Chelsea Flower Show to promote benefits of gardening for mental health

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has pledged to help patients with mental illness after it announced it would donate various gardens from its world-famous Chelsea Flower Show.

Patients from Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust will be able to enjoy the gardens long after the show finishes and help look after them.

Experts say gardening can have a positive effect on mental wellbeing.

The Chelsea Flower Show will also host a “gardening for health” forum, which will look at ways to promote non-medical treatments – known as “social prescribing”.

The garden will be created by Matt Keightley, twice-winner of the BBC / RHS People’s Choice Award.

Sue Biggs, RHS director general, said: “With 75 per cent 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.

“We’re committed to continuing to work with the NHS for at least the next two years to share our gardening knowledge and help more patients and staff to grow.”

Professor Tim Kendall, NHS national director for mental health added: “The therapeutic value of spending time gardening and in green spaces is increasingly recognised, which is what has made this partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society so exciting.

“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, leading to the gift of a further two amazing gardens to NHS patients and staff.”

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