Flowers make us feel happier. And that’s not just a nice fluffy statement from those of us who personally adore them. It’s a fact well documented by heavyweight institutions and the subject of much in-depth research!
Which is why so many of us are finding peace and solace nurturing our own blooms or enjoying the magnificent displays of tulips, bluebells and other people’s front gardens on our prescribed daily walks.
The benefit of flowers on mental health has been embraced by the NHS, which has promised a team of 1,000 ‘social prescribing’ (not to be confused with social distancing!) professionals to help tackle mental health challenges.
The programme gives GPs a way to help people connect to activities in their local communities – and that includes gardening.
Indeed, social prescribing was one of the recommendations made in a 68-page report into the benefits of gardening by health charity the Kings Fund, commissioned a few years ago by the National Garden Scheme – an organisation which hosts the popular annual open gardens events.
A report by the University of Exeter medical school last year showed that a weekly dose of two hours in nature has a significant positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. Its interviews with 20,000 people in England showed that half those who did NOT spend time in a natural environment weren’t satisfied with their lives, while a quarter reported poor health.
And the Royal Horticultural Society, a strong believer in the benefits of gardening on mental wellbeing, has appointed a therapeutic gardener to run a gardening as therapy scheme.
A powerful vote for the importance of flowers!
The theme of its National Gardening Week this year, which continues until May 3, Keep Gardening and Grow at Home, is encouraging people to garden in whatever space they have for the benefit of their mental and physical health.
We at Plantscape, meanwhile, are encouraging people to create their own In Bloom competitions, sharing their progress on social media and via Zoom with friends and neighbours as part of our StayAtHome campaign.