RHS Pledge ‘Feel Good Garden’ to Mental Health Trust in London

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on May 22, 2018

RHS Pledge ‘Feel Good Garden’ to Mental Health Trust in London

The Royal Horticultural Society has pledged this year’s ‘Feel Good Garden’, as seen at The Chelsea Flower Show, as part of a move to promote non-medical treatments alongside traditional methods for mental health patients

British rapper, singer and songwriter, Professor Green, who has previously spoken about his struggles with depression, officially opened the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) ‘Feel Good Garden’ at the Chelsea Flower Show preview day on 21st May. The garden, designed to focus on how gardening can help support and promote wellbeing and mental health, will be relocated to Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust following the completion of the this year’s show this May.

Over three-quarters of all English NHS Trusts across the country entered a competition to win this year’s garden, launched not only to promote the positive impact of gardening on mental health and wellbeing, but also to celebrate the National Health Service’s 70th anniversary.

Created by award-winning designer Matt Keightley, the garden creates a sense of security for those experiencing anxiety and stress by using mature honey locust and a tall Judas tree to provide height without completely blocking views. The layout is designed to draw visitors in, encouraging them to interact and engage with both plants and other people. Matt was inspired by his experience working with Help for Heroes, in addition to taking inspirations from the RHS Feel good Garden at Wisley.

The garden will be relocated to Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust’s Highgate Mental Health Centre, one of two inpatient psychiatric centres on site. It is set to be accessible daily to around 30 adults, with hundreds more patients and staff working and staying in surrounding wards overlooking the space expected to benefit.

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General said: “With 75% of England’s mental health trusts entering this competition we have to make the most of the huge recognition at these trusts that gardens and gardening can make a positive difference to our health and wellbeing.

“We passionately believe that everyone should have access to gardens and getting our Chelsea Gardens living on is a core part of our Greening Grey Britain Campaign to transform grey spaces to green places for the nation’s health, happiness and for the environment.”

Professor Tim Kendall, NHS National Director for mental health, said: “The therapeutic value of spending time gardening and in green spaces is increasingly recognised. More and more, patients and their doctors are looking beyond medicines and traditional treatments, through a range of activities, including exercise, gardening and nature. We are absolutely thrilled that the RHS is pledging to work with us in future years.”

This year’s Chelsea Flower Show will also host a gardening for health forum, looking to promote the benefits of non-medical treatments such as getting out into nature and gardening, alongside traditional measures to help patients' mental health and wellbeing. Gardening can have a number of benefits on mental health and wellbeing, including:

  • Providing a mood-boosting form of exercise
  • Giving a sense of achievement
  • Providing opportunities to meet new people
  • Creating mindful moments to allow people to reconnect with nature and quieten their minds

Two further gardens will be relocated to NHS Mental Health Trusts entering similar competitions in 2019 and 2020.

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