Given its position on a busy hospital site, Sobell House Hospice in Oxford introduces a remarkable amount of contact with nature for those patients who find it helpful. Thanks to an unusual fundraising event, a new extension currently under construction will provide the opportunity for even more, and in a rather special way.
Thank you to Eden on Prescription for allowing us to link to the information about the social prescribing projects going on at the Eden Project. Always exciting when a good idea becomes reality. Even more so when it's evident that it's making a difference.
Medical and landscape historian, Dr Clare Hickman brings us up-to-date with some of her activities during 2018
John Coakley Lettsom (1733-1810), physician, with his family, in the garden of Grove Hill, Camberwell, ca. 1786. Oil painting by an English painter, ca. 1786.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY
The Doctor’s Garden
Dr Hickman (https://drclarehickman.wordpress.com) is currently researching late Georgian gardens for a new publication with Yale University Press due in 2020. Her book will highlight the use of gardens by medical practitioners for knowledge creation, dissemination and the establishment of polite networks of influence.
Medical practitioners were ideally placed to capitalize on the fashion for botanical collecting and agricultural experimentation at the end of the eighteenth century because they had access to botanical training as part of their medical education and, for those at the top end of the profession at least, a reasonable disposable income.
The book will draw together examples of the design and use of institutional, semi-public and private gardens created during this period by professors, physicians, surgeons and apothecaries. In this way it will inform our understanding of gardens created by the emerging middle classes as well as highlight the extent of the involvement of medical practitioners in a range of botanical and agricultural activities.
Beginning with University botanic gardens, particularly the Leith Walk garden in Edinburgh and the Glasgow University physic gardens, where eighteenth-century medical students received training in botany, the text will consider how these spaces became configured as elite botanical teaching and research stations and how technicians, such as gardeners and artists, were integral to the success of their activities. It will also consider how the material culture and sensory experience of botanic teaching, with its specimens, illustrations and herbaria, corresponded to other forms of medical teaching, and in particular that of anatomy.
By comparing these University based gardens with botanic collections established through subscription and by private collectors, it will also consider how botanic knowledge was created and shared through a range of different types of garden. Examples will include the London Botanic Garden which was established by the apothecary William Curtis as a semi-public garden funded by subscription, as well as the design and use of domestic gardens, including that developed by Dr Coakley Lettsom with his botanically arranged beds, observatory and agricultural experiments in Camberwell, London.
We also thank Dr Hickman for sharing a link to 'Nature, Health and the Human: A brief sensory history' on which she worked with Dr Victoria Bates.
"Sensing Nature" has been a two-year research project, led by Dr Sarah Bell at the University of Exeter and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Using an in-depth qualitative approach, the project has aimed to improve the ways we understand, enable and promote more inclusive, multisensory nature experiences amongst people living with sight impairment. Sarah brings LGHN up to date with the project's progress this year.
Colin Porter from Landscape, Gardens and Health network was just one of the inspirational speakers at the recent Plant Network event held on 13th/14th September at the Eden Project in Cornwall.
Plant Network has shared information from the event on their website. Have a look at the range of presentations from Colin's work in a hospice garden to the concept of social prescribing which was explained by Heidi Morgan, Eden on Prescription Manager.
Image © Liz Ware
The Festival of Urban Landscapes was, as billed, ‘a small conference with a big difference’. John Little, Greenspace Manager at the Clapton Park Estate, Hackney, invited an outstanding group of speakers to Hilldrop, his family’s four-acre wildlife garden in Essex and then added great food and music to the mix. A fascinating bunch of people, passionate and knowledgeable about urban nature, signed up to hear what they had to say.
With ongoing pressures on our health and social care systems, now is the time to recognise the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and wellbeing. Rachel Massey, Arts & Wellbeing Coordinator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, explains more.
New Vision for Mental Health is a new website that focuses on a central question: "What would our mental healthcare system look like if, knowing what we know today, it was redesigned from scratch?”
It looks to gather and provide answers to this question by taking a critical, informed and constructive look at the current mental health system, the concepts on which it rests and its constituent parts.
It explores ideas, insights and suggestions – from a wide range of individuals and organisations – that might, in time, lay the foundations for a new and quite different approach to mental healthcare.
And the site already references several items related to the theme of landscapes and gardens, including
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 Ellen Hill on: 0207 720 2212
Great article by Juliet Dobson, Digital Content editor at BMJ 'Hospital gardens are making a comeback'. http://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j5627
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.
We gather together news and events relating to landscapes, gardens and health. If you wish to contribute news or events please contact us.
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