries.’
The Community and Local Government Committee launched an inquiry into public parks last month. The purpose of the inquiry is to determine the best way to support parks, now and in the future. The deadline for submissions is 30 September 2016.
Angie Butterfield and Daryl Martin
This paper, written by two members of Landscape, Gardens and Health network management board was recently published in Landscape Research, as part of a Special Issue on landscape and health. Angie and Daryl's paper brings together research from two projects undertaken with staff, visitors and volunteers at 10 Maggie's Centres. It considers their experiences of Maggie's environments and the use made of internal spaces and garden areas.
If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the full article, please contact Angie and Daryl directly (email@example.com). They will be happy to send you a copy.
Few of us would disagree with Lord Crisp, the opening speaker at the Health and Horticulture Conference 2016 when he quoted the WHO: 'modern societies actively market unhealthy lifestyles.' The key role of horticulture and green infrastructure in reversing this situation was the subject of many of the presentations that followed.
The RHS has made pdfs of the presentations and podcasts of the conference available for circulation.
N.B. Please click the <Back button on your browser to return to this page, after viewing each PDF document.
If you run, or are considering starting a 'green space' project that benefits the local community, you may be eligible for funding from a scheme managed by Groundwork, the community charity with the green heart.
Gardeners already know the answer to the question posed by BBC News, but it's heartening to see the link between horticulture and health being discussed so thoroughly in the media.
Thrive, the charity that uses gardening to change lives, is taking part in a pioneering project which will make gardens and outdoor space at dementia care settings across the UK more accessible, stimulating and to promote meaningful activity.
The Landscape, Gardens and Health Network was delighted to take part in the European Healthcare Design Congress and Exhibition this week. Organised by Architects for Health and SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange, the event was held at the Royal College of Physicians – a prestigious venue with an expertly planted Medicinal Garden.
Colin Porter, a founder member of the network, chaired a well-attended afternoon of presentations on the theme ‘Landscape design: nature and the therapeutic environment.’
For brief summaries of presentations and points made during Q&A
David Buck, Senior Fellow at The King's Fund, discusses the 'Gardens and Health' report in his recent King's Fund blog.
David Buck discusses the finding of an independent report, commissioned by the National Gardens Scheme, on the potential benefits of gardens and gardening for health.
Hot on the heels of renewed publicity about levels of inactivity and the benefits of outdoor exercise, the first Wildfit course has been launched in Trowbridge Park, Wiltshire.
The course, which is open and free for the public to use, includes a trail to run or walk and exercise zones that target different aspects of fitness. Each piece of equipment has clear user guidance and has been designed so to be used by anybody, regardless of their level of fitness or experience.
The activity trail was designed by Phil Walker at Wildfit, himself a stroke survivor. Phil was already a qualified fitness trainer but his own experience and recovery has taught him the particular benefits of outdoor activity in the fresh air over indoor exercise:
We are pleased to announce that the Landscape, Gardens and Health Network will be an endorsing partner for the prestigious European Healthcare Design 2016 Congress. Providing an interdisciplinary forum for more than 300 senior level policy-makers, researchers and practitioners from around the globe, the European Healthcare Design 2016 Congress & Exhibition will be held on 27–28 June 2016 at the Royal College of Physicians in London, UK. Organised by Architects for Health and SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange, registration is now open at http://www.europeanhealthcaredesign.eu. The preliminary programme for the conference is available and includes a session entitled ‘Landscape design: nature and the therapeutic environment’. See this link (pdf)
The little-known medical history of hospital gardens has been the topic for a unique installation at the Chelsea Fringe Festival, 18 May-5 June 2015. ‘Taking a Turn’ has been developed by gardening therapist and garden designer, Rebecca Smith, to explore the mental health history of hospital gardens over more than 200 years.
At Holt Wood we are working towards sustainable cultivation and harvest of medicinal trees and shrubs. Our project is based on a two acre site in North Devon, UK which was previously a conifer plantation.
A stroll in the park could be the best way for urban dwellers to banish negative thoughts. A New York Times blog reports on research at Stanford University into the psychological effects of urban living.
The Woodland Trust are calling for a Charter for Trees, Woods and People. Their campaign for 2016 will start with the value to nature (Spring), then to health, mental wellbeing and fitness (Summer) and then to the economy and livelihoods (Autumn). The trust’s campaign will be a series of incremental messages, backed up with studies, reports and expert articles, increasing people’s understanding that trees are hugely valuable.
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