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Landscape, Gardens & Health
It was the walled garden that did it….
When Anna Baker Cresswell’s beloved Mother was living with Parkinson’s Disease during the last years of her life, Anna gave up her job in London and moved back home to Northumberland to look after her. The walled garden there gave Anna snatched half hours of calm, control and order when the rest of her life had none.
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 made time to listen to the birds and the sounds of the breeze in the trees?
Thrive is the UK’s leading social & therapeutic horticulture charity.
Social and therapeutic horticulture is the process of using plants and gardens to improve physical and mental health, as well as communication and thinking skills. It also uses the garden as a safe and secure place to develop someone's ability to mix socially, make friends and learn practical skills that will help them to be more independent.
Using gardening tasks and the garden itself, Thrive horticultural therapists build a set of activities for each gardener to improve their particular health needs, and to work on certain goals they want to achieve.
The benefits of a sustained and active interest in gardening include:
• Better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility
• Improved mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement
• The opportunity to connect with others – reducing feelings of isolation or exclusion
• Acquiring new skills to improve the chances of finding employment
• Just feeling better for being outside, in touch with nature and in the 'great outdoors'
Our London base is in the beautiful Battersea Park in South London. We maintain four gardens in Battersea Park where we run our therapeutic gardening sessions. Our sessions run from Monday – Friday from 10am – 3pm, structured like a working day. If you or someone you know could benefit from one of our programmes or you would like to know more, please call Lizzie on: 0207 720 2212
Great article by Juliet Dobson, Digital Content editor at BMJ 'Hospital gardens are making a comeback'.
Following the Landscape, Gardens and Health network's successful September conference at Penny Brohn UK, Colin Porter returned to plant a tree on our behalf. 'We wanted to find a way of saying thank you to all our new friends and colleagues. What better way than to add another tree to their beautiful garden' he says.
'We found a perfect spot with views out to rolling fields and trees. Here, not far from an Atlas Cedar planted by The Prince of Wales in 2016, we planted a Japanese Cherry, Prunus 'Mount Fuji'.'
'A couple of the garden team asked me when next year's conference will be. It's not something we've talked about yet. But ask me again in the new year. If we can find a few more people to help, we might consider it. Do get in touch if you'd like to be involved.'
In November horticultural therapists from Thrive Birmingham will start a gardening programme for prisoners with mental ill health at HM Prison Hewell.
Funded by *Health in justice, Thrive will work with prisoners with mental health support needs in the prison garden once a week for a year.
Faith Ramsay, garden designer and Chair of Thrive shares her presentation given at the Landscape Show, Battersea Park, September 2017 - How Garden Design and Therapeutic Horticulture can help with Mental Health.
More than 50 delegates attended our conference The therapeutic value of landscapes and gardens: evidence-based design and beyond at the Penny Brohn Cancer Care Centre in Bristol on Friday 22 September. The day provided an opportunity to hear about current projects and research from keynote speakers, panel presentations as well as to partake in practical activities outdoors. A big thank you to our hosts at Penny Brohn who allowed us to use their beautiful house and garden – and provided some great food too! It was a perfect place for us all to share interests and ideas.
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:
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.
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