Gardens and Health Week: The uplifting impact of gardens

To mark Gardens and Health Week (4th-12th May), the National Garden Scheme brings together all that is good about gardens.

George Plumptre National Garden Scheme

The stories, from garden owners and beneficiaries, show that even when the world around us can sometimes be overwhelming there is always solace, calm, friendship, community and joy to be found in a garden, whether it belongs to you or to someone else.

The 2024 National Garden Scheme (NGS) Little Yellow Book of Gardens and Health takes you from the joy of creating a garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to the calm, and happiness, that a community garden provides for so many, young and old.

“Scrolling through this year’s Little Yellow Book of Gardens and Health I could feel the joy rising off the pages at every turn,” says National Garden Scheme Chief Executive, George Plumptre. “The National Garden Scheme’s charitable activity is threaded through the book, but as the title suggests, there is a particular emphasis on our programme of Gardens and Health which for nearly ten years has transformed our activities and attitudes.

“Read how the garden of a Maggie’s centre can metaphorically scoop up and embrace someone whose life has just been temporarily shattered by a cancer diagnosis; how a Horatio’s Garden can offer the chance for restoration and hope after the life changing impact of a spinal injury; or how an afternoon’s visit to a National Garden Scheme garden can make an unpaid carer feel as though they have been on holiday.

“Many of the stories tell of personal challenges and sadness, of cancer, a life-changing accident, and other serious health conditions. And yet time and again what shines out is the uplifting positive impact of gardens; the way they help people cope and either get over or get through these challenges, the unique blend of natural rhythm, seasonal change and gentle activity which together offer hope and restoration.

“You can see the formative impact that gardens can have for children which in most cases, like so much that is discovered during childhood, is never lost. And you can see how modest donations (maximum £5,000) from the National Garden Scheme helped create more than 80 community gardens in 2023 and in the process transform the lives of hundreds of people in diverse communities all over the country, giving them access to a garden and nature which many do not have at home and introducing them to the joys of gardening, of sowing seeds and growing food to pick and cook.

“I have only précised the contents of this year’s Little Yellow Book of Gardens and Health, there are many other gems for you to discover. We hope you enjoy our interactive digital book and are able to visit a National Garden Scheme garden and experience the joy first hand this year too. There are even two great competitions giving readers the chance to win a copy of either The Little Gardener’s Handbook by Michael Holland or Kim Stoddart’s The Climate Resilient Vegetable Garden. We’d like to extend a huge thanks to all our amazing contributors who have made this wonderful collection of uplifting stories possible” ends Plumptre.