Why gardening makes us feel better – and how to make the most of it

Gardens can be great for the environment and for wildlife – and they’re good for people too, according to an increasing body of research

Gardening has a long and connected history to science and medicine. For centuries gardens have been a source not only of food on the table but also remedies to treat common ailments. Some of these, such as St John’s wort for depression and willow for headaches, have been embraced by modern science. But what about the benefits of gardens and gardening themselves? Are they proven, and if so, how can we make the most of them?

Plot to Plate – RHS Hyde Hall (3rd June 2019)

It is increasingly acknowledged that gardens and green spaces are associated with better physical, social and mental health(1). British physician Sir Muir Gray famously said that everyone needs a ‘Natural Health Service’ as well as a National Health Service.

The question still remains as to how we embed gardens and gardening into daily life for everyone. The NHS has, since January 2019, officially included social prescribing in its Long Term Plan(2). As the population ages and healthcare costs spiral, social prescribing and preventative healthcare will likely take on renewed importance.