Academy of Flowers

Connections and Gardening

Gardening is a great way to connect with nature. Whether you are indoors or out, studies have shown that gardening and caring for plants is beneficial for your own mental well being, it can reduce stress, make us feel more energised and healthy, among other benefits.

More than ever, the pandemic has given many of us a sense of appreciation for our gardens and local green spaces. For me, the garden is a place of calm, joy and escapism. Nothing connects me more to my surroundings that gardening. There is a calm in gardening that cannot be found anywhere else. It simply is the perfect match with mindfulness. Nature should not be treated as a 'luxury' resource, it is available to everyone that can be admired and enjoyed. For those that do not have access to the garden, there are opportunities at allotments and community gardens across the country or even indoor gardening.

Benefits of Gardening

Gardening is defined as the activity of working in a garden, growing and taking care of plants. Keeping the garden attractive is a extremely popular pastime. Previous studies have found the reasons that motivate individuals to partake in gardening include:

  • Seeking intellectual challenge,
  • Opportunity for self-expression,
  • Aesthetics,
  • An escape from negative stimuli,
  • A place for leisure,
  • An opportunity to be creative,
  • A chance to foster skill development and
  • Facilitate social relationships (linklinklink).
  • Some gardeners acknowledge advantages to physical fitness (link), and others (linklink) cite therapeutic aspects and health/nutrition as promoting factors.

Other studies have shown that although health benefits are an important factor, it is not the main motivating reason, but more that joy, pleasure and aesthetics are greater drivers to engage in the pastime (link).

RHS Research 

The RHS Science Team has over the last five years, in collaboration with universities in the UK and USA, been collating current scientific evidence on gardening and health, and is undertaking new scientific research. RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science have four gardens (three of which are new), all introducing a different aspect of green spaces and wellbeing, that will become an integral part of our flagship garden. They are as such living laboratories to aid research on how gardening, connecting with nature can impact our mental wellbeing, physical health, among other things. 

  • Wellbeing Garden – Designed by Matt Keightley, The Wellbeing Garden will be a series of ‘garden rooms’, enticing visitors to explore the many ways gardens, plants and garden design affect emotional wellbeing. 
  • The World Food Garden – Ann-Marie Powell has designed a contemporary ‘plot to plate’ experience, inspired by world food, using new innovations to invigorate and educate.
  • Wildlife Garden – Ann-Marie’s Wildlife Garden will demonstrate the association of nature and gardens, and the importance of including a range of plant diversity to support common British wildlife, especially declining species. 
  • Back to Nature Children’s Garden – Co-designed by Duchess of Cambridge, the garden aims to enable children to develop skills for life through free play, building confidence, strength, creativity and resilience.

Do you enjoy gardening or growing flowers/vegetables? Share your experience of how gardening has helped you in the past in the comments below.

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