Projects, Case Studies & Interviews
Landscape, Gardens & Health
It would be difficult to argue with Grounded Ecotherapy’s description of itself as ‘one of London’s most unique horticultural therapy projects’. Part of Providence Row Housing Association – an organisation that helps those recovering from addiction or who have known homelessness – the project offers training and support while at the same time, improving our public spaces.
Grounded Ecotherapy was founded 12 years ago, by Paul Pulford and Kelvin Barton. At the time, Kelvin was a Mental Health Co-ordinator for Providence Row and Paul a former resident of its Hackney Road hostel. After seven years of living on the streets, Paul, with Kelvin’s help, rediscovered gardening, something he’d enjoyed as a child. His first project was the creation of a small garden in the hostel grounds.
‘Drop the labels and design for everyone’ is the advice of garden designer, writer and television presenter, Mark Lane. Indeed, it’s almost his mantra. We should sit up and listen to what Mark has to say, not least because he has direct experience of the immediate and long-term benefits that gardening can bring to our physical and mental health.
The words of Margaret Mead are often quoted when individuals join together to make something happen. The Lady Ryder Memorial Garden near Henley on Thames illustrates the great anthropologists point perfectly - we should ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can make a difference’.
We know that the vitality of our food has a big impact on our health, but could this vitality increase if we interfered less with the soil?
Pru Phillips works as a volunteer at North Devon Hospice and in the permaculture garden at Tapely Park, Instow, North Devon. Tapely Park is a private country estate owned by Hector Christie. It describes itself as a 'sustainable stately home in the making'. Hector Christie has a strong commitment to conservation, environmental and sustainabilty causes.
Four years since it was published in Outside Magazine, Florence Williams' article, Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and call me in the morning continues to be an excellent introduction to the idea that spending time in Nature is something we all need.
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There are many different kinds of gardens and landscapes that facilitate health and wellbeing. The network embraces all projects and examples ranging from hospices, hospitals, care homes, clinics, prisons, community gardens, cancer centres as well as nature based therapeutic work such as Ecopsychology and horticulture therapy. Landscape is taken in its broadest sense, embracing the natural and designed environment, highlighting its many relationships to human health and wellbeing.