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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Conversations about healing trees by Colin Porter
Having been trained at Kew in the 1980’s form of scientific rationality, the more left-field ideas of natural harmony or sustainability found at places like Findhorn or the Centre for Alernative Technology in North Wales should have passed me by. The majority of people I worked with seemed to be reassured by reasoned argument and, as far as I was concerned, scientific rationality provided a reliable platform for the day job. But our day jobs were only part of the story.
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