The opportunity to physically connect with nature, to manually work with soil and sow and grow plants is rarely on the agenda for students at university. The indoor environments of academia do not usually lend themselves to going down the allotment for a couple of hours. Fresh air and the glow of healthy exercise when digging in manure is not, for students, generally where you would connect them to. Perhaps a work out at the gym, some yoga, a Pilates class is what provides the physical challenge. Certainly not a session of digging.
That is unless you happen to be a student at the University of East Anglia.
Silent Space continues to grow in ways I could never have imagined when I first approached a couple of head gardeners with the idea in 2016. It’s too early to share details of the exciting developments that lie ahead in 2019, but here’s a quick update on some of last year’s happenings.
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.
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
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.
A recent article posted by the Design Council paves a way for cities that promote rather than damage our mental health.
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.
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
The charity Greenfingers, that creates inspiring gardens for children's hospices, recently began the second year of its A Million Moments Appeal. It aims to raise £1 million to enable another 5,000 children involved in hospice system to benefit from the outdoor spaces the charity creates.
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.
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.
David Buck, Senior Fellow at The King's Fund, discusses the 'Gardens and Health' report in his recent King's Fund blog.
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.
Michael Connors, Director of Services at Penny Brohn and member of the LGHN management board shares the presentation he gave at the LGHN seminar in 2015. Michael discussed the role of the garden within the therapeutic program at Penny Brohn. He emphasized how an understanding of Ecopsychology (including mindfulness, eco-therapy and nature and soul) is integrated within the service provision at Penny Brohn. The garden, which is sustained by a strong volunteer team, provides a symbolic meta model for a ‘journey of transformation’ (the Hero’s Journey).
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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